Crème fraîche, stock and semi-skimmed milk replace traditional ingredients to make this the healthiest dauphinoise yet
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 150ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 plump garlic clove, peeled and halved
- 4 thyme sprigs, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 shallot, roughly chopped
- good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
- 1kg waxy potatoes (try Desirée)
- 140g full-fat crème fraîche
- 75ml vegetable stock (Marigold bouillon)
- 1 tsp thyme leaves
- 25g Gruyère or vegetarian alternative, grated
MethodBrush the oil over the bottom and sides of a 25 x 19 x 5cm ovenproof dish. Put the milk, garlic, 4 thyme sprigs, bay leaf and shallot into a saucepan. Bring just to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the nutmeg and a little pepper. Set aside to infuse.
- 85g dark chocolate, 70% cocoa solids, chopped into small pieces
- 85g plain flour
- 25g cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g golden caster sugar
- 50g light muscovado sugar
- ½ tsp coffee granules
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tbsp buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 100g mayonnaise (I used Hellman's)
- Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Pour enough water into a small pan to one-third fill it. Bring to the boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl that will fit snugly over the pan without touching the water. Sit the pan over the water (still off the heat) and leave the chocolate to melt slowly for a few mins, stirring occasionally until it has melted evenly. Remove the bowl from the pan, then let the chocolate cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, lightly oil and base-line a 19cm square cake tin that is 5cm deep. Combine the flour, cocoa and bicarbonate of soda. Using a wooden spoon, stir both the sugars into the cooled chocolate with the coffee, vanilla and buttermilk. Stir in 1 tbsp warm water. Break and beat in the egg, then stir in the mayonnaise just until smooth and glossy. Sift over the flour and cocoa mix, then gently fold in with a spatula without overmixing.
- Pour the mixture into the tin, then gently and evenly spread it into the corners. Bake for 30 mins. When a skewer is inserted into the middle, it should come out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If cooked too long, the mix will dry out; not long enough and it can sink. Leave in the tin until completely cold, then loosen the sides with a round-bladed knife. Turn out onto a board, peel off the lining paper and cut into 12 squares.
- 2½ tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 plump garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots (350g total weight), diced
- 450g 5% fat minced beef
- 100ml white wine
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon, plus extra
- ¼ tsp ground allspice
- 400g can plum tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato purée
- 1 heaped tbsp chopped oregano leaves
- 2 good handfuls chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus extra to garnish
- 3 aubergines (about 750g/1lb 10oz total weight), ends trimmed
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp cornflour
- 300g 2% Greek yogurt
- 50g Parmesan, grated
- halved cherry tomatoes and thinly sliced red onion and rocket salad
- Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large, wide sauté pan. Tip in the onion and garlic, then fry for 6-8 mins until turning golden. Add the carrots and fry for 2 mins more. Stir the meat into the pan, breaking it up as you stir. Cook and stir over a high heat until the meat is no longer pink. Pour in the wine and briefly cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in the cinnamon and allspice. Tip in the tomatoes, tomato purée and 1 tbsp water (mixed with any juices left in the can), then stir to break up the tomatoes. Season with some pepper, add all the oregano and half the parsley, cover, then simmer on a low heat for 50 mins, stirring occasionally. Season to taste. Mix in the remaining parsley. Can be done a day ahead and refrigerated overnight.
- While the meat cooks (unless you are doing this a day ahead) prepare the aubergines. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/ gas 6. Brush a little of the remaining oil onto 2 large baking sheets. Mix the rest of the oil with the lemon juice. Slice the aubergines into 1cm thick lengthways slices, then lay them on the oiled baking sheets. Brush with the oil and lemon mix, then season with pepper. Bake for 20-25 mins until soft, then set aside. Lower oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
- Spread 2 big spoonfuls of the meat mixture on the bottom of an ovenproof dish (about 28 x 20 x 6cm deep). Lay the aubergine slices on top, slightly overlapping. Spoon the rest of the meat mixture on top. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Slacken the cornflour with a little of the yogurt, stir in the rest of the yogurt, then mix this into the eggs with half the cheese. Season with pepper. Pour and spread this over the meat to cover it. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, a little cinnamon and a grating of pepper. Bake for 50 mins-1 hr until bubbling and golden.
- Leave moussaka to settle for 8-10 mins, then scatter over some chopped parsley and cut into squares. Serve with a salad of tomato, red onion and rocket.
- 25g golden caster sugar
- 2 tsp custard powder
- 2½ tsp cornflour
- 350ml semi-skimmed milk
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 vanilla pod, slit lengthways
- 200ml/7 fl oz tub half-fat crème fraîche
- 50g golden caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 50g self-raising flour
- 2 tbsp wild blueberry ‘St Dalfour with no added sugar’ fruit spread
- 3 tbsp marsala
- 2 tbsp golden caster sugar
- zest 1 small lime
- 225g blueberries
- 200g / 8oz tub organic Greek yogurt
- 250g / 9oz tub light mascarpone
- 2 tsp golden caster sugar
- Make the custard: blend the sugar, custard powder and cornflour with 1 tbsp milk to make a runny paste. Beat in the egg yolk. Pour the remaining milk into a pan, scrape in the vanilla seeds, add the pod, then allow to come just to the boil. Stir this into the cornflour paste, then pour into a clean pan. Cook over a medium heat, stirring all the time, until thickened. Remove from the heat, then stir in the crème fraîche until smooth. Pour into a bowl, cover the surface with cling film to stop a skin forming, allow to cool, then chill until completely cold.
- Make the cake: heat oven to 180C/ fan 160C/gas 4. Lightly oil and line the base of a 20cm round cake tin. Put the sugar and eggs into a bowl. Whisk with electric beaters for 5 mins until very thick, paler in colour and the consistency of whipped cream. Sift over the flour and quickly, but lightly, fold it in. Spoon the mixture into the tin and carefully level it, being careful not to squash it. Bake for 25 mins until risen, then remove and cool on a wire rack. Peel off lining paper. Halve the cake so you have a semi-circle. (The other half can be frozen for another time.) Split the semi-circle in half with a knife, then sandwich back together with fruit spread.
- Put the sugar and lime zest for the fruit into a pan with 2 tbsp water. Bring slowly to the boil until the sugar has dissolved, then bubble for 1½-2 mins until syrupy. Tip in the blueberries, then cook very briefly, stirring once or twice only, just until they start to burst and release their juices (but still stay whole) and you get a purple syrup. Set aside to cool.
- The sponge and custard layers can be built up to 2-3 hrs ahead of when you want to serve. Cut the jammy sponge into cubes, then place in the base of a glass dish. Drizzle over the Marsala. Keep about ¼ of the berries back for the top, then spoon the rest over the sponge with a little syrup. Discard the pod from the custard, then pour it over the fruit.
- Just before serving, beat the yogurt, mascarpone and sugar together until smooth and creamy. Pile onto the custard, then drizzle over the reserved fruit and syrup. Use a skewer to swirl some of the juices through the creamy topping. Serve straight away or the syrup discolours the topping. This is best eaten the same day.