Olivia Potts on the artwork of consolation meals

The food items author and chef Olivia Potts is aware a factor or two about the redemptive power of food. Adhering to the tragic dying of her mother, she remaining her task as a prison barrister and enrolled at Le Cordon Bleu, producing about her lifestyle-shifting encounters in her bestselling and critically acclaimed 2019 memoir A Fifty percent Baked Concept.

a plate of food sitting on top of a wooden table: The baking aromas and nourishing recipes to get us through winter lockdown

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The baking aromas and nourishing recipes to get us through wintertime lockdown

Here, she tells City & Region why comfort and ease food stuff has the power to evoke our happiest memories. In addition, she shares her favourite winter recipe, which is certain to cheer us up on a cold lockdown eve…

a person standing in front of a table: chef olivia potts

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chef olivia potts

What is convenience meals?

“For me, it is a thing that soothes, whether that it through the cooking approach, or the taking in of it, or just the private associations a dish carries with it.”

How can cooking bring solace through lockdown?

“I discover cooking presents me objective and anything to glimpse ahead to: it frames my day, can make me set my telephone down and concentration on what is in front of me. I especially come across solace in cooking things that interact you bodily – it can truly feel meditative standing around a pan of risotto, kneading a loaf of bread or preparing oranges for marmalade.”

sony dsc

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sony dsc

Comfort and ease foods is often assumed to be unhealthy – what is your watch on that?

“I’m not genuinely fascinated in ascribing overall health values to personal food items, but I imagine dismissing ease and comfort foodstuff as a full signifies a essential misunderstanding of food items, consolation and nourishment, and the intersection of bodily and mental overall health.”

What have you been making this winter?

“We’re a two-individual domestic, so we put in early January just eating progressively desperate Christmas leftovers. Together with them, we’ve eaten a great deal of curries, stews and steamed puddings: warming food stuff, cooked slowly and eaten speedily.”

Are there any foods that conjure satisfied recollections for you?

“Two of my largest are dishes that my mother cooked for us: shepherd’s pie and minestrone soup. They’re both inherently comforting dishes, but it was the way she cooked them as an expression of appreciate that turned them into real comfort and ease food stuff. I liked them when she was alive, but it was only when she died that I actually realised their relevance now I cook dinner them to consolation individuals I love.”

What is the greatest baking scent in the world?

“If I experienced to decide just one particular, it would be the odor of butter browning in a pan, but lemon zest getting rubbed into sugar will come a extremely close second.”

What is your favorite convenience foodstuff to eat?

“I know I’m not by yourself in finding a large bowl of pasta endlessly comforting, but when all else fails, it has to be very hot toast with loads of butter and a slick of marmite.

“When it arrives to sweet stuff, I enjoy a appropriate rice pudding or an superb chocolate chip cookie – and I have a really comfortable location for Good quality Road fudges.”

What is your favorite convenience foodstuff to make?

“My complete favorite is this sausage ragu: it necessitates a little bit of repetitive motion – slicing and stirring – which is fantastic for switching off, but it mainly appears to be just after by itself. It can be cooked very bit by bit, but if you are short of time, can be pulled jointly significantly additional quickly, and like the very best ragus and stews, it by no means comes out just the similar every single time.”

Olivia’s sausage ragu

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Olivia’s sausage ragu


Serves 4

1 big onion

1 tablespoon of oil

15g butter

1/2 teaspoon of thyme

1/2 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar

1/2 tablespoon of light-weight brown sugar

4 sausages

100 ml of red wine

1 tin of plum tomatoes

2 tablespoons of tomato puree

1/2 teaspoon of rosemary

3 tablespoons of crème fraîche or simple yoghurt

250g of the fattest rigatoni you can come across


Slice a huge onion into the thinnest slivers you can handle. Put in a wide pan on the cheapest heat doable with butter and oil and thyme and sugar and balsamic vinegar. Depart to prepare dinner carefully for 40 minutes, if you can. If you’re pushed for time, the onion will be smooth and tasty immediately after 20 minutes. Often stir the onion if you happen to be passing as a result of the kitchen.

Set the cooked onion to just one side on a plate and change the heat up to medium high on the pan. Cut a slice up every single sausage and eliminate the meat from the pores and skin. Prepare dinner the sausage meat until a little bit browned, breaking the meat up with your spoon or spatula as you go.

Deglaze the pan with a splash of port or red wine. Return the onions to the pan and introduce a tin of plum tomatoes, squashing each individual tomato with your arms (dress in an apron! This will spray even the most careful of cooks), and include the tomato purée and the rosemary. Convey to the boil then reduce the warmth permit to stew for 30 minutes, if you have them, but 10 will do in a pinch.

Prepare dinner your pasta in accordance to the packet guidance. The moment the pasta is cooked, drain it roughly retaining a minor of the pasta water, and return to the pan. Stir 3 tablespoons of crème fraîche as a result of the sauce, and pour the sauce around the pasta, tossing carefully to coat it completely. Serve instantly, spooning out any sauce that clings to the bottom of the pan.