Recipe: Dauphinoise Potatoes

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Dauphinoise. Cream, garlic, potatoes, cheese – what’s not to love?

This side dish is one of my all-time favourites, though I really only ever cook it on special occasions like Christmas because I like it to be a treat. I think it can be pretty much served with anything – this year I served it with lamb shanks on New Years Day, other times it’s accompanied a beef wellington or a nice rich casserole. Either way, it’s always a huge hit with the family – nobody can ever resist a second (or third) helping.

It hardly takes an effort so it’s easy to knock together when you’re making a roast and it’s definitely got the yum factor. A really nice way of making your potato side dish a little more interesting.

Most dauphinoise recipes use Gruyere but whilst it’s a pretty main stream cheese these days, living in a village location means my local shop doesn’t tend to stock it. I’ve searched online for a substitute cheese and the closest would be Emmental, Jarlsberg or another Swiss cheese, but come on, if I can’t get Gruyere, I’m not going to get Jarlsberg in the local Co-op!  On these occasions I have just used Parmesan or Grana Padano and nobody has ever noticed the difference. In fact, some people think the cheese is optional. Note: Cheese is never optional.

This recipe serves roughly 4-6 depending on how large you like your portions!

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Ingredients

500g potatoes, thinly sliced
200ml double cream
100ml milk
1 clove garlic, crushed
50g Gruyere cheese, grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 180C, gas mark 4

Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water to prevent them from browning. Rinse then pat dry with kitchen paper.

Place the cream, milk and garlic in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Add the potatoes, cover and simmer for 10 minutes until just tender. Season well.

Transfer to a buttered ovenproof dish and sprinkle over the cheese. Bake for 25 minutes until golden.

And that’s all there is to it!

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If you could only keep one cookbook…

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…..what would it be?

Now, asking that question to someone like me, who has almost 500 books in her collection is tiny a bit cruel. I mean, how can I be expected to pick a favourite when there are just SO many good ones in my collection?

There are so many books that I love and many that are well-used (the two aren’t mutually exclusive for me – some I just like to read. Cookbook addicts will know what I’m talking about!) I mean, I pretty much adore anything from Jamie Oliver – his Ministry of Food book is perfect for anyone just starting out in the world of cooking and Gino D’Acampo’s books, well they are my favourite go-to for Italian meals. I’m also a fan of the Hairy Bikers and a spot of Nigella every now and again but when it comes to picking just one book FOREVER? It’s a really tough decision but I’m going to have to go with more of a simple classic – one that covers all bases.

Enter Mary Berry.

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Mary Berry’s Complete Cookbook has everything you need.

This no-nonsense book contains over 1000 recipes for just about every occasion from adventurous dinner party dishes to firm family favourites this book is one for everyone from absolute beginners to competent cooks.  The recipes are easy to follow and include time-saving tips and there’s a whole heap of information on the general basics such as how to freeze, food safety and tips for flavouring and spices.    It is really well laid out and the pictures are great – always my bugbear in cookbooks – I need good clear pictures of recipes!

This is the book I would furnish my children with when they leave home!

Of course there are similar books out there that would also fit the bill – my hefty Good Housekeeping tome would come a close second and is very well thumbed. In fact I have a few versions from different years!

So over to you – if you could only keep one cookbook, which one would you keep and why?

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7 fun foods for Halloween!

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Halloween is fast-approaching and with it being the second-best time of year (Christmas obviously being the first one…) we tend to go a bit overboard in our house, and it never passes by without a party. With that in mind I thought that today I’d share a few of the great foody ideas I’ve seen on while I have been searching for new things to try at this years party.

Some of these are goodies that I will be making next week and some, well there are some that I don’t quite feel qualified for and/or don’t have the patience but I know that there are many talented people out there who could make an awesome job of these!

Why 7? Well I thought 10 was a bit predictable really so thought I’d break from the norm, edgy, aren’t I?

Rice Krispie Treats from One Little Project

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Brownie Cupcakes from Two Sisters Crafting

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Frozen Banana Ghosts from BBC Good Food

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Vampire Donuts from She Knows

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Spooky Eyeball Halloween Cake from Betty Crocker

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Day of the Dead Biscuits from BBC Good Food

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Spooky Boo Brownies from Betty Crocker

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Have you seen anything you like here? If you’ve seen any other great ideas or you have some tasty recipes of your own, feel free to share them in the comments below. I am always looking for new ideas and things to try!

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Breakfast vs No Breakfast

I was recently contacted about an infographic and it sparked my interest so I thought I would share it here.

Breakfast vs No Breakfast – where do you sit on this issue?

I am pretty militant about making my children eat breakfast however, I am guilty of not eating breakfast myself. I’m a brunch girl – s0 by about 11am I am more than ready for a crumpet or a bowl of porridge, but pre-9am, it’s never going to happen!  I love breakfast food, it’s just in the hustle and bustle of the school run and then settling down to work (I work from home) I’m just not in that zone.

According to this infographic, there are many reasons I should be eating breakfast and I know it’s all true. I really should be making more of an effort to eat my brekkie – perhaps it will be a new resolution for me!

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Credit goes to MOMA for the infographic!

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Pancakes, pancakes everywhere!

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Yes, I know there is a glut of pancake blog posts floating around the blogosphere right now but c’mon, it’s Shrove Tuesday and you can’t really let it slip by. Especially if you’re a pancake fanatic like me!

To celebrate this lovely once-a-year event (who am I kidding, pancakes are a near-weekly treat in this house!) the lovely people at Abra-ca-Debora sent me a selection of their ready-made pancakes to try out.

Now I normally prefer to make my own pancakes from scratch but there are those times when I just can’t be bothered. My children have got into the habit of asking for dessert after dinner every night and having something like these in the fridge make this task so much easier as I can just chop up some fruit and whip out the syrup or sauce and they are happy.

Abra-ca-Debora sent me a selection of serving suggestions – I think the pancake faces above are loads of fun and a great way for children to get creative, and involved with food prep – let them do the chopping!  My personal favourite item in the range is the Diddy pancakes which are just perfect served with some warm chocolate sauce. Such a treat! Love these.

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If you want to try out Abra-ca-Debora Pancakes for yourself, then you can find them in the chiller cabinets at Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose, price from £1.50. The range consists of Sweet, Original and the fabulous new Diddy’s.

Let me know if you try them out and I’d love to know what you you top your pancakes with. Are you sweet or savoury?

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