With most countries in Europe still under lockdown or restrictions, none of us are likely to be eating out much in the near future. We might be stuck at home, but we all have comfort foods we turn to when we’re feeling down or lonely.
To celebrate the ‘comfort food’, we’re asking food bloggers, writers, and aficionados from across the continent to share their go-to recipes to inspire us all.
All the dishes featured are popular in a specific country, with ingredients which are pretty easy to find there too. So wherever you are in Europe, you can treat yourself to a wholesome meal without having to compromise on local or seasonal ingredients.
Best of all, many of these recipes can be made with canned food or leftovers – helping minimise food waste and reduce your carbon footprint.
Plus – we’re still looking! Every day for the next few weeks, we’ll be adding a new dish to this list. If you want to suggest one of your own recipes, just drop us a line on Instagram and we may well feature your food!
Basque Country, Spain
Marti Buckley is a Basque-based author and food writer who has a chorizo dish ideal for lockdown cooking.
“I love this dish because it warms you up from the inside,” explains Marti, “nothing says comfort like this steaming, soft and savoury sausage, served with crusty bread and Basque cider!
“Txorizoa sagardotan, or cider-based chorizo, is inspired by the most common of pantry staples. Basque cider is less sweet and more sour than its Anglo-Saxon and French counterparts, so it simmers cured chorizo to tender perfection.”
The dish originates from rural cider houses in the region, where people would gather in farmhouses to select cider for purchase – and the sausage served as a buffer to the alcohol.
Marti says using Spanish chorizo works best for the dish, as you want a well-cured piece of meat to make the perfect recipe.
Tahini and chocolate cake
For many of us, fasting may be the last thing on our minds in quarantine – but in Greek Orthodox culture, fasting is an important part of many people’s lives. This is why many Greek desserts are actually pretty healthy, so you can break fast with something a little more nutritious than a heavy buttercream cupcake…
“In Greece we often make cakes with nourishing ingredients because it is suitable to eat after fasting,” explains Evi Skoura. This is where she found inspiration for her healthy vegan tahini and chocolate cake.
A simple recipe, with no refined sugar or unhealthy ingredients, this cake is perfect for finding some balance and some sweetness during lockdown.
There are new recipes released every day – so keep checking back for more
Plus we want to see your dishes! Get in touch with us via Instagram with your comfort food suggestions, and we may feature you on this page.
With shopping becoming difficult under lockdown, you may have found yourself well-stocked with canned goods. If you’re looking for something a little more innovative to do with your seemingly endless supply of pulses, Irish food blogger Shipla Kiran has a simple kidney bean curry recipe (also known as rajma masala) which is the ultimate comfort food.
“This recipe is ready in no time with no compromise in flavours and taste,” explains Shipla. The rajma masala draws on her Indian heritage and has the health benefits of kidney beans, but is also “as delicious as you would get in a nice Indian restaurant, and a nice change from typical chicken curries!”
Lockdown means the usual food rules don’t apply anymore – so we’re kicking things off with a boozy desert. From Estonia, cookbook author and food editor Ragne Vark has this fabulous recipe for rum balls.
When it comes to comfort food, Ragne is a fan of sweet dishes, so her childhood-favourite dessert was an instant must on her list of comforting treats. To make this traditionally alcoholic dish kid-friendly, she suggests swapping the cognac for rum essence – but at this stage of lockdown, we’ll forgive you for making these adult-only.
“Rum balls are a very popular sweet bite in Estonia,” says Vark. “When I was a little child, I often bought rum cakes from the local cafeteria to make these. This recipe is so easy and you can also use a leftover cake to make it, or some other sweet pastries.”
Banana bread has taken the world by storm throughout lockdown, with people sharing their rectangular bakes all over social media.
Romanian food blogger Nicoleta Catargiu captivated her audience with a very special banana bread recipe. “I have lots of recipes,” she explains, “but only one of them stands out: Banana Bread.
“Every day I receive pictures from people who are making this sweet loaf. During lockdown I think it has become some kind of comfort food, or even a way of releasing stress.” Nicoleta adds, “in my opinion, cooking and baking is a good way to forget about problems.”
So if you fancy joining the hype with a more original take on the fruity cake – Nicoleta’s recipe is the one for you.
Hailing from the Netherlands, Stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish which is often eaten in the summer.
Food blogger Beau Schenk has a more modern twist on the recipe, swapping out the potatoes and adding a few more original flavours.
“It’s a very very traditional Dutch food, but I make a more modern version with sweet potatoes,” says Beau, “along with rocket salad, tomatoes, goat cheese, pine nuts, and smoked paprika powder.
“It is super easy, with a lot of different tastes! This is one of my go-to dinners with friends, as it’s always a hit.”
Greek Cypriot food blogger Eleni enjoys sharing simple recipes inspired by her heritage.
For comfort food, her first choice is a traybake for its simplicity combined with its delicious use of flavour.
“This post was shared and liked by a lot of people because of its flavours, but also its convenience,” says Eleni. “Because it’s a traybake, fewer pots need washing, it’s easy to do and flavoursome!”
Looking for more inspiration?
There’s plenty more where these came from! Every day we’re adding a new dish from across Europe, to give you some more kitchen ideas.
Check back in with us tomorrow to see our next instalment!
We want to see your comforting eats
What meal have you turned to during lockdown? A sweet treat from Spain? Or a sumptuous side from Serbia?
Get in touch with us via Instagram to send us your favourite recipes for traditional European dishes which have helped you over the last several weeks.