Sunday, December 30, 2007

Root Veg and Feta Gratin

Yes, I know, it's been nearly 11 months since I last posted anything. Those who know me understand why. Those who don't can only imagine.
The thing is that I have emerged stronger, happier and with a few more wrinkles that could tell a few stories.

I have cooked for friends infrequently and for myself often, yet lost the urge to 'create' and to blog. I have taken photos of numerous dishes throughout the year, intent on blogging, but simply didn't have the headspace nor the energy to follow through. The birthday cake for one darling friend, the miso and chilli salmon with wilted Asian greens for another, the salads and Lebanese dishes for various friends, the various steamed fish dishes I have created and tweaked for myself, the batches of eccles mincepies for various parties. Memories attached to each yet the pace of my silly life has not allowed me the space to blog. I am lucky enough to have had a few complaints and encouragement about this dirth, so, in a fit of complete arrogance, I am continuing! And I will, to the few readers I had, find another way of sharing my scribblings about my other life, without inviting such trauma! I'll be in touch.......

This is a heartening dish I cooked a few nights ago. The wind was biting, the cold was nibbling at every single extremity and so root vegetables and cheese were the only option. This is adapted from a Peter Gordon recipe which appeared in this month's Observer Food Monthly recipe.

Root Vegetable Gratin with Sage and Feta

serves 2-3 as main dish, 4-6 as side dish

1 medium sized swede, peeled and sliced very thinly
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
100g pack feta, rinsed and crumbled (I used 1/2 fat feta)
small handful of sage leaves, shredded
350g celeriac, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 leek, rinsed and thinly sliced
150ml boiling water
splash white wine

Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.

Oil a baking dish and place half the swede and sweet potato slices on the base of the dish. Scatter over half the feta and half the sage with a little seasoning and a fresh grating of nutmeg. Lay the celeriac slices ontop, followed by the leek then the rest of the feta and sage.

Put the remainder of the swede and sweet potato slices on top, pour in the boiling water with a splash of wine, season again and grate more fresh nutmeg on the top.

Make a cartouche by brushing one side of a sheet on baking parchment (the same size as your dish) with oil and lay on top of the veg. Cover with foil and seal tightly.

Bake for 1 1/2 hours then remove the covers and blast under a hot grill to crisp the upper layer.

Lovely when served on top of steamed spinach.