For this post I’d like to talk about food dislikes vs the perfect comfort food. I think one of things I love most about food is how personal it its. Every person has a different version of food heaven and hell. First off dislikes… what foods out there really turn your stomach?? For me there’s not much I really can’t stand. But these are my main three serious food dislikes.
1. Celery – Cannot stand the stuff!! Even as a base for a sauce or dish I simply cannot use it as for me, it pollutes the whole dish to the point it all just tastes like celery. Yuk!
2. Sweet spices in savoury dishes – This is a fairly new one I’ve only recently picked up on. Spices like ground cinnamon and cloves combined with meat completely turn my stomach. Last week I made a gorgeous slow cooked chilli – one of the ingredients was a pinch of cloves. Thinking along the lines of ‘how much difference can one little pinch of cloves make’ I left it in and what would of been a beautiful warming chilli was for me totally marred by the underlying flavour of clove. Does anyone else have this problem or is it just me being odd??
3.Seafood – This is one dislike I really wish I didn’t have! I’ve tried and tried to make myself enjoy fish and seafood but I’ve pretty much given up! I’ve tried cooking it for myself and every time someone I know orders seafood in a restaurant I’ll try a bit to try and find something I like, but so far to no avail! I would love to enjoy a massive bowl of mussels or a piece of salmon but I think this is one dislike I’m going to have to live with and just get over it. Booo!
So those are mine. Now I’d love to know yours – tell me, I’d genuinely love to know!
Next up, comfort food! Has anyone else been watching The Taste? I’ve personally been loving seeing Nigella get her claws out a bit. This week they were looking at comfort food and really got me thinking what I would cook and what my perfect comfort food would be!
I think for me it would definitely be something down the Italian route – a creamy risotto or a big bowl full of pasta. I imagine J would have very different ideas! He would be on the meat, veg and gravy side of the fence no question! My other option for perfect comfort would be soup… and that’s where this little beauty of a soup comes in! For me this is a perfect soup – it has the stodge of the orzo, combined with little bites of pork and parmesan meatballs and plenty of fresh veg. I’d been craving this for weeks before I finally got round to making a giant batch yesterday, and I enjoyed every mouthful just as I always do 🙂 guaranteed winter comfort food perfection! Chunky, hearty and filling.
It’s a recipe I’ve gradually adapted from one from my favourite blog Smitten Kitchen – The original recipe used turkey mince. For mine I use pork but both work just as well so feel free to go with either! I like to use cavolo nero as it’s a veg I’ve come to really love, it has such a delicious flavour. You could definitely substitute another type of cabbage, kale or any other fresh green as long as you have that hit of freshness in there. Orzo is a rice shaped pasta which seems to be coming more readily available at the moment – it has a lovely texture which can’t really be replicated with another grain. In a pinch you could get away with rice or a small pasta but I personally think it’s worth trying to locate the orzo. As with all soups don’t be too finicky on measurement! Just sling it in as it were!
Meatball, Orzo and Cavolo Nero Soup:
serves 4 for a main course
275g Pork Mince
1/4 Cup Dried Panko Breadcrumbs
2 Tbsp Water
1/4 Cup Finely Grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp Parsley – Chopped
1 Small Garlic Clove – Minced
3/4 tsp Salt
1.8 Litres Chicken Stock
3 Carrots – Diced
3/4 Cup Orzo Pasta
Half Large Bag Cavolo Nero – Tough stalks stripped out and discarded – leaves chopped
Extra Parmesan for Topping
In a small bowl whisk together the egg, water and breadcrumbs and allow to stand for five minutes. To a large bowl add the pork mince, parsley, parmesan, breadcrumb mix, salt and a good grind of black pepper. Bring together with your hand to combine the ingredients evenly. Roll into small bite sized balls – don’t compact them too much when rolling just enough to bring them together. Set on a plate, cover and chill until needed.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a large saucepan and add the carrots and orzo. Simmer, uncovered for 8 minutes. Add the meatballs and simmer for another 10 minutes, then stir in the cavolo nero for a further 5 minutes until the cabbage has just wilted. Check the seasoning and serve with a good grating of parmesan over the top. If you serving straight after cooking allow to stand for 10 minutes before tucking in to allow to flavours to develop!
* Just a note – if you are keeping some of the soup back for another meal, the orzo will soak up some of the liquid. Some will come out as it is reheated but you may need to add a touch of water as you reheat it to bring it back to a soupy consistency!