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The combination of goat cheese and spinach is one of those perfect marriages, this will please old and young alike. A gratin to serve equally to family on a weeknight as to friends at a fancy dinner. I like to serve this in individual ramekins, it is the right serving size and looks very pretty on the plate. This can also be served as an appetizer or a main course if you are vegetarian or feel like a meat free meal.
For most of my life, I would not touch spinach – not in any variation or form, no matter how it was prepared – spinach was not considered an edible vegetable by me. It was something to serve to others who might like it (what an odd idea, but some people are strange) but definitely not for me. Well, luckily that all changed a few years ago. I bought some pre-washed and packaged salad (or so I thought) to use for dinner, only to arrive home and realize I had bought baby spinach instead. Horrors! I had guests arriving in less than an hour and no time to go back to Whole Foods, so I made a nice vinaigrette, added some lardons, nuts and soft poached eggs and served that and to my surprise, I loved it. It was like the Berlin wall coming down in my food experiences. I started eating raw spinach often but the cooked variety still was a no-no. Next was gently sautéed baby spinach, now the cooked spinach was deemed ok by me. Bit by bit. But, I must admit that until I had this dish as a starter in a local restaurant, real, adult, cooked spinach was still something I was not keen on. This little dish changed my whole perception. Now, I am not claiming that tomorrow I will be able to eat a bowl of steamed spinach, but for now, I love the taste of spinach and goat cheese. It really is a classic and amazing flavour combination. So, if you are like me, and think spinach is not for you (and I know there are a lot of you out there), do give this a try and you never know, you just might discover a new favourite dish.

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Makes 4 individual gratins

Ingredients:

800 g / 28 oz  fresh spinach (you can use frozen)
400 ml / 13 oz milk
3 eggs
4 individual goat cheeses or 1/2 a log
1 garlic clove, crushed
15 g / 1/2 tablespoon butter
Pinch of nutmeg
1 tablespoon cornstarch (Maizena)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 210 C / 420 F
Wash the spinach and dry well on paper towels
Chop roughly
Melt the butter over medium high heat and sauté the chopped leaves for 10 minutes
Strain the spinach well to remove all traces of liquid
In a bowl, mix the cornstarch with a little milk
In another bowl, whisk the eggs
Add the cornstarch mixture to the eggs
Pour in the rest of the milk
Season and add the nutmeg and the crushed garlic
Add the well drained and cooked spinach and mix
Cut the goat cheese into smallish pieces and add to the spinach mixture
Divide the mixture between the ramekins
Bake for about 25 minutes
Serve hot
Enjoy!

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