Comfort food!

(Recipe included for Allotment pie)

Why do we have comfort food? What is comfort food? When I searched for the definition of what comfort food is, it came up with this:

It is usually a food that provides a feeling of well-being, typically having a high sugar or carbohydrate content and associated with childhood or home cooking.

This would make sense because it is food associated with the security of childhood, when you were young, had no worries and had someone looking after you. In fact, that is the main reason why, when under extreme emotional stress, adults turn to food for comfort. It brings back memories of when they didn’t have to worry about anything.

Comfort food is food that provides a nostalgic or sentimental value to someone, this nostalgic affect created when eating your favourtite comfort food may be specific to an individual, or it may apply to a specific culture

The food that you eat when in those circumstances, (comfort food), are believed to be a great coping mechanism for rapidly soothing negative feelings. The interesting thing is that the food that is considered ‘comfort food’ varies from country to country. For example, comfort food for Britain include: Cottage pie, Beef stew with dumplings, rice pudding (my comfort food), Custard, Bangers and mash, and Jam Roly-Poly.

You can’t beat a lovely tasty and filling and meal on a cold and damp day, and my own recipe of Allotment pie is just that! This is a warm and satisfying food, and in these cold and foggy December days, you need something that just hits the spot…

Allotment pie

(Great for freezing)

Serves: 6 people

Preparation: 30 minutes Cook: 1 Hour 55 minutes

(This meal happens to be vegetarian but can be easily adapted to accommodate meat)

For the filling, the ingredients you will need:

  • 50 grams’ butter
  • 2 onions finely chopped
  • 4 carrots diced small
  • 1 head of celery chopped
  • 4 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 150 grams’ pack chestnut mushroom, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon dried thyme
  • 500 grams’ pre-cooked lentils,
  • 1.7l of vegetable stock
  • 3 tablespoons of tomato purée
  • 150 grams soya mince

For the topping, you will need:

  • 2 kg potato
  • 85 grams butter
  • 100 millitlitres milk
  • 150 grams cheddar, grated

Method:

  1. To make the sauce, heat the butter in a pan, then gently fry the onions, carrots, celery and garlic for 15 mins until soft and golden. Turn up the heat, add the mushrooms, then cook for 4 mins more. Stir in the herbs, then add the lentils. Pour over the wine and stock – it’s important that you do not season with salt at this stage. Add the soya mince. Now season to taste, take off heat, then stir in the tomato purée.
  2. Tip the potatoes into a pan of water, then boil for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain well, mash with the butter and milk, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. To assemble the pies, divide the filling mixture between the dishes that you are using, then top with the fluffy mash. Scatter over the cheese, heat oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5, then bake for 45 minutes or until the topping is golden.
  4. Enjoy!

Allotment pie is a very useful dish for using up a glut of vegetables, or it’s been a long day and it’s your turn to cook that day and you don’t want to make something complicated, but something warm and tasty. I really enjoyed making this dish and it definitely warms you up. I hope you enjoy making it just as much has I did!