Classic French recipe: Gratin Dauphinois {day sixteen}

{day sixteen} Classic French Recipe- Gratin Dauphinois

I love a good Gratin Dauphinois, I mean, what’s not to like about potatoes and cream with a hint of garlic and a beautiful melted cheese on top? It is one of my favourite comfort foods and works brilliantly as a side to most types of roast meat, especially beef. I usually serve it as a treat as part of a ‘favourites’ dinner so it always ends up being served with steak, a blue cheese sauce and a simple green salad with shallot vinaigrette (see last week’s recipe to make your own vinaigrette).

‘Gratin’ refers to the browned topping, usually made of either breadcrumbs or melted cheese. In this case, we are definitely NOT putting breadcrumbs on top of potatoes, because that would be wrong.



  • 800g floury potatoes like Maris Piper
  • 200 mls milk
  • 200 mls crème fraîche (I like crème fraîche because it is the nearest to the original French taste, but single or double cream both work fine)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 150g grated cheese (ideally gruyère or emmental but I’ve had to make do with cheddar and it’s perfectly suitable if not quite the same – just make sure it is a cheese that melts well)
  • 100 g butter
  • salt, pepper and nutmeg



  1. Pre-heat the oven at 180°C. Peel the potatoes, wash and dry them, and cut them into thin slices. Place the potatoes into a large bowl.
  2. Peel the garlic cloves and crush them over the potatoes; add the milk and season with salt, pepper and a little nutmeg. Mix well together.
  3. Butter an oven-proof dish generously and spread the potatoes and milk in it. If you are using crème fraîche, add it in between layers of potatoes; if using single or double cream, you can just pour it over the top.
  4. Scatter the grated cheese on top, add a few knobs of butter and put in the oven for 1 hour.
  5. Serve hot.

Gratin Dauphinois Collage

Note 1: if you like the smell and taste of garlic but don’t actually want to eat any, here’s a neat trick. Don’t rub your dish with butter, instead, cut a clove of garlic in half and rub each half over the dish instead. It works just as well to stop the food sticking and infuses the dish with garlic without leaving the taste in your mouth.

Note 2: If you’re wondering why the knife on the ingredients’ photo is white, that is because it is a ceramic knife. I’ve only seen ceramic knives in France, where they are popular and readily available in cookery shops and supermarkets. The best thing about them is that they never become dull, as I discovered a couple of years ago when I gained another scar.

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A wedding anniversary and another excuse for a big meal

Today is Badgerman and my third wedding anniversary and thanks to Little Girl, we had a delightful lie-in until 6.30am. Not the best start but then the sun was shining and Badgerman treated me to a beautiful notepad, chocolate, Italian salami and cured magrets de canard; that is, cured duck breasts. The man does know the way to my heart! We stuck to standard breakfast fare like porridge and cereals if any of you are wondering but I strongly suspect none of the lovely goodies will see the end of the week anyway.

I got him an iPod protection cover. A nice one, but we all know who got the best deal out of the two of us. I WILL NOT BE EMBARASSED.

I made up for it by cooking lunch. Well, I was going to do it anyway but that’s neither here nor there. Lunch was a decadent homemade affair as I cooked what is probably my personal food heaven: steak with a blue cheese sauce, gratin dauphinois and green beans. There is something about potatoes, garlic and cream that just speaks to me to the point that I could eat this dish every week and the only thing stopping me is the thought of all this cream settling on my hips until the end of time.

A light lunch coz we ain't greedy

Tonight will be more chilled cooking wise as we tuck into fresh bread, made by yours truly and by my favourite British supermarket: Waitrose (they do fantastic French style breads, I really can’t fault them and they have made my life in England that much more bearable food-wise), a variety of cheeses, olives and all that salami and duck, along with a green salad and plenty of wine.

After all that, we shall probably need a little lie-down.