This country-style gratin tops nutty-flavoured root vegetables with a crisp mixture of wholemeal bread cubes and Cheshire cheese. It makes a really satisfying main dish on a chilly day. Serve in the baking dish, straight from the oven, with a leafy green vegetable or mixed salad alongside.
For a slightly stronger onion flavour, replace the chives with a bunch of spring onions, chopped, or 1 thinly sliced leek. * Other British cheeses can be used in place of Cheshire, such as Wensleydale or Lancashire. Or use Emmenthal cheese. * To make a Cheddar and sweet potato gratin, peel and thinly slice 600 g (1 lb 5 oz) sweet potatoes and layer in a large, shallow ovenproof dish with 200 g (7 oz) thinly sliced celery and 1 thinly sliced onion, sprinkling the layers with 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme, 1 tsp caraway seeds, and salt and pepper to taste. Instead of soured cream, whisk 4 tbsp single cream with the fromage frais and milk. For the topping, mix 85 g (3 oz) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs with 15 g (½ oz) melted butter and 100 g (3½ oz) grated Cheddar cheese.
Cheshire cheese is believed to be one of the oldest of all English cheeses. It is available white or orangey-red (coloured with a vegetable dye). Nutritionally there is no difference between the 2 varieties. * Root vegetables are inexpensive and a good source of carbohydrate and fibre. * Carrots are an important source of beta-carotene, the precursor of vitamin A.
A * B1, B6, C, folate, calcium, potassium, zinc * B2, B12, E, niacin, copper, iron, selenium