Tartiflette

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This Easter weekend was all about resting for me (apart from a party on Saturday night of course). I have spent a lot of time in my PJs, with my iPad on my lap watching series. So food wise it was also all about comfort for me. Comfort food I mean.

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And with the cold weather outside it felt so right indulging in this rich gratin of potatoes, lardons, onions and a fair amount of Reblochon cheese.

A traditional tartiflette should be made from these ingredients only, as the dish was greated in the 1980s to promote this particular cheese from the French Alps.

The result is, as expected when it contains cheese and lardonsdelicious! It has a crispy top layer and underneath soft oozing cheesy potatoes. Wonderful!

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Tartiflette, serves 2

Adapted from Rachel Khoo’s recipe.

250-300 g Maris Piper potatoes

1/2 onion, finely chopped

1 small garlic clove, chopped

1 bay leaf

100 g smoked lardons

50 ml white wine

125 g Reblochon, cut into cubes

salt, pepper

Butter a small gratin dish. Peel and grate the potatoes. Chop onion and garlic. Fry onion, garlic, lardons and the bay leaf on medium heat in a little butter or oil in a non-stick frying pan until the lardons are browned. Add the wine and let it reduce to less than half. Remove the bay leaf and add the potatoes. Mix well. Add the cheese cubes, salt and pepper and mix again. Transfer the mixture to the gratin dish. Place in a 180C oven for 15-20 minutes or until golden on top and the potatoes are cooked through. 

Loaded potato skins with spring onions and cheese

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I don’t know about you, but I really dislike January. I am constantly tired, cold and it seems like the longest month ever.

At times like these one needs comfort, and I like mine in the form of food, scented candles, duvets or blankets and either a good television series or a good film.

Comfort food no 1 for me always involves melted cheese. Nothing can beat its gooeyness and oozing warmth. Paired here with spring onions for both texture and bite, sour cream for creaminess as well as a binding agent and fluffy baked potato and crispy skins. Yummy!

The inspiration is Nigella and of course America. And I will not give you a recipe – you don’t need one – just a quick sketch.

Loaded potato skins with spring onions and cheese

1 baking potato per person

grated strong cheese, cheddar or a matured Red Leicester works well

chopped spring onions

sour cream or creme fraiche

salt & pepper

Wash the potato(es). Bake it/them whole but pierced in a 200C oven until soft. This depends on both oven and the size of the potato but somewhere between 40 and 60 minutes. Cut the potato(es) in half lengthways. Spoon out the fluffy potato and place in a bowl. Mix with spring onions and grated cheese. Add sour cream and mix to combine. Season. Spoon the mixture into the potato skins. Top with some more grated cheese. Place on a baking tray and bake for another 5-10 minutes for the cheese to melt. 

Serve with crispy bacon and a salad, or just plain. 

 

Servera gärna med knaperstekt bacon och sallad. 

Sticky sweet chilli ribs with garlic dip and potato wedges

 

After having spent the morning stressing to the airport and sitting on a plane for a few hours and then braving the shops in Malmö’s newest (and much hyped) shopping centre, there was only one type of supper I wanted – a comforting one.

So we had some sticky succulent ribs, crisp potato wedges and a homemade garlic dip. Yum!

My method for making ribs is really easy, I only cook them in the oven. Some people prefer to boil the meat first, so please feel free to to that. I find, however that if you just leave them enough time in the oven you can skip that step and save yourself some washing up.

Spare ribs with sweet chilli marinade, serves 4

1,5-2 kg spare ribs

100 ml sweet chilli sauce

100 ml mild olive oil

4 garlic cloves, pressed

3 tsp sambal oelek

a few splashes Worchester sauce

salt, black pepper

Mix the ingredients for the marinade and season to taste. Place the ribs, meat side up, on an oiled baking tray. Brush on top with the marinade. Place in a 200C oven for 30 minutes. Turn over the ribs and brush on top with the marinade. Add some salt and pepper and cook for another 30 minutes. Then remove from oven and turn around once more, adding another layer of the marinade. Cook for another 5-20 minutes for a nice finish. Cut up and serve. 

Garlic dip, serves 4

300-400 ml Greek yoghurt 

2 large garlic cloves, pressed

4 tbsp mild olive oil

2-3 tsp dried herbs

salt, black pepper

Mix. Leave for about 15 minutes to develop the flavours, before serving. 

 

Rice noodles with aubergine and spinach

At this time of year all I want to eat is comfort food. And by comfort food I mean anything with melted cheese or copious amounts of cream. Lovely to eat, but not necessarily healthy. Luckily there are some dishes without cream and cheese that still hit the spot, and this is definitely one out of that category.

Imagine cubes of aubergine crispy on the outside but moist and full of absorbed olive oil within, paired with garlic, wilted spinach and rice noodles. All embraced by a light sauce of lime juice, fish sauce and sesame oil. Yu-um!

Rice noodles with aubergine and spinach, serves 2

1 aubergine

a lot of olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 handfuls spinach

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 lime, zest and juice

2 tbsp fish sauce

2-3 tsp sesame oil

90-100 g vermicelli rice noodles

Bring some water to the boil. Put the noodles in a bowl and cover with the just boiled water, Peel and dice the aubergine. Wilt the spinach in olive oil. Remove to a bowl while frying the aubergine dices on high heat and in a lot of oil in the same pan. 

Once the aubergine pieces have got some colour, add the spinach to the pan, press in the garlic and and add the lime zest and juice, sesame oil and cayenne pepper. Let it sizzle for a few minutes, then season to taste with salt and pepper. Drain the noodles and add them to the pan. Toss and serve. 

Tray bake with sweet potato, peppers and chorizo

Sometimes finding dinner inspiration in your own cupboards really work. That is this dish a good example of. it is perfect to double, triple or quadruple for more dinner guests. It is also healthy and super easy to make. And it is proper comfort food.

A plate of tasty healthy food that gives you a warm hug from within.

Roast sweet potato and peppers in the oven.

Add chorizo to the veg to cook together the last 15 minutes.

Squeeze with lime juice and top with plenty of chopped crisp spring onions for a different texture.

Tray bake with sweet potato, peppers and chorizo, serves 1

1 sweet potato

1 pepper of any colour you like

5-10 cm cooking chorizo

4 spring onions, sliced

1 lime wedge

olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180C. Wash the pepper and peel the sweet potato. Cut into same sized pieces. Place in an oven proof dish and drizzle with olive oil. Season. Toss to coat the vegetables with oil.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes, stir around once to cook evenly. Peel and slice the chorizo and add to the dish and let it cook for another 10-15 minutes. Plate, squeeze with lime and sprinkle with spring onions.

 

My everyday chilli

I adore comfort food, and I love when eating something makes you feel better. Sometimes you notice the physical effects straight away; your belly feels full, you get energy again and you stop feeling dizzy. But it almost always, at least if it is well cooked food, makes you happier. If I am down it helps to eat. Not for the sake of eating, but everything feels a bit better after you have eaten something warming and your belly is full.

With the autumn, or nearly winter, hitting London, I feel I need something comforting for supper almost everyday. That warm embrace of hearty food is difficult to beat and for me a few things hits the bull’s eye. Creamy dishes and casseroles or soup. This is from the latter category and really does the trick. With a bit of a kick to it as well as the melted cheese on top and the bread to soak up the juices in the bowl this qualifies as one of the best autumnal comfort dishes out there, don’t you think?!

My everyday chilli, serves 6

1 kg beef mince

2 cans á 400 g chopped tomatoes (of good quality), one with chilli if available

100 ml water

1/2 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves

3 tsp cumin

3-4 tsp chipotle paste

1/2 tsp chilli flakes

6-7 drops tabasco

2 tbsp mild chilli sauce

1 tbsp tomato purée

a pinch of brown sugar

2 tbsp  balsamic vinegar

1 tsp worcestershire sauce

400 g kidney beans, canned – rinsed and drained

Fry the meat in a large pan. Add salt and pepper. Remove the meat and pour out the meat juices. Fry the onions and garlic until soft but not browned in olive oil. Add the meat, chopped tomatoes and water. Bring to the boil. Add everything but the beans. Season and add more spices if needed. Let it boil until the sauce has thickened. Add the beans and cook for another few minutes to warm up the beans.

Serve with grated cheese, sourcream and bread. And perhaps some salad.

Creamy polenta with mushrooms and chorizo

I’ve tried once before to make creamy polenta but I failed terribly although (or despite of) I followed the instructions on the back of the packet. To not repeat my failure I consulted an Italian cookbook (Bringing Italy Home by Ursula Ferigno) and a google-search, and that made me succeed this time. Yay!

There are few different types of polenta, both yellow and white, and according to the cookbook the yellow polenta that takes about 40 minutes to cook is the best one. I could only find yellow 1-minute polenta, but that worked well too.

I didn’t have parmesan at hand, so I used a Swedish mature hard cheese instead and at the end I added, very unorthodox, a dollop of Philadelphia cheese (I picked that up in the google search) and the result was a creamy fluffy polenta with lots of flavour.

I kept the trimmings simple, just fried button mushrooms and chorizo but it complemented the creamy polenta very well. A perfect weekday supper for a gloomy day, and if you use the quick polenta like I did, this is done in about 10 minutes.

Creamy polenta with mushrooms and chorizo, serves 2

100 g chorizo, in slices

200 g button mushrooms, in quarters

chopped parsley (optional)

butter and oil for frying

600 ml chicken- or vegetable stock

150 g polenta grains

50 g butter

150 ml finely grated cheese of parmesan type

2 garlic cloves, pressed

salt, white pepper

1 tbsp Philadelphia

Bring the stock to the boil in a large saucepan. Fry in separate pans the mushrooms in butter and the chorizo in oil. Season the mushrooms. Pour the polenta grains bit by bit into the stock, stirring with a wooden spoon until it thickens (which is fast). Remobve from heat and ass butter, cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and at the end the cream cheese. Serve in bowls with the mushrooms and chorizo. All you need is a fork – this is comfort food.