Who doesn’t love potatoes? If you just raised your hand, then I’m sorry, but we may not have a future together… I mean, come on. ‘Potooties’, ‘spuds’, ‘tatties’… whatever you call them, potatoes are, deservingly, a mainstay of family cooking. Seriously, what would we do without them?
At the mo we are all being more creative with our ‘menus’ at home. In lockdown we have access to less, and we may go shopping with a plan only for that to go out the window when the shelves are empty! I know my meal plan, which I am normally so fond of sticking to, is definitely changing on a daily basis. One thing we always make sure we have in though, is some potatoes. Whether they are baby pots, red skinned beauts (my fave), sweet pots, or just humble white potatoes, if you have some spuds in, you’re sorted.
Their versatility is probably my favourite thing about potatoes. If you have empty cupboards, then a simple potato, rubbed with a little oil and salt, baked in the oven for a long time (like, 2 hours), and then lovingly cut open and COVERED with salted butter… well, I mean, it’s better than chocolate in my opinion.
We use potatoes a LOT. If our diet was up to Adam alone, we’d eat potatoes, tomatoes, meat and pasta – that’s it. Thankfully it’s not, and many other things feature, but yes, potatoes are an almost daily presence. I prefer to not peel if possible – even with mash (which I loathe making, so laborious… instead, try boiling baby pots then crushing with a fork and plenty of butter plus fresh herbs, ideally chives or mint). A very popular lunch round our house is the childhood classic of… jacket potato with cheese and beans. Packed with protein, fibre, calcium, and complex carbs, it’s a great meal! I know a boy who ONLY eats this meal. Like, ever. I told his mum not to worry, it could be so much worse; my mother in law told me about a child that only ate treacle sandwiches. I digress…
So, I was contacted by potato supplier Branston, who is providing fun activities and delicious potato-based recipes to help families across the UK get creative with their spuds during their time at home. You can find games, challenges and mini craft projects as well as creative recipes here.
Branston asked if I would with some recipes to give people new ideas with this most humble but simply brilliant vegetable. I was overjoyed to be asked, and immediately suggested a filling brekkie/brunch, an easy but tasty lunch, and a swanky but simple dinner. See them all below.
Let me know what are your go to ways with the spud? And do you agree, is heavily buttered jacket better than ANYTHING??!
Garlic and herb rosti with ‘poached’ egg and roasted toms
This makes such a lovely brunch. Let’s get real, you’re not going to make these on a mad Monday morning during term time, but maybe during lockdown, or for a weekend brunchy-lunch? They’re dead easy, so give it a whirl! I just used a mixture of potatoes I had in, white and red.
Takes: 1 hour 30 mins
- Olive oil
- Any potatoes – I used a mixture – about 8 small-medium ones
- 1 egg
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh or dried thyme or rosemary or sage
- Couple of cloves of garlic, crushed (I used frozen!)
- Tomatoes, halved
- 4 more eggs
- Preheat oven to about 150C. Slow cook the halved tomatoes, sprinkled with herbs and a little salt and drizzled with oil, for about an hour. Heat a large heavy bottom pan. Put quite a bit of oil in – so that the whole bottom of the pan is covered – just.
- Grate potatoes and pop them on a clean tea towel, then squeeze out any excess liquid.
- Mix in a bowel with S&P and 1 egg, plus plenty of herbs.
- When the pan is nice and hot, tip it all in. Squash it down with a spoon to create one large rosti.
- Let it cook about 10 mins on one side, press it down all over to give it a good sizzle, then pop a chopping board on top and flip the pan over (so it comes out on the board).
- Then confidently slide it back into the pan!! You can do this! Cook on the other side.
- Make sure it’s done and give it more time if your pan is smaller and the rosti is thicker. Control the heat so it cooks without burning.
- Pop the eggs in little bowls or ramekins, and cover with a plate. Microwave for 30-45 seconds. They should steam and be like poached eggs. Pop them on the plate with a few tommies and serve slices of rosti alongside.
Stuffed little jackets with various fillings
I love these. They have a special place in my heart. It was the first thing I ever really made, at primary school aged probably about 7, in home economics! I mean, we didn’t actually do home economics ever again – it was literally just one time. But it must’ve inspired me as I make them often. They aren’t hard, and also they are a great way to use up leftover jackets.
Takes: 1 1/2 hours
- Any potatoes – I used a mixture
- Sardine and chilli: 1 tin of sardines in tomato sauce / pinch chilli flakes
- Bacon and Brie: Chunks of Brie / bacon or pancetta lardons
- Cheesy pesto peas: Grated cheddar / peas / pesto
- Handful of herbs – I used chives
- Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- Bake your potatoes in a 180C oven for about 1-2 hours depending on size. Need to hurry up? Microwave first for 10 mins then bake for about 20 mins.
- When pretty much done, take out, slice in half and hold them in a towel, then scoop out filling.
- Mash filling with whatever you like – I did 3 different types: sardine and chilli, cheesy pesto peas, bacon and brie. I also chucked in a few cherry toms, halved, and some fresh chives, snipped.
- Pop under a hot grill until brown and bubbling.
Creamy porcini and thyme dauphinoise
This creamy bake will not disappoint. Porcini are dried mushrooms. They are a great store cupboard ingredient to have in. They add depth and an earthy flavour. I love them. No porcinis? Don’t fret, just leave ’em out. It’s still an absolute classic and couldn’t be easier.
Takes: 1 1/2 hours
- Handful of porcini mushrooms
- A splash of olive oil
- 1 onion, sliced thinly
- About a tablespoon of chopped garlic (I used frozen – a great emergency store cupboard to have in as we ran out!)
- Handful of fresh or dried thyme
- About 1 kg potatoes (I used red skin but any type is fine), unpeeled
- About 500ml double cream
- Preheat oven to 180C. Pop dried mushrooms in enough boiling water to cover and steep for about 20 mins. I use a mug for this.
- Fry onion and garlic, plus thyme, in a little oil over a low-medium heat for a few mins until soft.
- Squeeze out porcinis and chop roughly. Add to pan and fry off for a few mins.
- Add the steeping juice (watch out if there’s a little bit of grit in the bottom of the cup – don’t include that) and ‘deglaze’ the pan, i.e. turn up heat and reduce a little for a few more mins.
- Slice pots about 1/2cm width. Add potato slices and cream and stir well – you want everything coated equally. Arrange them nicely if you want but I just left mine and they sort of arranged themselves!
- Bake for about 50 mins. Test with a skewer to see if it’s cooked.
- We ate ours with sausages (kids insisted) and some salad, but this would be good just on its own – no meat required.
These recipes were developed on behalf of Seasonal Spuds.