Gratin de Pommes de Terre et Courgettes | Gratin of Potatoes and Zucchini with Thyme

Gratin – sometimes written as gratinée or au gratin—is a very flexible recipe where an ingredient is cooked in a shallow dish – a gratin dish which is an  oval-shaped oven-safe baking and serving pan. The Gratin is topped with cheese or buttery breadcrumbs that will crisp up when the dish is baked in a hot oven or placed under a grill. Adding just cream will also produce a lightly browned crust if baked in high heat. Gratins are usually served straight from the dish.

Gratin originated in French cuisine. The best known gratin dishes are Potato Gratin  and Pommes Dauphinoises. Many Tians are gratins too, only in disguise! Also Baked Pasta dishes! Often vegetables are covered with cheese, cream, and/or breadcrumbs and baked or grilled for a beautiful gratin dish.

This recipe is a beautiful, buttery, creamy gratin that combines zucchini with potatoes and flavours it with thyme. A wonderful match.

Are you looking for other Gratin dishes? Try Creamy Potato Cheese Gratin, Gratinéed Sweet Potatoes, Potatoes Gratinéed with Tomatoes and Cumin, and  Endive/Witlof with a Cheesy Topping.

Would you like to try other Potato dishes? Try Cumin and Pepper Baked Potato Wedges, Perfect Roast Potatoes, and Surprise Potato Tartin.

Or try some Zucchini recipesZucchini Preserved in Olive Oil, Making Zucchini Juice, Zucchini Rice, Steamed Thai Eggplant and Zucchini, and Zucchini Fry with Spices.

You might also like to browse all of our Gratin dishes here, and all of our Potato recipes here. Or all of the Zucchini recipes here and here. Check out our easy Early Autumn recipes. Also, feel free to browse vegetarian recipes from our first blog from 1995 – 2006 in our Retro Recipes series.

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Mint Paneer

Paneer in a lovely mint sauce

Mint Paneer is a variation on Palak Paneer, where the gravy is made from mint leaves rather than spinach. The paneer adapts remarkably well, being an adopter of flavours rather than a determiner of flavours.

You might like to browse our other Paneer recipes here. Or you might like our Indian recipes here and here. Be inspired by our easy Autumn recipes here and here.

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How to Make Creme Fraiche | Katte Malai

Use in place of cream and sour cream for a delightful difference.

If there is a secret to French Cooking, it is to be found in crème fraîche. Never be without it.  I make my own regularly at home for those times when we eat more desserts – winter for baked dishes, summer for fresh fruit. It is a wonderful alternative to either cream (adding a little amount of soureness) and more flavoursome than sour cream.

Crème Fraîche is a heavy cream slightly soured with bacterial culture, but not as sour or as thick as sour cream. Originally a French product, today it is produced by a process similar to that of sour cream, with the exception that no ingredients are added.  Crème Fraîche can be made at home by adding a small amount of cultured buttermilk or sour cream to normal heavy cream, and allowing it to stand for several hours at room temperature as the bacterial cultures act on the cream. It has several advantages in the kitchen. Unlike sour cream, crème fraîche can be mixed with air to form whipped cream, and it can be cooked without curdling.

In the North of India a similar product is made, called Khatte Malai. Often made with buffalo milk, the cow’s milk version is milder in taste. And the best ghee is made from cultured cream such as crème fraîche.

Try these recipes using  Crème Fraîche:  Sweet Potatoes with Crème Fraîche and Crème Fraîche  Icecream.

You might also like to browse all our Creme Fraiche recipes here and here, and our How To recipes too. Our French recipes are here. Or check out our easy Late Summer recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. You can find more of these recipes in our Retro Recipes series.

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Strawberry Frappe

Refreshingly cool in hot weather

Would you believe, I first made this in December, 1998? Some recipes never date. And today I sit here, in 44C heat, without power or air-conditioning except for one power point. The electrician can’t come tonight. I need to have something to cool me down, and give me some sustenance. I can’t cook without electricity. I can’t eat – too hot. This cooling drink comes to mind.

The truth is, I love cooking things that I was making almost a decade ago. For a person who loves to experiment, loves to learn new things, it brings a sense of solidity, continuity, the expected, the sameness, the timelessness of life. Food fashions may have changed, we may have new ingredients, new cuisines, new tools and implements to explore. But the timelessness of some food is priceless.

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How to Make Ghee | Nature’s Fabulous Food

An Ayurvedic ritual

I have been making ghee for myself and others since around 2000. It does take a few practice attempts to perfect, but once you have done it you will never buy ghee again. It is quite different.

All it requires is butter and mindfulness – it does need to be watched continually. The end point tricky to judge the first couple of times that you make it. But after that, you are a pro. It takes about 30 minutes all up. The amount of time that it takes depends on the amount of water in the butter, and different brands of butter will take different times.

Feel free to browse our Indian recipes here and here. Or try recipes using ghee here and here. Our Spring recipes are here and here.

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