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Potatoes Dauphinoise

April 28, 2015

The name Dauphinoise comes from the Dauphiné region in south-east France, where the Potatoes Dauphinoise recipe is said to originate. The dish is distinguished from gratin savoyard by the use of cream, and from ordinary gratin potatoes by the use of raw and not boiled potatoes.

The traditional recipe is only with cream, not cheese but I like to sprinkle a bit of Gruyère cheese on top in the last stages of cooking. There are many variations and recipes for Potatoes Dauphinoise, I find this method the most simple and it always turns out well.

Potatoes Dauphinoise

4-5 large potatoes

(Use good quality potatoes such as Desiree, Maris Piper, King Edward)

250ml of Whole Milk

300ml  of Double Cream

3 cloves of garlic minced

Salt & Pepper


A good grating of fresh Nutmeg or half a teaspoon if using dried (optional)

A good handful of grated Gruyère cheese (optional)


Pre heat the oven to 190 degrees

Wash and peel the potatoes. Slice them into rounds about 3-4 mm thick.

Try to slice the potatoes as thinly as possible for the best results.

Mix the cream, milk and garlic together in a jug, season well with salt, add the pepper and nutmeg

Grease a baking dish with a bit of butter

Layer the potatoes in the dish, over each layer pour a little of the mixture, and pour the rest over when you reach the top (try to keep whole slices for the top layer)

Dot with butter and cover the dish with foil. Bake for an hour in the middle of the oven.

After an hour, remove the foil this is when I add a good sprinkling of Gruyère cheese and bake uncovered for a further 30 minutes after which the top should be golden and bubbling, and the potatoes soft when poked with a knife.


Serve bubbling hot as a main meal or as an accompaniment.


Homemade Yogurt Cheese

November 25, 2014

Ever tried to make your own soft cheese? No me either!

Feeling inspired while reading about cheese making in one of my many Pioneer books I thought I would give it a try.

Strained yogurt, yogurt cheese, labneh, or Greek yogurt is yogurt which has been strained to remove its whey, resulting in a relatively thick consistency, while preserving yogurt’s distinctive, sour taste. Yoghurt strained through muslin is a traditional food in many countries and it is regularly enjoyed throughout the Middle East and Mediterranean. Eaten plain as a dip, and used in cooking because it does not curdle at higher temperatures. The process of straining yogurt creates Greek yogurt (the popular, high protein thickened yogurt) and labneh cheese (an even thicker yogurt that has the consistency of soft cream cheese).

 Yogurt Cheese

 I find the Greek/Turkish style yogurt is already thicker than regular yogurt and as I wanted to make a soft cheese I thought this style of yogurt would give me a head start.

I used this Turkish style yogurt (found in Lidl)

I measured out 2 cups /450 mls yogurt


I then lined a bowl with 2 cotton/muslin cloths

(These are actually baby cloths/muslin squares and as they are 100% cotton they are ideal for cheesemaking. They really turned out to be a great buy as the quality was so good)


I poured/spooned the yogurt into the centre of the cloth and then tied up the cloth with a thick elastic band (you can use string etc) I then hung the cloth from the handle of the kitchen cabinet door and placed a bowl underneath to catch the whey. Now from what I have read it says draining is best done at room temp. As my kitchen is cool and it being winter I left it here for the entire process as it was the first time I had made it. I wanted it to be as authentic to the process I had read about as possible.

However I would not recommend keeping dairy outside of the fridge for a prolonged period due to the possible growth of harmful bacteria so please do use the fridge method if you want to try this yourself. 

Refrigerated draining apparently takes longer and produces a less complex flavour so I will let you know the difference if any as I will try the fridge method the next time. Just put the cloth in a colander and place the colander over a bowl to catch the drips or if you have enough room tie the cloth to one of the fridge racks and let it hang over a bowl.


 Save the liquid (known as whey) that collects in the bowl; it’s filled with nutrients and can be used as a milk substitute in baked goods (breads, scones, biscuits) or to add nutrition to smoothies and protein shakes. Store it in a jar in the fridge.

I left the yogurt for 24hrs before I checked it. The longer you strain the yogurt, the thicker it will be. I would give it at least 12-24hrs.

Open out the cloth and place the cheese into a bowl add a little salt, give it a stir and there you have it yoghurt cheese. It is the consistency of soft cheese. I just placed it in a suitable container and it will keep in the fridge for a week at least if it lasts that long as it is delicious!


Mix or top with Mediterranean herbs like thyme and some fresh cracked pepper then use as a dip or a spread for flat bread and crisp veggies. Drizzle with plenty of good olive oil. Or you can just serve it plain on crackers.



Homemade Hummus

May 11, 2014

Hummus the popular Middle Eastern dip/spread is really easy to make at home and super healthy!

Full of protein the homemade version tastes better than the mass-produced hummus you find in the shops.

Homemade Hummus


1 can Chickpeas

1/3 cup Tahini Paste

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

2 Tablespoons Fresh Lemon Juice

1 clove of Garlic

Pinch of Salt


Drain and rinse the chickpeas in cold water

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and blitz until smooth

Pour into a serving dish

Drizzle with Olive Oil/Paprika/Lemon Juice

Serve with warm Pitta Bread





April 27, 2014

Evening all, hope you have had a great weekend!

This post will probably be a little like my Octopus recipe not to everyone’s taste that’s for sure but hey lets give it a bash you never know you might get to try them one day and at least you will know how to cook them!!

While I was in the Outer Hebrides last week, I spent a glorious afternoon at the seashore searching for fresh winkles. They are found down by the seashore among the rocks and rock pools. Winkles or Peri-winkles as they are sometimes called are small edible sea snails found along the rocky shores of Scotland. They have a delicate flavour and are low in fat and high in protein. Known as buckies in the North East of Scotland they are mostly exported to Europe and Asia as they are not eaten much in the UK anymore. They are considered a delicacy in African and Asian cuisine. They are admittedly very fiddly to eat and it is maybe the look of them that puts people off but I think they are delicious!




To cook either boil them very rapidly in the seawater you collected them in or give them a clean in salted cold water then place in a pan of boiling salted water for 3-5 mins.

I’m going to be honest with you eating winkles is probably more of a chore than any meal ever should be, however it is worth it! You will need a long needle or pin to get the meat out of the shell and the only part that is not edible is the little round disc at the top, it will come off easily just discard it.



You can eat them plain as above and are great along with bread and butter or dipped in a little vinegar.

Or you could fry them off in a little butter/garlic/chilli etc.

I am sure all around the world they cook them in different variations but I grew up eating them plain and simple straight from the shell.



Simple and delicious enjoy!


Turkish Rice Pilaf (Pilav)

April 13, 2014

Hello y’all!

I am around, it’s just been a quiet few weeks with all work and no play. I thought I would share my favourite Turkish Rice recipe with you. It is the staple Turkish food – a side serving of rice. If you have ever visited Turkey you will find rice served with most main meals.  You will never go back to ‘ordinary’ rice after trying it Turkish style!

Turkish Rice Pilaf (Pilav)

Turkish Rice Pilaf (Pilav)


3/4 cup of long grain rice (I use Basmati)

1 cup hot water

2 tbsp Butter

Salt and Pepper


Serves 2

Wash the rice with warm water, rinse several times and drain.

Cover the rice with hot water and leave for 15 mins.

Drain the rice. In a pan melt the butter over a medium-high heat and add the drained rice. Saute the rice for 2-3 mins constantly stirring. Pour in the cup of hot water, add the salt and pepper, cover and turn the heat down to low. Cook until the rice absorbs all the water.


Take the pot off the heat, take the lid off and place a clean tea towel across the top of the pot and put the lid back on. Leave for 5 to 10 mins.

Fluff up the rice using a fork and serve.

Great as a side but I like it with chopped spring onions!

Turkish Rice Pilaf (Pilav)


Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans)

March 5, 2014

I love Italian food and Pasta e Fagioli  is one of my favourite dishes.  Pasta e fagioli means pasta and beans and is a traditional dish found all around Italy. I am a big fan of “cucina povera” the poor/peasant Italian cooking style and this dish is a typical example of this. It is very simple and uses cheap easily found ingredients. The ingredients and how it is prepared varies greatly throughout Italy, this version is the closest I have been able to recreate that reminds me of the Pasta e fagioli I enjoyed so much on visits to Southern Italy.

Pasta e Fagioli


400g can  Cannellini Beans (drained)

1-2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 medium onion diced

2 celery sticks diced

1 garlic clove peeled but not chopped

1/2 cup tomato passata/sieved tomatoes

( a spoonful of concentrated tomato purée mixed in hot water and made up to the 1/2 cup can also be used as a good alternative)

3 cups/700mls water

1/2 cup uncooked soup pasta/short cut pasta

Salt and Pepper to season


In a large pan add the olive oil and on a medium heat sauté the onions and celery for around 5 mins until soft but not browned.

Add the garlic and beans, stir well then add the water and tomato, cover and turn the heat up to medium to high and cook for 35 mins stirring occasionally.

When the 35 mins is up, add the pasta, season well and cook uncovered for a further 8-10 mins or until the pasta is cooked.

(Check the seasoning before serving up)

Serve in bowls and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese if you wish!

Serves 2-4

Pasta e Fagioli

(This version below was made with tomato passata so is slightly lighter in colour to the above bowl which was made with tomato puree)

Pasta e Fagioli