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Comfort foods- Recipes that are prepared easily

Potato Croquettes:
Warming finger food that can be made with left over mash.

Add to the mashed potatoes a lightly beaten egg, chopped parsley (or any herb you prefer), salt and pepper. Mix well.

Scoop up a small quantity and make a small ball in your hand, press a little opening in the middle and add a small amount of chopped mozzarella cheese, or any soft cheese you prefer, and anything else you might like: a small amount of chopped bangers?

Make an oval.

Dip into a lightly beaten egg, then roll onto breadcrumbs. (Those you made with the sliced bread ends?)

Deep or shallow fry until golden brown all around.

Place on a paper towel covered plate to drain excess oil.

Serve and eat while still hot.


Cottage Pie in a cast iron Skillet

The traditional Cottage or Shepherd’s pie was always a favourite of mine . Come in fishing recently with a couple of mates . Was as cold as a "mother and laws kiss " Needed something to warm us up when we got home so decided to throw together this recipe given to me by an American friend .


  • Cast iron Skillet . I used a well seasoned 28cm Croton from Aldis . Any frying pan would do I just like cast iron .

  • Saucepan to boil the potatoes in .

  • Vegetable grater . I used a box OXO good grip .

  • Potato masher

  • Measuring cups , spoons and spatula .


  • 500g of ground or minced meat . Use the leanest low fat meat you can get

  • 3-4 Medium to large sized potatoes . Peeled and quartered .

  • 2 carrots

  • 1 onion medium

  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste . I had none so used Mons sauce .

  • 2 - 3 sticks of celery .

  • I cup of peas . I used frozen . Some cooks add corn . I can’t digest it so left it out .

  • Parmesan cheese . Shredded or grated . You will need a cup of it .

  • Worcestershire sauce . I used Hoolbrooks but other brands just as good .

  • Red wine . I had none so we cracked a couple of VB’s and added about 3 tablespoons :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

  • Beef stock . I used Campbells

  • Seasoning to taste . I used home made SPG ( Salt , pepper and garlic ) To make your own SPG the recipe is 4 parts cooking salt , 2 parts garlic flakes and 1 part coarse black pepper . I give the pepper corns a wack in the mortar and pestle then add ingredients a glass jar and shake to mix .

  • A knob of butter and some milk to help in mashing the potatoes .


  • Put the quartered potatoes in the saucepan and start to cook them .

  • If using a cast iron skillet give it a good wipe with cooking oil . I used Extra Virgin Olive oil . Put it over a medium heat and add the meat . If the meat is very fatty pour the fat off as it is cooking . You want a dry mix . Pour it into a container not down the sink .Work the meat around with a spatula .

  • Grab your grater and grate the carrots very finely into the cooking meat . Then grate the celery and the onion into the mix in the skillet . Grating the vegetables finely means they cook quickly and bind the meat . Add 1 cup of peas . Frozen works .

  • Add 1/2 Cup of beef stock then 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce .

  • Add 1 tablespoon of tomato paste to mixture . I used Mon sauce

  • Use your spatula or spoon to work the Worcestershire and tomato paste ( sauce ) thoroughly threw the mixture . Add spices to your taste .

  • Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until mixture is that dry it starts to stick to side of pan .

  • Take the skillet off the heat source and put it aside .

  • The potatoes should be cooked soft by now . Drain them well and mash them adding butter or milk to get a good mash .

  • Add a cup of shredded or grated Parmesan cheese to the potatoes and keep mashing them till the cheese is well incorporated into the mix . You want a firm not too creamy mix . To test for this dip spatula into the mash . Turn it over , if mash stays on spatula the mixture is good . If it falls off add Corn flour , I used plain flour to thicken the mash .

  • Spoon the mash over the meat in the skillet smoothing it out with the back of a spoon until all meat is covered .

  • Place the skillet in the oven at about 200c temp for 5-10 minutes or until potato start to brown and crust . I threw some more cheese on the top . Some Bega extra tasty i had . Just thinly sliced it .

  • Took the skillet out of the oven when cooked . Put it on a trivet in the middle of the table , cracked another VB while it cooled , and then we scoffed the pie down .

  • This is a bare bones recipe other vegetables can no doubt be added . I used what I had on hand .

Cheers ,



Toad in the Hole

Seeing the Queen’s birthday long week end holiday is just around the corner I thought I would try a traditional Brit recipe . Thanks again to my Brit neighbour for helping me out with some of her recipes .


  • 1 cup plain flour

  • 1 cup of milk

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 tbs rosemary fresh or dried

  • 2 tbs olive oil

  • 6 sausages


  1. Preheat oven to 220C.

  2. Cook the sausages in a fry pan until brown; they don’t have to be cooked all the way through, you just want to get some colour as they will continue to cook in the oven. Once browned, set the sausages aside.

  3. Meanwhile, make the Yorkshire pudding batter in a large bowl. Combine the flour, milk, salt, eggs and rosemary. Whisk until well combined.

  4. Add the olive oil into a large baking tray and heat this in the oven for a few minutes.

  5. Remove the tray from the oven and quickly pour over the Yorkshire batter and then place the sausages on top. Place the tray back into the oven for 20 - 30 minutes, or until it’s golden brown and has risen.

  6. Cut into squares and serve immediately with gravy and a selection of your favourite vegetables.



Swagman’s breakfast

Often called the " Hobo’s Dinner " in the US it is essentially a meal made from scratch cooked in an alfoil packet . The American version uses more spicey ingredients like chilli peppers , hot sauce etc . The Australian version leaves the adding of condiments to the diner after the meal is cooked . A rather nostalgic recipe for me as it took me back to my hunting days when we sat around the camp fire telling " tall tales but true " about the trophy boar or deer that got away .

We always put our "foil " packs of food in the hot coals to cook . Somehow they just tasted better. Memories .


2 x sheets 44cm x 50cm Alfoil . Normal alfoil is only 30-33cm wide . Buy the Multix Extrawide 44cm x 10 metre roll from Woolworth’s . The Coles Supermarkets near me do not seem to stock it .

A Glad Alfoil Baking Pan . These are great . They can be used a number of times and then recycled . Most supermarkets stock them .


  • 500gm of ground or minced beef . Get as lean as possible . I purchased it from Coles

  • 4 Sausages . I used thin ones from Coles but others would work . Hot Dogs might be the go too.

  • Some mixed vegetables . I used a can of Edgell Mixed for this . Frozen will work . The Edgell was a 420g can

  • A medium to large potato .

  • A medium sized onion . Red or white .

  • Salt and Pepper

  • Some dried marjoram , oregano leaves . I used Masterfoods

  • Some dried chives . I used Masterfoods


  • Place one sheet of your Alfoil on your chopping board or bench .

  • Take the meat out of it’s tray and place it in the middle on the Alfoil sheet . Try to keep the meat in the same shape it was in when in the tray as purchased .

  • Lay the 4 sausages on the mince .

  • Open the can of mixed vegetables , drain them and add contents over the sausages and mince .

  • Cut the potato into thin slices and place over the mix in the Alfoil.

  • Do the same with the onion .

  • Add the Spices

  • Add salt and pepper to taste

  • Bring the sides of the foil up so when you add 40ml of water it will stay with the mixture . You can use red or white wine as well . Beer would work too . I used water .

  • Bring the foil up from the 50cm side . Start to cover the mix and roll any excess foil down to get a snug fit on the mix . Fold the ends in the same way to form a packet .

  • Wrap the packet in the second sheet of Alfoil .

  • Preheat oven to 175c .

  • Place the wrapped packet in the baking pan and place in the middle of the oven .

  • Cook for about 20 minutes then turn the packet over . Cook for another 15 -20 minutes .

  • Remove from oven and cut the packet open length ways and then cut side to side. Fold back the foil and serve .



Your Cottage Pie recipe, @vax2000,
would make beautiful meat pies, minus
mashed potatoes of course.
The meat and veggies are the basis of it,
method and cooking times are similar,
but you’d need to spoon the mixture into pie tins lined with short crust pastry and cover them with puff pastry.

Next time you come in cold and hungry
from fishing, Mike, give it a try😉


Will definitely follow up on the meat pies @Gaby . The days are getting warmer and longer
: time to start heading down the lake again to cast a line .


Baked Root Vegetables with Pasta and Cheese

An easy to prepare recipe that is quite tasty .


  • Baking tray to place vegetables on .

  • Baking paper to line tray .I used Multix non stick

  • Saucepan or pasta pot to prepare pasta .

  • Bowl for ingredients . I used a 21 cm Chef Innox stainless steel bowl .

  • Cheese grater


  • 2 potatoes . I used Baby Charismas from Coles as they bake well

  • Swede , turnip , parsnip and sweet potato and carrot

  • Even though it is not a root vegetable I add zucchini cut in the round .

  • Pasta . I used Vetta High protein low carb spirals .

  • Cheese . I had some Bega Vintage tasty on hand so used that .

  • Dried Chives . Hoytts or Masterfoods do the job nicely .

  • Salt and pepper.

  • Balsamic vinegar . Used Coles

  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil . Used Cobram Estates Robust


  • Start to prep the vegetables .Use the size of the Charisma Baby Potatoes as a rough guide to * the size you will need to cube the vegetables.

  • This recipe is for one person by measure so adjust the amount of each vegetable you will use.

  • When vegetables are peeled and cut to size place them in the bowl.

  • Drizzle some Balsamic vinegar over them and give them a good hit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil .

  • Add 1 tea spoon dried chives and salt and pepper to taste.

  • Line the baking tray with the baking paper .

  • Place vegetables on baking tray . Pour any oil on the bottom of the bowl over the vegetables .

  • Place tray in centre of oven . I don’t preheat but set oven at 200C for about 1/2 hour .

  • Start to boil the water for the pasta . I use 3/4 cup of pasta spirals .

  • Grate some cheese and place it on a small dish.

  • When water boils add pasta .

  • When cooked drain pasta and add to serving plate and top with cheese .

  • Remove vegetables from oven and place over pasta and cheese on plate .

  • Give the vegies , pasta and cheese a good hit of EVOO and eat .





That’s a very healthy pasta dish,@vax2000,
as the veggies are not fried, but oven cooked.
It’s interesting that you add the cheese
over the pasta before adding veggies.
I usually add grated cheese last. :slightly_smiling_face:


Intersting point Gaby @Gaby . I find the Vetta pasta does not hold heat very well after coming out of the pasta pot even if I run hot water over the colander it is in .

I could put it in the micro wave for 30 secs but don’t really like micro waving anything .

The vegetables maintain their heat very well so that is why I add them last . They help melt the cheese .

I think I will add the cheese last now as you suggested . It makes more sense as the vegetables maintain their heat better than the pasta . Gaby please fell free , or anybody really , to add any suggestions that would improve the recipes.


I like browning the cheese on some dishes but others I prefer it to be like a creamy sauce amongst the ingredients. Our Cauli Cheese dish is one were I prefer a more cheese sauce than a browned cheese result, but everyone is different in their tastes. I liked the idea of a melted cheese in your dish rather than a browned one. I might even strongly consider some crunchy bacon pieces mixed with the cheese as well :smile:


I’m so sorry, Mike, I certainly did not mean to criticise or add to the recipe!
It’s a beautiful pasta recipe as it is, and I was going to try it that way next time, because it makes sense to have the cheese melting on top of the pasta. :yum:


@Gaby No problems Gaby . No need to be sorry. All good . I did not take your post as a criticism . Please feel free to chime in . I’m not a trained chef so all input is greatly appreciated .

Often Gaby there is a better way of doing something right in front of you and you fail to see it . That is why forums are great . They help you build up your knowledge base and your post helped me … Thanks for the input .Always appreciated .


Thank you @vax2000, you’re very kind. I’m not a very good cook at all, and I’m not
doing a lot of cooking at the moment because I hate cooking for one: just had baked beans on toast for lunch!

I admire your enthusiasm for cooking,
and it makes me want to contribute a little
bit :wink:

I’ve picked up a lot of my cooking knowledge from my late father, who was a
chef pastry cook and knew so much about baking and cooking. Only wish I had paid more attention.


Been thinking on how to keep pasta hot
before serving:
Cook pasta ‘Al dente’ and drain well. Place in a frying pan, drizzle with a little oil and toss while on a really high flame to make sure it’s all nice and hot before you’re ready to plate.

Hope it helps🙂


Adding some oil to the water the pasta is cooked in can achieve a similar outcome. As the water roils the pasta gets a small coating of the oil helping to keep it separated. Pasta doesn’t take long to cook & drain, have the water boiling and ready for the pasta so it can be fresh out of the pot just before serving.


The TV guide lists the final episode of Gordon Ramsay’s “Seasonal Specials” series as “Winter Comfort Foods” on SBS tonight from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

The only cooking show where you can learn to both cook and swear properly.



I have a few things which dont require a lot of prep and which don’t take very long to cook.

My favourite is Tuna Treat #22. (My designation)… Its just a matter of having a tin of tuna, no matter if it comes in brine, oil, or springwater, a diced onion, some frozen peas, shredded cheese and 3-4 mashed potatoes. You mix the tuna, onion and peas in with the mash, put in a casserole dish (small or large, depends on how many you’re feeding, quanitites vary according to need) and top with a mountain of shredded cheese. I sometimes add a few slices of tomato to the top, as well, goes nicely as the cheese melts. I’ve never cooked it in the oven, so I cant think what temp would be needed, but I do cook in the microwave oven and its about 5 minutes on high (my MW is 800w), but bing it a bit more as needed.

I used to use large tins of tuna but gradually reduced quantities because I liked it so much I ate way too much. If I was to make it now, it would probably be with one small tin of tuna, one potato, 1/4 onion and peas or beans. Plus cheese.


Today I made a quick and easy chicken dish with chicken tenderloins.

10 pieces of tenderloins.
2 small cloves of garlic.
A sprig of rosemary.
Half a cup of white wine.
Salt and pepper to taste.

In a non-stick frying pan heat a few tablespoons of your favourite oil, and
add the chicken pieces.
Fry until golden brown all over, making sure the meat is ‘Seared’ so that it’s crisp on the outside but succulent inside.

While still on a high flame add wine, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper.
When the alcohol evaporates, turn the heat down to low and cover the pan with a lid.
Simmer for 10 m. each side.

On a warm sunny day serve for lunch
with a crisp salad.

As Mike says: Enjoy.


Fried Potato with Capsicum

A recipe I found while browsing around the internet . I used a 30cm cast iron skillet but a pan of similar dimensions would suffice .

Prep Time 10 minutes

Cook Time 25 minutes

Total Time 35 minutes

Servings 6 servings


  • 6 bacon rashes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 potatoes thinly sliced into rounds
  • 1 Red capsicum chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 2 minced garlic cloves


  1. Cut the bacon into about 1-inch pieces and add to a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. As the bacon begins to cook, add the cooking oil. Stir in the potatoes, capsicum and onion.

  2. Cover and let cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  3. Stir in the garlic and season to taste. Replace the cover and continue cooking 10 more minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

You can add a little water whilst cooking and place a lid / cover over the skillet to get some steaming action going which will cook the potatoes quicker .




Mike, I wonder how you liked the capsicum
cooked for such a long time (25m.)?