Wednesday 5 May 2010

Julie & Julia and Delia (With Gratin Dauphinoise)

This must be first time ever that I was struggling to finish reading a book. As I have mentioned earlier in numerous posts, I can read anything & everything, then why did I have to keep counting the pages remaining, and wondering when I will be able to reach the end?

The answer might lie in the way Julie Powell writes -  totally haphazard, without any organisation or sequence and too many unnecessary and minute details.

I am talking about Julie & Julia, by Julie Powell which was the Book Club’s pick this month, well actually last month. As you can see I am quite late with the post here, but my hectic schedule for the past couple of weeks combined with my lack of interest in the book after a few pages, are to be blamed.

The prior knowledge that this book didn't really have a story but it only chronicled the experiences of someone who work in a government organisation by the day & tries to emulate the legendary Julia Child when she is cooking, did not help either.

I would not have even minded that, if her experiences were something out of the ordinary or even if they were written with a little more flair or if the food references were appealing. I did not find any of these in the book and so was totally uninspired in both the culinary & the literary sense.

I am only hoping the movie is much better than the book itself because I really want to see it, the sole reason being Meryl Streep, who I find absolutely amazing.

Although the book didn't inspire me to cook anything, the mention of Julia Child’s ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’ led me to try something french.

I have spoken about this book earlier. This has become for me what MtAoFC was to Julie Powell I guess. I have been trying out recipes one by one although I dont have a set target like her. I am hoping to make all the recipes given in the book.

I found this Gratin Dauphinoise recipe in this vegetarian collection by Delia Smith. See, now do you see the reason behind the title of this post, I just couldnt resist it!

The first thing that struck me about the recipe was its simplicity but still I knew that with this combination of the ingredients, the end result was sure to be delicious. The original recipe was to serve 4-6 people, I scaled it down to make it for 2.

Gratin Dauphinoise

Picture 123

Serves 2 as a side dish


1 Large Potato or 2 medium ones
1 small clove of garlic, crushed & chopped finely
30 ml Cream

30 ml Milk
1 tblsp Butter + extra for greasing
Salt & Pepper
Some nutmeg

Pre heat the oven to 150 deg C. Generously butter a baking dish, approx 4” in size, and keep ready.

Wash & peel the potato. Slice it very thinly preferably using a mandolin or the slicing blade of a grater. I dont have a mandolin and my grater badly needs to be replaced as its gone very blunt, so I achieved the impossible of sorts by slicing it by hand with a knife. Although the slices were not comparable to mandolin ones, they did nicely.

Picture 0901

Keep these slices immersed in cold water to get rid of some of the starch. Drain and then wipe them dry on a kitchen towel.

Arrange some potato slices in the baking dish, slightly overlapping. Sprinkle some crushed garlic, salt & Pepper.

Arrange the next set of slices and repeat the process until all the slices are used up.

End with a sprinkle of salt & pepper. Now, mix the cream & milk together and pour into the baking dish.

Picture 0921 Picture 105

Lightly sprinkle some freshly grated nutmeg over this. Dot the surface with the butter and bake in the pre heated oven on the top most rack for about 1.5 hours.

Yes, you read that right. It is 1 1/2 hours, it takes that long for the potatoes to cook to perfection, with the flavour of garlic permeating and the cream & butter working their magic.

This being such a rich dish, I served this alongside a soup, the recipe for which is coming soon. Together they made a very hearty dinner for us.

My Notes:

Although I scaled down the recipe, I also used a bit of judgement on my part when using the ingredients, so follow accordingly. This can easily be turned into a main dish by just increasing the quantity. I wouldn't really mind it on its own if I can ignore the amount of calories in it.

It was really delicious and made me understand why Julia stressed so much on the butter & the cream in most of her recipes. They really do wonders!


  1. Lovely side dish. I have watched the movie and it is good, worth watching and for the same reason as yours, Meryl Streep :)

  2. Love the looks of the dish.You are tempting me to read the book.I have been thinking to see the movie too for a long time now.

  3. This is indeed mouthwatering. Potatoes, butter, cream and spices is an unbeatable combination.

    I haven't read the book (am not sure I want to), but saw the movie and Meryl Streep saved it from being mediocre. The movie is definitely watchable though.

  4. I agree...Meryl Streep makes the movie much better than the book.

    I've been wanting to bake potatoes this way for a long time...maybe tomorrow's dinner!

  5. Loved the recipe and it's looks . Would try to read the book very soon.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  6. Lovely.Perfect combo it is but yeah full of calories.I agree with you that Meryl Streep makes the movie more heartening.While reading I too felt that it was my MtAoFC.But most recipes are out of reac for me being a vegetarian.

  7. The book was nothing compared to the movie!! Thoroughly disappointing! however I love what you made...potatoes, cream and butter...bliss!!!

  8. Delicious looking dish!! J&J did nothing for me either:(

  9. Priya: I know, she is amazing!

    Kiran: Thanks, Oh I am not recommending the book at all! The movie, definitely.

    Aparna: Yeah, anything with potatoes as the main ingredient has to be good, right?

    Simran: Let me know how it turns out!

    Deepa: Thanks!

    Curry Leaf: Same here, being a vegetarian I was wondering if there will be anything for me in that book!

    Rachel: Absolutely! We can have potatoes everyday & this was great :)

    Apu: Yeah, what a shame. I had heard so much about the book & didnt work for me at all.

  10. Hi first time here Bhagyashri, nice to meet you, I too have joined your book club, you might have noticed, coming to the post, I laughed out loud reading your review on the book, You are absolutely right, I too had to struggle throu' the book, some of them I skipped she was literally dragging, it was so hard to concentrate, I thought somewhere I could find something interesting and something about Julia as I was so inspired about her seeing the movie!!, I have done Gratins but not still a potato one!!, I know my kids will love it!!, someday I should do it.., Looks really yum!!

  11. This recipe seems to be very delicious and now i also want to see this movie....and will try out this recipe very very soon


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