Mrs. Jackson Cooks

Life through food

Potato simplicity: potatoes gratin

on March 13, 2011

I’m sorry, I’ve been away and before I was away I was very busy and not cooking as much as I’d like and not blogging much either.  But, hopefully, this time I am definitely back.  And the first day back off holiday sees a rummage through the cupboards and fridge to see what’s there – and it turns out, we have lots of potatoes.  Lots that are trying to grow.  So I had to do something with them.  Something simple too, whilst I’m still trying to work out how to cook after a week of all inclusive pamperedness and over indulgence.

It was a great holiday, and I definitely needed it.  Think I was forgetting who I was back then, for a minute or two.  But I’m back now, and hopefully better, and more with it now! And just to make you jealous, here’s a photo from my holiday. I must admit, I do usually like to learn about cooking or get inspiration or something on holiday.  But not this time.  The food was excellent, and definitely a good holiday by food standards (how I measure all holidays) but not one for inspiration.  It was one for not thinking about anything at all.   But maybe not thinking will help me think more in the future.

Enough of that though, and back to the food.  Now I must admit the holiday snaps are partly to make up for the fact that I was so hungry by the time the food finally came out the oven, I forgot to take a photo of it.  And it did look good too.  So you’ll just have to take my word on that.

Potatoes gratin is extremely simple and excellent comfort food.  It does take time to cook, so it’s not a mid week thing, post work out or anything that requires a meal within 30 minutes (and unlike Jamie, I do deliver on the 30 mins front when I say it does).  But it’s good for weekends, for laziness, and it’s also relatively healthy – depending on how much cheese you put in it – I put in quite a bit, but you can cut it down if you’re on a diet.  For me, I return to healthiness tomorrow and will eat as much cheese as possible today.

This is also vege friendly and gluten free, so it’ll keep at least some people happy.  You can serve it on it’s own as a meal, or you can serve it as a side to something else like lamb chops, pork chops, grilled chicken, fish – whatever really.   It’s also something you can do with store cupboard/fridge remnants fairly easily, which makes it good for returning from holiday with not much in the fridge/cupboard, or for just when you’re a bit skint.

Once I’ve finished writing this, I think i’m going to work on my pad thai.  I’ve not quite got it right yet, think maybe I need to vary the quantities of tamarind pulp and soy sauce a bit….when I’ve found a satisfactory recipe I shall most definitely share it here, but I wouldn’t want to give you a dud.  One thing you can rely on me for – all my recipes taste good.   Guaranteed.  Anything dodgy does not get written here.  Not that I don’t make questionable food from time to time (it’s called experimenting!), but why would you want to know about it?!

Now with this, I did large quantities, and I did follow the baking times according to the recipe, but the potatoes weren’t brilliantly cooked, so I do recommend sticking a knife or fork in your potatoes before you serve them and make sure they’re cooked – no one wants underdone potatoes.

Potatoes gratin

Serves 6 (sort of.  More like 4 as a main)

  • 1 tbsp oil (I used olive)
  • 1kg potatoes, thinly sliced (the thinner the better)
  • 2 onions, finely sliced (I used red)
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced (or peppers, or sweetcorn, or whatever you have, or leave out)
  • 10 fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced (or a can of tomatoes, chopped, or passatta – whatever you have)
  • 100-150g parmesan or cheddar cheese (or a mix of both)
  • 2 tbsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp dried parsley (or fresh, or basil)
  • salt & pepper
  • 4 tbsp water (if using fresh tomatoes)
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degreees celsius.  Brush the oil over an ovenproof dish or baking pan
  2. Place a layer of potatoes in the bottom of the dish (overlapping slightly to cover the bottom).  Follow with carrots & onions, and then the tomatoes or passata.
  3. Sprinkle over some cheese, 1 tsp chilli flakes and herbs, salt & pepper
  4. Repeat the process until you’ve used up the ingredients, finishing with a layer of potatoes and tomatoes.
  5. Liberally sprinkle the top with cheese, salt & pepper and place in the oven for at least 1 hour, or until the potatoes are cooked.
  6. Serve on it’s own or with meat of your choice and enjoy the potatoey goodness.

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