The skies are grey, we’re wearing jackets in the evenings and salads just aren’t cutting the mustard. Here are three comforting meals to make instead.
Comfort and nourishment are the only two things we want from our food right now. We’re craving meals that make us feel good physically (read: packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre) as well as soothe and relax our minds as the weather changes and we trundle out of summer and back to the real world of work.
Eat With Beder is the perfect cookbook for that. The book by mental health charity Beder, out on World Mental Health Day on 10 October, is packed with recipes that nourish the body and mind – and they’ve all been recommended by familiar faces, from Elizabeth Day to Nadiya Hussain.
The book also includes reflections and conversations on mental wellbeing from writers, celebrities, doctors and campaigners. Flick through to feel less alone on darker days and whip up a feast that makes you feel good in every way.
Total time: 1hr 30mins
1 red onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Sprinkle of chilli flakes
2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
Handful of fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp thick balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper
3 large aubergines, cut into 5mm slices
75g parmesan, grated
100g mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil leaves
- Preheat the oven to 220°c/200°c fan/Gas Mark 7.
- Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan over a medium heat and fry the onion for five to 10 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Add the garlic and a sprinkle of chilli flakes and continue to cook for a further minute. Add the chopped tomatoes followed by the oregano, fresh basil and balsamic.
- Season generously with sea salt and black pepper, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
- Meanwhile, pour some olive oil into a small dish and using a pastry brush, generously brush the aubergine slices with oil on each side.
- Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and fry the slices in batches for about four to five minutes until softened and lightly browned on both sides. Be careful to not let the pan get too hot or the aubergine will char before cooking through.
- Once cooked, transfer the aubergine to a plate lined with kitchen paper before repeating the process with the next batch.
- Spread a third of the tomato sauce over the bottom of a baking dish and sprinkle with parmesan.
- Lay half the aubergine slices on top, tightly and evenly packed, then add another sprinkle of parmesan. Repeat with the next third of tomato sauce, the remaining aubergines and more parmesan before finishing with a final layer of tomato sauce.
- Top with the remaining parmesan, sliced mozzarella and a few fresh basil leaves.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the tomato sauce is bubbling and the cheese has melted and browned.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes before topping with some fresh basil leaves and black pepper.
Turkish eggs with feta and chilli
Total time: 30 minutes
225g Greek yoghurt
60g feta, crumbled
½ clove of garlic, grated
½ lemon, juiced
Flaky sea salt
50g unsalted butter
½ tsp Turkish chilli flakes, plus extra to serve
60ml white vinegar
A few sprigs of soft herbs, chopped (such as dill or coriander)
Sourdough or flatbread
- In a bowl, combine the Greek yoghurt with half the feta and the grated garlic, lemon juice and a good pinch of flaky sea salt. Whisk well until smooth, breaking up the feta as you go.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a gentle heat. You can leave it to sizzle and brown slightly for a nuttier flavour but watch it carefully as it can quickly burn. Remove from the heat, add the chilli flakes and set aside.
- Crack the eggs into small ramekins and bring a medium-size saucepan of water up to the boil. Once boiling, add the vinegar. Using a spoon, create a whirlpool in the boiling water and gently pour the eggs into the centre of the whirlpool one after the other. Depending on the size of your pan you may need to poach the eggs two at a time.
- Reduce the heat to a simmer and set a timer for three minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen towel.
- Swirl the yoghurt mixture over two plates and pour a little chilli butter over it. Top with two poached eggs each and divide the remaining chilli butter equally over the top.
- Finish with the remaining feta, some fresh herbs and an extra sprinkle of chilli flakes, if you like. Serve immediately with some toasted sourdough or warmed flatbread to mop it all up
Corn, black bean and salsa verde tacos
Total time: 45 minutes
2 corn on the cobs
1 small red onion, peeled and chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
300g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tsp paprika
2 limes, juiced
2 x 400g tins of black beans, drained
8 small soft tacos
Handful of fresh coriander
For the salsa verde:
Large handful of fresh coriander
Large handful of fresh parsley
Large handful of fresh basil
2 cloves of garlic
2 tbsp capers
1 lime, juiced
Pinch of salt
- Start by making the salsa verde. Finely chop the coriander, parsley, basil, garlic and capers. Place into a bowl and mix through the lime juice, salt and a good drizzle of olive oil (we add about five tablespoons of oil but it depends how many herbs you are using; you want the salsa to come together and form a sauce-like consistency). Cover and place in the fridge until ready to use.
- Preheat the oven to a medium heat on the grill setting.
- Brush each corn cob with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Place the corn onto a baking tray and cook under the grill for 10-15 minutes until golden on the outside and cooked through.
- Remove from the oven when done and slice the kernels off the cobs.
- Meanwhile, place a large pan on a medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Once warm, add the chopped red onion, garlic and a pinch of salt. Mix well and cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion feels soft.
- Add the cherry tomatoes and paprika to the pan. Mix well and cook for another five minutes until the tomatoes begin to feel soft.
- At this point, add the lime juice and drained black beans. Mix again and cook for another 15-20 minutes until the black beans have softened, then turn the heat down low until ready to serve.
- While the black bean mixture is cooking, warm up the soft tacos. We like to cook them individually in a hot pan.
- Once everything is ready, top the tacos with the black bean mixture, grilled corn kernels and a sprinkle of fresh coriander, then serve with the salsa verde.
Recipes and images courtesy of Eat With Beder, £24.99 (out 10 October).
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