The Comfort Bake

Food that warms the heart, by Sally Wise

Baking is the perfect antidote to busy times, providing a double dose of solace: there’s the almost contemplative act of baking itself and the great big buttery prize at the end, which tastes even better when shared with friends or family.

With no need for fancy equipment or specialist skills, this foolproof recipe collection from Sally Wise, an icon of good old-fashioned country cooking, serves up recipes that are big on comfort and low on fuss. Savoury classics, including pies, quiches, breads and focaccia sit alongside a glorious line-up of sweet treats like this apricot and blueberry tray bake or the supremely simple whisky and orange chocolate self-saucing pudding.

From bite-sized beauties to large servings of savouries, these are the go-to recipes
to slow down, take a deep breath – and bake something.

The Comfort Bake, Food that warms the heart, by Sally Wise; Murdoch Books, paperback, 242 pp, RRP $39.99

Creamy potato bake

Serves 6–8

This dish is full of oozy, creamy luxury with the flavours of onion, chives, bacon and mustard. It’s a special occasion dish that encapsulates the spirit of comfort baking.


  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • 600 ml (21 fl oz) pouring cream
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 950 g (2 lb 2 oz) peeled potatoes (see note)
  • 400 g (14 oz) onions or
  • 4–6 spring onions (scallions), finely diced
  • 3 teaspoons chopped rosemary or oregano
  • 200 g (7 oz) rindless bacon, diced
  • 100 g (3½ oz) tasty cheese, grated


  • Preheat the oven to 170°C (325°F). Grease a 25 x 35 cm (10 x 14 inch) baking dish, 8 cm (3¼ inches) deep.
  • In a bowl or jug, whisk the garlic, salt, cream, mustard, mayonnaise and cornflour until smooth.
  • Cut the potatoes into 6 mm (¼ inch) slices.
  • Drizzle 50 ml (1½ fl oz) of the cream mixture into the base of the dish. Layer one-third of the potato over this, then top with half the onion, sprinkle with half the herbs and then one-quarter of the bacon. Pour 180 ml (6 fl oz) of the cream mixture on top.
  • Repeat the layers. Top with the last of the potato and drizzle on the remaining cream mixture. Sprinkle on the last of the bacon and top with the cheese.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until the potato is cooked.
  • Leave to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Find more recipes in our Winter issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here.