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Are you Craving Comfort Food?


22nd January 2018

As we hurtle towards the end of January, the short chilly days and long dark nights seem to have been with us for months. So, with only a few weeks until we can look forward to longer days and more temperate weather, it’s likely we’re all still looking for some hearty and warming recipes to get us through.

There may be many reasons why we look for comfort food in the winter. It is customary to cook and eat hearty soups or casseroles at this time of year just to warm us up. This is because they are not only hot in temperature but high in calories and fat. As a result, it’s digested slowly raising internal body temperature with the slow release of energy.

This type of food may also be connected to the need to ‘feel happy’. Some people suffer from seasonal bouts of feeling low and demotivated known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, often finding it hard to cope with the short cold days and long dark nights. Foods like oily fish, which are also rich in Omega-3 or small quantities of dark chocolate can help to boost serotonin which is a natural mood stabiliser. Eating high fat, high carb foods have also shown to increase the levels of serotonin in the body helping to boost the feel good factor.

So, with this in mind, we’d like to spread a little happiness and share Bernard from the Gascony Cookery School’s recipe for Cassoulet. You will need one large, deep pot to cook it and to serve 6, the ingredients you need are:

  • 300g Dry white haricot beans – soaked for 12 hours
  • 4 onions (chopped)
  • 250g of Lardons
  • 6 Medium carrots (sliced)
  • 6 Cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 tsp. Peppercorns
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 8 Cloves
  • 1 Small tin tomato puree
  • 3 Large Toulouse sausages cut into 3 pieces each
  • 3 Pork belly ribs
  • Port skin to flavour – cut into strips (3) or pieces
  • 6 Pieces of confit of duck
  • Breadcrumbs to cover top when baking
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 180’c / 350’f
  • Drain beans, set aside.
  • Brown onions and lardons together, pour 200ml of water to stop the cooking process.
  • Add all other ingredients except the duck.
  • Add water to cover all ingredients and bring to the boil, turn heat down and simmer for 2 hours, check and stir occasionally.
  • Add water as necessary.
  • Remove from heat and leave to rest for a minimum of 6 hours.
  • Transfer to casserole dish and lay the confit of duck on top, sprinkle with breadcrumbs.
  • Bake for 45 minutes

We hope you enjoy cooking this tasty supper. If you did, there’s plenty more where that came from. If you’d like to discover more ways to expand your culinary skills, we’d love to see you on one of our courses. Click here to find our more and book yourself in. Alternatively, if you just want to ask a question email us and we’d be pleased to help.

David, Vikki & Bernard

David, Vikki & Bernard

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