Kitchen Tips

5 cosy dishes our team makes when we are craving comfort food

In this segment of 'What We Ate', the Food to Love team shares the dishes they turn to when comfort food is the order of the day - from a spicy pumpkin and tofu curry to a whole lot of warm, soothing soup.

By Harriet Keown
In our series 'What We Ate', the Food to Love team shares their favourite food memories, go-to recipes and cooking hacks for you to try at home. If you've got a similar story, recipe or tip to share, send us a message on Instagram - we would love to hear from you!
For me, jamabalya is the the ultimate soul food. Originating from Louisiana, this rice dish is like the Creole version of paella. I tried making this recipe with spicy chorizo and chicken for the first time a couple of years ago and it instantly became my go-to dish. Its rich and aromatic flavours are like a big hug after a busy day.
The best part about this comforting dish is that you can make it one pan and it's ready in 30 minutes. All you do is sauté your meat and vegetables, add canned tomatoes, stock and rice and then cook!
To recreate this dish at home, try our recipe for chicken and chorizo jambalaya.
I grew up in chilly Central Otago, so to keep us warm on frosty winter weekends my mum would always cook up a big pot of pumpkin soup for lunch. There's something about a bowl of soup that just soothes you from the inside out – I don't know if it's because of the warmth and spices or because it takes me back to sitting by the fire with my sisters after we've been out in the snow. Lately I've gotten into a bad habit of buying packet soup from the supermarket to create the nostalgia, but now that I'm going to be spending a lot more time at home it feels like the perfect time to buy a pumpkin and make a delicious pot of comfort for myself and my flatmates. Served with a swirl of cream, grated Parmesan and crusty (ideally homemade) bread, of course.
If you want to recreate this meal at home, try one of these 10 deliciously warming pumpkin soup recipes.
When I'm in the need for a bit of comfort food, my go-to is always potato and leek soup with freshly baked bread (the fermented oat loaf from Daily Bread is my fave). I was only introduced to this flavour recently and WOW what a combo! Thankfully my palette has developed over the years as I'm pretty sure I would've turned my nose up at it back in the day. I just love the creaminess and texture it has. Like all soups, it's super easy to make and hardly costs a thing. You really can't go wrong with a hot cup of soul-soothing soup whilst cosied up on the couch!
If you want to recreate this meal at home, try our delicious potato and leek soup recipe.
As an amateur chef, I always tend to find the easiest, fastest recipe and stick to it as a staple. That's what my tofu pumpkin curry has become, and even better when the dish appears more complicated than it actually is! This curry is my ultimate comfort food, especially as nights begin to get cooler and I can cosy up on the sofa with a beverage or two. With fewer than 10 ingredients, I almost never have to make an extra trip to the shops. Adding a few extra spices each time is also great for my palette, encouraging myself to increase my spice tolerance. Whether you're entertaining or just serving it up at home, this simple dish is definitely a crowd-pleaser!
To recreate this dish, try our recipe for red tofu curry.
I have two special dishes that come to mind: an adapted (I want to say improved but thou shalt not speak such things of Chrissy) version of Chrissy Teigen's fish tacos and Japanese-style crumbed chicken donburi. They're both something my boyfriend and I make together and have become our go-to, feel-good meals that we know off by heart. We each have our roles to play in each dish – for the donburi, my boyfriend does the chicken and I do, well, pretty much everything else. For the fish tacos it is a pretty even split. We work quite well in the kitchen together and it's a time where we can actively relax together. When both of us were new to cooking these dishes were among our first creations. These two meals sum up comfort food for me – I am happy thinking about them and even happier eating them! My boyfriend does the dishes afterwards too, so that leaves me feeling pretty satisfied.
To recreate these meals at home, try this recipe for battered fish tacos or our chicken katsu bowls.