In the general spirit of newness that charges into view with the passing of a year and the start of that re-energised upswing toward the end of winter, I have ordered a number of bits and pieces to help in my kitchen endeavours.
I’m not normally a gadget sort of person, but I finally decided to get myself a mandolin, after realising that it wouldn’t just slice spuds for potatoes boulangerie or dauphinoise, but would also be able to julienne other vegetables.
Given that I’ve now cracked mayonnaise, it was a case of: ‘roll on my own, homemade celeriac remoulade!’
The item in question arrived yesterday from ProCook and the evening’s dinner was entirely re-arranged around a dauphinoise.
I unpacked it and opened the plastic box that contains the “seven interchangeable”, which include “three different width cutters for juliennes vegetables, sticks & French fries which are used in conjunction with the straight or crinkle horizontal blades.”
How exciting is that? But wouldn’t you think it might have crossed someone’s mind to include an instruction manual – if only to show just how you put more than one blade into the frame itself for the said julienning?
I Googled. Nothing. Although I have subsequently found YouTube footage of someone demonstrating how to use a mandolin that looks very similar. And it gives me an idea of how two blades might fit into the frame at the same time.
Now I don’t think I’m a complete dummkopf – and I did manage to work out how to use it at the most basic level. Getting proficient with it will take a little longer: I had a nice mix of potato slices, with some that were quite thick, some that were wafer thin and some that managed to be a combination of both.
Mind, even the thickest ones were still thinner than anything I’ve previously achieved with a knife, so we are already on to a winner.
For all my new year talk of lightening up, dauphinoise is a winner and the mandolin was simply the perfect excuse.
Layers of (really) thin potato, interspersed with grushed garlic and seasoning, and then drowned in cream and milk, dotted with butter and baked for an hour and half at 160˚ – this is a just glorious.
A celeriac remoulade, once I have mastered fitting the blades, will be far healthier. Well, it’s a salad thing, isn’t it?
Another arrival in my burst of gadgetary acquisition is a pair of rings. Now, I know that it describes them as “rösti rings”, but that would be very deep röstis.
Christmas convinced me that it’s ridiculously easy to improve presentation – and my two rings helped enormously. Two much deeper ones will give me oodles more options.
Two miniature copper saucepans are on the way too – idea for melting a small amount of butter or making a small amount of sauce. And I’ll be able to perch both on one hob at the same time, which is also with definite benefits.
And in the next few days, I might slip to John Lewis to get myself some new oven gloves – the current pair are threadbare on one hand now.