I adore France. I have so many happy memories, from family holidays in Brittany, my boys scoffing snails and jumping from the pier at Le Val André into the sea, to a gorgeously grown up break at a Chateaux on the Côte d’Azur. Mr E and I are always plotting a redo of our Parisian adventure and, of course, I’ve loved so many wonderful trips to Disneyland Paris. I’m also a huge fan of French cuisine, so when The France Show challenged me to recreate my favourite French recipe, I had a few to choose from. Still, it’s chilly, and comfort food is the order of the day, so what better dish to choose than an indulgent gratin full of cream and butter and heady with garlic: delicious, decadent potatoes dauphinoise.
Of course, ask ten different chefs their recipe for pommes dauphinoise and you’ll get ten different replies: cheese vs no cheese; grated nutmeg or thyme; waxy potatoes vs floury. Everyone has their own way of doing things. For me, the potatoes should be floury (aim for one large baking potato per person), the ratio of cream to milk should be half and half, there should be no cheese, and the garlic should be full on and scent the whole house.
Classic potatoes dauphinoise
1 small pot (around 150/170ml) double cream
The same amount of milk
3 fat garlic cloves, crushed
4 large floury potatoes (around 1kg in total)
Salt and pepper
First, preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4
Pour the cream into a small saucepan, and add the same amount of milk. Crush three fat garlic cloves with the back of a knife and add, along with a couple of sprigs of thyme, to the cream/milk mixture. Allow it to heat gently while you prepare the potatoes.
Peel the potatoes and slice as thinly as you can. I find it helps to cut a little slice off which gives you a firm base – just keep your fingers well out of the way! As you can see, some of mine weren’t very thin. Of course, you could use a food processor or even a mandolin if you’re brave.
Butter your gratin dish, then layer the potatoes, dotting them with a little butter and sprinkling with salt and pepper between layers.
When you’re all layered up, gently pour the garlic and thyme-infused cream mixture over the potatoes (fish them out first with a slotted spoon – they’ve done their bit). Add a few final dots of butter, and a last sprinkling of salt and pepper, then cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for a final 10 – 15 minutes until golden and bubbling. This dish is delicious served with roast lamb (or any roast dinner actually), steak, or just with simply grilled fish and a green salad.
The France Show at Olympia, London
This year, The France Show takes place at London’s Olympia from 25th to 27th January, and whether you’re interested in the wine and food of the region, are planning to holiday in France, or are dreaming of finding your own French property, there’s something there for you.
Highlights include cooking demonstrations of fabulous French cuisine by top chefs in the live theatres; wine and champagne masterclasses in The Wine Theatre; talks from a variety of experts on the Flavours of France Stage sponsored by P&O Ferries; a French market; the largest French Property Exhibition in the UK (including a range of experts to talk you through the buying process, plus free property seminars) and, of course, can can dancers – ooh la la!
For further information on The France Show 2019, please visit: www.thefranceshow.com. Tickets cost £12 in advance, and £16 on the door, but for half price tickets exclusive to English Mum readers, just click here, or use the promo code ENGLISHMUM when ordering.
My half price tickets are limited, so grab them while they’re still available and you might even see me there!