Leek, fennel and potato gratin

There is nothing that really sings merriment and brings pang of nostalgia quite like this time of year. Mariah carry and George Michaels singing their festive hits on the radio (or your Spotify), enticing mulled wine and cider wafting from pubs and Christmas market stalls, crisp walks bundled up with rosy cheeks, old time favourite movies like Miracle on 34th street and Love Actually and a never ending roll on of parties, which has this month feeling a little foggy, foggy but fabulous. We wonder if it will ever grow old, that buzz you get. Its lucky that the both of don’t suffer from any baah humbug problems, although there are still the occasional afternoons where the merriment leaves the office and we find ourselves looking less santas little jolly helpers, pulling our hair, end of year chasing invoices is least to be desired! Luckily when our Evening Standard recipe days come about we have The Pogues singing a Fairrytale of New York and excitedly doing what we love most together, cooking/eating and nattering away. Yesterdays we had a very enjoyable lunch, we dined upon this. This is the second part of our tarty-four-part Christmas spread. This week we have featured the much-needed spud to the list, the instrumental component to a traditional festive feast, but made it into something fun and delicious- something that feeds the guiltily pleasure- stepping away from the classic roastie. There is no denying it, the sight of something bubbling away, pulled out of the oven in a rustic dish, which is cheesy and naughty and crisped on top, is usually the dish most wanted. This is the sort of dish you could also have alone one evening with a lemoney rocket salad, and a cold glass of white wine. Its bold, with plenty of harmonising flavours, we would also recommend adding a little dried chilli to the anchovy butter for an added kick. This may seem like an added heavy option for a Christmas spread, but not if you keep everything else fresh like we are doing, everyone needs the naughty on the table..


    2 tsp died fennel seeds

    1 tbsp butter

    medium bunch sage, roughly chopped

    small bunch thyme, finely chopped

    4 garlic, pressed

    10 anchovies (roughly)

    1 tsp nutmeg

    100ml vermouth

    300g ricotta

    600g cream

    1 lemon, zested

    2 fennel, thinly sliced

    2 leeks, sliced

    2 potatoes, thinly sliced



1.    First heat your oven to 180
2.    Over a medium heat add your butter, fennel seeds, sliced fennel, pressed garlic, anchovies and herbs. Stir until the sliced fennel starts to tenderise and the anchovies break up, around 8 mins. Add the vermouth and then the cream, ricotta, lemon zest and grated nutmeg and take off the heat. Season well and mix.
3.    In a large mixing bowl pour this mixture over your sliced potato and leeks. Pour into a large oven proof dish and sprinkle with parmesan and seasoning. place in the oven for 40 minutes, until crisp and the potatoes are cooked