Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Sunny suppers

The sun came out at the weekend and for the first time in what seems like months, I was able to do a bit of gardening.  Just a little weeding and mowing the lawn but oh, how lovely it was to be back out there!  I find it so calming and feeling the sun on my skin was beautiful.  I also had a look at my seed collection as I am itching to get started again with sowing vegetable seeds.  The nights are still frosty, so a bit more patience is needed...

Then yesterday I drew the winner of the giveaway and that made for a great start to the week - I just wish I had been able to give something to everyone, especially to those who go through the trouble of sending such lovely comments so regularly.  Well, there is always the next time and I am already plotting what goodies will go into the next giveaway.  I've got a couple of good ideas... :-)

Despite the recent sunshine, my body is still craving comfort food.  Light summer dishes are not on my menu just yet...again, more patience required.  As you have probably gathered by now, I love doing recipes in the oven and one of my favourites is potato gratin.  We have a great big bay tree in the garden, so I use the leaves from it in this supper dish although I dare say it would be just as nice without.

What a great dish!  It can be a side dish or turned into a meal in itself and it never ever disappoints :-)

Mhm, I can imagine it now, all creamy with lots of potato and vegetables and maybe even some ham thrown in for good measure - yum! As usual, I have amended the quantities of cream and cheese and have added more vegetables to make it slightly healthier without loosing its creamy luxurious taste.  I hope you will like this one as much as we do!

Potato Gratin (serves 4)

125ml stock (made with a cube - whatever you've got)
125ml double cream
200ml milk
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 - 3 bay leaves
 a knob of butter butter , for greasing
800g potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced (a food processor would be a great help with this - you'd want these really quite thin to reduce the cooking time required)
2 leeks, washed and thinly sliced  OR 1 large onion, thinly sliced
50g grated cheese (cheddar or similar)
Optional: 175g sliced ham , chopped
Optional: 2 large handfuls of frozen vegetables (peas, carrots, sweetcorn etc) or some fresh broccoli, cut into small florets (I usually use a combination of these vegetables)

  1. Pour the stock, cream and milk into a small saucepan, add the garlic and bay leaves and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat..
  2. Preheat the oven to 180C (conventional oven) / 160C (fan oven). 
  3. Butter a large ovenproof dish well. Mix the sliced potatoes, leeks and ham plus the vegetables (if using) together in the dish, and spread out in an even layer. Pour over the stock/cream mixture which you previously set aside.
  4. Season and sprinkle with the cheese and place the bay leaves on top (for extra flavour) - best to put these on after the cheese as you want to remove them before serving and that will be tricky when they are covered in melted cheese (believe me - I have tried :-))
  5. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Test the potatoes with a knife - they should be just beginning to soften. Remove the foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Cool slightly before serving.

This goes extremely well as a side dish to pork, salmon, sausages - basically, anything you can imagine or make it a main dish and serve with some crusty bread to mop up the sauce.

(recipe adapted from BBC Good Food website)


  1. thanks for this recipe, have my son and his family coming for weekend so will do this with some sausages I think, yum!!

    1. Excellent - I hope you will all enjoy this! I think it's very yummy indeed and goes with many things. Kirsten x

  2. That looks like a wonderful recipe Kirsten. I make a version with just sliced potatoes, sliced onion, grated cheese, cream, salt and pepper. I would like to try your recipe as I like the idea of adding vegetables. Have you heard of the Gourmet Farmer? Have a lovely day and I hope you have sunshine today as well. Over here it is bedtime. Ann x

    1. Hi Ann! I used to make it without the extra vegetables but really love this version -I hope you will too.
      Oh, don't know about the Gourmet Farmer but I will investigate - thank you!
      Beautiful sunshine here today :-) Kirsten x

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  4. Vary adaptable and such perfect comfort food!

    1. That's exactly what I think about lovely gratin - it sure comforts & is so versatile. Kirsten x