Rain slashing down, wind howling. But the woodburner’s burbling away to itself and the warmth is seeping into the kitchen. In the basket I have potatoes, parsnip, carrot, beetroot, onion, squash, spinach. And in the fridge I have some wonderful goat’s curd from our friends at Fielding Cottage which I bought at Wymondham Farmers Market on Saturday. Although I noticed today that a gorgeous new deli has opened in Wymondham and they sell Fielding Cottage Cheese too. And other wonderful cheeses like Mrs Lambert’s, Chorizo all the way from Spain, hand raised pork pies, preserves and apparently some gorgeous Serrano ham coming in next week. I also bought some chilli oil whilst I was in there and some golden rapeseed oil. It’s so good to see a proper artisan shop like Disney’s open in Wymondham. Good luck to them – I’ll be a regular for sure.
Anyway, back to the winter warmer. Chop the vegetables into chunks, season and then steam them till just done. Wilt a medium sized pan full of spinach in a little butter with the lid on but no water. Remove from the pan before totally wilted and leave the lid on. Put about 25g butter in the bottom of a dish (I use a terracotta one) and grate some garlic into it. Put in microwave for about 30 seconds to melt the butter and just sizzle the garlic. The add the vegetables and mix round a bit. Add the drained spinach. Season again but only with black pepper and stir in a handful of chopped flatleaf parsley and dill.
Pour 200ml sour cream (or I’ve used natural yogurt before now) into a bowl. Stir in 100g goat’s curd, 1 heaped teaspoon of Dijon mustard and 50g grated gruyere cheese and two eggs. You won’t need any more salt because the curd is salty enough, but you could add a twist of black pepper and a litte grating of nutmeg. Then pour over the vegetables and put into a hot oven. Five minutes before it’s cooked and bubbling – about 40 minutes – sprinkle some more parmesan on the top and return to the oven for another five minutes till golden brown.
I suggest taking it out of the oven and leaving it to stand for a good ten minutes. You need to eat this hot but not so hot as to lose the wonderful savoury edge which the topping gives to the sweet vegetables.