Saturday, January 5, 2008

Potato Bake


For Xmas this year Andy and I were kindly invited to share the day with the Bradley Family. We were xmas orphans as my family had headed up to Queensland for the festivities with my brother and his wife. Laura's fabulous idea for xmas lunch was for everyone to bring a different dish. We were treated to so many different flavours. Marinated lamb, chicken curry, Moroccan beef Tagine, Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni, and fabulous seasonal veg and salad. We sat outside in the sun under a big gum tree and ate until we were moaning in pain! We then retired to our homes for a nap and returned for trifle, cheesecake and a cheese platter! It really was a fabulous day.

And so, the point of my story... as well as preparing half of the cheese platter I decided to do a potato bake to accompany the mains. I had never cooked a potato bake and so I consulted with Sathya, mum, Laura and many many cookbooks and websites as I wanted to make an unforgettable bake!

In the end I chose a Stephanie Alexander Potato Bake. It sounded very simple and had very few ingredients, but Stephanie Alexander has not let me down yet and so I decided to put myself in her hands..

I did a trial run 2 days before Xmas and it was delicious! I served it up for lunch for Andy and me. He agreed it was a complete success. I then ate the ENTIRE bake myself in about 10 minutes flat. I could have eaten more! It was such a flavoursome, crispy yet soft, melt in your mouth, nutty flavoured delicious treat! I think it will become my signature side dish!

And on Xmas day it also received quite a few comments and was eaten in its entirety. Even Laura's mum said she'd never tasted one so good! I was very pleased and I highly recommend it to all..... Merry Xmas!

9 waxy potatoes
freshly ground pepper
freshly ground salt
nutmeg
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
200ml cream
400ml boiling milk
1 teaspoon plain flour
50g butter

Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius. Using 20g of the butter, grease a ceramic or glass dish. Slice potatoes thinly, about half a centimetre thick. Layer them overlapping in the baking dish. Sprinkle a layer of salt, pepper, nutmeg and some of the garlic. Do another layer of potato and the seasonings, then a final third layer.

Add the teaspoon of flour to the cream and mix well. Pour a small amount of the boiling milk into the cream and stir. The add the rest of the milk and stir really well. Pour over the potato making sure not to disturb the layers or move them about. Add another layer of salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic. Place the rest of the butter over the top in small knobs. Bake in the oven for about an hour to an hour and a half until golden and crispy on top. Serve.

E.