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November 5, 2009

As the seasons turn in endless cycle, so does my culinary consciousness, as meals, recipes and ideas I had a year ago reenter my thoughts. Like flipping the page on a calendar and seeing your monthly to-do list, the turning of the month brings down the November box file from the brain shelf on which it resides. There are lots of things which I meant to try last year, but only managed to make in the Daydream Kitchen.

Last winter, my sister made a mixed root vegetable gratin, and it’s a memory that I’ve returned to recently. She made it with a topping of seeds – sesame and sunflower – and its nutty earthiness was brilliant. A recent shopping trip, where I saw a colour chart line up of the different roots in adjacent baskets, gave me an idea for a gratin which is capped in pure potato, apparently normal from above, but when cut into reveals a tantalising cross section of autumnal colours: the regal velvet of beetroot, the kahki cream of parsnip, the screaming orange of carrot, the translucent orange-yellow of swede and the virginal white potato hat. For maximum effect, the vegetables must be sliced evenly in 4mm thick slices, and closely spaced to make homogenous layers, interbedded with grated cheese, seasoning, crushed nuts, cream and a few chopped anchovies for a depth and richening. Perhaps even more impressive would be the inclusion of a spinach or chard layer, punching a deep green into the vegetable stratigraphy.

I’ll have to try this one I think.

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 8, 2009 15:00

    I made something a bit like this once, with sweet potato, parsnip, carrot and some nice waxy potatoes. Tasted amazing!

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