Cheesy vegetable crumble

Ah October- the month that brings a chill in the air and an urge to hibernate in front of an open fire with all your favourite comfort foods. Well, look no further! This cheesy vegetable crumble makes the most of a range of seasonal vegetables and it is perfect as a main meal or a side dish. Potato, carrot, swede, kale and leek are my vegetables of choice which gives a balanced between earthy flavours and sweetness which marry with the creamy cheesy sauce which is topped with crunchy crumble.

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Ingredients- serves 4 as a main
1 small swede
3 large potatoes such as Maris Piper
1 large carrot
1 leek
Small bag of black kale
500ml vegetable stock
150ml milk
2 garlic cloves- whole
60ml double cream
2 tsp Dijon mustard
Pepper
Crumbly, tangy cheese such as Caerphilly
100g plain flour
50g unsalted butter
Freshly grated parmesan

1. Prepare the vegetables by peeling them and cutting the swede, potatoes and carrots into cubes. Take a large, wide pan and place the cubed vegetables into it along with the vegetable stock and milk. Place two whole unpeeled garlic cloves in that have been pricked with a knife to infuse a delicate flavour. Bring to a boil before lowering to a simmer; cover the pan and simmer until the vegetables are tender to a knife point. Remember that swedes take longer than the other vegetables so keep the cubes of this smaller so they all cook at the same time.

2. Meanwhile, in a small pan sweat the leek with a splash of oil and small knob of butter. Cook until tender before removing and setting aside. Add the kale into the pan along with a splash of water; cover and allow to wilt slightly.

3. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180 fan. Choose a large ovenproof baking dish that is large enough to fit all the vegetables in. When the vegetables are tender, take the pan off the heat and stir in the double cream along with some freshly grated parmesan cheese, the leeks and kale and mustard. Season to taste. Spoon half into the baking dish before crumbling some Caerphilly through before spooning the remaining vegetables on top followed by more crumbled cheese. Pour the creamy sauce over.

4. Finally, for the crumble topping simply place the flour in a large bowl along with the butter. Cut the butter into small chunks for ease and rub the flour and butter between your fingers to form a crumb. Grate in some parmesan if you like. Scatter the crumble over the vegetables and bake in the oven until golden and crunchy; this should take 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for a couple of minutes as it will be red hot! Serve as a main or as a side dish and dive in!

Cheesy vegetable crumble- a comforting autumnal meal that deserves to be centre stage on your dining table!

 

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Golden artichoke and spinach gratin

This little number is simple, delicious and so easy so you have no excuse but to give this a try. Usually jarred artichokes are associated with antipasti but use them in a different way and let them speak for themselves.

I served it with roasted garlic and thyme new potatoes which were finished off with garlic sea salt alongside a beautiful fillet steak with a red wine, aged balsamic and shallot reduction (recipe below). Unfortunately only a photo of the gratin and spuds made it- the rest disappeared before my very eyes (I hate it when food does that!!!).

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Artichoke gratin- serves 2
Half a jar of artichoke hearts- drained and blotted on kitchen roll
Two good handfuls of baby spinach- washed and roughly chopped
1/2 banana shallot- finely sliced
1 small garlic clove- crushed
80ml cream
Handful of panko crumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan ready to receive the gratin. In the meantime, heat a little knob of butter in a frying pan and cook the crumbs for a minute- remove and set aside. Clean out the pan and add a little oil and soften the shallot and garlic. Pop in the artichoke and spinach and cook for a further couple of minutes until the leaves are wilting. Drizzle over the cream and season before simmering for a minute. Place the mixture into an ovenproof dish, top with the panko crumbs and bake for 10-15 minutes until golden and bubbling.

Red wine reduction
1 garlic clove- crushed under the blade of a knife
1/2 banana shallot- finely chopped
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 tbsp good balsamic vinegar
100ml red wine
100ml beef stock
Knob of butter

1. Take the frying pan again and pop in the garlic clove, shallot and thyme and cook until turning lightly golden. Next in goes the balsamic vinegar and simmer for a minute until reduced and sticky. Pop in the red wine and reduce by half before adding the stock and reducing by around just over half again. When the reduction is ready simply finish off with a small know of unsalted butter and swirl in the pan. You will be rewarded with a deep, luscious and glossy sauce ready for the fillet steak.

Creamy Brussel sprout gratin

After a Christmas of boiling sprouts to within an inch on their lives and then serving them up only for family members to bemoan them, this poor old vegetable needs a revamp! This gratin pairs the earthiness of sprouts with the sweetness of shallot, saltiness of ham and luxury of cream so read on…

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Ingredients- serves 2
A small bag of sprouts approx. 250g- peeled and trimmed
30g butter
30g plain flour
150ml milk
150ml double cream
50g parmesan
1 banana shallot- finely sliced
4 slices of Parma ham or similar
30g breadcrumbs

1. Preheat the oven to 200c/ 180fan. Heat the butter and flour together in a saucepan before adding the milk and cream little by little. Make sure no lumps form! Bring to the boil when all the milk is combined before lowering a gently simmer to thicken the sauce.

2. Meanwhile, par boil the sprouts and set aside. Take a small pan and gently fry off the shallot until softened and turning golden. You can also either use the same pan to crisp up small pieces of the ham or you can add this uncooked later on so it’s up to you. I used Carmarthen ham which worked perfectly.

3. The sauce should now be ready to season and to stir most of the parmesan into. Reserve some to combine with the breadcrumbs (I used panko) for the topping if you like. Add the sprouts, ham and shallot to the cheese sauce before placing in an ovenproof dish to bake for 30 minutes or until golden and bubbling.

Serve as the main event or with a meat dish. It also goes well with a good piece of steak!

An indulgent gratin perfect to use the last of the Christmas sprouts!

Ruby chard gratin

We’ve all been there. You go to the market and buy a glut of veggies only for some of them to end up in the fridge for longer than others. Never fear! This gratin makes use of leftover chard and spinach would also work well mixed in too. Serve with a meaty main meal or double the quantities to have it as a main meal with crusty fresh bread.

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Ingredients- serves 2 as a side dish
1/2 pack of chard- washed
25g unsalted butter
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
100ml double cream
100g Gruyere cheese or similar- grated
100g breadcrumbs

1. First of all make sure that the chard is well rinsed and preheat the oven to 180c/ 160 fan. Remove the leaves and cut any thick stems in half lengthways to it all cooks evenly. Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the leaves for 2 minutes before adding the stems until softened. You could also steam them if you prefer. Remove the chard from the pan and blot with kitchen towel to absorb any excess water.

2. Take a small pan and melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the mustard and then gradually stir in the cream until all has been added. Bring to a simmer for a few minutes before taking off the heat and adding half of the cheese and season to taste. Gruyere works well but parmesan would also do the trick.

3. Get a small oven proof baking dish and place the chard on the bottom before pouring over the cream mix. Top with the breadcrumbs (panko go well here) and bake for around 30 minutes until bubbling and golden. I also popped some thyme on the top.

Chard gratin- a colourful celebration of this beautiful vegetable!