If you have a potato – you have a meal
My Grandma, the quiet but strong, kind, patient and lovely Marjorie is sadly no longer with us. Her lessons in life however, are still going strong.
I will always remember how she hovered behind us at Christmas and birthdays, carefully saving every reusable bit of wrapping paper, twirling spare string into neat little bundles and giving us old cardboard boxes to draw on. The product of two World Wars, a make do and mend mindset and a long stint as a secondary school Head Dinner Lady meant that nothing was ever wasted and she made the best of what she had.
A masterclass in humble food
My mum still has some of her old recipe books. Her recipes are a masterclass in making wholesome food from humble ingredients – a far cry from many school dinners these days.
One thing she used to say to my mum has always stuck with me (imagine if you will a neat little Yorkshire accent) “ if you have a potato, you have a meal”.
Potatoes have moved on
Whilst recipes might have moved on since her favourite ‘meat and tatie pie’ (although I’ll cook it soon and share the recipe – it really is amazing) with new spices and far-flung influences, the idea stands true. You don’t need flash ingredients to eat extremely well. Just buy the best you can afford. Whether that is the yellow-stickered bargain box at the end of a supermarket day or a fabulous farmer’s market haul, you’re still good to go.
Here are a couple of our family ‘if you have a potato’ recipe favourites and a fantastic round up of potato based recipes from some of my lovely friends in the blogging world;
(In our house we call this ‘poorly mash’ as it is guaranteed to make you feel better if you feel rubbish. Eat it alone or with some tasty sausages or even just a simple green salad. I promise you that life will feel better with a serving of this.
- A large pan full of potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
- A small tub of crème fraiche (go half fat if you are feeling virtuous (omit this if you want a lactose free version although we often use a lacto-free cream cheese in place of crème fraiche)
- 1 large teaspoon of wholegrain mustard
- 100ml milk (dairy free milk works brilliantly too)
- 1 large spoon of butter or dairy free margarine
- Salt and pepper to taste
- If you really want to go the whole hog (no pun intended) then we love to add a small packet of lardons, fried gently in olive oil until crispy and carmelised. Delicious.
- Boil the potatoes until soft. Drain.
- Mash the potatoes roughly with a potato masher and add all ingredients apart from the butter and lardons. Continue to mash vigorously until fully combined and your mash is light and fluffy (we have inherited a potato ricer from my lovely grandma which makes the mash even lighter but you don’t need to rush out and buy one).
- Finally add the butter and stir gently.
- Add the lardons and then simply try not to inhale the panful before serving some to the rest of your family.
I have tried making this recipe every which way and in my humble opinion, this way works the best with almost no work at all. Your waistline won’t be grateful but your stomach, heart and soul will be full!
- 1kg waxy potatoes that are not going to fall apart into a mash
- 1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
- Tablespoon of butter gently melted
- 300ml full fat milk
- 284ml carton double cream
- pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 25g parmesan or veggie alternative grated.
To make the Gratin…my mouth is watering already
- Preheat the oven to 160C/Gas 4/fan oven 140C. Peel the garlic clove and rub the clove all over the inside of the dish. Then rub the melted butter all over the dish too.
Set the dish aside
- Peel the potatoes (although they are equally good and look pretty with the skins left on). Slice thinly (approx. 0.5cm thick) and pat dry with kitchen towel or a clean tea towel.
- Next put the cream and double cream into a pan a pop the garlic clove in for good measure. On a low heat, start to heat the mixture until it starts to gently bubble. Do not let it boil.
- Layer the potatoes in the dish. I personally don’t spend too much time arranging pretty potato layers but if you have friends round then maybe spend a few extra minutes to get the panful looking amazing.
- Pour the creamy mixture over the potatoes and shake the dish gently to settle the slices of potato into the cream.
- Sprinkle the parmesan liberally over the top of the dish and pop in the oven for around an hour or until the mixture is rich and golden.
- Enjoy a nice glass of something crisp and cold as your house starts to smell like something from a masterchef class and wait for the deliciousness to arrive…
- Again this recipe is wonderful served simple with a large salad or it was made to be served with roast lamb or lamb chops…
- An added bonus is that it tastes even better the day after you make it and keeps well in the fridge.
Here are some more incredible potato options from some really lovely fellow bloggers!
Gluten Free, Vegan Shepherds Pie – a breeze to make and tastes amazing. Thank you Veggie Desserts
Soul soothing Sweet Potato Soup from the lovely site – LyliaRose
Tried by the Wild Tribe last night – this amazing potato and fennel gratin from HodgePodgeDays is something else – try it!
Are you on the Slimming World bandwagon (I need to get back on it!) then this is a great potato start – Tomatoey Potatoes from Teddy Bears and Cardigans
From one of my favourite free-from bloggers – the lovely Emma at Free From Farmhouse – try these fluffy dairy and egg free fishcakes
Amazing salad-spiration in the form of this Kale and Potato Salad from SpinningPlates
And last but not least – for the perfect night in, crack out the cheddar for these bad boys – Loaded Hasselback Potatoes from Keep Up with the Jones Family!