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Cover: The Gourmet Garden

Recipes with potatoes

11Jul 12

Crispy Potato Wedges

Crispy Potato WedgesAlthough these crispy potato wedges require several steps to prepare, the wonderfully crunchy end result makes it well worth the effort.  The white rice flour gives them an amazing texture when fried, while the cayenne pepper and other herbs provide a subtle spiciness that just can’t be beat.  They taste great on their own, but for best results, I recommend serving them with a freshly made sour cream and chive dip.

For another recipe with fried potatoes, I suggest these Aloo Bonda Snacks. They are an Indian fried potato ball – definitely worth a try!

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 large potatoes cut in ½ cm wedges
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1½ teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano (or ½ teaspoon dried)
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 70g (½ cup) cornflour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 250g white rice flour
  • Canola oil or peanut oil, for frying
  • Additional salt to taste

What you have to do:

  1. Place the potato wedges in a large microwave-safe bowl.
  2. Whisk together the salt, onion powder, oregano, garlic powder, cayenne, and pepper in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle the spices over the potatoes and toss until the potatoes are thoroughly coated.
  4. Lay a sheet of crumpled non-stick baking  paper over the bowl, and cook on high power for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are almost, but not quite done. Let the potatoes cool slightly.
  5. In a shallow bowl, whisk together the cornflour, baking soda, egg, and lemon juice, adding water if necessary until you reach a thin consistency.
  6. Place the white rice flour in a second shallow bowl.
  7. Heat 2 inches of oil in a deep heavy pot to 185°C.
  8. Dip the potatoes in the rice flour, then in the egg mixture, and then again in the rice flour.
  9. Immediately fry the potatoes in batches until they are browned and crispy. Drain on paper towels.
  10. Add more salt to taste.  Serve the wedges immediately on their own or with your favourite dipping sauce.

 

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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02Jul 12

Spinach and Potato Gratin

Spinach and Potato GratinCheddar cheese, potatoes, cream, spinach and pine nuts, grilled to perfection au gratin, this spinach and potato gratin dish has quite literally every single one of my favourite comfort foods, all rolled together into one, big, brilliant recipe!  I make absolutely no claims as to the healthiness of this creation, but sometimes you just want to forget all about that and just eat something that makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. This dish definitely fits that bill!

Personally, I leave the skins on the potatoes, and since they’re supposed to be the healthy part anyway, I don’t feel too guilty about stuffing my face with this every once in a while. (Also try this potato au gratin with pesto and salmon steaks. Just take out the salmon to make it vegetarian, or perhaps you could replace it with tofu!)

 

Spinach and Potato Au Gratin
Author: 
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2-3
 
Ingredients
  • 450g potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 150ml double cream
  • 200ml milk
  • 225g frozen spinach, thawed
  • 80g cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 25g pine nuts
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven, on grill setting, to 200ºC. Or alternatively, use the grill, if you have one.
  2. Spread the potato slices out evenly along the bottom of a large, deep, non-stick frying pan.
  3. Sprinkle the minced garlic and the sliced scallions over the top of the potato slices.
  4. Pour the double cream and the milk over the top of the potatoes and onions.
  5. Place the frying pan over medium heat, bring to the boil and then cover and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  6. Using your hands, wring out the spinach until it is as dry as possible.
  7. Add the spinach to the potato mixture and stir gently to mix them in.
  8. Cover the pot and cook for another 2 minutes.
  9. Season to taste with the salt and fresh black pepper.
  10. Spread the mixture evenly along the bottom of a deep, oven-safe dish.
  11. Sprinkle the grated cheddar over the top of the potato mixture.
  12. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top of the cheese.
  13. Place the dish on the top shelf of the oven or on the grill and bake for 2 or 3 minutes, or until the topping is golden and bubbling.
  14. Serve immediately.

 

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31May 12

Cream of Courgette Soup

Cream of Courgette SoupI really like eating soup, and this Cream of Courgette Soup recipe has got to be one of my all time top-five!  It has a lot more than just courgettes in it, so I guess it’s not technically a simple cream of courgette, but I find that the celery provides a nice tangy contrast while the carrots and potato give it a bit more depth.  And the nutmeg, well, that’s probably the whole secret to this incredibly tasty soup!

I strongly suggest leaving the skin on the courgettes, mostly because that’s where a lot of the nutrients are, but also because it gives a nice green colour.  I’ve also used cornflour rather than cheese or cream to thicken the mix in order to make it vegan-friendly, but if you prefer, you can go ahead and use those as you would in any other creamy broth (such as this roasted fennel and somerset cider soup).

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium size courgettes, washed
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 2 medium potatoes, washed and peeled
  • 4 celery ribs
  • 1 large Spanish onion
  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 2 tsp dry parsley
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1.5 tsp water
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • fresh coriander to garnish

What you have to do:

  1. Chop all the vegetables into medium sized chunks (the size isn’t very important since they’re going to be puréed anyway).
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot over medium heat until it’s hot but not smoking.
  3. Sauté the onion for about 2 minutes.
  4. Add the courgettes, carrots, celery and potatoes and sauté for 20 minutes.
  5. Stir often so it doesn’t burn or stick.
  6. Add the vegetable stock, parsley, nutmeg, bay leaves, black pepper and salt.
  7. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20-25 minutes, or until the carrots and potatoes are tender.
  8. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaves.
  9. Purée the soup with a hand blender or in a blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
  10. Mix the cornflour with the water to a make a thick paste.
  11. Add the cornflour paste to the soup and mix it in well.
  12. Garnish with a few coriander leaves and a dash of nutmeg and serve.

Preparation Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Serves: 6

Difficulty: Medium


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28May 12

Potato and Gruyère Cakes

Potato and Gruyère Cakes

These potato and Gruyère cakes are a satisfyingly filling starter that are sure to delight the whole family, young and old alike.  The tangy crème fraîche offsets the earthy flavour of the potatoes in just the right way, making for a true taste sensation.  For a sweeter presentation, try serving them with an added dollop of raspberry jam, or any other jam you like.  These were initially intended as an appetiser, but I have found they make for a great breakfast too.

If you are a fan of Indian food, you might want to try out this Malai Kofta recipe as well. They are special potato dumplings with cheese in a special gravy. The texture isn’t as delightfully crunchy as with my cakes, but the flavour of the gravy is amazing!

Potato and Gruyère Cakes
Author: 
Recipe type: Appetiser
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
 
Ingredients
  • 900g potatoes
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 2 medium leeks, white part only, cut in half lengthwise, washed and sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2tsp minced garlic
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2tbsp Crème Fraîche plus extra to garnish
  • 100g Gruyère cheese, grated
  • 1.5tbsp flour
  • Oil for the frying pan
Instructions
  1. Place the potatoes in a pot of cold water and bring to the boil.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, until they are tender but not quite completely cooked, about 25 minutes.
  3. Drain and set aside to cool.
  4. When cool, peel and grate using a coarse hand grater, or a food processor.
  5. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan and add the leeks and a few pinches of both salt and pepper.
  6. Cook over medium heat until the leeks start to get soft, about 3 minutes.
  7. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add a little water if necessary to avoid having the leeks stick to the pan.
  8. In a mixing bowl, combine the leeks, potatoes, ½ teaspoon of salt and a pinch of pepper.
  9. Beat the eggs and crème fraîche together in a separate bowl and then mix into the potato mixture.
  10. Mix in the cheese and flour and stir well.
  11. Form the mixture into little cakes about 7 to 10 cm in diamater and about 1 cm thick.
  12. Cook in a well-oiled frying pan over medium heat until crisp and golden, about 5 minutes per side.
  13. Serve immediately with a dollop of crème fraîche.

 

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20Apr 12

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup

Red lentil and sweet potato soupIt’s funny, as a kid growing up, I always hated sweet potatoes (and pumpkin for that matter, as they’re virtually the same when cooked), and it was all my mother could do to get me to eat even the tiniest mouthful.  However, somewhere along the way, I developed a taste for them, especially when they’re mixed with other veggies or pulses that I like more.  I invented this Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Soup one day when I had some sweet potatoes I needed to use up before they went bad, and the result was an instant success both for me and my family.

The soup is very filling and the sweet potato provides lots of dietary fibre, beta carotene and vitamin C.  As I mentioned before, cooked sweet potato and cooked pumpkin are virtually identical in taste, so if you want, you can go ahead and substitute an equal quantity of pumpkin for the sweet potato to create a tasty pumpkin soup.

What you’re going to need:

  • 2 medium-sized sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, washed and chopped
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped
  • 500g red lentils
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1.5 tsp curry powder
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1-2 tsps salt (to taste)
  • 3 tbsps fresh coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp Spanish Sherry Vinegar

What you have to do:

  1. In a large stockpot, sauté the chopped onion in the olive oil over medium heat for 3 or 4 minutes, or until the onion turns translucent.
  2. Add the potatoes, sweet potatoes and lentils and sauté for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  3. Add the salt, curry powder, ground coriander, black pepper and bay leaf and sauté for another minute.
  4. Add the water and stir well, make sure you get any spices that may have stuck to the bottom.
  5. Cover the pot, bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 25 minutes or until the potatoes and sweet potatoes are nice and soft, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat and mash with a potato masher to make a slightly chunky purée.
  7. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Serve in soup bowls and garnish with a teaspoon of fresh coriander and a splash of sherry vinegar.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty:  Easy

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16Apr 12

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

Creamy Potato and Leek Soup

This rich, creamy potato and leek soup is a classic French dish which can be served either hot or cold.  When served cold, the French call it vichyssoise, which certainly sounds a lot better than cold leek soup!  In any case, it’s equally delicious either way, even if the whipped cream, butter and milk probably do make it somewhat fattening.  If you’re on a diet, you can substitute the whipped cream for evaporated skim milk and either eliminate the butter or replace it with a bit of extra virgin olive oil.

It’s very important to make sure you don’t boil the soup after adding the cream, as this will cause it to curdle.  The same precaution needs to be taken when reheating.  This rule applies of course to any recipe with cream or milk.  For a vegan-friendly version, I imagine you can substitute the cream, butter and milk for soy or rice versions of the same, although I’ve never tried this, so I can’t guarantee the results.

 

What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium-sized potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 3 medium-sized leeks, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced (do not use the tough, dark green part)
  • 1 litre vegetable broth
  • 300ml cold water
  • 125ml whipping cream (add up to an  extra 125ml of milk if you like your soup thin)
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • chopped chives to garnish

What you have to do:       

 

  1. Combine the potatoes, leeks, vegetable broth, and water in a large heavy pot or saucepan.
  2. Cover the pot and bring to the boil over medium-high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Without draining off the broth, mash the vegetables in the pan with a vegetable (potato) masher until they are fairly smooth. (If they do not mash easily, the soup has not cooked long enough. In this case, let it simmer for 10 to 15 minutes longer.)
  5. Add the cream, butter, salt, and pepper.
  6. Heat the soup just to the boiling point, but don’t let it boil.
  7. Serve the soup in bowls and garnish with the chopped chives.

Note: If you want a bit of spice in your soup, try this pumpkin soup with curry and Garam Masala.

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Easy

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14Apr 12

Spinach and Bell Pepper Potato Salad

Spinach and bell pepper potato saladFull of colour, slightly spicy and a bit tangy, this spinach and bell pepper potato salad makes for a great side salad to go with your main course, or can easily be set up on some Melba toast as a unique hors d’oeuvre for your next party.  In fact, I did just that for a party at my house a few months ago, and the verdict was a unanimous thumbs up from all my guests!  (For a lighter side without potatoes, try this roasted pepper and goat’s cheese salad.)

The original recipe also called for two hard-boiled eggs, but I’ve never really been a fan and decided to leave them out in my version.  However, if you prefer, you can go ahead and crumble some into the mix.

 

What you’re going to need:

  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • 600g potatoes
  • 75g fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 2tbsp lemon juice
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 65ml olive oil
  • 1tbsp small capers

 

What you have to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 245ºC.
  2.  Wash the bell peppers, cut in half and trim the white part and seeds.
  3.  Place the pepper halves on a baking sheet with the cut sides down.
  4.  Peel the onion, cut in half, and place on the baking sheet with the cut sides down.
  5. Bake the vegetables 20 minutes in the oven until the skin on the peppers blisters. Let the peppers stand briefly, then peel, and cut into strips. Also cut the onion into thin strips.
  6. While the vegetables are cooking, wash the potatoes, and cook covered over medium heat 20-30 minutes in a little water. Don’t let them get too tender.
  7. Drain, wait until they’re cool enough to handle, peel, and dice.
  8. Trim the spinach well and wash thoroughly in cold water. Allow to drain very thoroughly or spin dry.
  9. Wash the basil and break the leaves into smaller pieces.
  10.  Combine the lemon juice with the salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. Vigorously beat in the oil.
  11.  Combine the potatoes, bell pepper strips, onion strips, dressing, and basil. Add seasoning if necessary. Lay out the spinach leaves on a serving dish or four plates. Arrange the potato salad on top, sprinkle with capers, and serve.

 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 50 minutes

Serves:  4

Difficulty: Medium

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02Apr 12

Red Lentil and Potato Bake

Red Lentil and Potato BakeWith winter now in full swing, what better way to warm up after coming in from the cold than with a piping hot dish of red split lentils and potatoes, fresh out of the oven?! Although I also enjoy a hearty bowl of lentil soup, this Red Lentil and Potato Bake, seasoned with thyme and rosemary, is just the thing to warm your bones and satisfy your belly, all without putting too much of a dent in your pocketbook!

As with most recipes that use potatoes, you’ll notice that I suggest just washing them, not peeling.  This a trick I picked up from a Canadian friend who assures me that’s the only way to eat potatoes, and the truth is, I have to agree with her!  Not only do the potato skins add depth of flavour to the dish, they also contain lots of nutrients and help to keep the nutrients of the potatoes themselves from leaking out as they tend to do during cooking.

What you’re going to need:

  • 3 medium potatoes, washed, sliced or chopped
  • 500g dried split red lentils
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 litre of water

What you have to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC.
  2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  3. Add the onions and garlic and fry for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
  4. Add the celery and continue frying and stirring for another minute.
  5. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt and pepper for 2 more minutes.
  6. Add the lentils and the water and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover the frying pan and cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Place all the ingredients except for the potatoes in a 2 litre baking dish.
  9. Carefully lay the potatoes on top of the lentil mixture with their edges overlapping.
  10. Splash a little olive oil over the potatoes and sprinkle on a little thyme and salt.
  11. Bake in the preheated oven on the bottom shelf for 70 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
  12. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Prep Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4-6

Difficulty: Easy

 

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01Apr 12

Spanish Potato Omelette

Spanish OmeletteI learned how to make this delicious Spanish Potato Omelette many years ago when living with some Spaniards in North London. The difficult part about this omelette is the flip. It may take you a few tries to get it right, but the result is well worth the effort!

For desserts you could try one of my favourite Spanish treats – a turrón mousse, inspired by the typical Spanish dessert served only at the holidays.

What you’re going to need:

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled, washed and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 8 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 6 eggs, well beaten

What you have to do:

  1. Heat 6 tbsp of olive oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is nice and hot, but before it starts to smoke, add the potatoes, onions and salt.
  3. Fry for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the potatoes and onions are golden.
  4. Remove from heat and drain off the oil in a colander.
  5. Wipe the frying pan with a paper towel to remove the used oil and put back on medium heat with new olive oil (2 tbsp).
  6. In a large bowl, mix the beaten eggs with a pinch of salt; add the potato and onions and mix well.
  7. When the oil is hot but not smoking, pour in the egg, potato and onion mixture.
  8. Move the pan over the burner in a circular fashion so that the omelette rotates in the pan and doesn’t stick.
  9. When the egg on the bottom starts to set, reduce the heat to medium-low.
  10. Keep cooking for about 3 more minutes (4 minutes total).
  11. Now for the hard part, flipping the omelette:
    1. Place a large plate (at least a little bit bigger than the frying pan) upside down over the top of the frying pan.
    2. Lift the pan upwards and flip it over at the same time so that the omelette falls onto the plate.
    3. Put the frying pan back onto the burner and slide the omelette back in with the uncooked side facing down.
  12. Continue cooking over medium-low heat for another 3-4 minutes.
  13. When the omelette is ready, it should be golden brown on both sides, and the egg in the centre should still be just a little bit runny.

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

Serves: 2-4

Difficulty: Medium

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14Feb 12

Hearty Seitan Stew

Hearty Seitan StewOne of my favourite meals when I was growing up was a beef and potato stew my mother used to make for us, especially in the winter.  It was just the perfect thing for warming your belly and bones after a long day of playing outside in the cold.  Naturally, when I became a vegetarian this was one of the first recipes I just had to emulate in a meatless version.  Hearty Seitan Stew is the result of a few months of trial and error to get the mix just right.  The thick broth, melt-in-your-mouth potatoes and deliciously chewy wheat gluten (seitan) make for a wonderfully filling and satisfying dish that even my unrepentant meat-eating brother can’t help but admit to loving.  In fact, even my mother has said she prefers it over her original beef version, although to be honest even I’m not sure I’d go that far!

What you’re going to need

  • 1 medium sized onion, diced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 100g ball of seitan (wheat gluten)
  • 4 medium sized potatoes, washed but not peeled
  • 3 carrots, peeled
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon rosemary
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 2 litres of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

What you have to do

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  2. When the oil is nice and hot, add the diced onion and fry until it turns translucent.
  3. Chop the potatoes and carrots into medium sized chunks and add to the onions.
  4. Keep frying for a minute or two, stirring continuously.
  5. Cut the seitan into 2cm chunks and add to the mix along with the frozen peas, the vegetable stock cube and the herbs and spices and keep stirring for 1 more minute.
  6. Add the water, cover the pot and bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until the potatoes and carrots are tender, approximately 45 minutes.
  8. In a small bowl or cup, mix the corn-starch with just enough water to form a dense but runny paste.
  9. Bring the stew up to a boil and add the corn-starch paste, stirring continuously, in order to thicken the broth.  Add more as necessary until desired consistency is reached.
  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Cooking Time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Difficulty: Easy

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