A little bit of love and comfort food..

goulash-1605840__340 (2)Something we do very well here in the UK is a good stew. In fact, it is up there in my top go- to comfort foods. And it’s Brexit and weather proof – we can produce all the beautiful ingredients for a winning stew right here on our island. February is definitely the time of year to bring out the stew! We all need a bit of comfort when it’s freezing outside and the skies are grey. It’s a great way to bring everyone together as well, serving the masses from a lovely casserole dish, knowing that everyone will leave the table satisfied and been given a big, warm hug! For me, there has to be some warm, crusty bread as well to accompany the offering or even some lovely homemade dumplings. Delicious! For those of you that haven’t taken the slow cooker out from the back of the cupboard yet, I urge you to do it now, plug it in and get the aromas filling the kitchen. You won’t regret it.

We should all take a bit of time out to bring comfort in to the home – isn’t it love that makes the difference between a house and home? With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, it’s hard to ignore the symbols of love that seem to pop up in every high street and supermarket this time of year. Whilst enforced romance might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I would say take the message of love and embrace it anyway! Take on the challenge of bringing a little self-love in to your life! That might mean different things to different people but for me it would mean taking some time out and getting in to the kitchen to prepare something that I know warms my soul.
I’ve already mentioned a stew but I wanted to share a recipe with you that offers something a little different. I cannot recommend this soup enough. Don’t be put off by the long list of ingredients – a lot will come under store cupboard ingredients so if you have to buy them, they will keep. I would recommend however, making sure you use fresh ginger for this recipe. Ginger is brilliantly warming and this recipe is very much about giving you that warm glow from within and it’s my little Valentine’s gift for you..
With love, Yvette x

• 250g pork mince
• 1 beaten egg
• 2 spring onions
• 1 garlic clove
• 1-2 tsp fresh chopped coriander
• 1 tsp fish sauce
• vegetable oil
• 2 slices ginger
• 1.25litres chicken stock
• 1 stick lemon grass
• 1 garlic clove smashed
• 1 star anise
• 2 spring onions sliced.
• 1-2 tsp sugar
• 1 tsp salt
• tbsp lime juice
• 2 tbsp fish sauce
• 300-400g dried noodles
• 1 chillies finely sliced for serving
• 2 tbsp soy sauce

Vietnamese soup

Vietnamese soup

Blend the garlic, spring onions, fish sauce and coriander to a paste. Tip paste into a bowl with the egg and mince. Mix well.

Form the meat mixture in to bite size balls. Bake in a hot oven at 180˚c for approx 10 mins until partially cooked through.
Add the stock, lemongrass, garlic, ginger, spring onions, sugar, salt, lime juice, fish sauce and star anise to a pan. Simmer for 30 mins to infuse the flavours. Strain the mixture and taste for seasoning.
Add the meatballs and simmer for 15 mins until cooked through.
Cook the noodles and add to your serving bowls.
Ladle the soup and meatballs over the noodles
Serve with fresh coriander, chilli and soy sauce.