100g fresh white breadcrumbs, from a good-quality loaf
5 tbsp single or double cream, plus more to serve, if you like
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg, or to taste
Can be made 3 days in advance and chilled. To reheat, warm through in a saucepan on the hob or microwave on medium for 3 mins. You may want to add a splash more milk or cream to loosen it a little.
Make the shallots easier to peel by soaking in just-boiled water for 5 mins. Halve them, then peel away the skin.
Heat the butter and oil in a pan, then
add the shallots, cloves, thyme and bay
and cook very, very gently for 15 mins
until soft, translucent and pale golden.
Remove the cloves, add the milk and
pepper, then bring to a gentle simmer for
10 mins. Stir in the breadcrumbs, give
it another 5 mins or so over a very low
heat until the bread has plumped up
nicely, then stir in the cream and nutmeg.
Fish out the stalks from the thyme – the
leaves will have fallen off. Season to
taste. To serve, grate over a little more
nutmeg, drizzle with a little more cream
and decorate with a bay leaf.