There’s no doubt about it but online supermarket shopping can be a blessing. Especially to those of us who have decided to forgo owning a car in London. Most of the heavy-duty or bulky items that we require like washing liquids or toilet rolls get ordered online and every now and then when I have a bare vegetable tray I may add an order of the basic heavy root vegetables (although I do generally like to shop locally for meat and vegetables). But I know to my cost that a quick slip of a fat finger or slight distraction can result in duplications of items or catering-size jars of mayonnaise that don’t fit into the fridge (and take forever to use up!). In the most recent ‘digit blunder’ it was a duplication of a ‘twofer’. Four bags of organic carrots meant I needed to start thinking carrot recipes and fast. I sat to ponder.
Now I could have made any of a dozen carrot salads or carrot cake* or indeed carrot ice cream (something I’ve been thinking about for some time) but for some reason my mind drifted back to childhood dinners and carrots in white sauce. Oh how I loved that. Thick white sauce and sweet carrots, mmm, lovely. I suspected that my memory might be better than the reality – my mother did tend to overcook her vegetables – however, that white sauce thought sparked something in me and I ended up creating this carrot and potato gratin. I felt the potato starch would help thicken the sauce and so negate the need for flour and the onion and garlic would enrich the flavour of the new season carrots.
We ate this on a warm summer evening with a crunchy green salad whose sweet sharp vinaigrette was a perfect foil against the soft rich gratin. Veggie bliss.
Carrot & Potato Gratin
Serves 2 as a main
6 carrots, peeled
2 large potatoes, peeled
1 onion, small, sliced finely
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/2 teaspoon mixed ground cumin & coriander
175 mls milk
50 mls double cream
salt & pepper
Finely slice the potatoes and the carrots (use a mandolin if you have one otherwise use a sharp knife).
Heat the milk in a saucepan, add the finely sliced vegetables and the garlic.
Bring to the boil and simmer very, very gently, turning over the vegetables every now and then for about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the spices, season then gently, so as not to break up the potatoes and carrots, empty the contents into an oven proof dish.
Pour over the cream and tap the dish to make sure it trickles down into the veg.
Bake in the oven at 180C for approx an hour. Cover for the first 30 mins before removing and continue to bake until the top is golden and the milk/cream has been absorbed when the layers of carrots and potatoes are soft and rich. *Sighs*
*I did actually bake a carrot cake a few days later and delicious it was too. Recipe from Signe’s recent cookbook ‘Scandilicious Baking’.