Little Spinach & Carrot Pots

I use little individual pots (about 6 cm/2½ inches wide at the top, 4 cm/ inches across the base and 4 cm/ inches high). They look good in this size and are perfect servings for all-size humans. These are baked in a bain marie so they stay beautifully moist.

Ingredients

  • 400 g(14 oz) carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 200 g(7 oz) english spinach leaves
  • 80 g( oz) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten

Bechamel Sauce

  • 60 g( oz) butter
  • 40 g( oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 400 ml(14 fl oz) milk, warmed
  • freshly ground nutmeg

Method

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4) and butter ten little 100 ml(3½ fl oz) pudding pots. Cook the carrots in boiling salted water until they are soft. Lift them out with a slotted spoon, purée and put into a bowl. Add the spinach to the boiling carrot water and blanch for a few minutes until it is all wilted and soft. Drain, leave until it has cooled enought to handle and then squeeze out all the excess water. Chop up finely and put in a separate bowl.

To make the béchamel, melt the butter in a small saucepan. Whisk in the flour and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then begin adding the warm milk. It will be immediately absorbed, so work quickly, whisking with one hand while adding ladlefuls of milk with the other. When the sauce seems to be smooth and not too stiff, add salt, pepper and a grating of nutmeg and continue cooking, even after it comes to the boil, for 5 minutes or so, mixing all the time. It should be a very thick and smooth sauce.

Pour off any water that has collected in the bottom of the carrot bowl, then mix in 8 tablespoons of the béchamel along with half of the parmesan. Stir the rest of the béchamel and parmesan into the spinach. Taste each bowl, adding extra salt, pepper or nutmeg if you think it’s needed. Add half the beaten eggs to each bowl and mix them in well.

Divide the spinach mixture among the pots. Rap them firmly on the table to flatten the mixture, then divide the carrot purée among the pots. The mixture should just fill the pots.

Put the pots in a roasting tin and add enough hot water to the tin to come halfway up the sides of the pots. Move the tin carefully to the oven and bake for about 45 minutes, or until the pots are puffed, golden and firm. Turn the oven off and leave the tin in the oven for about 10 minutes. Remove the pots from the tin, carefully run a knife around the rims then turn them out onto plates.