Saffron Potatoes and Brocolli in Roquefort Cream

It’s been a long time since I got carried away with cooking, as regular readers may have noticed. There have been many reasons for this – I go through cycles of enthusiasm for cooking anyway, and for the last couple of months Gill’s been on an Atkins diet, something I’ve been meaning to blog about but never got around to. And I don’t know how to cook anything Atkinsish, other than fish, which we both got sick of within about a week of her starting the diet.

Anyway, she decided to come off the diet today (but go on a low fat one from tomorrow… another cooking opportunity foiled), and I’m trying to work out what I’m going to cook for the family when we’re all in Wales this Christmas. So I returned to The Vegetarian Bistro (recently, as I’ve tired of all my other recipe books, I’ve only grown more and more enamoured of this one) for inspiration.

So tonight, for one night only, we have… hmm, perhaps I ought to give them their proper French names, just like the Queen did when she wanted to piss off George W… OK, so firstly, Gratin de pommes de terre Côte d’Azur avec fromage de brebis. Take some potatoes, boil them whole for 15 minutes (I love potatoes boiled whole – they come out with such a nice texture compared to chopped water-logged ones) then rinse with cold water and allow them to cool off. Meanwhile, saute some onions until just browning, then add some minced garlic. Slip the skins off the potatoes and slice into 5mm rounds. Put a couple of layers of these on the bottom of a casserole dish, then spread some of the onion on top, then some chopped tomato, herbes de provence, sugar, salt and pepper. And repeat a couple of times. Finish up with potatoes, then top with some more tomatoes mixed with saffron. Pop the cover on and stick them into the oven for half-an-hour. Take them out and grate some cheese on top – the recipe says pecorino or another old sheep or goat’s cheese, but we made do with something Swiss and Emmental-like. Cook uncovered for another 15 minutes. The saffron gives everything a lovely warm flavour, pure comfort food.

And to go with it… Broccoli au sauce roquefort. First toast some cashew nuts in a little butter, until they have brown flecks on them. Put them to one side and saute minced shallots in oodles of butter, for about five minutes, then add garlic for a few seconds, then tip in some white wine. Boil rapidly for a few minutes until the wine reduces, then season with nutmeg, pepper and cayenne. Add crème fraîche and heat until it boils, then set aside. Steam some broccoli until it’s just done, then re-heat the sauce and crumble in some roquefort (well, we made do with dolcelatte, they don’t sell roquefort in the shop near us). Squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, then spoon some sauce onto plates, put the broccoli on top, and sprinkle with cashews.

And that’s what we had for tea. I could really get into this cooking lark again.