Recipes: When comfort food is top of the menu
As the weather starts to turn, comfort food is top of the menu says Katie Moore of Allotment, the catering company she runs from her Cambridgeshire home and garden
Now that a coat is firmly re-established as part of my daily uniform, I’m in full hibernation mode. Comforting food is top of the agenda and anyone that knows me will attest that few things make me happier than a really great sandwich. It goes without saying that a great sandwich needs two key things: great bread, and a generous amount of delicious filling. This first recipe is a twist on a waldorf salad, which works wonderfully as a sandwich filler and is a great way to use up bits and bobs from the fridge. I include chicken in mine, but you could replace that with roast celeriac for a veggie alternative.
Waldorf Sandwiches (Makes 4)
1 loaf of fresh sourdough/bread of your choice
As much leftover roast chicken as you can rustle together
2 sticks of celery
1 crisp green apple e.g granny smith
1 handful of green grapes
3tbsp walnuts, toasted
1 lemon, zest + juice
4tbsp crème fraiche
2tbsp dill, chopped
Salt + Pepper
1 small bag of watercress
Firstly, shred the meat from your roast chicken and put it into a mixing bowl - you can supplement this with roast celeriac or crispy bacon if it’s looking a little sparse. Finely dice your celery, apple and grapes and add these to the bowl with the chicken. Roughly chop the walnuts into similar sized pieces and add these as well.
In a separate bowl, mix together the lemon, mayonnaise, crème fraiche and dill, and season generously with salt and pepper. Spoon this into the bowl with your other ingredients and mix everything together until it is evenly coated in the creamy dressing. Have a taste and add more seasoning or lemon if necessary.
Slice your bread into 8 even slices and arrange in pairs on your work surface. Divide the filling mixture evenly between 4 of the slices and spread it right to the edges of the bread. Add a few sprigs of watercress and nestle the remaining slices of bread on top. Slice each sandwich in half and enjoy snuggled up in front of a good film.
Continuing with the theme of nutty apple dishes, this loaf cake is the perfect afternoon treat on a crisp autumn day. I love apple cake, but only recently discovered the added flavor you get from caramelizing your apples before incorporating them into the batter. It may take a little bit longer to prepare, but the results are certainly worth it.
Apple & Hazelnut Cake (Serves 8)
3 tart apples
3tsp unsalted butter
1/2tsp maldon salt
225g brown sugar
250g wholemeal flour
2tsp baking powder
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2tsp fine sea salt
300g olive oil
50g whole milk + juice ½ lemon
Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a loaf tin approximately 24cm x 12cm.
Pulse the walnuts in a food processor until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs and then set aside. Cut each apple into quarters and remove the core, then slice each quarter into 3-4 wedges.
Heat a frying pan over a medium-hot setting and toast the walnuts for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly, until they are nice and golden. Tip them into a mixing bowl and leave to cool.
In the same pan melt the butter, then add the apple wedges and drizzle over the honey and maldon salt. Cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring regularly, until they are evenly glazed and a light caramel colour. Tip them into a bowl to cool, juices as well.
In a stand mixer, whisk together the eggs and sugar for 8-10 minutes until they have tripled in volume. Meanwhile, add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt to the bowl with the walnuts and mix together. Combine the milk and lemon juice in a measuring jug, then add the olive oil.
Once the eggs are thick and pale, slowly pour the milk mixture in and continue whisking until it is just incorporated. Fold through the dry ingredients then pour half the mixture into the prepared tin. Spoon some of the apples over, then pour over the remaining batter. Top with the rest of the apples and their caramelly juices and put in the oven to bake for 60-70 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Have a glance at it half way through baking and if it is getting a little dark on top, cover with a piece of foil.
Once baked, leave to cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes then turn it out of the tin and leave to cool completely before slicing and serving.
For more information – including where to find Katie’s fabulous food – follow @allotmentcafe and see allotmentcafe.com.
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More by this authorAlice Ryan