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?

Pap-Eureka! Mexican Rice

This is another side dish really, and so nice as lunch the next day popped in a fajita with sour cream on top, que dribbling.

A tip here is to mix everything thoroughly and add the blue cheese when the rice etc is still warm, as this way it will melt and can be stirred through aswell. I created this by accident and sort of felt it was quite Mexican with the lime and kidney beans. Feel free to experiment with the cheeses and ingredients. I’ve left the measurements fairly approximate so that you can add as much as you like, depending on what you like the most.

Serves: 2-4 (depending on main dish or lunch)
Ingredients:

2 cups of brown rice (or you could use cauliflower rice here)

Juice of 1 lime

4 shakes of paprika

2 shakes of cumin

4 spring onions, cut finely

Handful of kidney beans

Handful of Sweetcorn

1/2 red onion, cut finely

Blue cheese to crumble on top (as much or as little as you like)

Jalapeños (again as much or as little as you like)

Method:

Pop the rice on to boil, this should take about 20 minutes.

Chop all of the vegetables finely. And add the kidney beans and sweetcorn with the rice 5 minutes before its finished cooking.

Then add the spices and lime juice first, mixing and coating well, add more of you think it’s needed. Then add all the veg and mix again. 

Finally, add the blue cheese and jalapeños and wait for the cheese to melt for a few minutes, then give a final stir.

Serve with sour cream.

 

 

Pork and Bean on the Goulash

This is a one pot wonder. It’s really colourful and sunny, and it has lots of healthy ingredients. You can make dumplings with it, but they seem a bit stodgy in the summer, so the butter beans are a welcomed addition.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Can of butter beans

1 onion

Olive oil

2 garlic cloves

2 large carrots

1 celery stick

2 baking potatoes

Can of chopped tomatoes

1 teaspoon of paprika

2 teaspoons of caraway seeds

450ml stock of vegetable stock

Pork fillet

Method:

Drizzle of olive oil into a large pan on a medium heat.

Add onions, garlic, caraway seeds and pork, cook until meat is seared. About 5 minutes.

Then, add the carrots, celery and potatoes and stir in for another 5 minutes, add the paprika and cook for a further minute. 

Add chopped tomatoes, mix well, and then the vegetable stock a few minutes later. 

Add a lid, turn down the heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Add the butter bean, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

The sauce should be nice and thick and meat tender.