Potato and Bacon Dauphinoise

Potato and Bacon Dauphinoise

I love Jamie Oliver. I love his cook books, I love his TV shows, I just love him to bits. I saw Jamie Oliver make this Dauphinoise* on his 30 Minute Meals show, and knew that I’d have to give it a try. It was so simple but had a few little extra touches that turn a good old fashioned potato bake into something fancy.

I’ve made this three times now. Once for friends with the whole 30 Minute Meals shebang, where it rocked their socks off. Once for Potato Day, a potato themed celebration with friends (oy, my guts hurt at the end of that day…). And once for family over Easter, with roast shoulder of lamb and roast pork belly (thanks Nanette!). Each and every time it has been a crowd pleaser.

BUT. I can’t just leave a good recipe well enough alone. To me, this needed bacon. Sorry Jamie, but it’s true. And I’m sure if he’d allowed himself a couple more minutes he would have thrown some bacon in there too. Without further ado, I give you Jamie’s Dauphinoise, with Bacon, adapted from here.

Potato and Bacon Dauphinoise

(that’s potato bake to you + me)

Parentals, pay heed to the tips in blue.

6 rashers middle bacon, chopped
1 red onion
1kg Maris Piper potatoes
1 nutmeg
2 cloves of garlic
1 x 300ml tub of single cream
4 anchovies in oil
Parmesan cheese
2 bay leaves
a very small bunch of fresh thyme

Tell your partner-in-parenting that you’ve got far too much to do and that they’ll need to look after the kiddo while you prepare food for the hoard.

Put a frying pan on over high heat and fry off bacon until almost crispy. Peel and halve the red onion. Wash the potatoes, leave their skins on and slice in the food processor with the onion (I used my V-Slicer cos I don’t have a food processor …. did the world just collectively gasp?). Tip into a large sturdy roasting tray (approx. 35 x 25cm) and season. Grate over¼ of the nutmeg, crush in 2 unpeeled cloves of garlic and pour in 225ml of single cream.
Tear in the anchovies and finely grate over a large handful of Parmesan. Add the bay leaves, pick the leaves from a few thyme sprigs and add a good drizzle of olive oil. Use your clean hands to quickly mix and toss everything together, then put the tray over a medium heat. Pour in 200ml of boiled water, cover tightly with tin foil and leave on the heat.

If you’re not doing the whole 30 Minute Meal shebang then pour yourself a glass of wine, peruse Instagram, and give the tray of potatoes a shake occasionally so nothing catches. Be on guard to look flustered and extremely busy if the partner-in-parenting  passes by.

After about 15 minutes, remove the tin foil. Finely grate over a layer of Parmesan. Drizzle the remaining thyme sprigs with oil, scatter on top and put into the oven on the top shelf to cook for 15 minutes, or until golden brown and bubbling. Serve, or allow to cool to a manageable temperature before transporting to your hungry hoard.

While everyone is praising your amazing cooking skills make sure you loudly talk up the amazing support of your hard working partner-in-parenting, without whom you could not so fantastically duplicate the efforts of Sir Jamie. Toast Sir Jamie.

*Google tells me that Dauphinoise is French for potato gratin. So yes, this is essentially a recipe for Potato and Bacon Potato Gratin. I’ll have to ask you all to pardon my French.

Have you served up a crowd pleaser lately?

ANZAC Day activities for children

ANZAC Activities for children

This year Pebble and I commemorated ANZAC Day with these child friendly activities:

Sugar Free ANZAC Slice* (UPDATE: Fructose Free)

Pebble loves cooking and doesn’t mind a bit of biscuit, usually a boring old arrowroot though, if has to be said. I adapted this recipe from Sweet Poison by David Gillespie and it is soooo good. I originally followed the recipe as it was, but then I was hit with some inspiration. The original recipe will give you some sweet and crunchy ANZAC biscuits, more traditional style. However, I am a lover of soft and chewy biscuits AND easy peasy slices, so I brought the two together for this very moreish Sugar Free ANZAC Slice. Genius, I know!**

*If you’re a fan of sugar you can use white or brown sugar (approx 3/4 cup) instead of dextrose, and golden syrup (approx 2 Tablespoons) instead of glucose. But PLEASE give this sugar free version a try, it is seriously good.

** I may have decided to make a slice after placing my first batch of biscuits a little too close together and kinda making a ‘slice’ by accident. Ahem. The batch in the photos was my second go at it, and made into a slice on purpose. If you want biscuits then make sure you leave a nice good space between each one, this mixture spreads ALOT.

Sugar Free ANZAC Slice

(Kiddo tips in blue!)

1 cup (150g) plain flour
1 cup (80g) rolled oats
3/4 cup (70g) desiccated coconut
1 1/4 cups dextrose (available with the home brewing gear in supermarkets or here).
150g butter
3 tablespoons boiling water
4 tablespoons glucose syrup
1 teaspoon baking powder

1. Preheat oven to 150 degrees celcius (300 F). Line a slice tray with baking paper.

2. Sift flour into a large bowl.

Children LOVE measuring, pouring and sifting, this is a great job for little helping hands. Is it slower? Yeah! Messier? Yeah! More fun? Yeah!

3. Add oats, coconut and dextrose, then set aside.

Lots more measuring and pouring here, or if you have electronic scales you can have a natter about how much you need and which numbers you need to stop at.

4. Melt butter in a saucepan, then add syrup and water. Allow mixture to boil briefly before taking off the heat.

Very young children should stand well back at this point, but older children (school age) can help with supervision. A sturdy stool, chair or step will make it easier.

5. Add baking powder to the saucepan, allow it to foam, then pour immediately onto dry ingredients. Mix well.

Baking foam is F U N to watch foam up, but keep little ones away from the flames (surely you didn’t need me to write that, but there it is). This mixture is hot so take care. Have a mix yourself first, then as it cools (and it cools in seconds) kiddos can take over.

6. Pour into slice tin and spread evenly.

If you pour, they can spread. Team work! Don’t forget to lick the bowl…. mmmmmmm.

7. Bake for approximately 20 – 25 minutes, or until just golden and no longer wobbly for perfectly a soft and chewy slice. Cook for five minutes longer if you’d like it firmer with more crunch.

Set the timer and go for a play, or do the washing up together. Pebble is a huge fan of doing dishes (yep, once again, slower, messier but MORE FUN).

8. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes then pop it on a wire rack to cool enough for chopping and storing. Try not to eat too many pieces as you go!

Set yourselves up for an afternoon snack or to take your slice to share with family and friends.

UPDATE: Read more about my sugar free journey and get yourself a recipe for Sugar Free Portuguese Custard Tarts here.

Poppy Potato Printing

ANZAC Poppy Potato Prints

This was so simple. I cut a potato in half and into the cut side of each half I made a poppy shape (how clever am I!? Well, I was impressed with myself). I poured red paint onto a damp folded up wash cloth which was sitting on a plate, this created the stamp pad. Child + stamp + paint = DONE!

More ANZAC stuff for kids:

  • For child friendly ways to explain ANZAC Day to children, visit ANZACday.org.au.
  • For information on ANZAC Day services in your state go to http://www.rsl.org.au/ –> Commemoration –> ANZAC Day.
  • Free ANZAC Printables from mooo.com.au.

Portuguese Custard Tarts (Sugar Free)

Wait! Don’t go! Just because this post is all “sugar free” doesn’t mean that it won’t be sweet. I promise. Just look at these pretty tarts!

sugar free portuguese tartssugar freeP1180187P1180192

Let me start at the beginning. In January this year I was feeling like crapola. I was in a holiday food coma and I needed to find a way out of it. That’s when I stumbled across two books, Sweet Poision by David Gillespie, and I Quit Sugar by Sarah Wilson*. Then I watched this. And I decided to give this sugar free gig a try.

I didn’t follow any program exclusively, but mashed them together to create a version of sugar free that worked for me. I treated it as an experiment, one that I could stop anytime if I didn’t feel like it was working for me (wise advice from Sarah Wilson).

That was 85 days ago.

And I haven’t looked back.

I quit sugar to kick my “addiction” to the sweet stuff. To say goodbye to the constant cravings and the NEED to eat something sweet. I was sick of being a slave to it. There are many good reasons not to eat sugar, but I’ll leave the explanations to the experts. I can say that it’s worked for me. I don’t crave sugar any more. It’s one less demon that I need to worry about.

However. I like food and friends, and having food with friends. I like feeding my friends. So I have sought out some recipes to help when I need a sweet treat on the table.

Over Easter I modified a recipe for Portuguese Custard Tarts to make it sugar free. And it worked! These are slightly citrusy from the lemon zest, and just sweet enough to hit the spot.

Sugar Free Portuguese Custard Tarts
(go ahead and ignore the blue text if you are toddler free)

makes 12

prep + cook time 55 minutes

2/3 cup (170ml) rice syrup (available in most supermarkets and health food shops)
2 tablespoons cornflour
4 egg yolks
1 1/4 cups (300ml) pouring cream
1/3 cup (80m) water
3cm strip lemon rind
1 sheet ready-rolled butter puff pastry
1 toddler
patience and persistence

1. Make a chair prison for your toddler and set them up with some patty pans, a muffin tray, and some seeds or lentils to keep them busy “helping” you.

2. Preheat oven to 220C. Grease 12-hole muffin pan. NOTE: I used a tart pan for one batch and a muffin pan for the second batch. I preferred the muffin pan.

3. Whisk syrup, cornflour, egg yolks, cream and water until smooth. Add lemon rind and stir over a medium heat until mixture comes to the boil. Remove from heat, discard rind. Stir extract into custard.

4. Give the toddler her dummy, even though she’s probably too old for it and it’s not sleep time (but she’s still in her pyjamas, so close enough).

5. Cut pastry sheet in half. Place halves on top of each other. Roll pastry tightly (like a swiss roll) from one short side; cut roll into twelve equal rounds.

6. Give the toddler a cuddle and a promise of play in just “one more minute”. Liar.

7. Place pastry rounds, cut sides up, on lightly floured surface. Roll each into a 10cm round. Push rounds into pan holes; spoon in custard.

5. Bake custard tarts about 20 minutes. Stand 5 minutes before lifting onto wire rack to cool.

6. Go and play with the poor kid.

So, what am I grateful for?

~ high backed kitchen chairs that prevent a toddler from falling when she’s standing on said chairs and “helping” me cook.

~ rice syrup, for making my sugar free life sweet.

~ patty pans and their never ending ability to divert the attention of a toddler.

What are you grateful for? Join in with Maxabella and Kidspot.

*Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post.