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Gratin of Winter Vegetables

ingredients

serves 4
1/2 pt (300 ml) milk (not skimmed)
1/3 cup (40 g) cornflour
2 tbsp (1 oz) 25 g butter
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Grated nutmeg - optional
1/2 lb (225 g) each leeks, carrots and parsnips
4 oz (110 g) grated cheese - Gruyere or Cheddar
2 cups (4 oz) 120g fresh breadcrumbs

method

1. Make the white sauce first. Use a non-stick saucepan and a good whisk. Put in the milk, butter and flour, and whisk together. Heat until it goes thick, whisking every now again then add a good pinch of salt (and nutmeg, if your are using it), and pepper. Whisk it again and put to one side.

2. You now have a thick, creamy, shiny white sauce. Prepare the vegetables. Peel the carrots and parsnips, wash the leeks carefully and cut them all into 1 inch (2.5 cm) chunks.

3. Bring a big saucepan of salted water to the boil. Put all the vegetables in together and boil them for just 5 minutes. You are not softening them, just blanching them.

4. Drain the vegetables and put them into a gratin or baking dish - anything that is round, square or oval with a flat bottom and about an inch and a half (4 cm) deep.

5. Pour the white sauce over them and sprinkle on the grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Put it either under a grill for about 10 minutes, or into a hot oven, gas mark 6 (400°F) 200°C for approximately 20 minutes until the top is bubbling and golden.

6. served with wholemeal bread and butter

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