You know that thing when you come up with an original recipe idea, and it’s utterly brilliant, and you’re so so pleased with yourself, and it’s so damn tasty, and you’re really excited about sharing your genius new idea with the world…

…and then you search the internet and realise that the old adage “there’s nothing new under the sun” really is true after all, because loads of people have come up with the same idea before you, and now you feel rather deflated?

Yeah. That.

Our home made yakiniku (indoor barbeque) was fantastic but the sliced sweet potato just didn’t work, so we had around 350 grams of thinly sliced sweet potato to use up. We also had 4 thick slices of ham leftover from the cheese, ham and chilli jam pancakes we made the day before that. The leap to creating a sweet potato and ham dauphinoise seemed ingenious!

Well, it was! The resulting dish was so darn delicious that I’m going to share it with you anyway, even if it’s not as much of an innovation as I thought at the time!

We decided to base the recipe on the easy potato dauphinoise recipe we make regularly, so we added 150 grams of regular potato to the sweet. And as we had some grated cheese left over (from those same pancakes), we sprinkled that over the top before baking, too.

SweetPotHamDauph-5160 SweetPotHamDauph-5162
Apologies for the photos – I just grabbed a couple of snaps to record it and I want to share it with you right now!

Sweet Potato & Ham Dauphinoise

Ingredients
200 ml double cream
200 ml full fat milk
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
Salt and pepper
350 grams sweet potato, peeled and sliced fairly thin, about 3mm
150-200 grams regular potato, peeled and sliced fairly thin, about 3mm
100-150 grams thick sliced ham, cut into small pieces
Optional: handful of grated cheese

Note: A mandolin makes slicing the potatoes thinly and evenly very easy, but it’s not difficult by hand.

Method

  • In a large sauce pan place the double cream, milk, garlic, salt and pepper on a gentle heat.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C.
  • Add the potato slices into the cream and milk and simmer for 15 minutes, until they have softened a little.
  • Use a slatted spoon to transfer some of the potatoes into an oven dish, so that the slices are reasonably flat. Scatter some of the ham pieces across them before adding another layer, and continue till all the potato and ham are in the oven dish. You don’t need to worry about being very neat, but it’s best to get an even height to the top layer, so everything bakes evenly.
  • Pour or spoon the remainder of the thickened cream and milk over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • Check if done by inserting a knife into the dish; the potatoes should feel soft all the way through.
  • Serve hot.

Tell me, have you had any of those moments I describe at the top of the post?

 

On a rainy day in February, when it seemed that half the country had turned into an inland sea, we unexpectedly found ourselves with over four kilos of incredibly fresh, top quality Skrei (line-caught Norwegian cod).

We’d been expecting a far smaller delivery but a miscommunication somewhere along the line resulted in “individual portions” being swapped out for “kilos”, and we were the happy if slightly bemused beneficiaries of the error. After an hour of carefully cutting three gargantuan sides of fish into portions, double wrapping them all in cling film, labelling them with their weight and squeezing all but a couple of them into an already groaningly-full freezer, I took to the web in search of cod recipes.

ChorizoBakedCod-4702
My recipe

With the wind outside slamming never-ending needles of cold rain against the thankfully solid walls and windows, I yearned for something hearty, filling and cheering – the weather howled approval of my demand for punchy flavours, plenty of protein, comforting carbs and copious colour.

A recipe for baked cod with chorizo, potatoes and saffron fit the  bill.

ChorizoBakedCod1-4603 ChorizoBakedCod1-4608
ChorizoBakedCod1-4616 ChorizoBakedCod1-4620
Original recipe

We liked this recipe a lot but agreed it needed quite a bit of tweaking. Against the strong flavours (and colour) of the chorizo, the saffron was lost; I decided it was superfluous. Our sauté pan is pretty large but the half kilo of sliced potatoes was difficult to move around the pan. The potatoes also made it difficult for the heat to reach and soften the leeks in the short time they had to cook before the liquid was added and came to a boil; I decided to cube the potatoes and add the leeks at a much earlier stage. Lastly, instead of plain oil, I used oil that I’d flavoured and coloured with the chorizo to drizzle over the fish before baking.

ChorizoBakedCod-4695
My recipe

My new recipe was everything I hoped.

Cubing the potatoes made them cook more evenly, and also provided lots of edges and corners to crisp up a little in the oven. The softer leeks integrated much better into the chorizo and potato base. And the chorizo-infused oil gave the baked fish a little extra colour on the plate.

 

Baked Chorizo, Cod & Potatoes Recipe

Serves 2-3

Ingredients
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
120 grams soft Spanish chorizo*, cubed or thinly sliced
1 leek, white and pale green parts sliced into thin half-discs
500 grams potatoes, peeled and cubed
120 ml (half cup) water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
500 grams fresh skrei or cod fillet, cut into two or three portions as required
Handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnish (optional)

Note: Spanish chorizo can be purchased either as a fresh, soft sausage that requires cooking, or a harder and drier cured version which can be eaten as is. Make sure you buy the soft cooking chorizo.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 180 °C (fan).

ChorizoBakedCod-4678

  • Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large oven-proof pan, add the chorizo and cook over a medium heat until the chorizo starts to change colour, about 2-3 minutes. The oil will take on plenty of colour from the chorizo spices.
  • Carefully retrieve a tablespoon of the cooking oil from the pan and set to one side.

ChorizoBakedCod-4679 ChorizoBakedCod-4683

  • Add the leek and continue to cook for a few minutes, until the leek softens.

ChorizoBakedCod-4684

  • Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 12-15 minutes, until the potatoes soften a little around the edges.

ChorizoBakedCod-4687

  • Add the water, salt and pepper and bring to the boil. As the pan is already hot, this should only take a few moments.

ChorizoBakedCod-4688 ChorizoBakedCod-4690

  • Place the pieces of fish over the contents of the pan and drizzle with the reserved chorizo-flavoured oil.
  • Transfer pan to the oven and bake for 15 minutes, until the cod is opaque. If your fillets are much thicker or thinner than those shown, you may need to adjust cooking time by a couple of minutes in either direction.

ChorizoBakedCod-4691

  • Either serve the pan to the table, family style, or plate individual portions. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.

ChorizoBakedCod-4703

This is a really simple dish to make. Prep (of chorizo, leeks and potatoes) doesn’t take very long and the entire cooking time is not much more than half an hour, so it’s ideal any day of the week.

 

Kavey Eats received samples of fresh skrei (line caught Norwegian cod) from the Norway Seafood Council.

Aug 282013
 

I’d never made a potato salad before this one.

Well… actually I had made warm salads that include potatoes… but never the dish we traditionally call by that name – new potatoes bound together in a mayonnaise-based dressing.

Several years ago, the Head of IT where I worked shared his potato salad tips with me, after he hosted the IT summer party in his back garden and I raved about his magnificent potato salad. He’d been a professional chef in his previous career; yes I was surprised at the job change too – for the record, he was very good at both. I wrote his recipe down at the time but mislaid it and by the time I realised, he’d retired and moved back to the States.

But a few tips stuck in my mind.

  • Use lots of fatty bacon and make sure you include all the bacon fat that renders as you cook it.
  • Don’t stint on the mayonnaise.
  • Add chopped capers or gherkins for acidity and crunch.
  • Toss the potatoes in the dressing while they’re still warm.

So one of the dishes I was determined to try with our home grown new potatoes this year was a classic bacon-laced, mayonnaise-heavy potato salad. Of the two early potatoes we’ve grown, Home Guard seems better suited to this dish than Red Duke of York, as it holds it shape better when cooked, so that’s what I’ve used here.

And, of course, the potato salad had to live up to my memories of that magnificent lost recipe.

BaconPotatoSalad-1586

In the end, I made up the recipe on the spot, and by very good fortune, it came out perfectly.

The photos really don’t do this justice at all, which is totally my fault as I decided to make my first ever potato salad less than an hour before we headed out to the annual summer barbecue at our allotments and I only grabbed a couple of snap shots of the finished dish, in the box I mixed (and transported) it in. I should have spooned a neat pile into a small clean bowl to show it off better but instead you’ll just have to take my word for it that this recipe is worth trying.

I’m calling it Heart Attack Potato Salad because of the ratio of dressing to potatoes and the amount of fat in the dressing!

 

Heart Attack Potato Salad

Ingredients
Optional: 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
500 grams firm new potatoes, scrubbed but skins on
100 grams streaky bacon, chopped
125 ml Kewpie Japanese mayonnaise
2 medium pickled gherkins, finely diced

BaconPotatoSalad-1577

Note: Kewpie mayonnaise is made with egg yolks rather than whole eggs, which makes it much richer than typical European commercial mayonnaise brands. The apple and malt vinegars give it a slight sweetness and the MSG creates an umami richness. If you can’t get it, either make a rich home-made mayonnaise or substitute with regular and add a small pinch of sugar.

Note: I like the sweet style pickled gherkins rather than the very sour type or the dill pickle ones, so that’s what I used here.

Note: Bacon doesn’t need any additional oil to fry, but adding a touch of extra oil at the beginning lets it take on lots of bacon flavour, to add to the dressing if your bacon doesn’t render much out. For a very slightly healthier version, omit the vegetable oil.

Method

BaconPotatoSalad-1582

  • Chop your new potatoes in half or quarters, depending on size, and put them on to boil. My preference is for bite size pieces in a potato salad, though some people prefer much smaller dice.

BaconPotatoSalad-1578 BaconPotatoSalad-1579

  • Add a tablespoon of oil to a frying pan (if using) and gently fry the chopped bacon. I don’t like bacon fried until it’s crunchy, so I fried mine until it showed a little browning but was still soft.

BaconPotatoSalad-1583 BaconPotatoSalad-1584

  • Allow the bacon to cool a little, then combine bacon, bacon fat / cooking oil and mayonnaise and mix well. You’re adding a lot of extra fat to the mayonnaise emulsion so it may take a bit of effort to mix it into a smooth dressing.

BaconPotatoSalad-1585

  • Once the potatoes are cooked through, drain and leave in the pan to steam and dry a little further.

BaconPotatoSalad-1591

  • While the potatoes are still warm, mix thoroughly with the dressing. If you like, you can do this by putting potatoes and dressing into a sealed container and gently shaking and turning.
  • Serve warm or cold.

As a potato salad novice, I’d really like to hear about your favourite potato salad recipes or tips. I was utterly delighted with the tastiness of my first attempt, which I’ve shared here, but now I’ve dipped my toe in, I’m keen to discover more excellent home-made potato salad recipes. All advice welcome!

 

I remember very clearly when the all new Sainsbury’s magazine was launched back in May 1993. Back then, supermarket magazines were pretty wretched; thin and cheaply produced with a dearth of compelling content.

The Sainsbury’s magazine pumped oxygen into a stagnant pond and I loved it from the get go! Delia Smith and husband Michael Wynn-Jones were at its helm and commissioned great content, assembling a team of talented food writers, cooks and chefs. Some were at the start of their careers and others already well established; together they produced a rich collection of material for every single issue. And for just £1 it was excellent value, even in those days!

One of the strengths of the magazine was the reliability of the recipes featured. They were always properly tested and clearly written so those of us who made them did so with confidence.

Fast forward 20 years and while the quality of the field has definitely improved (and dropped again, as in the case of Waitrose Food Illustrated when it changed to Waitrose Kitchen), Sainsbury’s magazine is still going strong.

To mark its 20th anniversary, Sainsbury’s has produced a celebratory cookbook featuring over 100 recipes chosen from an extensive archive.

Unlike some glossier and trendier recipe books I’ve flicked through lately, what I love about this collection is how many of them I want to make (and feel confident that I can make).

SainsburysMag

The good news is that I have one copy of the book to give away to a lucky reader.

But first, let me share the first recipe we made from the book, Brian Glover’s pea, new potato and feta frittata.

Frittata-1420

Frittata is such a versatile dish – it can be enjoyed both hot and cold, it’s ideal for lunch or dinner, for picnics or packed lunch boxes and it’s very simple to make.

We took Brian’s suggestion to substitute the feta for goat’s cheese, as we much prefer it.

Frittata-1392

 

Pea, New Potato & Goat’s Cheese Frittata

Serves 4

Ingredients
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, thinly sliced
500 grams new potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon fresh thyme chopped or 0.5 teaspoon dried
200 grams frozen peas*
a good knob of butter
6 large eggs, beaten
100 grams goat’s cheese (or feta), crumbled
optional: a handful of peashoots

*The original recipe specifies podded peas, but we bought fresh pods and discovered enormous, tough-skinned, tasteless peas within so we substituted with sweet little frozen peas instead. We weighed them frozen, then left them in a bowl of tepid water for a few minutes before draining and using. The recipe calls for boiling the podded fresh peas for 4 minutes before adding to the frittata pan.

Frittata-1397 Frittata-1400 Frittata-1403

Method

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 23-25 cm non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and 2-3 pinches of salt, and stir. Cover, turn down the heat and sweat the onions for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Frittata-1394

  • Add the potatoes and thyme to the pan and cook, still covered, for 10-12 minutes until the potatoes are just tender, adding the extra oil if they are drying out.

Frittata-1398

  • Uncover the pan and turn up the heat until the potatoes start to colour.

Frittata-1404

  • Add the butter and, when melted, add the peas, Season the eggs and pour into the pan, stirring in the cheese and pea shoots. Preheat the grill.

Frittata-1408
Frittata-1410
Frittata-1412

  • Cook the frittata over a medium heat, drawing in the edge with a spatula until the base sets. After 4-5 minutes, when the underside has browned, put the pan under the grill for 2-3 minutes to just set the top.

Frittata-1416

  • Place a large plate over the pan and turn over plate and pan together, to remove the frittata from the pan.

Frittata-1419

We really enjoyed the frittata, both hot out of the pan for dinner and cold for lunch the next day.

Frittata-1425 Frittata-1428

COMPETITION

Sainsbury’s have offered a copy of their 20th anniversary Sainsbury’s Magazine Cookbook to one of my readers. The prize includes free delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me about one of your family’s favourite recipes.

Entry 2 – Facebook
Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow @Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win the 20th anniversary @sainsburysPR Magazine Cookbook from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/im02D9 #KaveyEatsSainsburysCookbook
(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hashtag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 6th September 2013.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winner will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a copy of the 20th Anniversary Sainsbury’s Magazine Cookbook, with free delivery within the UK.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You do not have to enter all three ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

Kavey Eats was sent a review copy of the Sainsbury’s Magazine Cookbook.

This competition is closed. The randomly selected winner was Tracy Nixon.

 

I am inexorably drawn to kitchen gadgets and have always had to fight my tendency to collect electrical white elephants. Of the new gadgets I’ve encountered since I started writing Kavey Eats I adored the Thermomix, the jug blender and the mandoline slicer, was pretty pleased with the deep fat fryer and the spice and nut grinder and not very impressed at all by the soup maker, to name just a few.

But I’d not even heard of the Masha until I saw it featured on my spudtastic friend Gary’s blog, recently.

As many of you will know, using a food processer makes for horribly gluey mashed potatoes. Using a hand  blender is enormously messy and, if you can make it work for you, creates a similarly elastic puree. A potato ricer is slow and faffy but it does produce beautifully fluffy mash. An old fashioned potato masher obviously works well too, but again, takes a little time and elbow grease.

Masha-1299 Masha-1301

The Masha looks a lot like a hand blender but the way it works is closer to an electric potato ricer: blunt plastic blades push the potato through holes. The fibres aren’t hacked apart so they don’t release too much starch, hence the potato doesn’t turn into gluey wallpaper paste. It doesn’t splash the content of the pan everywhere as can happen (to me) when using a hand blender. And it’s quick and very low effort.

Of course, it can be used to mash any root vegetable and I am sure it would work similarly well on anything in the squash family too. I have a soft spot for Swede and Carrot mash, which it handles easily. It can also be used to puree fruit and vegetables for young children. Here’s a link to the manufacturer’s video showing it in action.

Masha-1302 Masha-1303

We probably wouldn’t have bought this gadget at this point, not because we don’t like it – we actually think it’s great – but because Pete is fit and strong and doesn’t mind spending a few minutes mashing our spuds the old-fashioned way (and because, frankly, our kitchen cupboards are actually overflowing, with boxes now sat in piles on the floor). However, we do think it’s a great tool and would be a particular boon for fluffy-mashed-veg-lovers with reduced arm strength. Retailing at around £32, we think the price is fair too.

 

COMPETITION

MPL Home is offering a Masha to one Kavey Eats reader. The prize includes free delivery within the UK.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 3 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, telling me about your favourite meal featuring mashed vegetables.

Entry 2 – Facebook
Like the
Kavey Eats Facebook page and leave a (separate) comment on this blog post with your Facebook user name.

Entry 3 – Twitter
Follow
@Kavey on Twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter! Then tweet the (exact) sentence below.
I’d love to win a Masha from Kavey Eats and MPL Home! http://goo.gl/3HNm7A
#KaveyEatsMasha
(Please do not add my twitter handle into the tweet; I track entries using the competition hashtag. And you don’t need to leave a blog comment about your tweet either, thanks!)

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 30th August 2013.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The prize is a Masha, with free delivery within the UK.
  • The prize cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prize is offered and provided by MPL Home.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. One Facebook entry per person only. You do not have to enter all three ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For Twitter entries, winners must be following @Kavey at the time of notification. For Facebook entries, winners must Like the Kavey Eats Facebook page at time of notification.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email, Twitter or Facebook. If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

Kavey Eats was sent a review sample Masha by MPL Home. All opinions are my own.

This competition is closed. The randomly selected winner was Kieran Walsh.

May 242013
 

I’ve blogged about wild garlic aka ramsons aka allium ursinum aka bear’s garlic before. A wild relative of chive with a strong garlic flavour, it’s native across Europe and Asia. The ursine botanical name and nickname come from the brown bear’s love of the pungent bulbs, though there are no such bears in my favourite foraging spots!

WildGarlicMash-0303 WildGarlicMash-0305

This year, we need go no further than our back garden, having transplanted a few plants from my friend FoodUrchin’s backgarden. He has become the ramsons-pimp of the South East.

WildGarlicMash-0310

A simple way to enjoy some of your wild garlic harvest is to make a seasonal mashed potato; it’s a little like Irish colcannon. Just add chopped or torn wild garlic leaves (and chopped flower stems too, if your plant is flowering – they have the strongest flavour) to your normal mashed potato recipe. We add butter, milk and a little seasoning to ours.

If you have a generous supply, here’s a simple way of preserving wild garlic for use all year round.

 

Scroll down for Easy Caramelised Onion Potato & Dauphinoise Recipe and Competition.

 

Review: Oxo Mandoline Slicer & Angled Measuring Jug

I was recently invited to review some products from The Oxo Good Grips range.

I’ve used and purchased some of the kitchen utensils before, and really like the well-designed handles, which are both easy to grip and ergonomically comfortable to hold.

One tool I’ve never used before is a mandoline slicer. I love the idea of slicing fruit and vegetables quickly and evenly but I’ve always been scared of the sharp blades, and the thought of slicing my fingers right along with the fruit and veg. Given how easy and safe I’ve found their other tools, I decided that if I was going to give a mandoline a chance, the Oxo Good Grips one would be a good one to try.

MandolinDauphinoise-1617 MandolinDauphinoise-1619 MandolinDauphinoise-1618

Larger than I expected, it’s a sturdy device; once the non-slip legs are folded into place it feels reassuringly robust, with no worrying wobbles. A handle at one side makes it easy to hold too, though actually, I found it didn’t have any tendency to move during operation anyway. There are curvy and straight blades for slicing as well as julienne blades for cutting sticks; the blades are easy to insert (and remove) and you can adjust how thick you would like your slices. The food holder does a good job of holding fruit and vegetables securely and keeping your hands well away from the blades. To my delight, I found it really easy to use, not at all scary as I’d imagined, and quick to dismantle and wash too. (The blades need to be hand washed but the main body of the slicer, and the food holder are both dishwasher safe). As it’s quite bulky, it will take up a fair bit of space in storage, even with the legs folded flat, but it’s definitely earned its place for the moment.

Oxo’s website lists it at £61.30 but you’ll easily be able to find it for £50 or less.

OxoAngledJug
image from Oxo website

The other item I chose was an angled measuring jug. Mine holds 1 litre but they are also available in smaller sizes from 1 cup to half a litre. The plastic jug has a comfortable, soft, non-slip handle and is dishwasher safe. But the clever bit is the angled measuring units. Usually I find myself setting a measuring jug onto the work surface and then bending down low to read the units on the side, as I carefully pour in the contents. The angled measurement units let me pour contents in whilst being able to easily read the volume from above. No more bending is definitely better for my back.

 

Easy Caramelised Onion & Potato Dauphinoise Recipe

When I shared the Waitrose cookery school’s recipe for Easy Potato Dauphinoise a number of people suggested variations including the addition of onions.

More recently, I came across an Alex Mackay adaptation of tartiflette, incorporating caramelised onion alongside potatoes and bacon. His recipe includes instructions on caramelising onions. That’s not a complicated task, by any means, though it does take time and patience.

But I’ve had a jar of Asda Extra Special Caramelised Onion Chutney in the larder (from a goodie bag given to me at an Asda Leith’s blogger event) and knew it would be the perfect shortcut.

MandolinDauphinoise-1627

Ingredients
3-4 tablespoons sweet and sticky well-caramelised onions (or Asda’s ES caramelised onion chutney)
500-600 grams peeled large waxy potato such as Desiree
200 ml double cream
200 ml full fat milk
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Method

  • In a large sauce pan place the double cream, milk, garlic, salt and pepper on a gentle heat.

MandolinDauphinoise-1623

  • Peel and slice the potatoes, about 3mm thick. I used the mandoline slicer this time, but sliced by hand previously.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C.
  • Add the potato slices into the cream and milk and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potato slices have softened a little.

MandolinDauphinoise-1624

  • Use a slatted spoon to transfer about a third of the potatoes into an oven dish, arranging them so they’re reasonably flat. You don’t need to be too neat.

MandolinDauphinoise-1629

  • Spread the caramelised onions evenly across the potatoes.

MandolinDauphinoise-1633

  • Cover with the remaining slices of potatoes. Pour or spoon the remainder of the thickened cream and milk over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.
  • Check if done by inserting a knife into the dish; the potatoes should feel soft all the way through.

MandolinDauphinoise-1634

  • The dish will stay hot for several minutes before serving, if you need time to finish other elements of the fish.

MandolinDauphinoise-1637

 

COMPETITION

Oxo Good Grips are generously offering both the above products as prizes for a Kavey Eats competition.

  • The first prize is the Oxo Good Grips Mandoline Slicer.
  • The second prize is an Oxo Good Grips 1 litre Angled Measuring Jug.

HOW TO ENTER

You can enter the competition in 2 ways:

Entry 1 – Blog Comment
Leave a comment below, answering the following question:
What’s your favourite recipe featuring sliced fruits or vegetables?

Entry 2 – Twitter
Follow @KaveyF on twitter. Existing followers are, of course, welcome to enter!
Then tweet the (exact) sentence below:
I’d love to win Oxo Good Grips prizes from Kavey Eats! http://goo.gl/NM5FI #KaveyEatsOxoGoodGrips

RULES & DETAILS

  • The deadline for entries is midnight GMT Friday 28th September 2012.
  • Kavey Eats reserves the right to alter the closing date of the competition. Changes to the closing date, if they occur, will be shown on this page.
  • The winners will be selected from all valid entries using a random number generator.
  • Entry instructions form part of the terms and conditions.
  • Where prizes are to be provided by a third party, Kavey Eats accepts no responsibility for the acts or defaults of that third party.
  • The first prize is an Oxo Good Grips Mandoline Slicer. The second prize is an Oxo Good Grips 1 litre Angled Measuring Jug. Both prizes include delivery to a UK address. Prizes cannot be redeemed for a cash value.
  • The prizes are offered and to be provided directly by Oxo Good Grips.
  • One blog entry per person only. One Twitter entry per person only. You do not have to enter both ways for your entries to be valid.
  • For twitter entries, winners must be following @KaveyF at the time of notification, as this will be sent by Direct Message.
  • Blog comment entries must provide a valid email address for contacting the winner.
  • The winners will be notified by email or twitter (for twitter entries). If no response is received within 7 days of notification, the prize will be forfeit and a new winner will be picked and contacted.

 

This competition is now closed. First prize winner = Esther Lewis (entry via blog). Second prize winner = @novasilence (entry via twitter).

 

I’ve always been put off making Dauphinoise potatoes because recipes I’ve previously come across require laboriously layering very thin slices of raw potatoes, neatly and evenly, before pouring cream over them and baking for absolutely ages.

But recently, I learned a far quicker and easier method, which fits perfectly with my impatient style of cooking and my satisfaction with more rustic dishes.

My mum and I recently won a day’s class at the Waitrose Cookery School. We cooked several dishes in the morning including coquilles St Jacques, roast rack of lamb and peas braised with little gem lettuce and bacon. We even made a fancy lemon tart with fruit salad and orange zest tuile. But my favourite dish of the day was the potato Dauphinoise which was a revelation in easy cooking and delicious dining.

I’ve since searched the web and encountered many variations of this easier recipe.

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The recipe ingredient amounts in the cookery school recipe are for a kilo of potatoes. The first time I made it, I halved the amounts (as we did in class) and made enough for three (greedy) servings.

The first time I made this at home, I followed the recipe exactly.

The second time, I substituted home made chicken stock for the milk (as I had some that needed using) and that worked very well.

 

Easy Potato Dauphinoise

Ingredients
500-600 grams peeled large waxy potato such as Desiree
200 ml double cream
200 ml full fat milk *
2-3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
Salt and pepper

*Chicken stock alternative: substitute milk for the same volume of chicken stock.

Method

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  • In a large sauce pan place the double cream, milk, garlic, salt and pepper on a gentle heat.

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  • Peel the potatoes and slice reasonably thinly. If you have a mandolin, that would probably make this quicker, though as my slices were about 3 mm thick, it didn’t take long by hand.
  • Preheat the oven to 170 C.

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  • Add the potato slices into the cream and milk and simmer for 15 minutes, until the potato slices have softened a little.

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  • Use a slatted spoon to transfer the potatoes into an oven dish, so that the slices are reasonably flat. Don’t worry about being too neat, but try and get an even height across the dish. Pour or spoon the remainder of the thickened cream and milk over the potatoes.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes.

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  • Check if done by inserting a knife into the dish; the potatoes should feel soft all the way through.

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  • The dish will stay hot for several minutes before serving, if you need time to finish other elements of the dish.

 

I’m entering this recipe into Family Friendly Fridays, hosted this month by Pebble Soup.

badge-familyfriendlyfridays

 

As a cheese and bacon addict, I often have leftover cheese in my fridge, not to mention the stash in my freezer. There’s often half a tub of sour cream or crème fraiche hanging around too, a few rashers of bacon leftover from a weekend brunch and half a bottle of mustard languishing in the cupboard.

And even though our harvest of home-grown potatoes was the lowest for several years, there are nearly always potatoes lurking in a dark corner of the kitchen.

So this pommes de terre Braytoises recipe adapted from Diana Henry’s Roast Figs, Sugar Snow book was a perfect choice to counter the cold weather outside, be frugal with leftover ingredients and try something from a new cookery book too!

We adapted the recipe to 2 people, changing some of the ingredients and instructions to suit us better.

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Diana Henry’s Roast Figs, Sugar Snow

Diana Henry is a cook and food writer with six books under her belt including Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, Cook Simple and Food from Plenty. She also writes for the Telegraph and its magazine, Stella, presents food television programmes such as Market Kitchen and broadcasts on Radio 4.

I’d read good feedback on her book of Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and North African dishes (Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons) and likewise, for her latest title, Food from Plenty, which aims to share recipes made from "the plentiful, the seasonal and the leftover".

But I’d not really seen a great deal of discussion about her previous book, Roast Figs, Sugar Snow, originally published by Mitchell Beazley (an Octopus publishing imprint) in 2009, but with a new edition released in November 2011.

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Having grown up in Northern Ireland, she adores snow, "its crystalline freshness, the silent mesmeric way it falls, the way it blankets you in a white, self-contained world". For this book, she travelled to several other cold climate locations, compiling a collection of recipes that represent winter food.

As for the name of the book, a passage in her introduction partially explains:

"On dark afternoons, my fifth-year teacher read us the stories of Laura Ingalls Wilder. In the simple snowy world of the American mid-west found in Little House in the Big Woods, an orange and a handful of nuts in the toe of a sock on Christmas day seemed as alluring as the seeds from a crimson pomegranate; fat pumpkins gathered in the autumn and stored in the attic were fairy tale vegetables. But it was the story of maple syrup that intrigued me most: how you could tap the sap of maple trees when there was a ‘sugar snow’ (snowy conditions in which the temperature goes below freezing at night but above freezing during the day), boil the sap down to a sticky amber syrup and pour it on to snow. There it set to a cobwebby toffee. Here was a magical food that you could get from inside a tree and make into sweets. I got my first bottle of maple syrup soon after being read this passage and have loved it ever since."

In a similar vein, throughout the book are passages from poems and books as varied as Robert Frost’s Evening in a sugar orchard, Blackberry Picking by Seamus Heaney, Figs by D H Lawrence, Wild Fruits by Henry David Thoreau and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Fir Tree.

Photography, by Jason Lowe, is beautiful and evocative. There are images of big hearty dishes, ingredients and scenes from the places whose food Henry brings together. That said, many of the recipes – I’d say well over half – don’t have an accompany photograph, so this may not suit those who prefer to see what all finished dishes look like.

Oddly enough, whilst I really loved reading this book, flicking from recipe to recipe, reading the introductions and stories about the places, ingredients and dishes, I found that there were only a handful of recipes I want to actually cook. Partly, this is because there’s a Northern European preponderance of walnuts and pecans, poppy seeds and cinnamon, dill, prunes, cranberries and juniper berries, chestnuts, dried mushrooms and smoked fish. Some of those ingredients I like, in some contexts, but less so in cooking. Others, I’m simply not a fan of. I like this book but can’t see me using it very often.

That said, there are still many recipes that appeal as great comfort for a cold day – Antico Risotto Sabaudo (a Fontina-rich risotto), Poulet Suissesse (chicken with crème fraiche, mustard and cheese), Sobronade (an every day version of cassoulet without the duck), Beef Pie with wild mushrooms and claret (billed as better than cleavage for its seductive powers), Dublin Coddle (a layered bake of sausages, bacon, onions, potatoes and chicken stock), Poires Savoyards (cream, butter and sugar baked pears), Hot Lightning (featuring apples, pears and bacon), Apple Bread, Roast Figs and Plums in Vodka with cardamom cream and Scandinavian Pepparkakor (Christmas biscuits).

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Pommes de Terre Braytoises
Cheese and Ham Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Adapted from Diana Henry’s Roast Figs, Sugar Snow

Ingredients (for 2)
2 baking potatoes
25 grams butter
Salt and pepper
125 grams Camembert
4 thick rashers of bacon or about 60 grams ham, cut into small pieces
4 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraiche
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 egg
50-75 grams Comte, grated

Note: We used left over bacon, fried in a pan, so we added the bacon fat to the mix too.

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Method

  • Prick and bake the potatoes (180 C fan oven) for approximately an hour, or until tender all the way through.

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  • Cut each potato in half, scoop out most of the flesh, careful not to pierce the skin.
  • Mash the potato flesh with butter and season with salt and pepper.

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  • Roughly chop the Camembert and the bacon or ham. Mix with the mashed potato flesh, along with half the sour cream or crème fraiche, the mustard and the egg. Henry suggests discarding the rind of the Camembert before using, but we chose to use it.

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  • Divide the mixture between the 4 potato skins. Mix the rest of the sour cream or crème fraiche with the grated Comte and spread over the top of each potato.

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  • Bake for 10-15 minutes until the tops of the potatoes are golden and bubbling (180 C fan oven).

We really enjoyed these potatoes, they made for a very comforting and delicious week day dinner and were very easy to make.

We so often have cheese, bacon and sour cream or crème fraiche left over, we have already made these a couple of times and will certainly be making them again soon.

I’m submitting this post to Family Friendly Fridays, a monthly blog event hosted by Fabulicious Food.

familyfriendlyfridays


Oct 262011
 

Today is Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights. Happy Diwali!

The name itself means “a row of lamps” and describes the traditional ghee-filled earthenware lamps which are traditionally lit in their hundreds and thousands. An unforgettably beautiful sight.

There are a number of different reasons and stories behind the festival which you can read about here and here.

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In our family, we light a candle in every single room of the house, and also place one at each external door. Mum cooks a wonderful Indian vegetarian meal for us to share.

My favourite dishes include mum’s simple potato curry with gravy served with fresh, hot, crispy pooris.

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image by Arne Hückelheim, Wikimedia Commons

This year, my personal Diwali celebrations started early, when I was invited to a Diwali-themed supper club hosted by Luiz (The London Foodie), catered by Maunika (Cook In A Curry) and sponsored by Tilda Basmati Rice.

This was a great coming together. Luiz is a consummate host and I’ve enjoyed many a wonderful evening in his beautiful home. The newly extended and refitted kitchen was even more envy-inducing than the old one, and is a fabulous venue for his regular cooking clubs and supper clubs.

I regularly find myself salivating when reading Maunika’s twitter stream, as she describes in loving detail the many fabulous Indian dishes she cooks on a regular basis, both at home and in her career as private chef, food writer and radio presenter. Born in Bombay, Maunika has researched and become an expert in the many varied cuisines of the Indian subcontinent and shared several of her favourites with us during the evening.

The unique properties of basmati rice – the magical flowery scent and woody undertones – are well known. Tilda is a brand that has been associated with sourcing and selling top quality basmati rice since the late 1960s, when it started a business importing and selling to the immigrant Asian community in the UK. Today Tilda’s rice is readily available in the UK and over 40 more countries worldwide. If you are of the mind set that “rice is rice” and surely all basmati rice is much of a muchness, I set you the challenge of buying a bag of Tilda and a bag of the cheapest value brand of basmati you can find. You will notice the difference!

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My favourite dishes of the evening were a Paneer Haraa Tikka for which Maunika marinaded cubes of paneer with garlic, chillies and sprinkled them with kala namak (dark Indian rock salt with a distinctive pungent taste from the dissolved sulhur), a fantastic Pineapple and Black Pepper Chutney, a flavour-packed Haraa Masala Chicken hailing from the Khoha community of India, full of coriander, mint and caramelised onions and a Keralan Fish Curry called Meen Moilee, consisting of moist fillets of sea bass in a rich coconutty gravy. Maunika’s Lamb Yakhni Pulao, made of course with Tilda Basmati, included succulent morsels of lamb mixed with rice that had been cooked in lamb stock and butter.

All delicious and very enjoyable. Thank you to Luiz, Maunika, Tilda and Wildcard for a wonderful evening. Happy Diwali!

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