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BLUE CHEESE, GARLIC & THYME POTATO GRATIN

Cold weather comfort food to warm your heart

For me, cold weather is all about big bold heart-warming flavours and easy to make and serve recipes that keep you out of the kitchen and sitting down with your guests longer. These two single pan recipes do just the trick. Fire up Songza, crack a bottle and let your oven do the work.

BLUE CHEESE, GARLIC & THYME POTATO GRATIN

Nothing hugs your heart on a cold night like a cheesy, creamy, garlicy potato baked pan of goodness. Running the potatoes over a mandolin makes things a little easier but hand cutting is fine too.

Takes approximately 1 hour. Feeds 6-8

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 lbs brushed thinly sliced potatoes (whatever amount fills your baking tray nicely)
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 garlic cloves finely minced
  • ¾ cup blue cheese
  • fresh thyme
  • salt & pepper

Method:

Add cream, cheese, finely minced garlic, thyme and salt/pepper to a heavy bottomed pot and lightly simmer for 5-8 mins. Thinly slice potatoes with a mandolin or by hand. Layout the potatoes in an ovenproof pan. Gently pour pot ingredients over the potatoes. Bake at 375 for 60-75minutes - until potatoes are fork tender and golden brown. Let rest for 10-15 minutes before diving in. Serve with a favourite side salad or pan-seared greens.

ROASTED PEARS WITH PECANS & PRUNES

The natural sweetness of baked pears is balanced beautifully with the richness of prunes and crunch of pecans in this no-brainer, one-tray baked dessert. The biggest challenge here is keeping your guests away from the oven while they try to track down the delicious smell filling your kitchen.

Takes approximately 1 hour. Feeds 6-8

6/8 pears (I chose Bartlett)

1 cup seedless prunes roughly chopped

1 cup pecans roughly chopped

¼ pound butter

I lemon, zest and juice

1 orange, zest and juice

3 tbsp brown sugar

4/5 cinnamon sticks

Method:

Slice pears in half and remove core and seeds. In a bowl combine prunes, pecans, butter (zapped in microwave for 20 seconds), zest and juice of lemon and orange plus the sugar. Pour the mixture over the halved pears in a baking tray. Add cinnamon sticks to tray and roast at 375 for 35-50 minutes - until the pears are tender and caramelized. Serve with a dollop of your favourite vanilla ice cream.