This week, I’m combining comfort food and healthier recipes. It’s the time of year for cuddling up with a hot plate of delicious potatoes or pasta, whilst still making sure to get your 5-a-day.

Saturday:

Breakfast: Grits – if you’re interested in trying a new breakfast food, why not try grits? They’re cooked a bit like porridge oats, but they can be paired with butter, salt and pepper, grated cheese, or other savoury toppings. They can be a bit of an acquired taste, but definitely worth a try.

Lunch: Leek and apple gratin – leeks, apple, soft and hard cheeses and garlic – this must be comfort food incarnate. This dish can easily be made vegetarian, or it can be paired with pork sausages or gammon.

Leek and apple gratin

Dinner: Lemony chicken kebabs – these lemon and tahini chicken kebabs are very quick and easy to cook on a ribbed griddle, and they’re perfect if you have some guests over. They go particularly well with a savoy cabbage and raspberry vinegar coleslaw; or indeed just a plain green salad.

Cocktail: Weird Beard Brew Co is a great British craft brewery that makes pale ales and lagers that would pair perfectly with the chicken kebabs.

Sunday:

Breakfast: Kefir with raspberries and pistachios – fermented foods are quite the trend at the moment, so why not include them in your breakfast? I’ve paired kefir with raspberries and pistachios, and if you have enough of them you can eat this for breakfast during the rest of the week.

Lunch: Creamed haddock on toast – it’s recommended to eat haddock during the winter months, so take advantage of the season by making this creamed haddock lunch.

Dinner: Salad of avocado, black beans and chicken – you’ll probably have some leftover chicken from yesterday’s chicken kebabs, so you can add it to this deliciously simple salad.

Monday:

Dinner: The ultimate comfort food – for some, shepherds’ pie is the ultimate comfort food…but this is a wonderful contradiction in terms – exotic, interesting…and a comforting, easy to eat dish at the same time. Make sure that you have a bit of time though, as this dish needs to be cooked slowly.

Tuesday:

Dinner: Italian-style potatoes with greens – this is a great way of using up leftover boiled potatoes – or you can boil some up specifically for this dish. The original concept for this recipe lies in a dish of potatoes and mixed greens (called yahnera) which were to be found the last time I was in Crete.

Italian-style potatoes

Wednesday:

Dinner: Gnocchi pie of ham hock and peas – a dish of comfort food, best served with a green salad, this makes a splendid mid-week supper, or a hearty winter lunch.

Thursday:

Dinner: Brussels sprouts and mandarin winter salad – this is a fresh-tasting salad for winter which is a bit out of the ordinary. It has a strong taste and would go well with a hearty tartiflette, or with duck breasts with a chocolate sauce, or with chicken livers and mushrooms.

Friday:

Dinner: Pretty paneer with spinach, peas and rice – a pretty vegetarian recipe that is perfect as a quick Friday night dinner. Because you’ll be using ready-cooked rice and grains mix, the whole thing takes very little time at all – just allow about ten minutes to form the golden crust on the paneer.

Pretty paneer

Cocktail: Apple County Cider Co – this is a family company that makes ‘real cider’ made from purely from 100% freshly pressed juice that will be perfect when paired with the paneer.

 

Next week it is Valentine’s day, and I’ll be putting together the perfect menu to impress your partner.