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Nutricious Comfort Food

Discussion in 'Cookery' started by modelmaker, Apr 29, 2011.

  1. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    Inspired by the Obesity thread, it occurs to me we need some decent and simple comfort food recipes to wean people off of junk food. Maybe we could begin to do it?
    Here's a starter. Make your own Kentucky Fried Chicken. I do it by whizzing up a couple of slices of bread in the food processor with a bit of chilli, onion whatever herbs I have and frankly whatever else I fancy which is usually only a bit of salt an pepper, maybe a clove of garlic. Coat the chicken portions in flour, dip in the egg and smother them with the breadcrumb mix. And then I bake them instead of frying. You have all the fat you need from the chicken to make it work, and taste even better.
    You want chips with it? Why not have a baked potato instead? Far tastier and more comforting. Cook it in the oven instead of the microwave. Start them off half an hour before you're ready to cook the chicken, and serve with a **** of butter.
    A bit of coleslaw maybe? Make your own. It's only grated cabbage, some grated carrot and mayonaise, a bit of grated onion if you like. Fresh beats the packet stuff for enjoyment and comfort anyday.
    And for desert, an apple crumble. Make half the amount of crumble you might expect to do but add a similar quantity of breadcrumbs to the mix. Fantastically light crumble. For the apple, just peel, quarter and core. Don't cook it beforehand or it will have no texture. Sprinkle with sugar if you're usng Bramleys, cover with the crumble and bake along with the chicken.
    I can't think of anything simpler to cook that takes less time than popping to the KFC, and I know which I'd prefer, which is why I haven't eaten a KFC in donkeys ages.
    We need a lot more comfort food recipes besides these few.
  2. An alternative to McDumb - and my kids will not eat a McDumb if offered my alternative.
    Home made burgers, made with good minced beef. I allow them the crappy buns, as they pile it all high with cucumber, homemade tom sauce and cheese from the farm shop.
    KFC - they have only been to one once in their lives and were disappointed - nobody makes a lip smacking chicken thigh like Mummy does, you see.
    Carrots? Give them a raw one.
    Dessert? Then we get naughty.
    Ask my kids what they want:
    Toad in the hole
    Chilli con carne
    Shepherds Pie
    Fish pie
    Pork chops with tatties and mashed carrots
    Corned beef hash
    Roast chicken.
  3. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    All good ideas, celtic. You need to show new visitors how simple they are to make though, which means recipes. Simple recipes, things that take the same time as junk food takes to do. I know your suggestions are such, but I and the other regulars here have been cooking for years. It's the newbies we need to attract into cooking themselves and away from packet meals and takeaways.
    I think this was Jamie Oliver's idea with the 30 minute meals, but he was in my opinion a bit too adventurous in expecting the packet food purchasers to change their ways by adopting his recipes, excellent though they looked.
    My idea is to be as basic as you can but offer things the non-cook could try for themselves that they'd try to wean them off junk food. And comfort food at the same time. If it's at all possible to build a momentum, the myriad chances to inspire them to try more adventurous recipes will always exist.
  4. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    My main issue with KFC (well, along with the dopey chumps usually found working there) is the quality of the chicken. It's truly horrendous, and no amount of decent cooking will cure it.
    And...I'd go so far as to say that there's nothing wrong with a bit of fried chicken...as long as it's an occasional treat. Once a month, or less frequently, even, it's fine. Same goes for a Maccy D's. We have one about once a year. I actually quite like a Big Mac. Something about the combination of the dill in the sauce and gherkin and the beef works. But once a year. And of course, they're not as good as a proper burger. I guess the problem is though that lots of people do indeed eat this sort of food on a weekly or even daily basis.
    Like most Brits, I love curries, and indeed takewaway curries, but they can be very greasy. I'm sure Si will tell us that they are far richer and fattier than everyday home-cooked Indian food. I bet many Brits think Indian takeway food is entirely representative of Indian food though. Here's a recipe for a great, fresh tasting, delicious chicken curry that's far healthier than your average restaurant chicken tikka masala, but much tastier! Copied and pasted from another thread.
    North Indian Chicken Curry - serves 4 with accompaniments, can be easily scaled up.
    7 or 8 cloves
    a stick of cinnamon
    6 or 7 green cardamom pods
    a tsp or so of ground turmeric
    a tsp or so of ground chilli powder
    2 tbsps or so ground coriander
    a tbsp or so of garam masala

    Vegetable oil
    4 or 5 ordinary tomatoes, pureed in the food processor
    a couple of onions, chopped
    A lump of ginger, peeled and chopped
    9 or 10 cloves of garlic, minced or finely chopped
    8 chicken thighs, on the bone but skinned
    a pint or so of water
    fresh coriander

    Heat a good few glugs of oil in a large pan. Add whole spices and fry until they release their aromas. Add onion and cook on a medium heat until golden brown. Add garlic and ginger and cook for a little longer. Add powdered spices except for garam masala and salt well. Cook for a minute or so longer. Add tomatoes and cook over a moderate heat until quite dry and oil has begun to separate (10-20 minutes. This stage is quite important and shouldn't be rushed, as it will be this that gives the depth of flavour).
    Add chicken and brown in the masala for about 5 minutes. Add enough water to almost cover and bring to the boil. Cover and cook on a moderate simmer for 35-40 minutes. Then remove cover and cook for another 15-20 minutes until chicken is tender and sauce is sufficiently reduced. If it dries a little too much, add a bit more water. Season and add garam masala and fresh coriander just before serving. Eat with steamed basmati rice or chapatis.
  5. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    I always thought comfort food was something you associated with times when you were cossetted and therefore gives you the feeling of being cossetted, eg mashedpotato, soup, etc
    KFC is not comfort food, it is fast food/junk food/ takeaway etc. I don't think I have have ever eaten KFC, probably because there has never been one near where I have lived.
    Real comfort food is something like cheese and potato pie, easily eaten, warming and usually carbohydrate heavy, The exception being ice-cream!
  6. lilachardy

    lilachardy Star commenter

    I agree with lapin.
  7. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    I also agree with Lapin. Although, I do think comfort food is individual to each person. I expect that my interpretation comfort food may differ radically to some of the posters on this forum.
    However, what MM's and Nick's recipes do demonstrate is that it is perfectly easy to replicate (and make better) "takeaway" food in the home.
  8. nick909

    nick909 Star commenter

    Hmmm...possibly agree too...perhaps the thread might be better retitled as Nutritious Versions of Takeaway or Ready Meal Food, or similar.

  9. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    I guess it depends on which foods you find comfort from. There have been countless occasions when I've been travelling and exhausted and just want something simple to eat that I really like. A steak and kidney pie with actual meat in it works for me in such circumstances.
    I started the thread as a consequence of the Obesity thread. It's my contention that some people eat gross amounts of fast food because they find some comfort in doing so. We've all seen examples on the telly and wonder how on Earth it's possible to consume so much. It's obviously not because they are starving hungry.
    As for KFC, you will be disappointed if you try it now. It wasn't always like it though. I was about 18 when the first shops opened. They weren't in every town as they are now, sometimes with several outlets. Our nearest was in Wimbledon which was a reasonable drive for us to get to. It's difficult to be objective about the quality of the chicken some 40 years on. You have to remember that back then, roast chicken was a treat we'd have just a few times a year, so having chicken you could buy all day long every day was a bit special at the time.
    There was a sizeable gap between my eating KFC as a young adult and more recently when needing something to eat on my travels I've tried it a couple of times. Once in a motorway service area and the other in a retail/entertainment/food park on the outskirts of Nottingham. The service area sample was dire. I couldn't eat it. The other was better but again I won't pretend it was worth taking the trouble to seek out as we did when I was younger.
  10. Si N. Tiffick

    Si N. Tiffick Occasional commenter

    For me, comfort food is mashed potato, macaroni cheese, daal, apple crumble- nursery foods really. And yes, ice cream!
    I've never been to a KFC. The nearest one would be in the Big Smoke, which is a 75 mile round trip, and I've never searched one out. I do remember the first time I ever went to a McDonalds- I was about 11 and we went to The Metro Centre in Gateshead. We thought it was such a treat, and couldn't understand why my mother thought it was so dreadful. I do now, though!
    Nick is right insomuch as my homemade curries bear no resemblance to curry house curries. For a start, the curry house caters to British tastes and aren't often anything like the recipes I grew up with. I've seldom come across a rogan josh which is a rogan josh as I'd know it. Secondly, they seem to be swimming in ghee (or, I suspect, oil). whilst some recipes do require tempering of spices, eg daal, I use a minimum of cooking fat as it's quite unecessary. Indian food has so much in the way of flavour coming from spices and to a lesser extent, herbs, it doesn't need to aquire it from fat. (There are of course some exceptions to this, and I have eaten in some really good Indian restaurants, but they aren't representative of the average high street curry house or takeaway)
  11. lapinrose

    lapinrose Star commenter

    The best ever takeaway, as well as the cheapest, was in Amman in Jordan. Enough falafel, hoummos and flat bread for 3 people for JD1.60, approx £1.50. It was also the healthiest, IMO!!
  12. bombaysapphire

    bombaysapphire Star commenter

    When I lived in London a friend of mine lived just off the Edgware Road. A "chicken sandwich" from the Lebanese was a bargain and way tastier than a KFC. It was grilled chicken in a wrap with tahini - delish!
  13. Bethannie

    Bethannie New commenter

    I would suggest a stirfry - quicker than a take-away, cheaper,healthier and minimal washing-up...plus it tastes great!
    So, if you crave a sweet/sour then try this.....(Yes, some of the notes are a bit basic - if you are a confidant cook just indulge me!)

    Sweet/Sour Stir-Fry for 2.....
    Shred/finely slice assorted veggies - cabbage works well, add some carrots for texture, peppers for colour...whatever you have left in the veggie basket.
    Open a tin of pineapple rings and remove two rings and roughly chop them. (The remaining rings will keep in a covered dish in the fridge)
    Open a small bag of beansprouts.
    (optional - either open a bag of egg noodles or get some left-over cooked rice out of the fridge!)
    (also optional...a small handful of cooked prawns or left-over cooked chicken/beef/pork)

    In a cup,small bowl mix together
    1 tspn soy sauce (a tspn is a teaspoon!)
    1 tspn white wine vinegar (or cider vinegar)
    5 tspn water
    A big splodge of ketchup
    A pinch of sugar
    3 tspn pineapple juice (from your tin you opened a minute ago!)
    A little grated ginger ....(peel it first!!!)....(at a push, use a little ground ginger....but for next time buy a small knobble of root ginger!)
    (Note: If you omit the pineapple and ginger and add a dash of chilli sauce you have a sweet-chill stir-fry sauce!)

    In a wok heat 1 or 2 tspns oil (I like the nuttiness of sesame oil)
    When it is hot, add the veggies - cook for about 3 minutes
    Add the beansprouts and any cooked meat/prawns and the rice/noodles if you're using them - cook for 2 more minutes.
    Add your sauce - cook for one more minute.

    Additional Note:
    If you have want to use uncooked meat then that's fine - cut it into thin strips (thin strips cook faster) and put those into your wok and cook them before you add the veggies. It should only add a few more minutes to the total time...if you are unsure about whether the meat is ready - take a piece out, cut it in half and check it is cooked in the middle!

  14. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    Good suggestion Beth. Keep them coming. We need someone to give us a better alternative to the kebab shop.
    I'm embarrassed I mis-spelt the thread title. I believe I'm probably suffering from late-onset dyslexia because this is now occurring more frequently than I'd wish.
  15. modelmaker

    modelmaker Star commenter

    Then I apologise for that. It's never been my intention to ridicule anyone's cooking, just to share ideas.
    I suffer the same fate myself, occasionally. Because I forever experiment, now and again I come across something that works and share it with you all. I make my share of mistakes and share these as well. Now and again I'll post a success and have it torn to shreds, as was the case not that long ago when said adding grated ginger to apple sauce raised it to a new dimension, and was well worth trying for a change. I was dumbfounded by the response I got.
    It's all good stuff though.
    As an aside, regarding the fat in mince, I made a mousaka yesterday to use up a pack of turkey mince. I hadn't actually bought turkey mince. I'd ordered some duck legs from Tesco and as these weren't available when the picker put my order together, in his/her infinite wisdom decided the nearest substitute would be turkey mince. There were some other odd substitutions in the delivery as well, such as supplying 4 bottles of rose wine instead of the 6 bottles of red wine I'd ordered. I rang Tesco about this and they said as the turkey mince was perishable, they would refund it. The wine, I would need to return to the customer services desk at the local branch to get a refund, which as I explained, rather made a nonsense of having the shopping delivered as the whole point of the exercise was to avoid visiting the supermarket.
    Anyway, I digress. It seems there is remarkably little fat, or for that matter, flavour in turkey mince. It was the first time I've used it and will never return. Instead of being able to fry it off, it just stuck to the pan. In the end, I set half of it aside for the dog. It had been my intention to make 2 mousakas with one for the freezer. The meat component was pretty bland and the dish relied heavily on the veg content. I certainly appreciate the need to have fat in a meat dish. It's a matter of taste how much and for me, there will be sufficient in that which continues to be released as the dish cooks after it's been browned off.
    But once again, I apologise if I upset you. Give us a kiss and make up.
  16. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    If we're talking about more nutritious versions of takeaways...pizza!
    Wwwwwaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy more fun to make than to buy! We all have our own favourite versions and I know there are some purists on this forum(!) but this is a version I love to make! (Its not my recipe, btw - can't remember where I found it!)
    To make the pizza dough put 260g strong white flour, 3/4 tsp fast action yeast, 3/4 tsp sugar, 1tsp salt into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Gradually add 140ml of warm water and add in roughly 2tbsp of olive oil until the dough starts to come together. Keep mixing the dough and adding in water until the dough comes away from the sides. When the dough is smooth, knead it on a lightly floured surface for 5 mins. Shape it into a ball of dough. Add a splash of olive oil into a clean bowl and coat the sides of the bowl with the olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place to prove for an hour or more (I very often do this in the morning before I go to work).
    To make the pizza sauce, gently fry a chopped red onion and 2 roughly chopped cloves of garlic in olive oil, add 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes, 150g bacon lardons then cook for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Tip in 250g minced beef and brown it, add 2 tins of chopped tomatoes and simmer for 20-25 mins. Stir often and season. (this makes twice as much as you need but is fab with pasta).
    To assemble the pizza, preheat the oven to its highest temperature, roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface until about 2mm thick and put it onto an oiled and floured baking tray. Leave for 15-20 mins to have a mini-prove. Ladle half of the sauce over the dough and spread it out evenly, then add your toppings. Cook for 12-15 mins. Eat.
  17. Always, MM.
    I am probably as difficult sometimes as you are. Maybe that is why we tend to wind each other up. I bet if we sat and had a pint, we would get along great xx
  18. Pizza?
    Hey, use spelt flour!
  19. In fact, MM - here is a recipe I want you to try.
    Roast spelt bolognese.
    Get some cracked roast spelt. You may need to go to a health food shop in the UK to get it.
    Dry fry until the spelt starts to take on a "perfume" (you will notice).
    Add a chopped onion and some garlic. Don't worry about frying them off.
    Add a tin of chopped toms or some fresh toms if you prefer, but then you will need to add extra stock.
    Pour on some stock (veggie) just enough to cover.
    Let it all bubble up then add your herbs (whichever ones you want).
    If the mixture is too dry, add some tom juice or some extra stock.Only cook for 20 mins max, this is not meat.
    Now - try it. It looks like mince.

  20. egyptgirl

    egyptgirl Senior commenter

    I would but spelt gives Mr EG horrible stomach cramps!

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