New Year Comes Early – just for the decadence of it

On New Year’s Eve here in Sweden, most people settle down to a dinner of oven-roasted fillet of beef with potato gratin. It’s as predictable as the fireworks that follow at midnight.

As an Englishman abroad I usually protest and cook something altogether different; partly just to be stubborn; partly because I think fillet of beef is over-rated and over-priced: just being the smallest cut of beef, doesn’t make it the best.

But a good potato gratin, on the other hand, is something to savour, any night of the year. There’s something about the combination of potatoes and cream that is at once frighteningly unhealthy and shockingly comforting.

As it’s so close to Christmas I treated the family yesterday by quitting work early and preparing a Wednesday feast. I bought a chunk of fantastic locally-raised aged sirloin of beef and all the requisites for a killer potato gratin.

The best piece of meat

Deserves the best potato dish

I simply rubbed the beef with olive oil, sea salt an d black pepper and roasted it till medium rare. With the potatoes and some broccoli it was perfect simplicity and one of the most luxurious meals you could think of; even more so as it was a regular Wednesday and not New Year’s Eve.

Crispy, creamy and delicious


Perfect Potato Gratin

4 portions


  • 1 kg floury potatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 onion
  • ½  tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 dl grated cheese ( I used a sharp, Swedish Västerbotten, but Emmental works well)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tsp fresh-ground black pepper
  • 3 dl double cream
  • 1 glass white wine


Set your oven to 170C

Peel the potatoes and the garlic and slice (potatoes to about 2 cm in thickness, garlic to as thin as you can manage)

Peel the onion, half it lengthways and slice into half-circles, about 1 cm thick

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl and transfer into an oven-proof dish, making sure the potatoes lie flat and as tightly packed and layered as possible

Cook in the oven for 1 ½ hours until browned, thick and bubbling


  • Kate

    These dogs are so beautiful. I love the range of subjects that your photography covers! How do you find new people to interview and shoot?

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Kate! It can be challenging at times especially covering many parts of the country outside of Stockholm, but I’ve always got my nose to the ground looking for new stories and angles. I personally think expats tend to be more observant.

  • Jeanne

    love that you focused on Whippets – I’ve kept these dogs for 44 years and they deserve to be singled out as the some of the most phenomenally gorgeous, fun and serene animals in the dog universe

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Jeanne. I absolutely agree. They’re beautiful dogs and well-mannered. We’re thinking of possibly getting one in the not too distant future.

  • Glennskii

    greetings from Mach-Speed Whippets:

    • Glennskii
      • Anonymous

        Hi Glennskii – Thanks for sharing the additional link. Looks like a wonderful resource for Whippet lovers!

  • Monica-USA

    Rob, I am seeing some burnt edges on your potatoes I will be right over with my fork and plate!! :o )

  • Janerowena

    Potatoes gratin is my favourite potato dish, and I love the crispy bits the most.