Comfort Foods

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With the cold months filled with darkness, strong winds, rain and ice, we all tend to hibernate a little bit more, especially now that we are in lockdown in the UK. With all this extra time at home, this is the perfect time to try out some new recipes. Comfort foods are the perfect meals to make when you are looking for those hearty meals for a cosy night at home. Here are some of our favourite recipes for the winter!

Donna Hay’s Pumpkin, Sage and Feta Rolls


(We used sweet potato and parsnip as an alternative!)

Makes 4

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 leek, thinly sliced

2 cups (300g) firmly packed grated pumpkin

2 tablespoons finely chopped sage

2 tablespoons white chia seeds

¼ cup (6g) chopped flat-leaf parsley

⅔ cup (160g) fresh ricotta

120g feta

Sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 x 375g sheet frozen spelt wholemeal (whole-wheat) butter puff pastry, thawed

1 egg, lightly whisked

Black sesame seeds for sprinkling

Store-bought tomato chutney, to serve (optional)

Place a large deep non-stick frying pan over medium to high heat.

Add the oil and leek and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until softened. 

Add the pumpkin and sage and cook for 4 minutes or until softened.

Transfer to a large bowl and add the chia, parsley, ricotta, feta, salt and pepper. Mix to combine and refrigerate until cool.

Preheat the oven to 200℃.

Line a large baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Cut the sheet in half to make two 13.5cm x 18 cm rectangles and place on the tray. Divide pumpkin mixture between pastry arranging it in long logs along the long edges. Brush the other long side with egg and roll to enclose filling. Cut each roll in half to make 4 in total. Turn the rolls seam-side down on the trays. Score the tops with a sharp knife, brush with the remaining egg and sprinkle with the sesame seeds.

Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Allow the rolls to cool on the tray for 10 minutes before serving with tomato chutney, if you like.

Donna Hay’s Black Bean Bolognese Pie with Parsnip, Celeriac and Kale


Serves 4

Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil and 1 thinly sliced leek. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened. Add 250g each of peeled and chopped parsnip and celeriac. Cook for 1 minute. Add ½ cup (125ml) milk. Cover and cook for 30 minutes until soft. Blend or mash until smooth. Stir in ¾ cup (25g) shredded kale leaves (stems removed). 

Preheat the oven to 220℃. Divide 1 quantity of black bean bolognese (or the bolognese of your choice!) between 4 x ½ cup (375ml) capacity pie dishes. Top with the mash. Bake for 15 minutes until browned.

Marcella Hazan’s Squid and Potato Stew


Serves 4

1kg squid

1kg waxy new potatoes

125ml olive oil

8 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 teaspoon dried red chilli flakes

A handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

175ml white wine

100g tinned chopped tomatoes (¼ of a tin)

100ml water


Clean the squid. Cut the bodies into 1.5cm wide strips and leave the tentacles whole, unless they are very large. Peel the tomatoes and cut into 3-4cm chunks. 

Heat the olive oil in a wide, heavy-bottomed pan and add the garlic, chilli and parsley. Cook for a couple of minutes, then turn up the heat and add the squid. Once it is sizzling away, add the white wine and let it bubble for a minute to reduce.

Add the tomatoes and potatoes and pour in the water. Turn the heat down and simmer gently with the lid on for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes are cooked through.


Donna Hay’s Chocolate Fudge Cake


¾ cup (180ml) light-flavoured extra virgin olive oil

½ cup (125ml) milk or nut milk

½ cup (125ml) pure maple syrup

6 eggs

½ cup (110g) raw caster (superfine) sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

3 teaspoons baking powder

¾ cup (75g) cocoa powder, sifted

3½ cups (420g) almond meal (ground almonds)

chocolate frosting

¾ cup (180g) smooth cashew butter

½ cup (125ml) pure maple syrup

⅓ cup (35g) cocoa powder, sifted

2 tablespoons milk or nut milk


Preheat oven to 160°C. Line 2 x 20cm (8 inch) round cake tins with non-stick baking paper.

In a large bowl add oil, milk, maple, eggs, sugar and vanilla into a bowl and whisk to combine.

Sift the baking powder and cocoa over the milk mixture. Add the almond meal and mix to combine. Pour mixture into prepared tins, smoothing the surface. Bake for 30–35 minutes until cooked when tested with a skewer. Cool in tins for 10 minutes then turn out onto wire racks to cool.

To make the chocolate frosting, mix together the cashew butter and maple. Sift over the cocoa powder and stir to combine. Add enough milk to make a spreadable consistency. Using a handheld mixer, beat until smooth.

Spread top of base with half the chocolate frosting. Layer with other cake. Top with remaining frosting. Serves 10–12

Anna Park