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Eat like it's summer

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.

More proof I've been eating my greens this week: behold a salad that I made. (The weather's not really justified it, given it's been grim and rainy for days now, but I'm going to pretend it's summer in my kitchen regardless.)

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.

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  1. that coconut bacon on your hollandaise muffin looks so good - I never had potato salad sandwiches as a kid but could come at it now (and highly recommend a favourite childhood sandwich vegemite and walnuts). the miso soup looks great but I would go without the weird roll up too and I love your salad and hearing about your very British picnic

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  3. I haven't been eating enough potatoes for my liking lately and your two versions look spectacular. Potato salad sandwich? Makes me laugh. Wasn't there a slew of of spaghetti sandwiches around the blogosphere not to long ago? Whatever floats your boat. I'd be into both.

  4. That English muffin smothered in hollandaise sauce and coconut bacon sounds like the ultimate brunch dish! Seriously, I had never had much interest in the "mother" sauce before, but now I want to try my hand at your rendition. It does sound like the perfect sort of comfort food for a rainy day, which we've been seeing quite often around here, too.

  5. What a gorgeous smothered muffin! I wannnnttt! I'm not even sure I've had coconut bacon on its own, probably for the best.
    Beautiful salad too. The weather has been crazy here too - I'll wait a couple weeks for picnic plans. But then: Potato salad!

  6. I'd say you've got the comfort food thing covered nicely. I'd be super comfortable eating any of those dishes, especially the batata harra, but any, really. I find great comfort in potatoes, so any (vegan) dish that contains them usually looks good to me. And I'm not judging you, having never tried a potato salad sandwich, but maybe not that.

  7. Great selction of food. We were comfort food mad too over the long weekend. Spent most of it on the sofa watching a box set acompanied by homemade pizza, burgers, cheesy chips and crisps. We made an epic potato salad too using a mustard and dill sauce picked up in Ikea.

  8. Wow, it all looks like quality restaurant fare, except healthier and tastier. Good job!

  9. The weather in Oregon was a bit odd - it was rainy and super cold for a few days and then now sunny. When it comes to rainy weather, I always go straight for comfort food: carbs and potatoes. Such a brilliant idea using these leftovers, this plate looks damn delish! I loveeeee tarragon potato salad, my boy made it last week fresh tarragon, olive oil, lemon juice, dijon mustard and some nice salt. Now I’m tempted to make more potato salads. Same here, I used to eat loads of my Mom’s Japanese potato salad sandwiches with Kewpie (ain’t vegan, but I wanna veganise it someday for sure) when I was a kid - potato salads will always be my favorite childhood meal! If you ever drop by Native Foods in the U.S., try their freakin’ amazing potato salad. I always order their potato salad as a side and it filled me up completely.

  10. Those muffins look amazing!! What cashew hollandaise did you use? And I LOVE batata harra! I thought it was traditionally pan-fried, though. But I've made successful roasted versions too (and it's so much easier roasting everything together!). Unfortunately last time i made it I made the mistake of roasting a whole 1.5 kg bag of potatoes and ended up eating batata harra flatbread wraps for nearly a week, rendering me incapable of eating it again for at least 6 months... ;)

  11. That's quite the comfort food fest you got going there! Love potato salad, it's right there along with tofu egg salad, really anything mayo based salad. Although I never did a potato salad sandwich when I was little, doesn't mean I can't try it now. :-)

  12. I think a potato salad sandwich sounds completely brilliant! Also...is there really anything more romantic than a sheltered picnic in the rain? Swooooon


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