Hygge Gratin, with Bacon and Mushroom

Comfort ‘hygge’ food, to me, includes, cheese and bacon. Therefore, I’ve come up with this little winter warmer. That you can serve as a side, perhaps with the ‘hygge’ salmon salad, or on it’s own is also amazing. This is a bit naughty and probably doesn’t fit with everyone’s January diet plans, but I thought I’d indulge a bit before I check into a chocolate rehab centre, I’m hoping these exist. Plus, my last blog was a salad, so I feel the balance is right, which is what ‘hygge’ is all about.

The only downside to this dish is that you have to use 3 pans. I bet the Danes would just chill out under candle light smugly waiting for each part to cook, but I haven’t got my personality around to being this ‘hygge’ yet. As I get hangry, which is angry when hungry.

Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side.

Ingredients:

2 baking potatoes, slices into 1cm slices, leave the skin on

10 chestnut mushrooms, cut into thin sllices

3 pieces of good quality bacon, chopped into small pieces with a pair of scissors

Cheese Sauce

1.2 litres (2 pints) whole fat milk

50g (2oz) butter

50g  (20z) plain flour

250g (8oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Teaspoon of Paprika

Method:

Put the sliced potato into a pan of boiling water, add a pinch of salt, set your timer for 10 minutes.

In a frying pan, fry the chopped up bacon and mushrooms, add a shake of oregano. No oil is needed, as there will be oils from the bacon. Fry until the bacon is cooked.

Meanwhile, start the cheese sauce, the instructions in detail are in my Cheesy, Pleasy Lasagne recipe. Add the paprika before you add the cheese.

This should all take 10 minutes.

Then, carefully construct the gratin. Layer potatoes, then a third of the sauce, then the bacon and mushroom mixture. Do this so it has 3 layers, and then finish with a layer of potatoes and a grating of cheese.

Put this under the grill for 10 minutes, or until the cheese has gone golden and the potatoes on top a bit crispy.

This is on the table in 20 minutes, which probably isn’t very ‘hygge’ but it’s still impressive, no?

Coco Nuts for this Curry 

I love this curry, and tend to add veg willy nilly, depending on what’s in the fridge. So feel free to add carrots, green beans, broccoli, baby sweetcorn, sweet potatoe, and what ever you have, that’s the beauty of a good curry recipe. The spices amount sound over the top, but once you have all of these spices they do go in lots of other curries.

This is good for a group of people, or as a family favourite, as it is so tasty and easy to whip up, it can be on the table in 30 minutes. In my house, we love this as a Friday night feast, with some halloumi, or chicken thighs. It freezes well, so keep any left overs, and its a fact, that curry is always better a few days later. You can make it a bit fancy by adding toasted pine nuts on top to serve. Or for extra goodness add a couple of handfuls of spinach 5 minutes before serving. Veggies and carnivores love this.

If you’re making it for your kids, then just leave out the chilli. Mine yum this up, as it’s lovely and creamy. Even one of my children, who is the fussiest eater known to man, will have the sauce, on some rice. Which trust me, means its a winner.

Serves: 4
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Ingredients:
Dollop of coconut oil, or any oil really
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
Thumb size piece of ginger, chopped finely
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon ground cumin
Half teaspoon ground turmeric
Half teaspoon ground cinnamon
1-2 chillis, chopped finely
Dollop of tomato puree
Can of coconut milk
200g green lentils (if using fresh cook first, I’m lazy and use a tin of ready cooked)
250g button mushrooms
Cauliflower, half of a small one
Pine nuts, cashews, pistachios, if you want to be fancy pants.
Method:
Heat a little of the coconut oil in a pan and brown the mushrooms. Set them aside to add later.
Then add the rest of the oil, onions, ginger, garlic and all the spices and seasoning. Coat the onions in all the scrumptiousness, this bit smells so good. Stir occasionally on a medium heat for 5 minutes until the onion starts to soften.
Add the coconut milk, lentils and cauliflower, cook on a low heat for 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms.
Cook for a further 15 minutes, have it simmering on a low heat as you don’t want to over boil the coconut milk.
Toast some pine nuts (or nuts of your choice) 5 minutes before the end, and/or add spinach if your heart desires.