Category Archives: Potatoes

Rustic butternut and mustard mash

squash mash 1

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the best, so after debating whether this is really worthy of a recipe post, I decided to add it in celebration of those simple, comforting, but sometimes overlooked dishes.

Aim for roughly an equal amount of potato to squash, and cook as much as you need for the amount of people you are feeding. Peel the butternut or winter squash, deseed and chop into roughly 1 inch square chunks. Peel the potatoes only if they’re very rough skinned, otherwise just give them a good scrub and chop into similar sized chunks as the squash.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, then add the squash and cook for another 5-8 minutes until both are soft.

Drain the vegetables, put them back in the warm pan, add a knob of butter, some cream if you have it, a twist of salt and pepper and a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard. Mash all together.

Perfect on a cold night with sausages or pork chops and onion gravy. If you have any leftovers the next day you can add it to hot chicken or vegetable stock and blend it into a soup.

squash mash 2

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Tartiflette

 

tartiflette4

Until recently I’d never even heard of tartiflette, but I have made it twice now and I know it will become one of our staple meals from now on because it ticks two major boxes – easy – tick, and delicious – big tick. This is what I call a proper comfort dish. Like a big, soft blanket wrapped around you, perfect for when the weather turns nippy. A great way to use up those homegrown potatoes and onions, with a bit of hot chilli pepper if you like. The bacon can be substituted for a little chopped ham or chorizo, or if you’re veggie just leave it out.

Thanks to the BBC Good Food for this recipe and many others that I’ve come to rely on. They really are my favourite recipe site.

A few slight alterations I made were – not to peel the potatoes, skins on works fine for me and stops the potatoes breaking up too much, I added a heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard (leave this out if you’d prefer), and I didn’t bother with the addition of breadcrumbs on top at the end. If I’d had some I probably would have added them, so feel free to do so if you wish, but it still tastes great without them. On the matter of cheese, the original recipe uses vignotte, which I’ve never been able to get hold of, I have tried it with cambozola and brie, both of which were lovely. I bought some reblochon specially for using in this dish, but then ended up eating it all before I had chance to make it! I reckon it would taste great with any old cheese, so just use whatever you have.

Scrub clean and thickly slice 2 large potatoes or 4-5 smaller ones, boil in salted water for 5 minutes, then drain and set aside. Meanwhile, slice 1 onion, add a little oil to a hot pan and fry the onion gently until soft. Add some chopped bacon and continue to fry until cooked. Remove the onions and bacon and add a little more oil to the pan. Add the potatoes and fry until they start to brown. Heat a grill to hot. Put the bacon and onions back in the pan, and mix everything together. Don’t worry if anything starts to stick, just keep stirring. Add around 100ml of double cream (or, as I do, use creme fraiche with a splash of milk to loosen it). Add 1 heaped teaspoon of wholegrain mustard, stir together. Nestle some chunks of soft cheese in between the potatoes, sprinkle over some chopped chilli, and then place the pan under the hot grill (protect the handle with foil if necessary) for around 5 minutes or until everything turns a lovely shade of golden brown.

tartiflette3 tartiflette2 tartiflette1

Hasselback potatoes with garlic and thyme

hasselbacks cooked

The first couple of rows of main crop potatoes were dug up at the weekend. You never quite know what you’re going to get when you dig up root crops, and in this case, we didn’t even know what the variety would be. Way back in the spring, a box of mixed left over seed potatoes were offered up by our allotment neighbour. Just enough for 2 rows, with probably 3 or 4 varieties all jumbled up together. There’s a mix of red and yellow. I think the red are probably Desiree, and the yellow ones could be King Edwards or Cara (varieties I know my neighbour is growing). They’ve done pretty well, not a massive yield, a few had been attacked by tiny slugs or eelworm, who eat them from the inside-out, but no complaints for a free harvest.

We took to eating these hasselback potatoes last autumn and over the winter, so it’s nice to have them back on the menu again. As much as the new potatoes have been lovely, there are some things that you just can’t do with a tiny new potato and this is one of them.

I did a lot of weeding through the herb bed while John was digging up our spuds, and after freeing the thyme from the clutches of the bindweed, I decided to pick a few bunches to dry it out at home. I would normally use rosemary in this dish, but while fresh thyme was to hand I used it instead. Either works fine.

Method:

Preheat the oven to a hot temp – around 220-240ºc. This gets them nice and crisp on the outside edges.

1. Take your freshly scrubbed potato, and very carefully slice down across the narrowest width, but make sure not to cut all the way through. You can use a skewer, pierced low down through the length of the potato, to stop you from cutting all the way through, or I’ve also seen a method where the potato is rested on a large serving spoon before cutting. I have tried both and they’re a bit too much hassle for me! Get it – hassle, never mind. I just cut carefully.

2. Place the potatoes (cut side up) into a baking dish. I find it best to use something a little snug to hold the potatoes in their shape, but with a little room so they can open up slightly.

3. Slice a clove or 2 of garlic as thinly as you can, and push the garlic slices down between the slices of potato.

4. Scatter over the herbs, pushing some down into the potato layers, and then season with salt and pepper. Drizzle over a glug of oil (olive, rapeseed, posh walnut, homemade chilli infused, whatever takes your fancy).

5. Place in the oven and roast for around 45 mins – 1 hour, depending on the size of your potatoes.

6. Smear over a little butter over when they come out of the oven. Enjoy!

You could experiment quite a bit with this. Such as:

  • a spicy version with chopped fresh or flakes of dry chilli between the layers and maybe a dusting of paprika.
  • a cheesy version with thin slices of cheese between the layers. Not sure if that would work, maybe the cheese would have to go in towards the end of the cooking time?
  • a creamy mustard version, a mixture of cream and wholegrain mustard spread into the layers with a splash of milk over the top to make a sort of hasselback daphnoise?

Just a few thoughts, it’s there to make it your own.

hasselbacks precookedpotatoes dying on soil potato harvest Sept thyme

 

Roasted crushed new potatoes

roast new potatoes The new potatoes are all done with their flowering and we’re harvesting a few heads on every trip up to the plot. We’ve worked our way through the Charlottes and are now eating Foremost. I think I marginally prefer Charlotte, so I may grow more of those next year. Foremost are tasty too, but they oddly have these dark muddy spots that need quite a bit of scrubbing to shift. I’ve never had that on potatoes before. I don’t mind a bit of dirt (I must have consumed enough as a child and survived) but I don’t want too much grittiness.

So, after eating lots of new potatoes simply boiled with mint, and a bit of butter added after, or made into potato salad, or sliced and cooked beneath a fillet of fish, one of our all time favourite ways to eat new potatoes is this – par-boiled, gently crushed and then roasted. Normally I would add some chopped rosemary or thyme and sea salt prior to roasting, but then I came across this recipe from the Circus Gardeners Kitchen (whose blog I follow) which adds a garnish of chopped herbs and spring onions after roasting, and thought I’d try it for a change. It’s a fresher, more summery version which we liked very much.

I boiled mine for a tad longer and didn’t roast them for quite as long, hence they’re not quite as brown and crispy, but they were still delicious, served with a piece of fish and a simple side salad of lettuce (from the plot), cucumber and feta cheese.

Servings: 4

Ingredients
20 organic new potatoes
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
1 tbsp mixed fresh herbs (I used parsley and mint)
4 spring onions, finely chopped
Method
1. Wash or scrub the potatoes and place in a large pan. Cover with cold water and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and simmer for a further two to three minutes, or until the potatoes are still firm but just cooked (check with a skewer or sharp, thin knife).
2. Drain the potatoes and rinse under cold water. Set to one side for a few minutes to cool.
3. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C (400°F, gas mark 6).
4. When the potatoes have cooled sufficiently, place them on a flat surface or board. Place the heel of your hand over each potato and press down with gentle but firm pressure until you feel it “give”. When you lift your palm, the potato will have a crushed appearance but will still be just about in one piece, which is exactly what we want. Do this with all of the potatoes then place them in a roasting tin, drizzle with the olive oil and place in the pre-heated oven for 45-50 minutes, turning the potatoes over half way through the cooking time, until they are browned and crispy.
5. Briefly drain the potatoes on kitchen paper. Scattered with the salt and the chopped herbs and spring onions and serve.

potato harvest

Salmon and new potato parcels

salmon and new potato parcels

On Sunday we dug up the first couple of new potato plants. It wasn’t a massive harvest, but enough for a few meals to get started with, and this is a recipe I’d bookmarked long ago as one to try out with the first of this crop.

It’s from an app downloaded to my iPad, which I can highly recommend. It’s called ‘Cook with M&S’ (that’s Marks and Spencer, a UK store), it’s completely free, and the handful of recipes I’ve tried from it so far have all been a great success.

What I also love, apart from the recipes, is that you can adjust how many people you are cooking for and it will adjust the ingredients quantities for you. As much as I love my cookery books, they can’t do the maths for me!

Okay, enough corporate endorsements, here is the recipe (for 2 people). My slight alteration to this is that I marinaded the salmon before hand in dry sherry and herbs (you could use white wine or cider) but this is completely optional.

Ingredients:

  • 2 skinless salmon fillets
  • 4 new potatoes (I did more as some of ours were small)
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (roughly half a lemon)
  • 1tbsp chives (I used parsley and basil)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2tbsp pesto (mine looks quite chunky as it was homemade garlic scape pesto, with a little extra roasted garlic)

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 220ºC/425ºF/gas 7
  2. Thinly slice the potatoes.
  3. Dry the salmon with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Cut 2 x 50cm lengths of baking paper. Divide the potato slices between the sheets, arrange in the centre so they overlap slightly.
  5. Place a salmon fillet on each, along with the lemon zest and herbs and a drizzle of oil.
  6. Fold the 2 long sides of paper across the front, and then fold the top and bottom underneath to create little parcels. Place on a baking sheet and cook for 15 mins, or until the fish flakes with a fork.
  7. Open the parcels and top each salmon fillet with pesto, serve with a lemon wedge.

You might find the potatoes need a further 5 mins, I added the pesto and then put them back in the oven. Use your judgement on this.

 

New potato salad

new potato saladThis isn’t strictly speaking an allotment harvest, these potatoes have been growing in a grow sack at home, next to the compost bin. Back in the spring when I was chitting my potatoes to prepare them for planting, I came across some of last years harvest which had been forgotten about, but were merrily chitting themselves away without my help. They’d overdone it a bit (being in the dark) so I reduced the length of the stems and placed them in the light next to the others. I decided I may as well try growing them, but at home rather than with the rest of the gang down the plot, in order to keep them separate.

They grew pretty well, but maybe a little too well, as lots of lush top growth doesn’t necessarily result in lots of tubers under the soil. Which was the case here. I sort of hope this is always the case because those on the plot are completely the other way around. Very little top growth, so fingers crossed for a better harvest over there.

Still, we’ve had a couple of meals from them, which I can’t complain about for something that may have otherwise been thrown in the bin. The first lot were simply boiled with garden mint and then dolloped with butter. But I wanted more of a potato salad from these.

Simply wash and boil your spuds for 10 mins in salted water, drain, add 1 spoonful of mayonnaise, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a few torn basil leaves. I also added a spoonful of my homemade garlic scape pesto, but that’s completely optional.

Enjoy your spuds!

 

 

Creamy potato, leek and squash gratin

leek and squash gratin 2

The leeks are still being harvested from the plot, but that’s about it now. I’m down to the last of my butternut squash, all of my potatoes are gone (apart from a handful I’d forgotten about and were discovered chitting themselves in the back of my cupboard. I say chitting, I just mean sprouting really) and also gone are the onions and garlic. Shock, horror, I’m having to buy these in the shop now.

Damn the hungry gap, it seems to have come early this year, and I didn’t even grow any purple sprouting broccoli this winter. I’m cursing myself for that. I still have some dried beans, and some frozen produce; chillies, parsnip chunks, plums and blackberries. In fact, blackberries will feature in my next recipe, but for now here’s a comforting gratin that goes lovely with pork or sausages.

I won’t give quantities, it all depends on how many people you need to feed, and how much of each veg you happen to have, it doesn’t really matter too much. I used 2 largish potatoes, 3 small leeks, and a small amount of squash, maybe a third of a regular sized one.

Slice the potatoes (I left the skins on) as thin as you can, and do the same with the squash (but make sure you peel that!) Wash and slice the leeks, then chop them down a bit further. In a casserole or gratin dish, crush a garlic clove with your thumb and rub it over the base of the dish. Add a layer of sliced potatoes, followed by a layer of squash and then leek. Season with salt and pepper and a few dots of butter, then do another set of layers. You could top the dish with a final layer of potatoes if you want, but I decided to stop at the leeks and added some grated cheese to the top. Pour over a small pot of cream (single cream, or double, I happened to have single) cover and bake for around 45-50 mins on a moderate heat. Take the cover off and continue to cook for another 15-20 mins for the cheese to turn golden brown on top.

If you want to adapt this recipe, you can pretty much layer up any sliced root vegetables and alliums.

This is how the first layer looked on construction:

leek and squash gratin 1

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