Monday, November 21, 2011

Comfort Food Blog Hop

I'm incredibly distracted at the moment. My head is whirl of potential future projects if certain things come off, and I even find myself having snippy words with that slime ball Piers Morgan in an interview on my new situation. No, I have no idea why either, but it kept me busy during my 2.5km walk last Sunday morning on the parcours de santé which I've finally found at Grammont. Sometimes my head gets a will of its own and just goes off into realms of fantasy without permission and which totally bog down other functions.

It's not the first time my head has taken unilateral action, but I'm now older and wiser and can come down gently. On previous occasions it was almost painful focusing back on reality.

One reality that I can focus on happily, however is food, and in response to LittleMe's Blog Hop on my top five comfort food, here is my list:
1. Roast chicken with veg and roast spuds. Chicken is the ultimate comfort food as it's unchallenging in taste, but incredibly versatile. I love mine with crunchy skin which I eat, careless of the consequences. My mother makes a mean roast chicken and her roast spuds are to die for. I've been told mine are pretty yummy too - I like them cooked to the crunchy far end of the golden spectrum, going as far as some burnt bits here and there.

2. Pancakes. There's nothing like sinking your teeth into a soft warm pancake with lemon and sugar. I just adore the combination of flavours and textures - the crunchy sugar, the squidgy pancake and the liquid lemon. I don't reserve them for pancake day, but have them several times a year. My boys love them too and always cheer when they smell the delectable aroma of cooking pancake.

3. Sausage and mash. With British sausages, natch. French ones don't really do it for me, they don't have the cultural flavour clout that a good old Sainsbury's chipolata has. Fried, with fried onion, bright green peas and a creamy mash, and served with ketchup, there's nothing like it for warming the cockles.

4. Kedgeree. Kedgeree comes in all different recipes, but my favourite is the one my mother cooks. Smoked haddock boiled in milk, rice, boiled egg, tomato, lots of parsley. You have to fry the cooked rice in butter to get it a lovely pale yellow, which with the addition of egg yolk becomes a glorious golden colour setting off the red of the tomato and green of the parsley perfectly. Kedgeree has acquired cult status in our house. It is the lunch cooked before a wedding - light but sustaining, and my brothers and I all had it before getting married. My youngest son adores it, so it'll be in good hands.

5. Boiled ham and parsley sauce. Another dish from my childhood that I replicate with difficulty here due to the problems of sourcing the right cut of meat. All I can find is 'palette' which is a bit of the shoulder, and maybe a tiny end of the leg. My mother gets a superb hunk, with skin, boils it, then scores the skin, pricks it with cloves and rubs over brown sugar then pops it in the oven to crunch up. Served with mash and peas, it's utterly delectable in a creamy, savoury with sweet bite sort of way.

As you can see, my comfort food is heavily influenced by my childhood memories. There isn't one French dish in there. The only one that might get a look in is blanquette de veau which my mother also makes. All that talk of pancakes has given me cravings, but I only have one egg left so tonight it'll have to the poor relation of sausage and mash - Toulouse sausage and mash. Or maybe a sausage casserole...