Before they waved me off (jumped for joy), my parents (mum mainly, dad was just pleased to get rid, bless him) wanted to reassure themselves that I would be able to fend for myself in urban jungle of Sunderland. And that would involve feeding myself. They invested in a number of student cookbooks for me (I still remember one which basically said for everything "If you can get it tinned, why bother cooking it?"), along with Delia's How To Cook Book One. Yes, that is the one that tells you how to make toast properly.
So one of the things it was decided i would do was to Cook A Meal. I agonised over what to make for a long time, then decided on a chicken, bacon and cheese wrap thing, and Delia's Potatoes Boulangere. Because that sounded proper posh. I also made an apple cake
There was a LOT of panicking, particularly to do with timing, and a lot of whining for interventions from my mum, but in the end, I managed to pull together something edible. And imagine my joy, oh joy of joys, when my diners even asked for SECONDS!
Since then, potatoes boulangere has become a firm favourite of mine which never really fails to disappoint it's eaters. It's really, very simple, and i'm not sure quite what it is about this dish, but it does always seem to win people over. It's rather easy to make, but can take a long time to cook, so may take a little bit of organisation to fit in with whatever else you're making with it. I think it's very deliciously comforting, because it is so simple.
Because there's no use in reinventing the wheel, especially where Delia is involved, here is the recipe. I do have a few small adjustments to make to it though. I tend to sprinkle a bit of garlic over the top layer, and will apply a small (rather large, actually) sprinkling of cheese onto the top a few minutes before it's due to come out of the oven. Because what recipe is not improved by liberal amounts of cheese?
Why am I telling you all about this? Well, because I sort of recreated this historical meal at the weekend, except for the apple cake. And the potatoes were appreciated as much as they usually are.
So far, this dish has a 100% success rate!