Dear readers, after 20 months of study, the same number of essays and a tough weekend of exams, yesterday I became a qualified yoga teacher! This was a hard old slog but incredibly rewarding. I’ve had a reasonably-serious practice for over ten years now…the stars aligned and I discovered yoga at the same time that I took the plunge to self-employment. Gertie was supportive this week in helping prepare for my final practical exam:
With the exams over, it’s time to finish the last bits of work and settle down for the Christmas holidays. As my friend Claire Fudge puts it, chipolatas are now my drishti. (For non-yogis, your drishti is your point of focus when in a yoga posture. And yes, you can be a yogi and still eat meat, though it helps to be informed about where your meat comes from). All eyes towards the festive sausage rolls!
The Christmas tree is now taking up one sixth of the living room. What a preposterous thing it is to bring a 7-foot real tree into a first floor flat…particularly when the darn thing falls over of its own accord in the middle of the night.
We celebrated my yoga success with a proper roast dinner last night, meaning today the fridge was full of leftovers. We also have a shelf brimming with cheese, a gift from Matt’s friend who works at the World Cheese Awards.
So, with leftover roast potatoes, chicken, white wine, cheese…I felt a tartiflette coming on. Tartiflette is a traditional dish from the Alps, a proper rib-warmer. There are hundreds of variations but they all seem to include potatoes and cheese: ingredients to charm any northern European’s soul.
This isn’t so much a recipe as a guideline. I used leftover roast chicken but it would work equally well with bacon, leftover ham, or even mushrooms if you want to go veggie. Thinking of it, it could be a great dish for the Christmas dinner leftovers; just scale up or down as you need.
Please note this is NOT a recipe for dairy-dodgers, but is perfect for grey and grumpy December days.
Start with your spuds. You can use leftover roasties or newly boiled potatoes. Slice them into generous chunks and simply fry them up in a little olive oil until crisped. Add a little thyme if you have any. Chuck in shreds of cooked chicken, ham, bacon or mushrooms, allow them to brown a little, then put the whole lot in a heatproof dish.
Next it’s time for the creamy topping. Saute a sliced onion or shallot in more olive oil until soft, add some chopped garlic then deglaze the pan with a good splosh of dry white wine. Bubble for a minute or two, then add in double cream – be generous. Season well, then once the sauce is reduced slightly, tip the lot over your potatoes. (The acidity in the wine cuts balances the fattiness of the cream. Clever clever.)
Finally, top the creamy spuds with a very generous amount of grated cheese. Traditionally a tartiflette uses reblochon, but I used World Cheese Award-winning gruyere, and very nice it was too. If you have any leftover stuffing, crumble that over the top. Then pop the lot into the oven for twenty minutes or so until browned and bubbling.
Serve with bitter green leaves (mustard, chicory, that kind of thing), a squeeze of lemon and crusty bread, and savour the cheesy, creamy, oozy calorie-laden feast. Leftovers at their best.