Irene gave me Lucy Boyd’s book Kitchen Memories and it has proved to be a joy to cook from. Boyd’s recipes clearly reflect what she learned from her mother, Rose Gray, but also the understanding of fresh vegetables and herbs she herself gained from creating the kitchen garden at Petersham Nurseries. I don’t think I have cooked a single recipe that I haven’t wanted to cook again immediately. I have already posted her recipe for Brutti ma Buoni – fatally more-ish Italian almond biscuits.
On a recent cold, bright spring weekend, we decided to cook her slow-cooked shoulder of lamb with peas and broad beans for Sunday lunch with the recommended accompaniment of this gratin. Another dangerous discovery, as it is so easy and so addictive that I have already made it twice – it goes pretty well with roast cod, and would make a nice comforting vegetarian supper with some field mushrooms baked with thyme and a little butter, and a pile of steamed greens. I have halved the original quantities, and I reckon this quantity serves 3, or even 4 if served with a roast (though see below).
10g unsalted butter
150ml double cream
500g waxy potatoes, such as Charlottes
1 or 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
30g freshly grated parmesan
Slice the potatoes lengthways into 3mm slices, and rinse with cold water (Lucy Boyd says to peel the potatoes, but I don’t think that is always necessary). Preheat the oven to 200ºC/Fan 180ºC/Gas 6. Lightly butter an ovenproof dish – I use a white oval dish which is the perfect size.
Pour the cream into a saucepan that will be big enough for the potatoes and bring to a simmer. Put in the potato slices and stir into the cream. Add the garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes, then pour into the prepared dish, sprinkle with parmesan and a small drizzle of olive oil, cover with foil and put in the oven.
Cook for 25 minutes or so until the potatoes are cooked through, then remove the foil and return to the oven. Turn the oven up to 220ºC/200ºC Fan/Gas 7 and cook for a further 15-20 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden.
Then try to stop yourself from eating twice as much as you intended…