Bircher Muesli

birchermeusli 1

I had my first bircher muesli in Switzerland. Bircher Muesli is a hearty alpine favorite and a breakfast staple. No wonder: it’s a healthy, satisfying and refreshing start to any day. The technique to bircher muesli is an overnight soaking of oats, steeped in milk or yogurt. Just before serving additional ingredients such as grated apple, dried fruit and nuts are folded in. Feel free to experiment with extra ingredients and toppings such as chia seeds, pepitas, dried cranberries, and fresh berries. If you are feeling luxurious, a dollop or two of whipped cream may also be gently folded in at the end (I call this the I-am-on-holiday ingredient).

Bircher Muesli
Serves 2

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup apple juice
1/2 cup whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 green apple, cored and grated
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup raisins
Shaved unsweetened coconut
Honey (optional)

Mix the oats, apple juice, yogurt and cinnamon in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or overnight.
Before serving, stir in the grated apple, half of the raisins and almonds. If too thick, thin with additional yogurt or milk to desired consistency. (If you are on holiday, then add the whipped cream).
Serve garnished with remaining nuts, raisins and the coconut. Drizzle with a little honey if desired.

Alpine Cheese Fondue

fondue vignette
~ Alpine Cheese Fondue ~
(from the TasteFood archives, because it’s that time of year)

It perplexes me when the subject of cheese fondue comes up, and it’s often accompanied by a snide reference to the seventies. I find it sad that this quintessential alpine dish is relegated to a by-gone era evoking images of shag rugs, unfortunate hair and textured bell-bottoms. Certainly this was not intended when the rural inhabitants of Swiss and French mountainous villages devised a warming winter dish incorporating their local cheese and winter staples.

I may be biased. I was never a fan of the seventies, even when I lived in them. Conversely, I am a huge fan of Switzerland. After all, I lived there for 10 years following my stint at cooking school in Paris. My husband and I were married in Switzerland, and our children were born there. As a result, Switzerland holds a special place in our hearts and will always be considered home to our family.

The best way to a country’s soul is to experience its cuisine. As an expat in Geneva it was a delicious pleasure to embrace Swiss specialties, namely chocolate and cheese. We’ll leave the chocolate for another post. As for the cheese, we enjoyed it in all of its forms, and the Swiss tradition of melting it in deep pots with wine and spirits quickly became a favorite. When we eventually moved from Geneva to London, and then on to Copenhagen, I became more reliant on making my own version of fondue for wintry family dinners to satisfy our wistful cravings.

This recipe has been tweaked and fine-tuned over the years, influenced by taste and available ingredients. In addition to serving it with the usual bread, I like to pass around bowls of parboiled baby potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli florets for dipping.

Alpine Cheese Fondue

Do not skimp on the cheese. Purchase the best quality, cave-aged Swiss or French alpine cheese you can find such as Gruyère, Emmental, Comté, Beaufort. I like to use 2/3 Gruyere and 1/3 Emmental.

Serves 6

1/4 cup Calvados or Poire William brandy
3 to 4 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for serving
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1  garlic clove, minced
1 1/2 pounds high quality alpine cheese, grated
1 large loaf peasant-style or levain bread, cut in 3/4 inch cubes

Note: Have all of your ingredients ready before you begin. Once you start, the fondue will come together quickly, and during this time it must be constantly stirred. The fondue must not come to a boil during this time.

Combine Calvados, cornstarch, salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.
Add wine and garlic to a large heavy saucepan or fondue pot. Heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles form, giving the wine a fizzy appearance without bringing to a boil. Add cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until each handful is melted before adding the next – do not let the fondue boil.
Once cheese is added, continue stirring one minute – do not let the fondue boil.
Stir in cornstarch. Continue stirring until mixture thickens to fondue consistency. (I find that some cornstarch brands thicken more easily than others. If your fondue remains thin, add 1 more tablespoon cornstarch diluted with 2 tablespoons white wine.) Remove from heat. Pour cheese into a warm fondue pot if necessary. Serve immediately.

Serve with extra ground pepper, bread and parboiled vegetables such as small potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli florets.

Porcini Cheese Fondue

It perplexes me when the subject of cheese fondue comes up, and it’s often accompanied by a snide reference to the seventies. I find it sad that this quintessential alpine dish is relegated to a by-gone era evoking images of shag rugs, unfortunate hair and textured bell-bottoms. Certainly this was not intended when the rural inhabitants of Swiss and French mountainous villages devised a warming winter dish incorporating their local cheese and winter staples.

I may be biased. I was never a fan of the seventies, even when I lived in them. Conversely, I am a huge fan of Switzerland. After all, I lived there for 10 years following my stint at cooking school in Paris. My husband and I were married in Switzerland, and our children were born there. As a result, Switzerland holds a special place in our hearts and will always be considered home to our family.

The best way to a country’s soul is to experience its cuisine. As an expat in Geneva it was a delicious pleasure to embrace Swiss specialties, namely chocolate and cheese. We’ll leave the chocolate for another post. As for the cheese, we enjoyed it in all of its forms, and the Swiss tradition of melting it in deep pots with wine and spirits quickly became a favorite. When we eventually moved from Geneva to London, and then on to Copenhagen, I became more reliant on making my own version of fondue for wintry family dinners to satisfy our wistful cravings.

This recipe has been tweaked and fine-tuned over the years, influenced by taste and available ingredients. In addition to serving it with the usual bread, I like to pass around bowls of parboiled baby potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli florets for dipping.

Porcini Cheese Fondue

The extra ingredient in this cheese fondue is porcini mushrooms, which I highly recommend adding. They will simmer in the cheese imparting a rich umami flavor to the fondue. If you prefer a simple cheese fondue, omit the porcini. Serves 4.

3 tablespoons Calvados or Poire William brandy
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra for serving
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups dry white wine, such as Sauvignon Blanc
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 pound high quality alpine cheese such as Gruyère, Emmental, Comté. (I use 2/3 Gruyere and 1/3 Emmental), grated
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in hot water until reconstituted, drained, squeezed dry and coarsely chopped
1 loaf peasant bread, cut in 3/4 inch cubes

Note: Have all of your ingredients ready before you begin. Once you start, the fondue will come together quickly, and during this time it must be constantly stirred. The fondue must not come to a boil during this time.

Combine Calvados, cornstarch, salt, 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and nutmeg in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve the cornstarch. Set aside.
Add wine and garlic to a large heavy saucepan or fondue pot. Heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles form, giving the wine a fizzy appearance without bringing to a boil. Add cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until each handful is melted before adding the next – do not let the fondue boil.
Once cheese is added, continue stirring one minute – do not let the fondue boil.
Stir in cornstarch. Continue stirring until mixture thickens to fondue consistency. (I find that some cornstarch brands thicken more easily than others. If your fondue remains thin, add 1 more tablespoon cornstarch diluted with 2 tablespoons white wine.) If using porcini, stir the mushrooms into the cheese at this point. Remove from heat. Pour cheese into a warm fondue pot if necessary. Serve immediately.

Serve with extra ground pepper, bread and parboiled vegetables such as small potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli florets.

Fondue Season

fondue vignette

The rains have come, and I am excited.  This means that I can finally make a rainy day meal.  Big deal, you may say, if you are in blustery New England, or, say, drizzly London.  Well, in California where the event of rain can often warrant breaking news on television, when the calendar says November, yet the unfailing sunshine and blue skies imply al fresco, this transplanted 4-season girl gets positively giddy when the weather takes a turn to the gray.  Finally, my hankering for warm, comfort food is actually in sync with the precipitation and wind outdoors.

Tonight’s dinner will be a cheese fondue.  I know I am getting ahead of myself with such a wintry meal, but I am seizing the opportunity to make a family favorite.  Fondue is something I prepare with a great deal of nostalgia, as it takes me back to life in Switzerland where I lived for a number of years and developed an affinity to the Swiss approach to cheese.

Cheese Fondue

This recipe is my version of the traditional fondue. Serves 4-6.

2 cups white wine – typically a Swiss white wine, but you may have noticed that this is rarely exported. I substitute a Semillon or a Sauvignon Blanc.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. grated alpine cheese such as Gruyère, Emmental, Appenzel, Comté – Of all ingredients this is most important. A Gruyère cheese that says “Made in Wisconsin” is absolutely not the same as a genuine Swiss or French alpine cheese, and I recommend you try a taste test to see. I prefer using a mixture of Gruyère and Emmental.
3 tblsp. Kirsch or Calvados – as I have moved around and at times found it hard to purchase Kirsch, I substitute Calvados with nice results.
3 tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf peasant or sourdough bread, cut in 1″ cubes

Note:  Have all your ingredients ready before you begin. Once you start, the fondue will come together quickly, and during this time it must be constantly stirred.

Combine kirsch, cornstarch and nutmeg in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
Add wine and garlic to a large heavy saucepan. Heat over medium heat until tiny bubbles begin to form giving wine a fizzy appearance, without bringing to a boil.
Add cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until each handful is melted before adding the next.
Once cheese is added, continue stirring 1 minute – do not allow mixture to boil.
Stir in cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until mixture thickens to fondue consistency.
Remove from heat.  Pour cheese mixture into a pre-warmed fondue pot and serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper.

Tip:

Use bread cubes on fondue forks to stir the fondue in the pot at the table. Avoid letting the fondue boil in the fondue pot.
In addition to bread, try dipping parboiled broccoli and cauliflower florets, baby potatoes, carrots and apple chunks in the cheese.

Border Crossings

 

As mentioned, Switzerland is a landlocked country bordering a handful of countries. From Geneva, you can be in France within 10 minutes, Italy in an hour, and from Basel and Zurich you are close to Germany, Leichtenstein, Austria. To an American this is just nifty. I mean, honestly, the most common border to an American is a state border, and crossing from California to Nevada or Massachusetts to New Hampshire is not nearly as thrilling as driving across a Swiss border to another country! When you cross a Swiss frontière, suddenly you enter another culture with another language, another way of making very good espressos, another set of road signs that you don’t understand. Crossing a U.S. state border, you mostly find speed traps.

 

The first house I lived in was in a small village between Geneva and Lausanne. In this small hamlet, there was a marie, or town hall, a boulangerie(no self-respecting village would be without one) and a douane, or border guard. We lived one mile from the French border and could easily drive to and fro between Switzerland and France to our hearts’ content. On Sundays we would shop the open air market in Divonne-les-Bains, purchasing fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, roasted chicken, artisan cheese, paté and foie gras. We would then head to the local tearoom and recharge ourselves with a luscious croissant d’amandes and cappuccino before crossing back over the border to our home in Crassier.

 

When I first arrived, I loved casually inserting into a conversation with friends or family back in the U.S. that I had just shopped for groceries that morning in France, or that I would dine that evening in a French countryside auberge. My friend Kingsley arrived from the U.S. to visit me, and one of our first outings was to walk to France. Now, mind you, this was not the most scenic walk to do in the area, but, by golly, what a good story to talk about after. We nonchalantly waved bon jour to the Swiss border guards as we strolled past their guardhouse and casually glanced at the decidedly empty French border guardhouse (the guards were most likely fortifying themselves over a 2 hour lunch break) and then voilà! We were officially in another country! We trudged on to our destination, a simple café in a French village where we ordered Salad Lyonnaise a glass of wine and the French version of very good espresso. We then walked back over the border and still are, clearly, talking about it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My friend Deb came to visit from the U.S., and emboldened by our frequent forays into France, we decided to drive to Milan from my house – a mere 4 hour drive. Oh, what fun. We laughed and marveled at our 3-country route (Switzerland to France to Italy) as we exited the Mt. Blanc tunnel and arrived at the French-Italian border. I showed off my improved French language skills as I greeted the French border guards, and accelerated right past the Italian border guard preparing to view my passport. As Deb and I continued chattering away (most likely about Italian shoes), I noticed a very angry guard in my rear view mirror running after our car and shouting, I presumed, Italian epithets at me. I stopped, displayed my non-existent Italian skills, tried to smile and figured he was just as rattled by my perceived audacity as I was by seeing a drawn gun in his hand. (This border crossing story has not been as frequently re-told.)

 

Salad of Mixed Greens with Goat Cheese Crostini
Salade aux Crottins de Chavignol
Serves 4

 

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 small garlic clove, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste

 

Assortment of mixed greens such as friseé, arugula, lambs lettuce, mustard greens
8 slices peasant bread (pain paysan) or baguette, sliced on the diagonal
4 Crottin de Chavignol (small French goat cheese balls), halved horizontally

 

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Preheat broiler. Brush bread slices with olive oil. Broil until golden brown. Remove from oven and place goat cheese halves on each bread slice. Return to oven and broil until cheese turns golden and bubbly.

 

Toss salad greens with dressing. Arrange salad leaves on individual plates. Top each serving with 2 slices of bread with cheese. Grind fresh black pepper over salad.

 

Swiss Cheese

You may wonder why on earth I would start with a cheese fondue recipe, especially since I had just arrived in Geneva after 6 months of cooking and eating my way through Paris. Well, I start with this, because this question best mirrored my own sentiment upon arriving in Switzerland and getting busy with one of my favorite extracurricular activities: Eating in restaurants.

On the heels of Parisian dining I found that Swiss dining was somewhat, well, limited. At least this is what I found in the spring of 1991. Yes, there were many fine establishments serving haute cuisine, but for those preferring less of an impact on wallet, digestion, and trouser-size, this was not an option for frequent dining. For more casual outings, the common option was the local auberges. These were cafés and inns located in every town and village; a convenient stop for those who tired of eating at home. Quickly, one discovered, however, that variety and choice were not necessarily the operative terms when the menus were devised.

I do have a theory. Did you know that Switzerland is approximately the size of the combined area of Massachusetts and Connecticut and has 4 national languages? Did you know that for a small land-locked country, Switzerland is blessed with the alps, many lakes (Lake Geneva or Lac Lèman is the second largest lake in Europe), meadows and vineyards, cosmopolitan cities and tiny mountain villages? That it offers a sports-lovers’ heaven with myriad outdoor activities (skiing, hiking, white water rafting, sailing, hangliding, and the list goes on), and perhaps, more-tellingly, is the seat of one of the largest international communities in Europe as Geneva is home to the UN, WHO, WWF, the Red Cross, and more.

So, I think that when it came to the auberges, the Swiss were just plain spent in terms of variety. After all, they are Swiss, and to some, variety and choice are not words that leap to mind when describing the Swiss way of doing things. In fact, the auberges were a wonderful way to express their authentic Swiss-ness, if you will; variations, substitutions, alternatives, special requests were not on offer.

Which brings me to cheese fondue. Cheese would be considered a staple of the Swiss diet. After people, cows probably come in second in terms of population numbers (if not number one – I must check that.) The cows enjoy the countryside, chewing the very green grass, nibbling the lovely wildflowers, and generally having a blissful cow-life. They give milk, and wonderful things happen in terms of cheese products. All these happy, healthy cows make great cheese. Towns and villages have their own cheese that is named after the towns and villages. Cheese is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner in numerous forms (cold, melted, grilled, gratinéed.) During the harsh snowy winter months, cheese fondue was a traditional warm and satisfying dish to make with limited fresh products at hand. A little stale bread, some aged cheese from the cave, air-dried meats, pickled vegetables or cornichons, would sustain a family through the season.

And when you are living like a local, you do what the locals do. (Tip: If you have a problem with this philosophy, it’s best if you travel away frequently, or perhaps return home.) So, as the weeks became months and then years of living the Swiss life, cheese fondue became our staple of sorts. While not for summer dining*, it was fast and delicious on a cold evening, whether or not we had been skiing. All the accoutrements were at our disposal, and some of the homes we visited actually had a designated room for eating melted cheese in, as the potent smell of melted cheese could linger on after the meal. Did I mention that the Swiss are fastidious?

* My daughter would disagree about summer fondue dining. She is a summer-born child, and one of our traditions is to make a family dinner of choice for our children on their birthday. She chooses cheese fondue to this day, and so we do have the pleasure of enjoying it every summer. (She was born in Switzerland, lest we forget.)

Cheese Fondue

This recipe is my version of the traditional fondue. Serves 4-6.

2 cups white wine – typically a Swiss white wine, but you may have noticed that this is rarely exported. I substitute a Semillon or a Sauvignon Blanc.
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb. grated alpine cheese such as Gruyère, Emmental, Appenzel, Comté – Of all ingredients this is most important. A Gruyère cheese that says “Made in Wisconsin” is absolutely not the same as a genuine Swiss or French alpine cheese, and I recommend you try a taste test to see. I prefer using a mixture of Gruyère and Emmental.
3 tblsp. Kirsch or Calvados – as I have moved around and at times found it hard to purchase Kirsch, I substitute Calvados with nice results.
3 tblsp. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
Freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf peasant or sourdough bread, cut in 1″ cubes

Have all your ingredients ready before you begin.
Combine kirsch, cornstarch and nutmeg in a small bowl, stirring to combine.
Add wine and garlic to a large heavy saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat until tiny bubbles begin to form giving wine a fizzy appearance, without bringing to a boil.
Add cheese one handful at a time, stirring constantly until each handful is melted before adding the next.
Once cheese is added, continue stirring 1 minute – do not allow mixture to boil.
Stir in cornstarch mixture. Continue stirring until mixture thickens to fondue consistency.
Pour cheese mixture into a pre-warmed fondue pot and serve immediately with freshly ground black pepper.
Tip: Use bread cubes to stir the fondue in the fondue pot. Avoid letting the fondue come to a boil.

Bon Appétit

Bon Appétit

For the past 18 years I have lived in 5 countries. In 1990 I moved to Paris to study cooking with the intention of lingering on after my cooking program finished and finding a job. Originally I planned to work as an interior designer. After all, that was my profession in Boston before I moved, and while I loved cooking, I approached it more as a hobby and a ticket to Europe. I figured that once I got myself to Paris, learned the ropes of La Cuisine Française, magically learned French (I studied Spanish in school), endeared myself to the all-embracing French population and became a local, well, then, I might just get a design job with Euro-Disney, which was in the process of being constructed on the outskirts of Paris. I would nimbly straddle the French-American culture, drinking café au lait and eating baguettes (I was on a tight budget, after all) while involving myself in the construction and decor of the Magic Kingdom and home of Mickey Mouse. Sounded like a plan.

As all best laid plans go, before I even boarded the Jumbo to take me to Paris, I met a Dane who was in town on business from Geneva, Switzerland. What does this have to do with anything, you may ask. Well, everything. We hit it off, we liked each other. I thought he was cute, and apparently he felt the same about me. So, when I did fly over to Paris to cook, that was not the only thing that began cooking. Geneva and Paris are a 3 hour TGV train ride apart, and for the next 6 months we spent nearly every weekend together either in Paris or Geneva. So, upon my graduation from La Cuisine Base de Française in Paris, I decided that Euro-Disney would have to be built without me, packed my bags and took another TGV ride to Geneva – this time with the plan to stay.

And stay I did. For 9 years, to be exact. The Dane became my husband; we were married and had 2 children. Initially I found a job as a design consultant on a large new construction project which landed me the desired and very necessary permis de séjour, or residence permit, which meant I was a legal, albeit FOREIGN, mind you, resident of Switzerland. All the while, I continued cooking and pursuing my love for food. I dabbled in catering, I cooked for family, I cooked for friends. In fact, I found my above mentioned design job by cooking for the director of the organization I was hired to design. He was a guest for dinner one evening, lamenting his situation with this enormous, unwieldy, emotionally-charged, and predictably political, new construction project. I clucked sympathetically as I sautéed lardons. I rolled my eyes as he recounted the daily shenanigans he had to sit through, as I passed the gratin de pommes de terre. I nodded sagely as he complained how this was distracting the purpose and work at hand of his institution, and I ladled another serving of beef bourguignon. When he took a breath and politely inquired about my cooking experience in Paris and general interest in cuisine, I unabashedly segued directly (remember, I am American at the end of the day) to my design experience, credentials and previous construction projects, confusing the gentleman so much he actually offered me a position on the spot as a design consultant. Bon appétit.

Beef and apple cake 008 Beef Bourguignon
Serves 6-8

Olive oil
3 lbs. beef chuck, cut in 1 1/2″ chunks
Flour for dredging
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup cognac

3-4 large carrots, sliced 1/2″ thick rounds
1 large yellow onion, cut in large chunks
4 large garlic cloves, smashed
1 bottle red wine
1 cup beef stock
1 small can tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/4 pound white mushrooms, halved
1 small net pearl onions, peeled

1 tablespoon brown sugar

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a large oven-proof pan.
Dredge beef chuck in flour, shaking off excess. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add beef to pot in one layer and brown on all sides. Transfer to a bowl. Add cognac to pan and deglaze pan over medium-high heat, scraping up bits. Allow to reduce by half. Pour cognac over beef and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in same pan. Add carrot, onion and garlic. Sauté 3 minutes over medium heat. Add beef mixture, wine, stock, tomato paste, and thyme. Beef should be covered by the wine and stock. If not, add more stock to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer. Continue to simmer on stove top until beef is tender, about 2-3 hours. (Alternatively, beef can be placed in an oven at 325 F.)

While beef is cooking, sauté mushrooms and onions in a skillet with olive oil until they turn light golden brown. Remove from heat and set aside.

When beef is tender, remove from heat. Strain liquid from stew into a saucepan. Boil liquid until sauce is reduced by 1/2 and has a sauce consistency. Add sugar. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour sauce back over beef. Add mushrooms and onions. Simmer 15 minutes. Serve.

Beef bourguignon can be prepared one day in advance. Reheat over medium-low heat, or in a 325 F. oven to serve.

Salad of Mixed Greens with Lardons and Mustard Vinaigrette
Serves 6-8

1/2 lb. (250 g.) lardons (bacon cubes)

Salad Lardons tf

One medium frisée
One half head escarole

Mustard Vinaigrette (yields 1 cup):
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Cook lardons in a sauté pan over medium heat until fat is rendered and they begin to turn golden brown. Remove from heat and drain on paper towel.

While lardons are cooking, combine garlic, mustard, salt, pepper and red wine vinegar in small bowl. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream, constantly whisking until dressing is emulsified.
Pour desired amount of dressing over greens in a large salad bowl and stir to combine (best with hands). Arrange on plates and sprinkle lardons over greens.

Potato Gratin – Gratin de Pommes de Terre
Serves 8-10
Pears and Potato Gratin 030
2 cups creme fraiche or sour cream
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, thinly sliced
3/4 lb. Gruyère cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 375 F.
In a bowl, combine creme fraiche, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Mix together.
Butter a rectangular oven baking pan.
Arrange half of the potato slices, overlapping in pan.
Spread half of the creme fraiche mixture evenly over the potatoes. Sprinkle half of the Gruyère over. Top with remaining potatoes, overlapping. Spread remaining creme fraiche mixture over potatoes. Sprinkle Gruyère over.
Bake, uncovered, in oven 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until top is golden brown all over and potatoes are tender.