Comfort food

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It was a horrible day: wet, cold, and windy. I made it better, inside the house at least, by slow cooking a casserole of chicken, bacon and leeks, with herbs and whole-grain mustard. There’s something comforting about the smell of a seething casserole, and though it didn’t finish cooking until part way through the evening, so we’ll be reheating it for lunch tomorrow, that just means that we’ll have had two days worth of benefit from it.

Tonight we had the Greek butter bean stew from Rose Elliott’s Bean Book – a favourite dish, known in this house simply as “slunge”. If you don’t own this recipe book (firstly: why not?), you simply fry off a large quantity of chopped onion, and as much garlic as you fancy, in lots of olive oil, then add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and a tin (or jar, if you’re so inclined) of butter beans; stew them together for a while, and season with a big handful of chopped fresh mint. Delicious and nutritious.

This pomegranate was equally good. After sacrificing it to the photography gods I treated myself to a big spoonful of the seeds, and thoroughly enjoyed them even though the sharpness made my eyes cross slightly. By the time I’d dismembered the whole fruit I had a large ramekin of seeds, which I’ve put in the fridge for future garnishes and nibbles, and a kitchen that looked as though it had been redecorated by Jackson Pollock. Luckily I was wearing a red jumper, so I didn’t have to wash myself down as well.

The plate, by the way, is a 1930s or 1940s Susie Cooper.