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Hug in a bowl

27 Jun

Dinner tonight felt like it needed to be a little bit comforting. There’s no big stress, no dilemma, nothing awful happening, but sometimes you just need a meal thats acts like a big hug. 6 weeks down and at least 4 more to go until The Boyfriend is back, we’re over the half way mark but it still feels like a lifetime to go! Despite the difficulties of being apart for long stretches at a time, I very much feel that it has been the making of me. All the things I never would have had the balls or time to do had we not been separated: taking up cookery classes, going to the gym 4 times a week, cooking interesting foods, starting a blog, going to a wedding alone, seeing friends and family more, and finally being able to go to sleep when home alone without having the hallway light on! Small things to some, but for me to do these things is pretty impressive. Even if the situation is not what you’d prefer, you have to make the most of it and make it work for you. Going to a wedding alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone, you just make a conscious effort to talk to people more. Whats the point of being given loads of spare time or new opportunities to meet people, and wasting it by being miserable throughout?

Despite all this though, there’s nothing like a big hug when you get home from a long day at work, and as adorable as my cat is, she doesn’t have long enough arms. Hence todays choice of recipe….. Cauliflower Cheese soup. Whoever invented cauliflower cheese must surely be a genius; smothering a bland vegetable with cheese sauce so it actually becomes appealling, even to children. Genius. This recipe comes from In The Mood For Food by Jo Pratt, which is my most used and most reliable cookbook. Plus it was also (alongside Nigella’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess) the first cookery book I ever bought, and it definitely increased my interest in food and cooking. The book is split into sections based on what food you’re in the mood for, so you’ve got Healthy (the section I refer to the least, you’ll be surprised to hear), Extravagant, Comfort, Romantic, Eating Alone (not really a mood Jo, but I’ll let this one go), and Naughty (my favourite section by far). It’s a very girly book, but has a great selection of recipes to suit all cooking abilities. I can’t recommend it enough, go out and buy it now. Not convinced yet? Here are some tried and tested recipes from the book that I love: Coconut and Prawn Satay Broth, Rogan Josh, Banana and caramel sponge pudding, mint choc chip ice cream, raspberry and coconut cakes, banana pancakes, and my all time favourite, fish pie. I cooked this once for a mate of ours about 3 years ago, and even now he keeps talking about ‘that fish pie’ with a dreamy, faraway look in his eyes. Buy it, you really wont regret it. Any cookbook whose pages are stuck together with tomatoes/coconut milk/sugar etc… means its a well loved and valued guide.

Anyway, I’ve waffled on for long enough, lets get down to dinner. Whilst flicking through this book I came across this recipe and was surprised that I hadnt seen it there before, and decided to give it a go. Jo Pratt hasn’t let me down yet, why should she now? It’s fairly simple to make, and if you had the time or inclination you could also make some Parmesan croutons too like I did to add more texture and flavour. The soup itself is really good and tastes exactly like cauliflower cheese. It’s thick , smooth and filling and goes really well with the crunchy croutons. Seeing as its dinner, you could excuse yourself for having some thick slices of fresh bread to dunk into the soup too, croutons or no croutons. As for comfort, it’s as close to a hug as food can get, although while eating it I was also watching a programme about prisoners serving life sentences, so the comfort was pretty short lived! Another successful recipe from In The Mood For Food, it’s never let me down.

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