Sunday, March 21, 2010

the winding stair to a sunny sunday evening

I did not post a blog yesterday mainly because we had a day out with cork grannie in Greystones, Co. Wicklow and there was a disappointing game of rugby to be watched and a rather uplifting dinner to be had - in all, a busy weekend.

Renovations are imminent in the household, they have been for about five years, but it seems like this summer is the summer and things are going to happen (I will not be holding my breath)
Excitingly this means planning a new kitchen, well almost - the old kitchen will be recycled in its entirety and it will be brought into the new millennium by adding a dish washer - the excitement of it all ... what will I do without my daily hypno-therapy of hot water, fairy liquid and my rubber gloves! More on the renovations will come later.

Anyway as part of the renovations we went to Greystones to check out some wood burning stoves and the like - all very interesting until I spotted the aga at almost 7,000 euro - what a bargain!
Anyway to cut a long begging-chant-to-no-avail short, we all needed lunch and headed to A.Caviston, on the main street in Greystones. A sunny outside table beckoned and 'the hairy one' headed into choose for everyone. After a minor disaster which involved 'the hairy one' coming out with a tray full of food and 'the smallest one' knocking over the entire food-laden table...and after we ordered and were served a second time, we eventually sat down to a very tasty, healthy reasonably priced (36 euro for 5 substantial lunches), calm lunch. A.Caviston also has wonderful fish, cheese and meat counters and it is beside the ubiquitous Happy Pear organic market - a foodie paradise in the heart of the village.

After a brisk walk on the beach it was back to town and home for the evening and by a miracle of a happy husband and a visiting grannie, I managed to, not only get out to watch the match in a pub, with adults and without my children, I also managed to go out for dinner in a really good restaurant - I do love the hairy one a lot for this, he's great!

We booked a table for four at The Winding Stair just over the Halfpenny bridge in Dubin city centre and what a nice time we had...Kerry prawns on toast with garlic, lemon and mixed leaves...hot dressed crab with toasted soda...Kilkeel hake fillet with lemon and parsely mash, cockles and mussels and Dublin Bay prawn bisque....do I need to say any more, amazing and well worth a visit!

So anyway after a weekend of consumption I decided this evening to make gratin dauphinoise as it is really simple, light and tasty but gives a warm glow and is my perfect Sunday evening treat.

This is mostly served as a side dish to a main course, but I really like it on its own for when you don't want a lot to eat but are in the mood for something that tastes really good....

For two people, you will need:

4 large potatoes, waxy-ish, peeled
1 garlic clove, smoked if you have it
1 egg
300ml of cream or a combination of milk and cream - the healthier option
freshly ground nutmeg
1 large knob of butter
parsley for serving

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.

In a shallow oven-proof dish rub butter and garlic around the base of the dish.
Finely slice the potatoes and layer them flat on the base of the dish to cover it. Grate a small amount of nutmeg onto the top of the first layer. Add another layer of potatoes and again sprinkle a little nutmeg to the top of the layer. Do this for about 2 layers and no more as the nutmeg can be a little over-powering.
Layer the rest of the potatoes.
In a jug, mix the egg with a little milk and a pinch of salt.
Heat the 300ml of milk in a saucepan until warm and add this to the egg mix.
Pour the egg/milk/cream mix onto the potatoes until the potatoes are just but not quite covered.

Put it in the oven for approx. 45 minutes or until the potatoes are tender to a knife tip. You may want to protect the top of the potatoes with a piece of foil towards the end of cooking to prevent them burning.
Season if necessary, top with parsley and serve. Yummm.....


Note in the photograph it looks a bit eggy - I used two eggs in this recipe which was a bit much so I would advise using one per 300ml of liquid required. I also served this with a few shavings of comte because it was in the fridge ... gruyere would also be fine. You can also add diced bacon, sauteed mushrooms and onion to this dish and although you are moving away from true dauphinoise, it also makes a super sunday supper.

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