Tartiflette (French Cheese and Potato Bake)

Serves: 4 – 8 as a side

There is a time and a place for dishes like this.

Not every night and perhaps not even every Saturday, but if you are going to cook something as utterly incredible as Orlando Murrin’s Roast Fillet of Veal in Parmesean Crust, well there sir, you have the time and place for a dish like this.

I mean, you can always go for a 15km walk in the morning right?

(If you don’t have pancetta, keep looking. You can substitute but seriously…)


1kg potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
50g unsalted butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tsp chopped thyme
200g Speck or Pancetta
1/2 cup white wine
200ml thickened cream
250g raclette or reblochon cheese grated (substitute, gruyere)


  1. Preheat the oven to 190c.
  2. Boil the potatoes for 3 or so minutes; they should be started to soften though not fully softened.
  3. Melt the butter over a medium-low heat in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes or until soft, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the garlic, thyme and Speck (or pancetta) and cook, stirring for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine, cream, most of the cheese and the potato and stir to combine. Season.
  6. Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
  7. Cover with a sheet of baking paper (to prevent sticking) and then foil.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the baking paper/foil and continue cooking for another 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

Royale of Asparagus with Speck Dressing

Elegant and clear you've spent the time, especially if you mention the 30 minutes of steaming!
Elegant and clear you’ve spent the time, especially if you mention the 30 minutes of steaming!

Serves: 4

This is a Guillaume Brahimi recipe and I think it is rather impressive.

It take a bit of time and his instruction to peel the asparagus (!!!) is too far, though it looks and tastes the part if served as an amuse-bouche; in fact, it looks really quite elegant.

I have a few recipes like this where people really appreciate the cut above home cooking and if you are cooking to impress, you really should give this a go.


20 spears (2 ½ bunches) asparagus
100gm butter
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 garlic glove, thinly sliced
500ml (2 cups) chicken stock
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
200ml pouring cream

Speck Dressing

50ml extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, finely diced
¼ long red chilli, finely chopped
150gm speck, cut into 5cm dice
100ml chicken stock
25ml sherry vinegar


  1. Trim (and peel! – no, do not peel) 8 asparagus tips and set aside. Slice remaining asparagus into thin rounds, discarding the woody ends.
  2. Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, add butter, shallots and garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally until tender though not coloured; a few minutes.
  3. Add the sliced asparagus and stir until the asparagus starts to soften (2 minutes) and then add stock, season to taste and simmer until asparagus is tender; around 4 – 5 minutes.
  4. Remove from the heat and strain, reserving the cooking liquor. Blend asparagus in a blender until smooth. Add a small amount of cooking liquor if necessary in order to form a smooth puree. Pass puree through a fine sieve and refrigerate until chilled; 220ml is required for the recipe.
  5. Whisk eggs, yolks and clear and reserved 200ml asparagus puree in a bowl to combine and season. Pass through a fine sieve. Pour 125ml into four 185ml heatproof bowls (or ramekins) and cover with plastic wrap. Steam in a steam oven (90c) or steam very gently in a steamer basket placed over a saucepan of simmering water and steam until just set (25 – 30 minutes).
  6. Remove and cool to room temperature or refrigerate until needed.
  7. Blanch asparagus tips in boiling water and then refresh.
  8. For speck dressing, heat a saucepan over medium heat, add 1tbsp extra virgin olive oil, then shallots and chilli and stir occasionally until tender though not coloured. Add speck and stir until light golden brown; around 5 – 6 minutes, then add chicken stock and sherry vinegar and reduce by half (3 – 4 minutes). Add remaining olive oil and season to taste with freshly ground black pepper.
  9. To serve, bring asparagus custards to room temperature (if chilled), then spoon the speck dressing on top, garnish each with 2 asparagus tips and finish with a few grinds of freshly cracked pepper to taste.