Comfort Food Tuna Bake

pataThe colder evenings creep ever more slyly in, and the salad bowl has now been firmly relegated to the back of the kitchen cupboard. Appetites now call for something more substantial.

After a long week of work and commuting, with grey skies, colder temperatures and much drizzly rain here in London, I’ve decided to welcome in the weekend with comfort food. I”m making up a big oven dish of one of my childhood favourites, a tuna bake, for supper tonight.

There seem to be a hundred variations on this dish, but mine is basically pasta, tinned tomatoes, garlic, onion, a large tin of flaked tuna and melted cheddar, with a handful of breadcrumbs if I have them, for crunch. Sometimes I add red peppers or sweetcorn – it depends what I have. This is a store cupboard staple and it’s very flexible.

Baked in the oven until bubblingly blistered and cheesy, it’s devoured from a bowl in front of an old film, with a glass of red wine.

Simple food, as wonderfully warming and comforting as a pair of old fluffy socks on a cold, wet day.

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Scrumptious Apple Cake

With the colder mornings this week, and strong, autumnal winds, down come the apples.

We have a young apple tree which bears the fruit variety called Scrumptious.

It’s a small, firm fleshed, juicy, sweet red apple, as good for cooking as it is for eating. I never see this variety for sale in the supermarkets or greengrocers here in London, which is such a shame. The flavour intensity and versatility of this apple is wonderful.

I made my first apple cake of the season with these apples today. Topped with brown sugar and cinnamon, it’s the warming taste of autumn with our first apples of the season.

Miso salmon noodles

It’s a rainy, grey evening here in Greenwich, London. Squally showers keep battering the windows, and the weather calls for something warming tonight for dinner.

I have the salmon steaks marinating in red miso paste, rice wine, honey, garlic and soy. These will be pan fried, kept warm, and added at the last minute to the big, fat udon noodles and vegetables. Ladled with miso broth, this should be a warming, comforting but healthy supper on this drizzly Monday evening.

Single girl weekend food

Whilst dearly beloved is away driving children to Uni, I’m playing at being a single girl again for the weekend.

This mainly involves scruffing around in mismatched fluffy socks and jogging pants, building detailed “to do” lists that immediately get ignored, listening to several hours of audio books and raiding the fridge at frequent intervals.

In an attempt to not binge on biscuits or other hip-spreading fodder, and restricted by the somewhat healthy contents of the cupboards, this has resulted in some interesting concoctions.

Tonight’s dinner – as I was transfixed by my book and felt unwilling to cook anything elaborate for one- was rice, tuna, tomatoes and a sprinkling of seeds, with a dash of soy sauce. It reminded me of the stuff I’d put together as a student…

Nothing much changes when it comes to single girl weekend food!

A child of autumn

As the season swings gently into autumn I find myself breathing and reflecting deeply upon life. I have always loved autumn.

September, with its misty mornings and slowly darkening days always seems a time for slowing down, for gathering in and nurturing the spirit in preparation for winter.

A time of slow cooked stews and aromatic, warmly spiced bakes. Of long walks in the crisp mornings and curling up on the sofa with a book and a favourite soft blanket.

In terms of food, my thoughts are already turning to more substantial, comforting meals. Rich bean and lamb casseroles, lentils, soups, and soft, slightly charred roasted vegetables.

I’m most definitely a child of autumn.