Cheesy potato & bacon bake

You’ve probably gathered that eating scrummy food in our household is extremely important.  We love food.  And none more so than cheese, potatoes and bacon.  I’ve been thinking about creating this recipe for awhile.  We love dauphinoise potato, we love cheese and we love bacon, so why not combine all three?  This can be served as a main course with a salad on the side, or as an accompaniment to a main dish.  It would work really well with a chicken dish and some lovely steamed veggies.  This is by no means a healthy dish; it’s completely indulgent and absolutely yummy!

Serves: 4 as a main course, or 6 as a side dish

Ingredients

  • Knob of butter
  • 1kg potatoes
  • 300g unsmoked back bacon (approximately 8 rashers)
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 100ml white wine
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 400g Gruyere cheese, grated

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 170C.
  2. Grease the dish you’re using with the knob of butter.
  3. Slice the potatoes into slices about 2 to 3mm thick and put in a bowl of cold water until you’re ready to use them.
  4. Grill or fry the bacon (cook it as crispy as you like it!).  When cooled enough to touch, cut into small pieces and set aside.
  5. Pour the cream and the wine into a saucepan and add the crushed garlic.  Bring to just below boiling point.
  6. Take the saucepan off the heat and sieve the creamy mixture into a jug.
  7. Take your buttered dish and place a layer of overlapping potatoes on the bottom.  Then sprinkle some of the bacon pieces and finally a layer of the Gruyere cheese.  Repeat.
  8. Once the dish is about half full (about two complete layers), pour half of the creamy mixture in and continue with the layers.  You want to end up with a layer of potatoes at the top and with enough cheese left over to sprinkle on top.
  9. Pour the rest of the creamy mixture in and cover the top with cheese.
  10. Put it in the oven for an hour to 1 hour 15 minutes.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. Keep a close eye on the boiling cream & wine mixture as it goes from simmering to boiling over very quickly.
  2. Gruyere cheese can be substituted for Cheddar cheese.
  3. The milk can be swapped for single or double cream if you want to make this more indulgent!
  4. Be sure to pat dry the potatoes before placing them in the dish.
  5. This dish can be made in advanced and just warmed through before serving.
  6. Don’t leave your sliced potatoes out, as they’ll go brown.  Pop a couple of drops of lemon juice and they definitely won’t go brown!

Enjoy lovely readers!

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Low Carb Lasagne

I would be lying to you if I said that I didn’t LOVE carbohydrates.  I’m not fussy when it comes to this food group:  delicious, warm crusty bread, an ice cold, crisp glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, a slab of Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (I can sometimes be a cheap date!), a crispy baked potato, oozing with butter and filled with baked beans and the strongest cheddar cheese I can lay my hands on, or some sort of pasta dish – I’ll take any of them; when it comes to this food group, I’m not at all discerning!  One of my favourite Saturday night suppers in London was the divine Marks & Spencer’s “Lasagne Al Forno”, which sadly cannot be bought in India.  Now, whilst I love carbohydrates, they DO NOT reciprocate their love.  Unwilling to give up my fix of lasagne, I needed to be creative and come up with a low carb version, which still satisfied my taste buds, but without the high carb content.  After a bit of playing around, this recipe definitely gave me the taste I was after, but without the 47g of carbs in one of serving of the M&S offering.  Serve with a large salad, and if you’re not a carb watcher, a large hunk of garlic bread.

Serves:  4, or 2 greedy people!

Ingredients

  • 2tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 200g of button mushrooms, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 500g of minced beef
  • 2tbsp of worcester sauce
  • 2tbsp of tomato puree
  • 1tbsp of Italian dried herbs
  • 100ml of red wine
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 75ml milk
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 40g of butter
  • 40g of plain flour
  • 400ml of milk
  • 100g of strong cheddar cheese, grated
  • Pinch of grated nutmeg
  • 1 courgette (zucchini),
  • 50g of parmesan cheese, finely grated

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven 180C.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a heavy-based frying pan over a medium to high heat.
  3. Add in the onions and fry until the onion is just starting to brown.  Add in the garlic and continue frying for 2 to 3 minutes.
  4. Add the carrots and mushrooms in and fry for a further 3 minutes.
  5. Make a well in the middle of the pan and add in the beef, use your spoon/spatula to break it up.
  6. Once all broken-up, mix in with the contents of the rest of the pan.
  7. Pop in the tomato puree and Italian herbs and stir in thoroughly.
  8. Carry on stirring until all the beef is browned.
  9. Pour in the wine, mix it in and let it cook until all the alcohol has burned off.
  10. Next, add in the tinned tomatoes and combine with the other ingredients.  Simmer over a low heat for 8 to 10 minutes, whilst constantly stirring before adding in the milk and giving a good stir.  Season as necessary
  11. To make the cheese sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan.
  12. Add the flour and stir until it forms a paste.  Cook for 1 to 2 minutes over a medium heat.
  13. Take the saucepan off the heat and add in about half the milk, whisking as you pour it in to prevent any lumps forming.
  14. Add the rest of the milk and put it back on the heat and constantly whisk.  The sauce will thicken up quite a bit.
  15. Once the sauce is nice and thick, sprinkle in the ground nutmeg and cheddar cheese and continue to stir until all the cheese has melted.
  16. Take a vegetable peeler and peel the courgette.  Still using the vegetable peeler, create long ribbons of the courgette and place to one side.
  17. Take your dish that you’re going to use (I use this 20cm one from John Lewis) and cover the bottom of it with a good thick layer of the meat sauce.
  18. Next, put a layer of the courgettes.  Make sure that all the meat is covered.
  19. Now, pour on a layer of the cheese sauce.  Keep repeating until all the meat and cheese sauces have been used up.  You want the top layer to be a layer of the cheese sauce.  I normally get around 3 layers of each in.
  20. On top of the final layer of the cheese sauce, sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese and pop in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until it’s golden brown on top.

Domestic Princess tips

  1. If making this for fussy little ones, omit the mushrooms and grate the onion and carrot, so they become undetectable.
  2. If you want to make this a more luxurious dish, swap half the milk for double cream.
  3. Not a low-carber?  Then you’ll need approximately 6 lasagne sheets.  I recommend the ones that don’t need any preparation – you just pop them on dry and in the oven it all goes.
  4. The Domestic Prince is a massive cheese fan, so if I’m feeling particularly fond of him when I’m making this, I’ll sprinkle parmesan cheese on top of each layer of the cheese sauce, to make it extra cheesy!
  5. If not using the cheese sauce immediately, put some cling film directly on top of the sauce to prevent a skin forming.
  6. When making this dish, I always make a double quantity of the cheese sauce and freeze it to use at a later date.

Do you love carbs like me, or can you take them, or leave them?  Do you follow a low-carb eating plan?

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

Jhinga Nisha: Southern Indian Prawn Curry

About 2 years ago we went on a mini break to Kerala (to escape the noise of Diwali) with the Domestic King.  We stayed at the Kumarakom Lake Resort, and whilst lovely, it definitely wasn’t worth the price we paid….However, one thing that was definitely worth it, was the food.  The Domestic Prince and King (both lovers of Indian food) had an amazing dish called Jhinga Nisha, which is basically a prawn curry.  The preparation for this dish might be a bit laborious, but it is so worth the effort to produce a traditional, authentic southern Indian curry.  And as some of you might guessed, this isn’t called Jhinga Nisha in our household….oh no!  The Domestic Prince and his friend, Andy, have renamed this “Ginger Knickers”!  What else can I say, apart from enjoy!!

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 50g unblanched almonds
  • 50g unsalted cashew nuts
  • 1kg large raw prawns, shelled
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 3tbsp milk, warmed
  • 8 green cardamom
  • 4tbsp ghee
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 green chilies, finely chopped
  • 20g fresh ginger, grated or finely chopped
  • 6 to 8tbsp of cold water
  • 75ml single cream

Method

  1. Boil two saucepans of water and pop the almonds in one and cashew nuts in the other and boil for around 20 minutes.
  2. After 20 minutes, drain and let cool slightly.
  3. When cooled, slip the almonds out of their skins and whizz them in the food processor, together with the cashew nuts, until they’ve formed a paste.
  4. Wash and dry the prawns.
  5. Sprinkle the saffron into the warm milk and put to one side to infuse.
  6. Remove the tiny black cardamom seeds from the pods and grind to a fine powder.  Pop to one side.
  7. Heat the ghee in a pan over a medium heat.
  8. Add the onions to the hot ghee and sauté until golden.
  9. Add the chillies and ginger and sauté for around 1 – 2 minutes, constantly stirring.
  10. Next, add in the almond and cashew nut paste, stirring continually for approximately 2 minutes.
  11. Pop the prawns in the pan and add 2 tablespoons of the cold water.
  12. Keep stirring, and add another 2 tablespoons of cold water.
  13. Keep adding the cold water until the sauce has a nice thick consistency (this will be around 6 to 8 tablespoons).
  14. Pour the saffron infused milk into the pan.
  15. Have a quick taste and add any seasoning.
  16. Simmer for a minute or so until the prawns are cooked.
  17. Add the cream and combine with the rest of the dish.
  18. Just before serving, sprinkle the cardamom powder over the curry.
  19. Serve with rice.

Domestic Princess tips:

  1. Single cream can be swapped for coconut milk or cream.
  2. If you’re watching your carb intake, grate some cauliflower, pop into boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes, drain and serve.
  3. If you’re allergic to shellfish, substitute the prawns for chicken.
  4. If you want to make it a milder curry, scrape out the seeds when preparing the chilies.
  5. If you can’t get hold of any ghee, then just use a flavourless oil.

Please let me know if you make it and what you think.

With much love
The Domestic Princess
xoxo

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