Wednesday 23 October 2019

Winter warmers - indulge in some Winter Cabin Cooking

Swiss chard gratin
Swiss chard gratin
Cheese Fondue
Fondue Bourguignon
Winter Cabin Cooking

In her new book Winter Cabin Cooking, Lizzie Kamenetzky has some comforting fondues, gratins and other fireside feasts for colder months

Swiss Chard Gratin

My gratin is iron-rich and full of goodness, only somewhat negated by the cream and cheese! This gratin is great as a meal in itself with a little added bacon if you want a meaty hit.

Serves 6

You will need

800g Swiss chard

50g tbsp butter

75g plain flour

200ml crème fraîche

300ml double cream

Freshly grated nutmeg

50g fresh breadcrumbs

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon and a good squeeze of juice

50g grated Gruyère cheese

1 tbsp olive oil

Sea salt and ground black pepper


Preheat the grill to medium. Bring a pan of water to the boil and blanch the chard for 2-3 minutes, then drain and refresh under cold running water.

Squeeze out as much of the water as possible and set aside.

Melt the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the crème fraîche, cream and a good grating of nutmeg. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. Season.

Mix the breadcrumbs with the lemon zest, cheese and olive oil.

Mix the chard and the sauce together. Spoon the chard into a large oven-proof dish.

Sprinkle with the breadcrumbs, then put under the grill for a couple of minutes until golden brown and bubbling. (If you like, you can mix the sauce with the chard and leave until ready to cook. Heat through in a medium oven for 5-10 minutes before browning under the grill.)

Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Traditional cheese fondue

Made with a melange of cheeses, a true Swiss fondue is a mixture of Gruyère and Vacherin Fribourgeois - a semi-hard cheese with a lovely nutty  flavour

Traditionally, it is melted with white wine and grappa or kirsch and served with chunks of bread to dip into it alongside charcuterie and pickles.

I like to make a more subtle version with beer and whisky, making it even more delicious, if that is possible. You really do need a fondue pot for the best results, as the pot sits above a flame that keeps the cheese melted and gently bubbling. They are really easy to pick up quite cheaply second-hand.

Serves 6-8

You will need

1 fat garlic clove, halved

2 tsp cornflour

400ml hoppy lager beer

800g grated mixture of Swiss or French Alpine cheeses, such as Gruyère or Comté, Vacherin Fribourgeois, good quality Emmenthal and Beaufort - choose two or three cheeses

1-2 tsp whiskey, to taste

1 large loaf of slightly stale country white bread, cut into cubes

Gherkins, pickled silverskin onions and charcuterie, to serve


Rub the garlic all over the inside of a fondue pot. Mix the cornflour with a little of the beer to make a smooth paste, then add this and the rest of the beer to the pot.

Put over a low heat, add the cheese and stir until it is melted and steaming but not boiling. If it is too thick you can add a little more beer.

Add the whiskey and then transfer to the fondue stand and light the burner.

Dip the slightly stale bread into the melting cheese and eat with lots of pickles and charcuterie.

Fondue Bourguignon

Everyone seems to know a cheese fondue, but a beef fondue, where you dip pieces of raw steak into bubbling oil, is less familiar. There is a certain flavour that the steak gets from its brief blasting in bubbling oil that is like no other.

It is steak and chips like you have never eaten. The real treat is the potato hidden at the bottom of the pan, which keeps the fat from spluttering as it absorbs moisture from the meat. It can be fished out at the end, sprinkled with salt and eaten.

Serves 6

You will need

1.2kg potatoes, cut into cubes, plus ½ potato for the fondue pot

1.2 litres groundnut oil or other neutral oil

4-6 sirloin steaks, cut into bite-sized strips

Sea salt and ground black pepper

Salad, to serve

For the mustard sauce:

200ml sour cream

1-2 tbsp Dijon mustard, to taste

A squidge of tomato ketchup

For the aioli:

5-6 tbsp mayonnaise, to taste

1 large garlic clove, crushed

For the béarnaise sauce:

2 tbsp white wine vinegar

1 small shallot, finely chopped

4 black peppercorns

2 fresh tarragon stalks

2 egg yolks

200g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

A handful of freshly chopped tarragon

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


Preheat the oven to 200°C, Gas 6. Parboil the potatoes for 5 minutes, then drain and dry in the pan over a low heat.

Heat a layer of oil in a roasting pan and add the parboiled potatoes. Cook in the preheated oven for 40 minutes, turning occasionally, until golden and crisp.

Meanwhile, make the sauces. Mix the ingredients together for the mustard sauce, then the aioli, and chill them until ready to serve.

For the béarnaise, put the vinegar and 1 tablespoon water in a small pan with the shallot, peppercorns and tarragon stalks. Simmer until reduced to about 2 teaspoons.

Pour into a heatproof bowl and add the egg yolks. Whisk with a good pinch of salt, then set over a pan of barely simmering water.

Add the cold butter, a knob at a time, whisking constantly, until you have a glossy, thick sauce. Season to taste with a little lemon juice and more salt if it needs it, and stir in the chopped tarragon. Keep warm but not hot or it will split.

Pour the oil into your fondue pot and drop in the potato half.

Heat until a piece of steak cooks nicely without frazzling in 20-30 seconds, then transfer to the burner.

Serve the steak to dip into the oil with the sauces, potatoes and salad.

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