Delicious tasty food needn't be expensive or time consuming, especially if you cook with the seasons. This tasty vegetarian gratin is bulked out with full flavoured root veg whilst strong cheese, used sparingly, adds loads of flavour without breaking the bank.
I served this alongside some raw kale and dates dressed with a pomegranate dressing. Again, lots of flavour in these ingredients means they go further.
- 1 leek
- 40g butter
- A good sprig of thyme, rosemary and 3 bay leaves
- 400g grated celeriac (peeled!)
- 275g grated parsnip (also peeled!)
- 175g cooked chestnuts, crumbled
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 300ml double cream
- 60g Parmesan (or a hard Itialian cheese if catering for veggies)
- Salt and pepper
- 100g blue cheese - I used Gorgonzola
- 25g breadcrumbs (I used panko)
Melt the butter in a saucepan and then sweat the leeks with the thyme, rosemary and bay leaves over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes until the leeks are nice and soft.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix all the other ingredients together except the blue cheese and breadcrumbs. Makes sure you season it well with salt and pepper and a decent sprinkling of nutmeg (a scat 1/4 tsp). Have a taste - raw parsnip and celeriac are delicious!
Once the leeks have softened add them to the other ingredients along with the herbs and mix thoroughly again.
Preheat yout oven to 175C
Butter a 30cm x 20cm heatproof baking dish and then pour the vegetable mixture in, levelling it out roughly with a spoon. Dot pieces of the blue cheese evenly over the entire dish and push them in so they become embedded within the other ingredients.
In a small bowl, drizzle a litle oil over the breadcrumbs and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle over the gratin. Bake in the preheated oven for abotu 45 minutes until the surface is golden. Serve!
If you fancy the salad I mentioned above, first simply chop up some dates. Next, in a small bowl, combine 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil with about 1 tbsp white wine vinegar and a 1/2 tbsp to 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses. Season well with salt and pepper.
Use this dressing to coat the kale leaves. Give the leaves a good rub for about 5 minutes; this allows the acid and salt in the dressing to start 'cooking' the leaves. Then leave for about 20 mins before scattering over the dates and some pomegranate seeds. (if you don't feel like massaging kale, feel free to blanch it first, drying it well and simply adding the dressing; or just use alternative salad leaves!)