Ah, the humble spud”….

 

Ah, the humble spud”…. I often wonder who put the “humble” in potatoes. Maybe “modest” is more appropriate. After all, it’s an exciting, flavoursome, nutritious and easy to use vegetable.  When you see how it’s prepared in the various countries around the world, from a delicious Aluo Dum curry in Northern India to Lefsa in Norway, you quickly realize how the spud has been embraced and brought to new heights of deliciousness by our international friends.

 

Just like apples, there is a great variety of potatoes, and some work better than others with different cooking methods.  We all know Roosters, which are a great general potatoes for steaming, baking and boiling.  But try some Pinks for crispy chips and baked potatoes or Queens for roasted potatoes and many more varieties. And as for Maris Pipers… “Best Chips Ever, Mam!” was a clear compliment from my two kids last night, when I made oven chips with Maris Pipers.  They were so sweet and crispy on the outside and soft and buttery on the inside, yum!

 

We all grew up on the potato, meat and two veg.  And whilst that’s tasty, we do need to inject some fresh flavours and interest into our potato dishes.  Here are some tips:

 

“Spice up the Spud” – Saute a ¼ teaspoon of garam marsala with 2 sliced onions and fold into mashed potatoes.  A pinch of saffron makes your mash look and taste gorgeous.

Toss a little harrisa paste into your roasted potatoes. Brush chilli oil lightly over your potatoes before baking them.

 

“Add a little Mediterranean”  Mashed potato with pancetta and gorgonzola cheese is so delicious or add marinaded chopped artichokes, sliced olives and lemon zest. Another really tasty one is to stir in 2 tablespoons of roasted red pepper pesto through your mashed potatoes.  

 

“Add a bit of sweet” – yes you can! Add maple caramelised diced apples to mashed potatoes for a pie or add finely diced pears into potato cakes and serve with a cherry marsala sauce. 

 

A few ideas to speed things up. Try dicing the potatoes fairly small and steaming them – they cook much faster. Warm the milk in the microwave with the butter before adding to the mashed potatoes. For speedy baked potatoes, insert a metal skewer as this speeds them up by 15 minutes. Mash your potatoes with the skins still on – it saves time and gives you extra fibre!

 

 

Potato, Kale and Cannellini Bean Soup

Serves 4

 

This is a great hearty flavoursome soup which is very easy to make.  Potatoes and kale are high in Vitamin C so not only will it will comforting on a chilly evening but so very good for you as well. 

 

1 large onion, thinly sliced

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
60g chorizo, diced
3 medium Rooster potatoes, peeled and diced into 1cm pieces

1 tsp chopped thyme

100ml white wine

1.5 litres vegetable stock

60g curly kale, washed and roughly shredded

100g cooked cannellini beans

 

Olive or rapeseed oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

1 tbsp chopped parsley, for garnishing

Pastry twists or crostini, to serve

 

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large saucepan and sauté the onion for 5 minutes until soft and just starting to colour. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the diced chorizo and cook until it starts to release oil.
  3. Add the diced potatoes, thyme and white wine and sauté for 3 minutes, stirring from time to time.  
  4. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer. Check the seasoning. Simmer for about 18 to 20 minutes.
  5. Stir in the kale and beans and simmer for about 3 to 4 minutes until the kale is just tender..
  6. Ladle into soup bowls, sprinkle over the chopped parsley and serve with pastry twists or crostini. 

 

Tip: For a lovely healthy casserole, add 2 diced carrots and 100g diced pancetta and plenty of chopped chives.

 

Parmesan Potato Cakes and Chive and Lemon Drizzle

Makes 12 small cakes as a starter

 

These potato cakes make an ideal starter and you can use the left over mash from the previous evening. Using a potato ricer will make your life so much easier and quicker – I think that every home should have one.  

 

50g  plain flour

400g Queen potatoes, steamed and pressed through a ricer or masher

1 egg, beaten

3 scallions, finely chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 to 3 tbsp milk, if the mixure is too dry

 

4 tbsp grated parmesan

60g breadcrumbs

1 tbsp finely chopped parsley

 

Butter and oil, for frying

 

For drizzling:

2 tbsp chopped chives

½ lemon, juice & zest

4 tbsp olive oil

 

Watercress or salad leaves, to garnish

Borage flowers, to garnish (optional)

Lemon wedges, to serve

 

  1. Place the potato, flour, egg, scallions, salt and pepper into a mixing bowl, mix well until all the ingredients come together and add a little milk, if necessary.
  2. Using damp hands, divide the mixture in 12 portions and shape into small potato cakes.
  3. Mix the parmesan, breadcrumbs and parsley together and toss onto a plate.
  4. Roll in the parmesan breadcrumb mix. Place on a plate lined with parchment and set aside in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
  5. Heat the oil or butter in a large fryingpan over a medium heat and carefully fry the potato cakes for about 2 minutes until lightly golden brown on each side.
  6. To make the drizzle, whisk all the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
  7. To serve place 3 potato cakes on a serving plate, spoon over the drizzle and serve with watercress or salad leaves and borage flowers and lemon wedges.

 

Tip: Saute a finely chopped red chilli and add to the potato mix for that little extra heat and serve with a sweet chilli dipping sauce and some lime wedges for another glam starter. Queens have that lovely floury texture and are great to use for steaming and boiling. They are available late June to September.     

 

 

Patatas Bravas with Roast Cod

Serves 4

 

This will bring back the sunny holiday memories and teamed up with roast cod makes a really delicious main course for a dinner party. The sauce can be made ahead of time so all the wonderful flavours can develop. Use Pinks as a prefered potato as they are great for chips and give a good crispness when roasted for this dish.    

 

For the sauce

3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped
400g tinned chopped tomatoes

2tbsp tomato puree

1 tsp sweet paprika

¼ tsp chilli powder

Pinch of brown sugar

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For the potatoes

1kg Kerrs Pink potatoes, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces

4 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

Sea salt

 

For the roasted cod

4 x 100g cod fillets, 3cm thick

1 lemon, juice

1 tbsp chopped dill

Olive or rapeseed oil

 

Flat leaf parsley, to garnish

1 lemon, sliced thinly in half, to garnish

 

  1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan, add the onion and saute for about 6 minutes until softened but not brown.
  2. Add the garlic, tomatoes, tomato puree, paprika, chilli powder, sugar and salt and freshly ground black pepper and bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.  Check the seasoning.
  3. Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan 170°C/gas 5.  Pour the oil into a roasting pan and heat in the oven for about 2 minutes.  Do take care when taking out of the oven. Spread the diced potatoes into a roasting tin.  
  4. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the potatoes from time to time until they are crisp, golden and cooked.
  5. To roast the cod, drizzle a little olive oil into a roasting pan, heat the pan in the oven for 2 minutes, carefully place the cod fillets into the pan. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Sprinkle over the lemon juice and dill and roast for 12 to 15 minutes until the fish is cooked. Test this by carefully inserting a knive into the fish and flaking it away.  
  6. Tip the potatoes into a serving plate, spoon over the tomato sauce.
  7. Place the roasted cod fillets on top of the potato and sauce. Place lemon slices over the cod fillets. Garnish with flat leaf parsley. Serve immediately.

 

Tip: Add finely chopped chives or lemon zest over the diced potatoes for a great side to the Sunday roast dinner or even serve a tapenade over and then the cod fillet.   

 

Potato, Caramelised Onion and Thyme Tart

Serves 4 to 6

 

This tart will really wow your friends.  It takes a little time to arrange the potatoes but the rest is quick and so worthwhile. You can make tartlets to take on picnics or even for a casual lunch with a colourful leafy salad.

 

2 medium red onions, thinly sliced

4 tbsp caster sugar

375g puff pastry

20 to 24 new baby Maris Piper potatoes, skins on and steamed

4 tbsp good quality tomato sauce

1 tsp chopped thyme

 

Olive or rapeseed oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

10 small sprigs of thyme

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.  Line a large baking tray with parchment paper.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the sliced onions and sugar.  Gently saute for 10 to 12 minutes until softened and caramelised
  3. Roll the puff pastry out onto a floured clean surface. Use a dinner plate as a template to cut a circle that will fit your baking tray and place on the parchment.
  4.  Slice the steamed new baby potatoes thinly. Spread the tomato sauce over the pastry.
  5. Working from the outside towards the inside, arrange the potato slices all the way around in 4 rows, leaving a gap in the centre to place the caramelized onion after the tart is baked.  Sprinkle over the chopped thyme. Drizzle with a little olive oil  and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. 
  6. The pastry should be cooked and the potatoes crispy. Spoon the caramelized onions into the centre of the potato tart.  To serve, sprinkle over the sprigs of thyme and drizzle with a little olive oil and serve immediately.

 

Tip: Add diced pancetta to the caramelised onions for a very delicious change.

 

Twice Baked Broccoli and and Potato Cheese

Serves 4

 

You can add almost anything to these – grated mature cheddar, peas, spinach or even grated courgettes. Bake your potatoes when you are cooking a casserole in the oven or even a cake so that you can make full use of all the oven space and energy.

 

100g broccoli, chopped into medium size florets

4 Rooster or Kerrs Pinks baked potoes, sliced in half

4 tbsp basil pesto

3 eggs, separated

3 tbsp cream

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp chopped parsley

1 tbsp chopped chives

2 tbsp grated parmesan

 

Chive lengths and flowers, to garnish

Parmesan shavings, to garnish

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160°C/gas 4.
  2. Place the brocolli in a steamer and cook for about 7 minutes or until cooked until tender. While still hot, mash with a fork.
  3. Scoop the potato flesh out of the potatoes and place the skins on a parchment lined baking tray.
  4. Beat the egg yolks a little and separately whisk the egg whites until stiff and set aside.
  5. Add the pesto, beaten eggs yolks, cream and mashed brocolli to the scooped out potato. Check the seasoning.  Add the chopped parsley and the parmesan. Carefully fold the egg whites into the potato mix.
  6. Spoon the mixture back into the potato skins, piling it up and place into the preheated oven to cook for 15 to 18 minutes depending on the size of the potatoes. Once cooked, garnish with chives, parmesan shavings and serve immediatley.

 

Tip: Baking our potatoes is one of the healthest ways to cook them along side steaming. There is nothing nicer than a well baked potato, hot and steamy on a cold night with a light drizzle of herb oil on top – it couldn’t be simpler. Potatoes are a great source of potassium which is good for blood pressure and a good amount of fibre available as well for a healthy life style.  

  

 

 

Spanish Widowed Potatoes or Patatas Viudas

Serves 4

 

This is a rustic style potato casserole with great flavours and great for the budget as well. The anchovies will melt into the casserole andmy tip is to keep the vegetables chunky – less to chop! When the potatoes cook they thicken the sauce of the casserole as well.  

 

1 onion, sliced

4 garlic cloves, sliced

2 anchovy fillets

600g Golden Wonder potatoes, peeled and diced into 2cm pieces

1 green pepper, deseeded and diced into 2cm pieces

1 red pepper, deseeded and diced into 2cm pieces

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

100ml red wine

½ tsp chopped oregano

½ tsp paprika

500 to 600ml vegetable stock

1 bayleaf

150g mixed varities of cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp black olives

 

3 tbsp olive or rapeseed oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

Oregano leaves, to garnish

Garlic toasts, to serve

 

  1. Heat a large size casserole with olive oil, add the sliced onion and saute for 4 minutes, add the garlic olives and cook for a further 2 minutes.  Add the diced potatoes and green and red peppers and saute for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  2. Pour over the red wine vinegar and red wine, oregano, paprika and cook for 4 minutes. Add the stock and bay leaf, bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. 
  3. Add the cherry tomatoes and simmer gently for about  6 minutes. Add the olives and cook for 2 minutes. Remove the bayleaf. Check the seasoning.
  4. To serve, sprinkle over oregano leaves and serve with garlic toasts.

 

Tip: We take our potatoes for granted – take good care of them, they can bruise and store them in cool dark hessian type bags in a dark place to keep them as fresh as possible. Try new varities for a change as well.    

 

Individual Cider Chicken & Ham Potato Pies

Serves 4

 

This is a great recipe to use up leftover chicken and ham from a Sunday dinner. Use queens in this recipes as they are floury and will give you a fab mash potato for the topping. You can change the topping flavours to add caramelised leeks or grate mature cheddar or even olive oil and chopped olives.

 

For the topping

5 large Queens potatoes, peeled and roughly diced

30g butter

50ml warm milk

1 tbsp chopped dill

 

For sauce:

30g butter

30g flour

120ml chicken stock

100 ml cider

120ml double cream

Squeeze of lemon juice (to taste)

Sprig of fresh dill

 

150g cooked ham, 2cm dice pieces

150g cooked chicken, 2cm dice pieces

 

1.         Place the diced potatoes into a steamer and cook for 12 minutes or

until cooked.  When still hot, press the potatoes through a potato ricer

into a bowl. Add the butter and warm milk, chopped dill and salt and freshly

ground black pepper.

2.         Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. 

3.         For the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium

heat, add the flour and cook slowly over a low heat until the mixture is

lightly golden and cooked.  Pour in the chicken stock and cider, turn up the

heat and stir constantly until simmering. Add the cream and reduce until the

sauce has thickened. Add the lemon juice and dill.

4.         Stir the chicken and ham into the sauce.

5.         Divide the mix into 4 ramekins. Spoon the mash potato into a piping

bag and pipe the potato topping, as much or as little as you prefer over the

ramekins or spoon over the mash potatoes, spread evenly and transfer onto a

baking tray and into the preheated oven.  Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until

the topping is golden.

6.         Serve immediately with a fresh green salad.

 

Tip: Instead of mashed potatoes, slice new potatoes very thinly, arrange

over the top of the filling  and brush with melted butter and bake until

crispy.    

 

 

Potato and Leek Bake

Serves 4 to 6

 

Use a mandolin to get thinly sliced potatoes. To speed up potato bakes, cook the potatoes in stock or cream first until just tender.  Drain very well and keep the liquid to make a sauce. 

 

700ml vegetable stock

1kg Queens potatoes, thinly sliced

2 large leeks, thinly sliced

200ml double cream

3 eggs, beaten

1 tsp dijon mustard

2 tbsp grated parmesan

 

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

1 tbsp chopped chives

100 cooked crispy diced pancetta

 

 

  1. Heat the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas 4. Place the stock in a large pan, bring to the boil, then add the potatoes. Bring to the boil for 5 minutes, then drain very well, reserving the stock in a jug.
  2. In the meantime, heat a large frying pan & saute the leeks until just golden & soft.
  3. Meanwhile, brush a 25cm gratin dish. Layer up the potatoes and leek, seasoning as you go, then scatter the pancetta over the top. Pour over 60ml of the reserved stock.
  4. Mix the cream, eggs, dijon mustard, parmesan and salt and pepper in a jug and carefully pour over the potatoes and leeks. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes until set.
  5. Sprinkle over the chives and crispy pancetta before serving.

 

Tip: Layer thin slices of courgette in between the potatoes and leek. A rustic style bake can be prepared with steamed new baby maris piper potatoes, sliced lengthways and layed with cream, parmesan and leeks.

 

Coriander Potato Salad with a Yoghurt Dressing

Serves 4

 

Serve this at a summer fish BBQ with salad leafy until the salad. You can, of course, use steamed diced rooster potato with this dressing as well.  

 

1.2 kg new season Maris Piper potatoes, washed, skins left on
5 spring onions, sliced
2 stalk celery, trimmed and thinly sliced

 

for the dressing

150g plain fat free Greek yogurt
4 tbsp good quality mayonnaise
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander
Salt and pepper, to taste

A generous bunch of fresh coriander, for garnish

 

  1. Place the potatoes into a steamer and cook until fork-tender.
  2. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly and then cut them into half or even quarter if a little larger.
  3. Add the spring onions and celery to the potatoes.
  4. Mix together the yogurt, mayonnaise, balsamic vinegar and mustard. Stir in the chopped coriander, season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Spoon the dressing over the potatoes, spring onions and celery and gently toss and chill in fridge.
  6. Serve with coriander on top.

Tip: Stir a good handful of rocket into the salad and chunks of tuna for a healthy easy lunch.

Bbq New Potato, Red Pepper and Rosemary Skewers

Makes 8

 

You can prepare these in a large chargrill pan as well so that you can serve skewers with diced potatoes not only during the summer. 

 

24 small new season Maris Piper or Queens baby potatoes, steamed

2 red peppers, deseeded and diced into 2cm pieces

8 small shallots, peeled and sliced in half

 

2 tsp oregano, chopped

1 tsp paprika

1 lemon, juice only

3 tbsp rapeseed oil

 

 

Chive green oil

2 tbsp chopped chives

1 tbsp chopped dill

60ml rapeseed oil

2 tbsp toasted pinenuts

 

8 medium rosemary sprigs

8 wooden skewers

 

Lemon slices, chargrilled, to serve

Salt and black pepper

 

  1. Soak the wooden skewers in cold water for at least one hour.
  2. Combine the oregano, paprika, lemon juice and oil together in a bowl.  While the new baby potatoes are still hot, pour half the marinade over to marinade for ½ an hour.
  3. Preheat the BBQ.
  4. Thread the skewers with baby potatoes, red pepper and shallots. Brush with more oregano marinade. 
  5. Chargrill the skewers for about 3 to 4 minutes until cooked.
  6. To make the chive oil, place the chives, dill, olive and pinenuts into a food processor and blender until roughly smooth.
  7. To serve, place the skewers on a serving platter or board and spoon over the chive oil and serve immediately with chargrilled lemon slices.

 

Tip:  Try threading a few thin strip of chicken in between the potatoes and red peppers on the skewers.