Ogres Are Like Onions and Gratins are like Ogres….

After the warm welcomes and delightful comments I received after guest post at Chef’s Dennis blog I figured that maybe I should show you all who I was talking about. Having that in mind searched high and low for a pic of Nan and me. Flipped through tons of old pics and albums, and when I was in despaire of not finding any a memory came upon me which led me to another desperate search for an envelope with old pics… and I found it! What a joy when noticed that all good pics where kept there. So my Dears – here’s my Nan and Me somewhere on the beach in MiΔ™dzyzdroje (at the sea side) where my Nan’s sister lived and where we used to go visiting as sea climate was always good for me. On this pic I must be probably around 3-4 years old, so still a baby.

Nan was a great cook, but most of all she was a mistress of quick fixes and not really worrying too much. I guess all had to do as well with times when she was living and I was growing up. Especially that Polish creativity seems to be unquestionable, as there was always way around everything – the famous art of substituting. Have you ever heard of artificial honey? We had it πŸ˜‰ was made out of sugar and god knows of what else… one label said: sugar, artificial bees… and I’m so not kidding you! Or famous sweets made of rice cereals and chocolate-like coating from powdered milk and cocoa… but they were nice, seriously πŸ˜‰ So enough of the memory lane and let’s go down to cooking…

….You may ask what on earth ogres, onions and gratins have in common?! yes onions and layers… loads of tiny layers of goodness… seriously… it’s all about layers…When I planned cooking for today my Mom came to me and said what Β we had in fridge and needed to be used. I always found it fascinating that my role seems to be the one of the inventor what to do with stuff Dad managed to buy too much or wrong… but voila, I never complain as cooking is cooking, right?

Does anyone remember the cartoon by Hanna Barbera called “The Jetsons”? It was about the family from the futuristic US and they had a robot as a maid she was called Rosie and she could cook. Her speciality was “The Memory of Yesterday”, which were simply leftovers made into sth edible…

After a quick check of the fridge and basement I agreed on my Mom’s report and decided that there’s only one way out of the situation – gratin. Gratin is a dish I become familiar with during my time with my Swiss bf and then Swiss-husband, who is now Swiss ex-husband. Swiss just like Poles, Irish and Germans love potatos in every form. Simply coz they were always cheap and always easy to get. And gratin is nothing more than a fancy French name for casserole, so a dish very common all around the world – simple and quick to make, plus (just as pizza or quiche) perfect way of using leftovers.

Dad bought too much bacon this time, and bacon was kind of edgy on expiry date, so it needed to be used asap. We had as well loads of potatos and onion and of course balkan cheese which is a great substitute for feta… so tasty πŸ™‚ So the idea for a hearty meal for a rainy and windy day was born. Something to keep happy and warm through out the day…

Cheer Me Up/Keep Me Warm Gratin

(feeds at least 6)

8 big potatos

300g good quality smoked, cooked bacon

300g mushrooms

4 big onions (3 white, 1 red)

4 frankfurters

200g feta/balkan cheese

100g smoked cheese

200g sour cream 18%

200ml milk 2%

2 eggs

1 bag mushroom sauce by Knorr (or mushroom soup of your choice)

In the baking tray/dish of your choice pour some olive oil and coat the dish. Line the dish with thin slices of 1st onion, and bacon. Top with thin layer of potatos cut on mandoline. Now another layer of onion, sliced mushrooms and sliced thinly potatos. Next layer: onion, bacon, crumbeled feta/balkan cheese, mushrooms. Top with potatos, then a layer of red onion and potatos. Mix together cream, milk, eggs and sauce/soup. Spread evenly over the gratin. Cover the top with grated smoked cheese. Bake on 200C (or 180C with fan on) for about 40-50 mins. Might be up to an hour depending on potatos and oven.

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About ladymorgiana

I'm a redhair girl witch to some scientist to the others... I love cooking and baking.... what else would you like to know?
This entry was posted in bacon, baking, casserole, cheese, food talk, frankfurters, gratin, mushroom, potato, soul food and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Ogres Are Like Onions and Gratins are like Ogres….

  1. big guy says:

    mmmm…..yummy. i love potatos. …always love the stories at the beginning before the recipe. will have to give it a go

  2. Wow – you are so creative! This looks so warm and comforting. My father’s family is of Polish descent. You know us Americans, we are a mixed bag of goods. Anyway, I know they are big lovers of potatoes. Sadly, my great grandmother (the true Polish cook) died several years ago and I never got any of her recipes that were kept safely away in her head. I miss having that chance of sharing food and recipes with her. So it is so nice to see you had such a wonderful time learning from your Nan!

  3. ladymorgiana says:

    Thank you Big Guy πŸ™‚ We can try it when I come visit lol

    Brendie, I was lucky enough to spend time with my Nan as I was growing up, sadly she died when I was 15 but her recipe notepads are kept safe by my Mom and me… I will try to provide you with many modern Polish recipes maybe this can help you to reconnect with your roots πŸ™‚ Thank you for all kind words πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for sharing piece of you memories, you are so cute and I love those kind of photos, timeless..Anyhow your dish is mouthwatering! Love love love it!!!

  5. ladymorgiana says:

    Thank you Sandra πŸ™‚ I love the old pics, today went down the memory lane and went through tons of them… this particular pic was taken by my Godfather, who was then 18 or so by then and was crazy about photography… this dish was soo good, and rather quick to prepare πŸ™‚ So happy you love it so much πŸ™‚ Yay!

  6. oh, yes, the artificial honey brings back memories over here too … very nice story and photo.

  7. ladymorgiana says:

    thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ Yeah I just checked your blog and now I know why you know what I’m talking about πŸ˜‰

  8. Peggy says:

    Gratin is definitely one of my favorite ways to use potatoes! This sounds really great!

  9. ladymorgiana says:

    Thank you Peggy πŸ™‚ Aren’t gratins the best??? I love making those with all different ingredients, so easy and so rewarding πŸ™‚

  10. What a lovely story, cooking is all the better when your remembering a person through their cooking huh. Loved it πŸ™‚

  11. ladymorgiana says:

    Thank you Anna πŸ™‚ Yes it’s true. For me cooking is all about connection I have with people who either introduced me to the particular food or for whom/with whom I used to cook it before…. I guess that’s what life is about – remembering those who influence our lives

  12. Jill Colonna says:

    It’s lovely to see the family photos to give background to your super guest post on Chef Dennis’ blog. Loved it! These gratin photos of yours are too tempting…

  13. ladymorgiana says:

    Thank you Jill πŸ™‚ I just thought that many might like to know how did my Nan look like πŸ™‚

  14. Kristen says:

    What a sweet photo of you and your Nan. I love to see old photos….even when I don’t know who is in it!

    The gratin sounds like the perfect way to use up that bacon. I love the addition of mushrooms. YUM!

  15. ladymorgiana says:

    Thank you Kristen πŸ™‚ Yeah I think it’s the cutest which I own, the pity is that Nan died when I was 15 and that she didn’t really see me growing up.
    My Dad had illness called: I can’t buy too little coz my family will starve πŸ˜‰ but thanks to that I know how to use leftovers πŸ˜‰

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