Perfect apple pie with homemade pastry and apple and raisin filling. I have twisted the classic a little by making sweetened crust but if you use tart cooking apples and not a lot of sugar in the filling, it creates a nice balance.
Cassoulet - the ultimate comfort dish, with duck and pork. Pork belly provided the fat, a little bacon a little smokiness; and I sprinkled breadcrumbs over the casserole as well as the serving bowls.
Cauliflower cheese with spices, garlic and creamy sauce. Interesting thing about comfort foods is that they usually tend to be quite bland. I guess when it's cold outside or you're feeling a bit down you don't fancy stimulating senses too much.
The best cheese fondue, smooth as velvet and comforting as a blanket. This tastes absolutely fantastic. And so it should – it’s Heston’s recipe from the book ‘Heston Blumenthal at home’.
Savoury tart with fennel and taleggio filling; a vegetarian version of a classic British pie. My offering to vegetarians who like pies, this is actually better the next day at room temperature, if there’s any left.
Roast ham hock with plum sauce. Soak it, boil, it, roast it - just like gammon. It likes mustard and honey, it will be so tender you won't need a carving knife. There's a bit of fat and rind on the hock.
Ginger cake with candied ginger pieces, jam filling and maple syrup icing. I always thought ‘gingerbread’ referred only to cookies until I saw the cranberry gingerbread cake in NYTimes Cooking.
Lamb shank basted with caper and anchovy butter, served with stir fried cabbage. I had a shank languishing in the freezer for a while, won at a meat auction held in a restaurant a while back, so waste not – want not, I cooked it.
Mini sausage rolls made with cream cheese pastry and pork and mushroom filling. Party food – or a perfect snack. The filling can be fashioned out of cooked or raw meat – using leftover Christmas turkey, Sunday roast chicken or pork, or raw meat like here.
Old fashioned apple cake with brown sugar frosting. We used to have two apple trees in the garden: one eating, one cooking, fruiting every other year each, in alternative years – a perfect arrangement.
Parsnip and orange cake with cinnamon and raisins. Very similar to carrot cake though not quite as moist, it’s good enough to bake at Christmas instead of the fruit cake.
Chunky parsnip fries with spicy seasoning. Let me tell you: my parsnip chips are fried. Fried. In hot oil. Lots of it. And that’s why I call them fries.
Pumpkin pie with crust made from scratch and a cranberry layer. What do you know? It is an improvement – and marrying the festive, autumnal couple clearly produces a stable relationship.
Pumpkin bread spiced with cinnamon and cloves, with walnuts and cranberries. I’ll say it very quickly: pumpkin bread is good. Very much the thing to do with this tin of puree knocking about the cupboard.
Pumpkin fondue in individual munchkin pumpkins, baked and filled with melted cheese. Sliced gherkins, a few lettuce leaves, a ton of apple chunks – and it’s no trick. It’s a treat!
Steak and ale pie with flaky homemade shortcrust pastry. Supremely flavourful, hitting all the right spots with the salty, the meaty and the earthy from the mushrooms
Sticky toffee pudding - date cake with delicious toffee sauce, best served warm. Let’s face it: it’s a date cake. Easy to make, nice and slightly gooey, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with baking it, leaving it dry and eating a slice or two cold.
Boned and rolled guinea fowl with pork and dried fruit stuffing. Poultry, game birds and pork love sweet, fruity and spicy company. Ham cooked in Coca-Cola, chicken in chocolate sauce, duck with prunes or a l’orange to name just a few classics.
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