Sometimes I need to plan better, or not to let myself get distracted from my original plans. On Monday I got home from work at a sensible time planning to make Creamy Potato Gratin with Herbs from the dinner party section of Vegetarian Classics; somehow the evening sped by and I ended up opting for a quicker to prepare option for supper. Last night I got home from work at 10:30pm and decided that, since I’d bought the cream and cheese on Monday, I ought to make my gratin despite the time.
This wasn’t a difficult dish to make but I underestimated the preparation time; I think it took as long to chop and grate ingredients as to actually bake the gratin. If I’d wanted to speed up the process I could have used the food processor to cut the potatoes into matchsticks and to grate the cheese but I tend to avoid using noisy gadgets late at night.
I used a goats’ gouda in place of the gruyère the recipe called for, very flavoursome but not too goaty for the Railway Modeller. My herbs in this instance were a simple mix of parsley and thyme, I had those in the fridge and didn’t fancy going out in the dark and wet to cut anything else from the garden, and I was fairly generous with the black pepper and nutmeg.
We didn’t eat until just after midnight but it was worth the wait. Both our plates were cleared too well for the cats’ liking, I had a second helping I probably didn’t need, and neither of is is objecting to the fact that we’ll be eating gratin again for supper tonight. Although the recipe suggested a wider selection of herbs we both felt the flavour was just right as I’d made it. Some of the potato in the centre was very slightly firmer than would have been perfect; I think cooking it in a shallower dish with a larger base area than the casserole dish I used would avoid that next time.
I’d better not make this too often though, with all that cheese and cream it’s a slightly wicked supper!
5 out of 5 for clear instructions and ease of cooking
5 out of 5 for flavour
Lancashire Layered Potatoes
I tried for years to make the perfect Potato Dauphinoise but eventually I gave up, nothing I created was ever as good as my Mum’s. In the same way that I’d rather go without marmalade than eat a shop bought one which is a pale shadow of my Grandmother’s (I have now found a marmalade good enough) I decided to live without Potato Dauphinoise, unless Mum could be persuaded to make one for me. Looking through Just One Pot I spotted a recipe for Lancashire Layered Potatoes which, while based on layered potatoes and cheese, was different enough that I hoped I could cook it without it seeming like the poor relation of that childhood favourite.
A Yorkist in The Kitchen
There was just one small problem with my planned potato supper, the choice of cheese. Lancashire Cheese is a cows’ milk cheese, cows’ milk doesn’t agree with me. The closest equivalent I could think of which I can get made from sheep’s milk is a Wensleydale. Fortunately I don’t think my cooking will re-ignite the Wars of The Roses!
The Simplest Supper
To be honest, you don’t get a much simpler supper than this one. Thinly sliced potatoes layered with chopped onions and grated cheese in a heavy frying pan, cooked over a low heat for half an hour or so before being browned under the grill. I did find I needed almost double the cheese that the recipe stated but that didn’t worry me unduly, my block of Wensleydale was large enough to allow for that. Given that my kitchen is temporarily rather dark and my arthritis is still playing me up a bit I took the lazy option of slicing the potatoes and grating the cheese using the appropriate discs for my food processor; I’ll probably do the same with the potatoes next time I make this as I doubt I could slice them so thinly and evenly.
Full Marks for Flavour
Layered Potatoes is an absolute winner. We both enjoyed it and would both happily see it become a regular meal. An added bonus is that it can more or less be left alone while cooking, though I wouldn’t leave it unattended with our feline family, freeing me up to catch up with other things.
Five out of five for flavour
Four out of five for ease. It lost that extra point for understating the required cheese and because it is a bit fiddly at the preparation stage.