April 20, 2015

Ultimate Comfort Foods | Celia's Saucer

A creature of comfort, making and sharing food is the centre of my world and, more often than not, you'll find me in the kitchen.
Shelves stacked with plates and books Food plays heavily on senses both tactile and emotional - from touch, taste and texture, to nostalgia or happiness, which is why it is just such a lovely thing.

Here's a list of some of my favourite comfort foods - what are yours?

Scones, hydrangeas and pretty plates
1. Scones

Plain with a little cold butter or lavished with clotted cream and jam or curd, scones were something my grandma and I would always whip up in early spring when there was still a nip in the air. I don't often make them these days but when I do, I pair them with an excellent cup of tea and eat them while they're still warm; the butter just melting at the edges. 
Scones with clotted cream and jam 
The Cafe Cat and comfort food
2. Dippy Eggs

"You terrible beasts!" My Dodo would exclaim as he turned over the eggshell in its cup to discover the gaping hole at the bottom, a twinkle in his eye. We never tired of that game and I still don't now, even though my boyfriend won't humour me by turning the damn egg over. Our housemate's mother keep hens and so we always have a box of fresh eggs with deep yellow yolks - perfect for plunging hot, buttery soldiers into for an afternoon snack or a fun breakfast. Ada is my fave... her yolks are just dreamy.
Boiled Egg and Soliders in a hare egg cup
(Egg Cups c/o Joules)
Freshly boiled eggs in pretty little cups
3. Smoked Salmon

You know that silly question that people are prone to asking "If you had to eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?" Mine would either be a stocky risotto or smoked salmon. I used to slip it into the trolley when no one was looking, sweetly offer to pack the bags to disguise my deed and then polish off the whole packet to myself somewhere secret, heaving a huge sigh of satisfaction. 
Comfort Food Recipe Ideas
4. Jam Tarts

Another of the things Grandma and I were prone to baking together. Easy peasy jam tarts. I was stubbornly loving towards seedless strawberry jam back then but, these days, I love a cherry or a peach jam and heap in spoonfuls of it for good measure. These make a great little snack at work, sprinkled with coconut or toasted almonds. I make the pastry from scratch but they're just as good with pre-rolled, which cuts prep time hugely.
Jam Tarts
(Floral Teatowel c/o Joules)
Fluffy American Pancakes
5. American Pancakes

Growing up for a time in Massachusetts means I'm rather prone to big, fluffy pancakes drenched in maple syrup and served with bacon. There was also an ice cream parlour near our house in a little wooden shack that boasted all kinds of flavours. These days, I also happen to live near Ruby Violet's, meaning I'm never short of amazing flavours to heap on top of the stack.
Comfort Food Ideas
6. Peanut Butter

"I'm 13 and a padded envelope lands softly on the doormat. Stamped as direct from Massachusetts, I lift it to my face and  it smells sweet and papery like brown-bag lunches, except there's not a sandwich inside but little chocolate cups filled with grainy peanut butter and encased in a thick, gold foil. Memories of fallen leaves and pine needles, the grin of a glowing jack-o-lantern and October moons fill my senses. Popping a candy in my mouth, it's like I'm an English girl in America again."

I've a well-documented obsession with all things peanut butter. In cookies, on apples, on toast... the rich, tacky paste is just the right combination of salty and sweet. I'm all ears to new suggestions - how do you like to eat yours?
Comfort Food Suggestions
7. Soup

I make soup to escape from the daily grind. Switching on the radio, sharpening my knives and quickly chopping up my veg of choice, I can lose myself in the memory of working on the farm and days when life was a little dreamier. What's more, a bowl of soup is like a hug for the tummy. I try to keep my seasonal. My next adventure will be with fish soup. I've never made it before so wish me luck.
Delicious soup ideas
8. Drizzle Cake

So pretty much everything on this list is sweet except the soup. What can I say? Baking is ingrained into me from my past. A good drizzle cake is no exception. Lemon is always great but my best recipe that I've been developing is an orange and polenta cake with rosemary drizzle. I like to use demerera sugar to get a real sticky crunch and the rosemary sets off all the flavours beautifully, especially the nutty crumble of the polenta. I love the way the drizzle soaks slightly into the crust, keeping the cake moist and piling up in the ravines. Plus, the little speckles of green really bring it to life.
I could go on and on but the above are just some of my greatest treats and perhaps inspiring to try your own version... I've been developing mine over the years and adding new things to a base that has already won my heart. I know I'll be making these foods for years to come.

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