Comfort food, comfort food, comfort food. With the weather just rain, rain, rain at the moment, comfort food is what's been on my mind this week. Yep, this week's eating has all been about food that requires almost no jaw-work from the eater and is intended to leave you with the feeling of well-being that comes from eating just slightly too much carb-laden glory.
My first postcard from comfort food world is a happy accident. After making a bunch of kale chips with cheesy cashew sauce, I had half a bucket of the stuff left over. A quick glance at what tired veggies needed using up, and decided to put it to work as a sort of vegan muffin hollandaise thing.
I wilted some spinach, roasted some peppers, piled it up on those muffins, topped with the cashew sauce and coconut bacon and got stuck in.
It was seriously one of the nicest things I've eaten for a good long while. It was a meal where it was just the right balance: carbs from bread, protein in the nut sauce, and veggies, so I didn't feel like a hopeless nutritional writeoff.
I wrote that, then I noticed I hadn't mentioned that big cloud of tarragon potato salad on the side. I was inspired to make it after watching some cooking show from a million years ago (it turned out to be this recipe) and thinking 'that would be so easy to veganise, and so delicious'. I was right on both counts - it was just a matter of using vegan mayo in place of the other stuff, and everything else was good to go.
Is there a food that when you eat it, it takes you right back to childhood? For me, it's potato salad sandwiches. Yep, seriously. I used to get that weirdly cubic store bought stuff out of the fridge when I was little, slap it between brown bread, and enter carb heaven.
I tried it again with the homemade tarragon stuff. Reader, don't judge me. It was amazing. I can see what tiny Joey saw in it for all those years.
Another celebration of the spud came in the form of batata harra, a Lebanese dish that I've enjoyed many times when I've eaten it in restaurants, but never quite managed to make a decent facsimile of it at home.
I got closest this week courtesy of a recipe on The Guardian here, which involved roasting a lot of stuff together (and there was me thinking it was a pan-friend thing. You live and learn.) Either way, it went down well with a load of flatbreads and hummus.
But just to prove the last few days haven't just been a carb freakout, here's some miso soup I made, with squash, carrots, courgette, broccoli and shiitakes. And that weird floating roll thing in the background? Yeah, not sure about that. It's tofu wrapped around veggies, bound with some form of yam. It kind of looks gross, and tastes of not much more. I bought it from the local Chinese supermarket on a whim, and won't be doing it again.
It's asparagus (still going strong here, long may it continue), broad beans, spinach leaves, cherry tomatoes and red onion, all wrapped up in French dressing and served in a plastic tub.
The reason for such exotic presentation? Me and the other half went off for a picnic. The weather didn't hold, and we ate huddled away from the rain in a shelter in the local park. There was something really comforting about eating a decent meal, warm and dry despite the downpour, with some entertaining company. Who needs sun? That's an English summer at its finest.