Young and Dumb: Simple Recipes for the Dunce or the Destitute

As a 20-something, fresh out of university, being strapped for cash is a regular occurrence. When you work the bar shift until 4am or wait tables all day inspiration for the next meal can fall by the way-side. After a solid year of microwave meals and cheese toasted sandwiches I’ve decide to treat my body better and get new, simple and cheap, recipes under my belt that are suitable for the shift-worker (until I get my high roller job complete with live-in chef anyway).

Earlier is week my Mum, a German in every way, sent me baby potatoes in mail from her garden on the Dunedin Peninsula in the South Island. Every time I get veges I try to wash, prepare and stack them nicely in the fridge so I’ll subliminally grab them and not let it go to waste.

These baby potatoes were the perfect size and amount for a potato dauphinoise for one. A potato dauphinoise, or cheesy potato bake, is simple, cheap and soooo delicious.

Being Gen Y, when it comes to a basic recipe I say google it. Then adapt it however you want.



Om. Nom.

I ended up tweaking this little recipe:

10-12 baby new potatoes
50g butter
2 table spoons all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole milk
100g grated cheese (any that take your fancy)
salt and pepper to season

1. Preheat oven to 180. Peel and boil up your baby new potatoes in a pot of water with a pinch of salt for about 5 min, just to get them a tiny bit softer, like an ‘al dente’ potato.

2. Drain the potatoes and chop in to 1/2 cm slices.

3. Place your potato slices in to a small baking dish, preferably those sad-looking ‘pasta bake for one’ dishes you can get at most stores.

4. Next melt your butter in saucepan  on medium heat. Stir in your flour until smooth and paste-like. Gradually add your milk stirring all the while. The goal is to keep it smooth and lump-free.

5. After the milk is in add your cheese and continually stir until melted in to make a gooey cheese sauce.

6. Pour that cheese sauce over your potatoes and place in the oven for 20-25 min. In the last 5 min you can add grated cheese on top and grill for 30 seconds to get a crispy top.

Voila. One amazing potato bake that you could definitely eat in one session, share with a date, or save half for lunch the next day.

The exciting thing about basic recipes and cooking for yourself is that you can experiment. Got blue cheese? Crumble that in. Bacon fiend? Fry that up and add to the deliciousness.




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