Food Secrets

Virginia shares her food secrets and a favourite recipe…

VirginiaHow often do you shop?
Weekly with top ups when needed.

In person or by internet?
Always in person.

Supermarket loyal or supermarket slut?

Definitely the latter. As I am retired, I have time to go to whichever supermarket chain has sent me an offer voucher or is advertising something good at a lower price.

Do you buy from independent food shops?

Rarely – due to the ease of the supermarkets.

Do you food plan or are you an impulse shopper?

Bit of both really.

Did you buy anything different or outlandish this week?

Reblochon cheese to make Tartiflette. I could only find this in Waitrose.

chocolatesWhat are the top five things you couldn’t leave the supermarket without?

Bananas, fresh orange juice, dog food, milk, chocolate.

What are your guilty food secrets?

Chocolate and always milk chocolate because my husband doesn’t like plain and I am very accommodating!

Are you a brand snob?

I think I am although I tend to buy brands only when they are on special offer.

Do you take into account seasons and food miles when you shop?

I will buy local food and locally if possible but I tend to buy according to the product and I always want value for money.

roast lambFavourite meal?

Roast English lamb with all the trimmings. I make my own redcurrant jelly.

Cup of tea or glass of wine?

Cup of coffee!

Do you have to cater for a specific diet – ie coeliac, vegetarian, dairy free.

No but my husband is quite fussy and not a big fan of veg!

Do you ever throw food away or are you a Goddess with leftovers?

I never throw anything away. If it can’t be eaten by us, or the dogs or the birds in the garden, it goes to the foxes at the end of the garden.

Do you have a favourite cookbook and/or celebrity cook/chef?

Mary Berry or Delia Smith as their recipes always work. I use Mrs Beeton at Christmas for Christmas cake and Christmas pud.

Can you give us a recipe?

tartifletteTartiflette: From the French Alps and the home of the Reblochon Cheese. This recipe varies from village to village and can be made with diced or sliced potato. My recipe uses slices of potatoes and the saltiness of the bacon, melted Reblochon cheese and oozing cream would give you the energy to attack the ski slopes or it makes a delicious supper dish on a cold evening served with a green salad.

Parboil 1kg waxy potatoes in their skins until they are just becoming tender. Drain and peel or leave on skin. Cut into slices about 2cms thick. Melt 15g butter in a large frying pan and gently fry 1 medium onion, finely chopped, with 200g bacon lardons until soft and slightly brown.

Add 100ml dry white wine and cook over a high heat until the wine has almost evaporated. Add your potatoes and cook for a minute or so until all the ingredients are well mixed.

Pour over 120ml double cream and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 180oC. Lightly butter ovenproof dish rub inside with garlic clove. Add your potato mixture and smooth the top.

Cut the Reblochon cheese in half and then horizontally through the centre. Lie the cheese on top of the potatoes, crust side up (don’t remove the crust). Cover with a lid or foil and bake for 20 mins or until tender. Remove from the oven, stir the cheese into the potatoes and serve.

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