More comfort food – this time an Italian potato cake, based on a recipe in today’s Guardian, by Rachel Roddy. You get lovely warming, buttery, cheesy potato with a layer of melted, slightly chewy, cheese in between. I served mine with lightly cooked broccoli. Enough for four people.
- 750g mashed potato (I baked some largish potatoes, and removed most of the cooked potato, so I could use the skins as a separate snack)
- 60g grated parmesan
- 35g butter
- Black pepper
- 2 eggs
- 100ml milk (or a mixture of milk and cream)
- 80g provolone cheese (or mature gouda, or emmental)
- 125g mozzarella ball
- A little olive oil (to grease the baking dish)
- 1 tbsp finely ground breadcrumbs
Mash the potato together with the parmesan, 25g of butter, grated nutmeg and black pepper to taste. Lightly beat together the eggs and the milk, and mix into the potato mixture.
Cut the provolone and mozzarella into small (0.5cm) cubes.
Grease the inside of an oven proof dish (I used a square earthenware dish about 21cm square) with the olive oil. Place half the potato in the bottom of the dish, and sprinkle with the cubed provolone and mozzarella. Place the remaining potato on top and smooth the surface. Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and dot with the remaining butter.
Cook in the oven for about 30 minutes, at 180C (Gas Mark 4), or until the top is brown and crispy. Leave to stand for about 10 minutes before serving.
This is the ultimate in comfort food. The recipe is based on one from Waitrose Kitchen magazine for March 2015. This is a very simple dish, which can be eaten on its own. But it would also go well with poached eggs or sausages. Enough for 2 people:
- 100ml milk
- 3 thyme sprigs
- 500g potatoes (peeled and cut into 2cm chunks)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 clove of garlic (peeled and thinly sliced)
- 20g butter
- black pepper
- 100g shredded kale (with tough stalks removed)
- 4 spring onions (cut into 2cm lengths, and split in half lengthways)
- 50g brie (thinly sliced)
- 20g cheddar (grated)
Heat the milk, to boiling, with the thyme. Cover, and leave to infuse.
In a saucepan, cover the potatoes, bay leaves and garlic with cold water. Bring to the boil, and simmer until the potatoes are cooked. Drain, remove the bay leaves, and return to the pan. Leave, uncovered, over a very low heat, for about 5 minutes, to dry the potatoes.
Mash together the potatoes, garlic, 10g of butter and the milk (having removed the thyme), and season with black pepper. Keep warm.
Heat the remaining butter in a large pan. Add the kale and spring onions and stir fry for about 3 minutes, until the kale is just about cooked. Stir in the mashed potato and the cheeses.
We’d just got back from a long weekend and there wasn’t much to eat in the house. I fancied something warming, so I made this – enough for 2:
- 3 medium sized onions (finely sliced)
- 3 fairly large potatoes (peeled and sliced (2-3cm)
- 100g grated cheddar
- 800ml vegetable stock
- Black pepper
- 15g butter
- Grated nutmeg
Take 1/4 of the potatoes and make a layer at the base of an ovenproof dish. Cover with 1/3rd of the onions and then 1/3rd of the cheese. Grate over a little black pepper.
Repeat the above (potatoes, onions, cheese etc), twice; and then add the final layer of potatoes.
Dot the final layer of potatoes with butter and lightly dust with pepper and nutmeg.
Gently add the stock at the edge of the dish.
Cover (either with the lid or aluminium foil) and cook at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 2 hours. Then turn up the heat to 200C (Gas mark 6), uncover and cook for a further 15-20 minutes to crispen the top layer of potatoes.
Serve with a salad (if liked). I used baby leaf salad with cherry tomatoes and spring onions, with a honey and mustard dressing.
Enough for 2:
- 2 eggs (hard boiled)
- 6 small new potatoes (cooked and cooled)
- Torn green salad leaves (I used a mixture of little gem and rocket)
- 12 cherry tomatoes (halved)
- 25 fine green beans (cooked lightly, cooled and cut in half)
- Small tin of anchovies (c. 10 fillets), drained
- 120g can of tuna steak (drained)
- 12 small pieces of grilled/marinated artichoke
- 2 spring onions (finely sliced)
- Dressing: oil, vinegar, black pepper
- Chopped parsley
Either combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl (for serving) or arrange neatly on two plates – the choice is yours!
This is a variation on the classic Pomme Dauphinoise. The recipe is based on one in Jean Conil’s Cuisine Vegetarienne Francaise (published in 1985). Enough for 2 as a main meal:
- 2 largish onions (finely sliced)
- 50g butter
- 500g potatoes
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 large egg (beaten)
- 150ml double cream
- Black pepper
- 80g grated Cheddar
Heat half the butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in the onions and leave to cook very gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Rub a shallow dish (large enough to accommodate the ingredients) with garlic (cut in half). Retain the garlic. Butter the dish with the remaining butter.
Peel the potatoes and cut into rounds about 5mm thick. Place in a pan of cold water. Bring the boil and drain.
Beat together the cream, the egg and garlic (crushed). Season with black pepper and grated nutmeg.
Arrange half the potato slices in the bottom of the shallow dish. Pour over half the egg and cream mixture, and sprinkle with half of the cheese. Then arrange the onions on top. Layer the remaining potatoes, pour over the remaining cream and egg mix, and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top.
Bake in the oven (180C/Gas Mark 4) for an hour, or until the potatoes are cooked through.
This recipe is based on one which appeared in Ruby Tandoh’s ‘Ruby bakes…’ column in the Guardian Cook Supplement (5 April 2014). Serves 4-6:
- 1 deep savoury short crust flan case (I made mine in a tin with a 20cm diameter base, with the sides sloping outwards from the base, using pastry made with 150g of plain flour and 75g of butter)
- 15g butter
- 250g fresh spinach (washed and drained (using a salad spinner is a good idea))
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 medium potatoes (mine amounted to about 330g)
- A pinch of nutmeg
- 250ml milk
- 3 large eggs (beaten)
- 250g quark
- Black pepper (to taste)
- 40g each of parmesan and mature cheddar, finely grated
Heat the butter in a large heavy bottomed pan. Add the spinach (keeping the heat high) and stir until just wilted. Leave to cool.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan, and cook the onion over a gentle heat for 5 minutes. Cover the pan and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is tender.
Meanwhile, peel, and slice the potatoes (to about the thickness of a 10p coin).
Add the potato and nutmeg to the pan with the onion, pour in 150ml of the milk and cook over a gentle heat with the lid on for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. The potato should absorb most of the milk by the time you finish this phase of the cooking process.
Remove the pan from the heat. Add the remaining milk, eggs, quark and grated cheese, and mix thoroughly. Squeeze any excess water from the spinach, and then stir it into the mixture. Season to taste, and pour into the flan case.
Bake the flan in the oven 160C (Gas Mark 3) for approximately 40 minutes, or until browned on top and filling firm.
I had some meat left over from slow roasted lamb, so I decided to make a shepherds pie. Enough for 3:
- Cold lamb (chopped – the amount I used covered a standard sized saucer – see photo above)
- 30g brown lentils (rinsed, cooked in water (should take about 20 minutes from boiling) and drained)
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 1 carrot (chopped)
- 1 stick of celery (chopped)
- 1 clove garlic (finely chopped/crushed)
- 200g tinned chopped tomatoes (1/2 of a normal sized can)
- A pinch of dried oregano
- Black pepper
- 1/3rd beef stock cube
- Hot water
- 3 medium sized potatoes
- 20g butter
Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion, carrot and celery, and cook gently for 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, crumble in the stock cube, add the oregano and some black pepper, and mix well. Top up with hot water, so the mixture doesn’t get too dry. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes and cook in a pan of water. When cooked, drain and return to the pan over a low heat to ‘dry out’. Mash with the butter and add black pepper to taste.
When the tomato and vegetable mixture is cooked, stir in the cold lamb. Pour into a shallow ovenproof dish, and gently place the mashed potato on top.
Cook in the oven at 180C (Gas Mark 4) for 30 minutes, or until the top begins to brown and the whole dish is piping hot. Serve.