Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose. Smell the sizzling beef patty, the brioche bun releasing aromas as it chars, the delicious cheese oozing everywhere, and the freshly cut salad. Is there anything more comforting?
When I think of my favorite things to eat, it’s hard not to choose comfort food. It encompasses the best and most delicious parts of food and is guaranteed to bring maximum joy to my stomach and heart. Think pasta-heavy plates, creamy curries, or decadent sauce poured over a Sunday roast – the list of comfort foods never ends.
In a world of counting calories, refusing chocolate cake because it’s “too naughty,” or trying another mindless fad diet, it’s easy to think comfort food is the enemy. However, comfort food doesn’t have to be unhealthy, especially if you make it at home.
We spoke with chef Charlie Bigham, who has been creating deliciously comforting, yet healthy, meals for over 25 years.
“There really is nothing more comforting than a home cooked meal. When I think of convenience, I think of my classic Fish Pie or the hearty Shepherd’s Pie, which you can share around the table with family or friends. Convenience doesn’t have to be bad for your health: use fresh ingredients, prepare food in small batches, and put love and care into your kitchen.”
There are also other tips and tricks to keep enjoying comfort food and reduce its unhealthiness. For example, trade foods fried in oil for a deep fryer that requires little or no oil. Similarly, if you have a craving for a Friday night takeaway, try making a fake meal instead: there are pizza ovens that will create perfectly crisp and delicious products in just 60 seconds or curry recipes that will only take 20 seconds. minutes of your time.
If you find that dietary requirements and choices are getting in the way of enjoying your favorite foods, then fear not as we’ve got you covered! We’ve teamed up with Bvrger, the new vegan burger restaurant in Spitalfields Market, to bring you our weekly recipe straight from their kitchen.
So ditch the cheat day concept and start enjoying nostalgic, satisfying meals with these oh-so-comfortable cookbooks.
Better for: pure joy
If you have any interest in eating, we bet you’ve seen at least one MOD cooking video popping up in your newsfeed. Comfort MOB brings all of these videos together to create a guide to pure gourmet joy. With old-school recipes like fish and chips and toad in the hole, you’ll be instantly transported back to your childhood dinner parties (with a little more sophistication).
The recipes are affordable and achievable for all skill levels, and in minutes you can whip up dishes like Grilled Halloumi and Peach Burger, a light, summery take on a comfort food classic. Is pasta your kryptonite? Learn how to make your own pasta and sauces to go with it like Ben’s Dad’s Puttanesca.
Buy Now £13.99, Amazon
happy lion fast food
Better for: fake food
Finally, a cookbook that helps us create delicious food. Y good for you. Based on the company’s healthy fast-food ethos, this cookbook shares some of Leon’s most iconic dishes and puts a cool spin on beloved comfort food, like zucchini-walnut-mint toast with ‘cheese ‘ and a paneer and beet wrap. The ingredient list is especially helpful, as you’ll know exactly what to stock your pantry and fridge with to make these fun recipes.
With 125 fresh, modern and innovative recipes covering breads, salads, grills and side dishes, there is something for everyone and for every occasion. Most of these recipes are so quick to make that they give fast food a whole new meaning. They are ideal for dinner after work or to feed a whole family without being in the kitchen for hours. The colorful cover will also brighten up any kitchen or shelf.
Buy now £12.15, Amazon
The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Grilling
Better for: creative sunday lunch
Sunday lunch can be disappointing if you are vegan. Others eat hearty plates of food smothered in all sorts of heavenly sauces while you pick your way through a dry slab of roasted pecan. That’s all about to change thanks to The Ultimate Guide to Vegan Roasts, offering plenty of delicious, feast-worthy meals that will leave your non-vegan friends looking on with envy.
Not only are there hearty pecan toasts and Wellingtons, but there are also inventive recipes that use fresh vegetables and grains to create sensational dishes.
The Smoky Jackfruit Seitan Brisket is a summer BBQ conversation starter, and the creamy Cauliflower Bake with Caramelized Onions is the perfect side dish for any roast dinner. There are also a variety of surprisingly simple vegan sauces, like red wine sauce and brandy peppercorn sauce, so you don’t have to suffer the indignity of dry food ever again.
Buy now £12.59, Amazon
The modern cheese board
Better for: stylish comfort food
As I got older, I realized that I would eventually have to enter the realm of fancy dining and ditch the stale fries and cheap dips that have become a signature at all my events. Enter the Modern Cheeseboard, a cookbook that will revolutionize your dinner party and make you the hostess with the most.
There are 40 cheese board ideas perfect for every occasion, from cozy nights to the perfect summer picnic. The layout of the boards is stunning and there is plenty of room for creativity as you learn to pair your cheese to perfection. Who knew salami and gouda were such a great combination?
Our favourite? The birthday board, which along with an assortment of seasonal berries, bacon and honeycomb jam, is the centerpiece: a five-tier cheese wheel birthday cake made of brie, camembert, goat brie and brittle-savarin .
Sweet dreams really are made of cheese.
Buy now £13.59, Amazon
Chinese Cookbook to Go: From Chop Suey to Sweet ‘n’ Sour, 70+ Recipes to Recreate Your Favorites
Better for: homemade chinese takeout
Saving pennies doesn’t mean compromising on your favorite grab-and-go foods. This book presents 70 of the most beloved dishes of Chinese cuisine.
The food is very simple to prepare and is inspired by the Kwoklyn family’s Cantonese restaurant where he grew up working. Plus, most of the recipes in this book take 20 minutes or less, so it will take less time to prepare these dishes than it will to wait for a takeout delivery to arrive.
Of course, our absolute favorite dish was the easy (and relatively healthy) sweet and sour chicken which can be served over a bed of rice or with noodles. You can watch us make it at home here.
Buy Now £15.00, Amazon
Perfect Pasta at Home
Better for: pasta
In subway cars, in buses; Sometimes it seems that London is covered in advertisements for Pasta Evangelist, the pasta delivery service. Now they’ve released a new cookbook that reveals how to make these comforting recipes at home in just 10 minutes. All 80 recipes feature the brand’s namesake ingredient, which naturally makes this a must-have cookbook for pasta lovers.
We love how it’s divided by the time it takes to cook the dish (10, 20 or 30 minutes), which means you’ll find a recipe that works for quick and easy dinners or spectacular banquets. If you have a little time, try making the lasagna. Our attempt went very well.
We also tried making a four-ingredient carbonara for an easy weeknight meal that transported us right into the heart of Rome. Watch us give is go here.
Buy Now £13.99, Amazon
Better for: sugar solution
Get a sensational teatime treat from Bernadette Gee’s first cookbook featuring amazing cake recipes that will leave your guests fawning over your creations.
We found this book to be perfect for both novice bakers and master cake makers as the step-by-step guides are clear and there are a wide variety of recipes perfect for every occasion so no more pretending that chocolate cake from the supermarket is homemade.
We loved the White Chocolate Raspberry Fudge as a quick but wow-worthy dessert and if you have more time on your hands then the Signature Rich Chocolate Cake is a must – the beautiful flowers and marble decorations make it almost too pretty to eat. . Almost.
Buy Now £14.47, Amazon
Sunday style brunch
Better for: brunch plates
Written by the pioneering chefs behind London’s legendary Sunday Cafe, this cookbook features over 70 recipes that will take your brunch to a level you didn’t think possible.
This brunch bible has it all; Simple staples, festive feasts, and comforting condiments. We love the entire section that pays homage to toast and there are some impressively creative toppings, from haddock to spicy avocado.
We tried the zucchini fritters with halloumi, dukkah, and mint yogurt for an interesting take on hash browns, as well as the feta, kale, and quinoa omelette to spice up our morning eggs. Don’t forget to make any of the colorful and tasty shakes – they taste as good as they look.
Buy Now £11.95, Amazon
Dirty – dirty food for your dirty chops
Better for: treat yourself
Grab your napkins, things are about to get messy. Try any of Dirty’s 60 delicious recipes for the most coma-inducing comfort food.
Think classic mac and cheese, pizza fries, and a lasagna pie that will hit the spot, and then some. The pictures alone are enough to make you drool, but luckily, these recipes only take 30 minutes to make, so you won’t have to wait long.
Try hasselback potatoes and dirty fries for the perfect BBQ side dishes.
Buy now £11.65, Amazon