What To Cook: dinner ideas and recipes, quick and easy cakes, meat and vegetarian dishes
Comfort food is not just a pretty face it appears. It actually has the capacity to make us feel better, trigger the release of the good stuff: endorphins and dopamine. It may be a nostalgic effect, taking us back to our favourite dish of our childhood or another happy era. It could be the fulfillment of expectation, ‘this is going to make me feel good’ and it does, like placebo. And there are foods that act in a warming, soothing or anti-inflammatory way, like the famous chicken soup treatment of colds.
I am determined to make myself feel better this week, because spring, my jab and eating out seem all still so far ahead. Plus it will still be some time till I eat a meal cooked by someone else for me. I’ll try to soothe myself with food then – and I’ll be happy if you join me.
Chicken soup already accounted for; my all-time childhood favourite was semolina porridge. That will be at least one breakfast then. Another, or perhaps lunch, must be a soufflé omelette with cheese that my Grandma used to prepare to perfection; for years I thought it was actually the only way of making an omelette.
There are few meat dishes as comforting as meatloaf – at least that’s my view. Though meatballs, especially in a saucy casserole come close second. Also something comfortingly resembling street food will be good in the circumstances: like homemade lamb doner kebab.
I might make a tray of smashed roast potatoes because you can’t beat crisp roasties in the comfort zone. And something cheesy, like halloumi and vegetable skewers or a cheesy spinach casserole. It makes me feel better just to think of it!
And then desserts: a half portion of lemon posset as creamy, dairy-based dishes are actually beneficial and anti-inflammatory, surprise, surprise. And if nothing but a cake will do, it has to be black forest brownie. With homemade vanilla ice cream.
It is very tricky manoeuvring between comfort cooking and trying to lose some or not put on much weight! I’ll try to be more calorie restricted in my suggestions next week since we could be getting spending vouchers for getting slimmer – double the benefit if you ask me. But for now, I’ll have another bowl of chicken soup.