Favourite comfort reads and a new favourite recipe

Anonymous asked about favorite comfort reads, or favorite recipes.

Favourite comfort reads (a non-comprehensive list)

I’m going to specify titles ‘cos it’s interesting to think about which specific books by these authors I like best for comfort reading, but in most cases the authors’ entire oeuvres fall under the heading of “comfort reading” for me.

  • L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables. LMM is probably my #1 comfort read of all time actually. OF ALL TIME!
  • Patrick O’Brian, HMS Surprise
  • Georgette Heyer, Cotillion
  • Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
  • Noel Streatfeild, Ballet Shoes
  • Jean Webster, Dear Enemy
  • Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
  • P. G. Wodehouse, Psmith books (cheating and naming all of them because I can’t remember which instalment is my favourite)

Oddly enough I don’t feel Terry Pratchett really belongs on the list, though I rate him higher than several of these authors in certain respects. I feel like Discworld really shaped my worldview, and showed me that it was possible for books to be genre and silly and fun but also serious and clever – but for whatever reason I don’t seem to have that deep emotional attachment to the books anymore. I still like and value them, but it’s like I’ve taken from them what I need, and don’t need them anymore.

Well, I say that, but if I were to embark upon a reread doubtless the feelings would return!

Incidentally nearly all the books/authors I name above I came to at around age 10-12, which is probably why they have stuck with me. The only two exceptions are O’Brian and Heyer, whom I discovered at around 16-18.

A favourite recipe

DIY chilli “pan mee”

Ingredients

  • Udon
  • Green veg e.g. spinach
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Mince pork
  • Egg

Condiments

  • Crispy prawn chilli (essential!)
  • Fried shallots
  • Soy sauce
  • Pepper
  • Oil for frying

1) Boil udon according to packet instructions.

2) Season pork with soy sauce, pepper and whatever else you have to hand that you think would work.

Right now I happen to have some dregs of tonkatsu sauce,  half a jar of bulgogi sauce, kicap manis, light and dark soy sauce, pepper, cayenne pepper, sage and oregano, so I might put all of this in in the cheerful expectation that, as these things taste nice individually, they will probably taste nice mixed all together. You probably only strictly need some soy sauce and pepper, though.

3) Fry minced pork, making sure it doesn’t clump together by breaking it up as you stir. Put aside when done.

4) Slice mushrooms. Blanch mushrooms and spinach. (You put them in boiling water for a short time and take them out when they look cooked.) Drain and set aside.

5) Fry egg so the yolk is still gooey but the rest is cooked.

6) When udon is done, drain and assemble your bowl of chilli pan udon!

First prepare a dry bed of udon. Then put on top the minced pork, spinach, mushrooms, and fried shallots, and finally top with your egg. Before you start eating, add as much crispy prawn chilli as you want, and mix all together. It is a bit like eating bibimbap (not in taste, but the mixing process). Enjoy!

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