In my household, gratin is devoured greedily; the youngest is likely to go for double helpings so I always tend to make a lot. It’s an easy recipe to cut down if you need too, but also a brilliant dish for taking to a potluck. I tend to assume there will be at least one vegetarian, so use a vegetable stock rather then chicken. If I know there are vegans or people on a dairy-free regime present then I omit all the dairy, using oil in place of butter, increasing the vegetable stock to replace the cream and instead of the cheese I will often top the gratin with lightly oiled panko crumbs.
Recipe Tag: Ginny Grant
Normally when I make mayonnaise I prefer to use olive oil, but here the delicacy of the oysters is lost if using strongly flavoured oil. I’ve become a huge fan of rapeseed oil, locally grown and produced by The Good Oil, and that is what I have used here. It’s not necessary to use an egg yolk here to emulsify the mayonnaise but it does remove the risk of it splitting. Feel free to top the bruschetta with more oysters as I have done.
Old-school curried eggs seem to be having a come-back; I’ve been to a few parties recently where they were served and they disappeared in a flash. They are even better with the addition of a few extras, making this more of a swanky breakfast in a mobile form. And to those of you who think that potato and bread is a carb overload, I just say ‘shush’.
The spicy, spreadable Calabrian salami ’nduja (pronounced en-DOO-ya) is rightly having a moment in the sun; its bright red colouring – thanks to paprika – is matched by the intensity of the spicy chilli. Think of it as a spicy chorizo that is ready to eat as it is, but hotter. Mellowed out here by the green tomato pickle and the smoked fish, it is decidedly moreish. It can be found in some speciality food stores; I got mine from the Grey Lynn Butcher.
Dessert (or breakfast) doesn’t come any simpler than this. Date syrup can be found in some supermarkets (in the sugars section) but if unavailable try using either maple or rice syrup instead. Normally I loathe instant coffee but Coffee Supreme’s freeze-dried instant coffee is superb to use here. The berries can be changed to what you have available; blackberries and strawberries, the last of the stone fruits and even sliced bananas would also be excellent.
Butternut is one of my favourite pumpkins, partly because it is easy to peel but also I find the shape and size appealing, and the flavour delicate. Here I’ve paired it with toum – the Lebanese version of aioli that is not for the faint hearted – and some sweet and nutty prosciutto, but feel free to omit this if you wish.
FOR THE TOUM
It’s hard to make this in small amounts. I use a mortar and pestle to mash the garlic then transfer either to a bowl and whisk by hand or use a stick blender to emulsify the ingredients. It will keep refrigerated for up to a month. Don’t use pre-crushed or pre-peeled garlic; it will just be a bitter mess. And on that note, if the cloves have green germs, remove them for the same reason. Use olive oil for a stronger flavour, rapeseed oil for a more mellow toum.
Kung pao chicken with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and plenty of chilli is one of my favourite things. I’m also partial to chicken wings and felt that they were made to go together especially with a messy, sticky and spicy sauce. You’ll just need to provide plenty of serviettes or finger bowls. If the numbing qualities of Sichuan peppercorns aren’t really your thing you could omit them from the sauce.
These hand-held pies make for a delicious sizeable snack and are perfect for making a day or so ahead. If you make them larger they’ll make for an excellent dinner. Rather than rolling out the dough, I used a tortilla press to make the rounds – if you have one it’s much faster than rolling.
Roasting cauliflower florets brings out the sweetness and
I love the vibrant colour and flavour from the curry powder. As with most salads using a grain or pulse, I dress the farro while still warm so it takes up the flavours of the dressing.