Simplicity at the cottages, comfort-food recipes.

Weekend comfort food cooking at Cultus Lake Cottages includes mac and cheese, baked chicken and fresh picked vegetables.

This was a family weekend where everyone just wanted to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, curl up in pyjamas, read, meander through forest trails, swim and soak up the sun and most of all eat good old comfort food, nothing fancy, meticulously prepared or presented. Comfort food, for me, is bowl food but for my family, it is big-dishes family style which allows them to dig in whenever they feel like and come back time and again until leftover casserole dishes are in the dishwasher.

On the way, we stopped at one of my favourite places where I visit at least once every 2 months to get my duck supplies, The Farm Store in Yarrow.

2 Ducks for take home, as well as duck sausages. For cooking when we get to the cottages – a few steaks, chicken, salads picked from the gardens that very morning, home baked breads and cakes, milk, butter and cheeses from the valley, and whatever vegetables are in season from the farm.


Warm Squash and Fennel Salad, Garden Greens Salad, Cheesy Madness Macaroni, Baked Chicken Thighs.


Warm Squash and Fennel Salad

8 servings


Greek Olive oil

1 cup thinly sliced onions

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 cups sliced carrots

½ cup sliced celery

4 regular-size zucchini, 1-inch diced (about 8 cups in all)

1 cup thinly sliced fennel 2 large tomatoes, seeds removed and diced (about 2 cups total)

Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper


In a large pan, add onions and olive oil and sauté until caramelized, remove the onions and set aside for the finish. In the same pan, add the garlic and cook until aromas are released but not brown (15 seconds), add the carrots and celery and cook for a few minutes until tender, add the zucchini and gently cook until soft but still firm. Remove from the heat and stir in the caramelized onions, tomatoes, fennel, and salt and pepper.

Cheesy Madness Macaroni


10 cups cooked macaroni (regular or gluten free) 1/2 cup butter ¼ cup flour (regular or gluten free)

4 cups full fat milk 3 cups mixed cheeses (cream cheese, brie, parmesan, Irish cheddar, or any other cheeses)

6 eggs, beaten

2 cups grated yellow cheddar

Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper


Boil the pasta, drain and set aside. Heat the butter, stir in the flour, add the milk and whip quickly. Remove from heat, add the 3 cups grated cheeses and salt and pepper. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Pour the white cheese sauce over the macaroni, pour in the beaten eggs, give it all a good stir and upturn into a large casserole dish. Cover with the grated yellow cheddar and bake for 25 minutes until cooked through to a golden-with-brown-crunchy-bits topping.

Away from Home Baked Chicken


16 servings chicken

1 cup Chopped onions

1 head of garlic, chopped

1 Thai chilli, chopped

1 small gluten-free vegan bouillon, crumbled

salt and pepper

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup Sriracha


Put onions and garlic in a piece of cheese cloth and smash well. Season the chicken with the smashed seasonings, bouillon, ketchup and Sriracha, cover and let it marinate for 2 hours. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove the seasoned chicken (scrape off any chunky bits of marinade) from the bowl and set aside for a minute. Grease a large baking, scrape the marinade from the bowl (left over from when the chicken was removed) into the baking pan, spread out evenly. Lay the chicken pieces on top of the marinade. Bake for 40 minutes in the oven. Remove and serve with the side dishes.

Samantha McLeod

Vancouver based food and travel writer.