Tag Archives: celeriac gratin

Celeriac and walnut gratin and greedy gourmet dogs

Families that have managed to celebrate Christmas ‘normally’ seem to be in the minority this year, so I would like to spare a thought for all the people that have had a challenging time due to illness, bereavement, enforced isolation, travel restrictions, etc. Sending love to you all.

A noisy commotion broke out next to our land yesterday, with lots of shouting, barking and swearing. We found out from a friend afterwards, that a hunter, who had stopped for a picnic lunch, had had his foie gras sandwich swiped by a greedy English Setter. I’m not sure if I’m more mystified by the refined tastes of the naughty dog, or by the fact that someone would fill a sandwich with foie gras, even if it was Christmas Day.

I have been very busy lately because Léo had covid and had to isolate in the guest grange. His appetite wasn’t stinted, if anything, it increased, so I had a bit of a mini Uber Eats business running from my kitchen. Apparently my new venture meant I was too busy to notice a wasp hibernating in my trousers while getting dressed, and when I later slammed my thigh into a door, it understandably got very irate, stinging me in revenge for being woken up and concussed. So not only am I the only person I know to receive a PCR test result of ‘inconclusive’ 10 days ago, I’m also the only person I know to be walking around with an angry wasp sting in December.

Ingredients (serves 6)

1kg celeriac, peeled and cut into large cubes

3 medium potatoes, peeled

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

15g butter

200ml double cream

Handful of walnuts, chopped

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

100g, Comté, finely sliced

Half teaspoon Espelette pepper or paprika

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Boil the celeriac and potatoes until cooked. Strain and add the garlic and butter and puree until smooth. Add the cream, walnuts and seasoning, mixing well to create a homogenous texture. Transfer to a buttered oven-proof dish and cover with the sliced cheese and Espelette pepper. Cook for 30 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling.

Works well as a standalone dish with green salad, or as an accompaniment.

Celeriac gratin and Hugo the sage

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I’m thinking about leaving home. Bossy would obviously try to stop me  because I’m quite a catch as dogs go. It’s not that I don’t like it here; the food’s not bad most of the time, the scenery is pretty enough, I’m more or less allowed to do whatever I like (except kill hens, which is very frustrating for me – to the point that I may even be psychologically damaged). I’m just getting a bit fed up of all the baby animals that keep popping up. There have been rabbits, kittens, hedgehogs, birds, foals and now a damned puppy of all things! I suppose I must have been a puppy once, but I’m sure that I would have been an extremely well-behaved one. It stands to reason. Secretly I have to admit that Java’s really rather sweet, but her shenanigans are beyond me. For example, why would you plunge into a ditch that you know you have absolutely no hope of getting out of on your own? It’s just silly of her to try to copy me because I have a magnificently muscular male physique and she is, frankly, just a silly slip of a girl. Maybe I’m going to have to stay after all because someone’s going to have to show her the ropes and I can just imagine the chaos if I leave it to Bossy. One thing is certain: Java’s not going to be helping me to write my column anytime soon because she doesn’t even know how to read and write yet!

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Thank you Hugo! I very much hope you decide to stay.

Just as I make use of a large variety of grains, I also try to vary the root vegetables we eat as much as possible. We eat potatoes, for example, quite rarely as there are so many other things to chose from – sweet potatoes, swedes, turnips, parsnips and one of my favourites: celeriac.

Celeriac is very rich in antioxidants and a good source of vitamin K. It also provides essential minerals such as phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper and manganese, as well as B-complex vitamins.

This recipe is adapted from Jamie Oliver.

Ingredients (serves 4)

1 large celeriac, peeled and cut into 1cm slices

2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1cm slices

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

1 chilli pepper, finely sliced

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon paprika

400ml cream

200ml vegetable stock

4 anchovy filets

75g hard cheese (I used Comté), grated

Preheat the oven to 190°C. Place the celeriac, potatoes, garlic and chilli pepper in a large ovenproof dish and season. Add the cream, stock, anchovies and most of the cheese. Mix everything well and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes until golden brown and bubbling on top.