Tag Archives: comfort food

Long weekend comfort food for one: Mexican hot chocolate and pork ribs

I’ve been wishing for a weekend of rain and miserable cold weather. Today I got my wish, however, I should have been more specific as I had in my head visions of sleeping in, watching movies and eating practically non-stop in a toasty warm house for 3 days. NOT of biking in the driving rain to get the ingredients for my perfect weekend.

But blessings sometimes come in watery, 10 degree celcius disguises as I finally managed to not only befriend one of the ladies at Casa Iberica (this is quite a feat as she has to be one of the toughest nuts to crack, even if you speak Spanish, and unless you count knowing the words ‘Caliente’ and ‘Hola’ as speaking Spanish I definitely do not come under this category) but also do an entire grocery shop without setting foot in a supermarket

When I finally I walked through the door at home, despite being rather soggy, with a good book and hot chocolate in the works the only way was up.

Mexican hot chocolate

*1/2 disc Ibarra hot chocolate (or Abuelita)
*1 cup (as in the cup you’ll be drinking from, not a measurement cup)

*Chop or crush the disc into small pieces and mix with the milk in a saucepan
*Heat over a low heat, whisking so it doesn’t burn and it gets nice and frothy, until completely combined


What better way to top off a semi-productive day than with sweet and spicy pork ribs, homemade chips and a tamarind jarritos followed by toasted pineapple with coconut sugar?

Rainy day pork ribs
*1/3rd cup honey
*1/4 cup tomato sauce
*1/4 cup soy sauce
*1 Tbsp hoisin sauce
*2 tsp chilli flakes
*3 garlic cloves, crushed
*1 tsp olive oil

*Mix together all ingredients and coat pork ribs (I used 3 but for two people I would use 5 or 6 and double the marinade) in a bowl. Leave to marinate for as long as you can, overnight if possible, although I only marinated mine for an hour and they turned out fine
*Preheat oven to 200 degrees celcius
*Line a baking dish with foil then pour in about 2 cups of water, enough to cover the bottom and account for a little evaporation
*Oil a wire rack and place ribs on top, reserving the marinade
*Position the baking tray underneath the wire rack in the oven and bake ribs for about 45 minutes until cooked (make sure to account for size, I had to put one of the larger ribs in 15 mins earlier than the others), turning occasionally and basting with the leftover marinade
*Eat straight away, no cutlery allowed


Pineapple just needs to be toasted up as in my previous pineapple recipe except replace brown sugar with coconut sugar or (if you can’t buy it) a half-half mix of sugar and finely grated toasted coconut

Near perfect day: tick
House clean and tidy: hmmm best not to ask

Tagged , , ,

Cold days, cold nights, where would I be without my soup?: Chicken brodo and Mulligatawny

The other day I made soup. No, sorry not soup. Brodo (fancy soup). Today I made soup again. All the grey skies and waking up in the dark to go to work will do that to you. Even though it is not technically winter yet, there’s nothing like soup on a dreary day, especially when you have made it in advance and frozen it, then you can continue on in a lazy mood with minimal effort. Although making these soups can be just as enjoyable. I have to agree with my dad when he says nothing beats the smell of onions cooking and both of these soups combine that greatest of cooking smells with oregano and thyme, and curry respectively. Both smells that are not to be sniffed at. Unless it is a good, long, savouring sniff.

Chicken and vegetable brodo
*cover 500g chicken with 2 litres stock and 1 litre water, bring to the boil then lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes until cooked through
*shred chicken and retain liquid
*heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in the largest pot you have, add 2 chopped onions, 4 cloves chopped garlic, 4 sprigs oregano, 4 sprigs thyme and 1 bay leaf for 2 minutes
*add 1 bulb of chopped fennel, 2 chopped carrots and 1/2 bunch celery and cook for 10 minutes
*add chicken meat, reserved stock and 1/2 cup of arborio rice. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes
*add 1/2 cup frozen peas, 2 chopped zucchini and 1/2 bunch parsley and simmer for another 5 minutes or until rice is cooked
*add 1 Tbsp olive oil and serve

Mulligatawny soup
*chop 2 large brown onions and heat in a large saucepan over a medium-high heat for 5 minutes until soft
*add 1/4 cup of curry paste and cook for 1 minute
*add 500g chopped chicken, 2 finely chopped zucchini, 1 finely chopped carrot and 2 Tbsp of tomato paste and cook for 10 minutes until chicken is browned
*add 6 cups of cold water and 1 Tbsp chicken stock powder and bring to the boil
*add 1/3 cup of rice, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until chicken and rice is cooked through
*serve while hot with some crusty (in a good way) bread

I couldn’t find curry paste when I went out on my ingredients hunt so decided to make my own. I would definitely recommend it, not only is the recipe below easy but it makes exactly 1/4 cup, must be fate!

Curry paste
*combine 1/3 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup olive oil
*finely chop 2 red chillis and 4 cloves of garlic
*combine all of the above and add:
1 Tbsp grated ginger
1 Tbsp mustard powder
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp ground turmeric
1 Tbsp ground coriander seeds
3 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp black pepper
*done! Unless it is too moist (uck), in which case put it through a sieve like I did

I will leave you now, no doubt with a craving to make soup. But also with this musing: even though the brodo recipe is from an expensive cookbook (Karen Martini’s ‘Cooking at Home’) and the Mulligatawny recipe is from a cheap food magazine (June 2011 ‘Super Food Ideas’), I preferred the Mulligatawny. The brodo was quite bland when following the recipe to the letter and next time I’ll try to make it taste a bit more interesting. Plus I just love the name Mulligatawny (Yay Colonialism! Right guys?! Guys?).

Tagged , , , ,

Shepherd’s Pie

Tonight is the perfect night for Shepherd’s pie if you are in Melbourne. Which I am. The rain outside + a good blanket + Shepherd’s pie + a good book = a great Wednesday night.

As much as I wish I could be one of those amazing people who just cooks – you know the ones, they just do it and make everything look so easy – I’m a recipe follower at heart. Shepherd’s pie is one of the things I am happy to just completely make up as I go, as it is practically impossible to screw up. But I tried really hard to focus tonight so I could relay this one back to you…

Shepherd’s Pie

*cook 1 onion chopped, 2 cloves of garlic finely diced, 2 chopped sticks of celery, 1 chopped carrot, 1 chopped eggplant and any other veges you want to add over medium-high heat for 5 mins
*add 500g of mince (or 1kg if you wish) and cook till browned
*meanwhile…peel and chop 5 potatoes, boil in salted water until tender but not overcooked, then mash with (lots if you’re like me) of cheese, milk and butter. Those with an intolerance to dairy turn away now and try not to think about this delicious, delicious part of the meal
*add 2 cups of your choice of stock and Worcestershire sauce, red wine, tomato sauce (or paste), salt and pepper to taste to the mince and veges, bring to the boil then reduce for 10-20 minutes
*pour mince mixture into a casserole dish, top with the mashed potato and grated cheese then cook at 200 degrees celcius for 10-20 minutes or until crispy

The wide time frames given above are because I know that I personally find it impossible to wait after a long day of work for food to cook, which is why I never come home to make risotto or a roast, and why my Shepherd’s Pie is always enjoyed un-crispy and with not-very-thick sauce. However, I understand that many people have more self restraint and can wait longer for a slightly better result. I admire you, you mysterious creatures.

The only next step after the ones listed above is to enjoy your food then snuggle into a blanket/a willing companion and turn your attention to a good book/the TV remote/a board game.

Tagged ,