Covid comfort cooking 1, Catharine

Cooking has always been a source of relaxation as well as a necessity for me. Luckily, I went into lockdown with full cupboards because a few days later I was feeling sick and self-isolating with my partner. My brain disintegrated, and the only thing I could do apart from sleep was go through the old family recipes that were firmly in my head.  

First stop of the day was comforting soup. Thanks to a regular vegetable box from local nursery, Growing with Grace (https://shop.growingwithgrace.org.uk/) I had plenty to work with. 

Curried Vegetable Soup

  • Ingredients: 1 medium onion, 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 1 parsnip, 1 carrot, 1 medium potato, 450ml vegetable stock , ½ teaspoon mild curry powder, salt and pepper
  • Method: Peel and dice all the vegetables. Heat oil in the pan and gently fry the diced vegetables for 7 or 8 minutes until softened. Add the curry powder and stir for a minute. Add the vegetable stock and simmer the soup gently for 25 -30 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Taste and add seasoning as required. If you have a hand blender, use it to make a smooth soup. You may need to add a little more water. Otherwise, just mash the vegetables up with a fork or potato masher.  

Being keen walkers, we always like to have cake supplies in the tin ready for action. Of course, cake also compares well with paracetamol and tea in relieving all sorts of infection – so I decided to make another old family favourite:

Banana Bread

  • Ingredients: 75g soft, unsalted butter, 125g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 200g self-raising flour, 2 to 3 ripe bananas (about 250g), 50g chopped walnuts, 50g sultanas, 50g chopped, dried apricots, 50g chopped crystalized cherries 

(you can vary the fruit and nuts according to what’s in the cupboard)

  • Method: Heat oven to 160oC. Grease and line a loaf tin. Cream the butter and sugar until soft and fluffy. Stir in the eggs and then mash the bananas and stir into the egg mixture. Add the chopped nuts, sultanas and other chopped fruit. Sift the flour with a pinch of salt and stir into mixture gradually until smooth and blended. Add a tablespoon of milk if it is very stiff. Pour into the greased loaf tin and bake for 60 mins until brown. Use a sharp knife or skewer to check it is cooked inside. Keeps well in a tin and tastes good spread with butter. 

To be continued …

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