You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘potatoes’ tag.

Christmas Eve lunch – a simple winter salad of warm potatoes, crispy bacon, chopped celery leaves and a dressing of mustard, cider vinegar and shallots. 

This was my first attempt at this delicious sounding salad from Rose Prince’s The New English Table – I tried to follow the amounts for the dressing, but it wasn’t quite how I wanted it, so I just tweaked the ingredients until I was happy. 

Winter potato, bacon and celery leaf salad

Feeds 4

20 new potatoes
6 rashers of streaky bacon
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
175ml olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
2 tbsp water
Handful of celery leaves
2 shallots
Salt and pepper

Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water until done.  Drain and cut in half or quarters.

Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crispy.

Mix together the sugar, mustard, olive oil and water – I like to use a jam jar as you can screw on the lid and shake it.  Add the shallots, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

Pop the cooked potatoes into a bowl.  Tear up (or cut up) the crispy bacon and add to the potatoes.  Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle over chopped celery leaves.  Stir everything together.

Advertisements

Our allotment is beginning to take shape – finally it looks like an allotment.  That might sound funny, but it’s true.  Until the other week it wasn’t much more than a strip of motorway verge.  All overgrown and unloved.

Now it has a small lawn (currently suffering under the baking sun) for us to sit and eat lunch on, a herb garden (thyme in full flower), potatoes about to flower, sunflowers, courgette and pumkin plants, slender sweetcorn plants, and the beginnings of bark pathways.  It is so exciting!

What do we cook for dinner when we don’t have much in the cupboards?  A frittata.

frittata

We always seem to have eggs in our house, and like most people by the end of the week there are always an assortment of leftovers.  Making a frittata is our failsafe recipe for cooking a wholesome and quick meal that uses everything up.

Really, this isn’t a recipe, because you can use any ingredients or leftovers that you like.  It’s really a short set of instructions on how to make a basic frittata and some pointers on when to add certain ingredients to the pan.

frittata4

Frying pan: To make a frittata you need a frying pan, one that can be put in the oven is even better, but if not this isn’t the end of the world!  I use a medium-sized heavy cast iron frying pan with a metal handle – I have discovered that this is the perfect size for us, it makes just the right amount of frittata for the two of us.  If you don’t have an oven-proof frying pan, pop your frittata under the grill rather than in the over to cook it.

frittata2

Eggs:  Next, you need eggs – beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper.  For two of us, in my medium-sized frying pan I use about four eggs.  You need enough beaten eggs to cover the other ingredients in your pan, so start with a good guess of how many you need – you can always beat up another if you need a bit more.

crackedeggs

My key frittata ingredients would be potato, onion and cheese. 

Potatoes: We often have a few leftover boiled potatoes, and these are perfect in a frittata.  If you don’t have leftover potatoes, just boil up a couple of new potatoes and use those instead.  Simply slice the potatoes into thick-ish chunks, and they are ready to be added. 

frittata5

Onions: Onions are a staple in most people’s cupboards, cooked slowly in your frying pan in a little oil and maybe a knob of butter until they are softened they will add a lovely sweetness to your frittata.  You can cut them up in anyway you wish – roughly chopped, thinly sliced, diced – just as long as they are cooked until soft you can’t go wrong.

Cheese:Adding cheese just before you bung your frittata into a hot oven gives it that added luxury.  Now you can use any kind of cheese you fancy or have available in your fridge – make sure it doesn’t clash with any of your other chosen ingredients.  It could be grated, diced, sliced or crumbled.  Tasty options include mozzarella, cheddar, feta, goat’s cheese, or gorgonzola.

goatscheese

Other ingredients: You could add – olives…roasted red peppers…shredded spinach…diced ham…artichoke hearts…shreds of cooked chicken…sweet roasted carrots…smoked salmon…broccoli florets…salami…flaked fish…garden herbs…

frittata3

Key steps for making a frittata:

1. Heat oil and/or butter in a frying pan and add the onion – cook until soft.

2. Add any other ingredients – add those things first that will take longer to cook.

3. Once your ingredients are cooked, add your sliced potatoes.

4. Pour over your beaten egg.

5. Sprinkle over your cheese and bung in the oven for about 15-20 minutes until cooked.

6. Leave to cool a little for about 5 minutes before eating.

So on the way home from work, N and I met up at our allotment to dig up what seems like ten tons of potatoes.  They are happily stored away in an assortment of saved paper bags.  I took a wander round the allotments and took some snaps of the lovely plots that other people have – none of mine this time, it’s looking more like I’m cultivated weeds…

The nice man who owns the plot next to us is growing these beauties…

yellow squash

And another plot that is stunning and designed like a garden complete with lawn and benches has a fence that is partly covered in a vine.  In amongst that vine are these dark, glossy green squash…

green squash

There are purple beans…

purple beans

Giant cabbages…

cabbages

Yellow courgettes and their delicate flowers…

yellow courgette

Greenhouses overflowing with ripening tomatoes…

greenhouse tomatoes

…fattening cucumbers…

cucumbers

…and onions drying…

drying onions

There is corn as tall as me…

sweetcorn

Blackberries are turning in the brambles surrounding the allotments…

blackberries

Apple trees are groaning beneath the weight of their laden bows…

apple tree

There are pears plumping up…

pear tree

pears

And fat marrows discarded by the path…

marrows

One lucky plot owner has in one small space two types of apple and a plum tree at the back, all of which are sagging, heavy with fruit…

fruit trees

The final burst of sweetpeas are overshadowed by their neighbours…

sweetpeas

Mallows, hollyhocks and scrambling nasturtiums are taking over where the poppies were…

cottage flowers

And jolly sunflowers bob in the breeze…

sunflowers

My allotment offers up one final surprise of early summer – another crop of ruby red strawberries, sweet and juicy…

late summer strawberries

It’s been a while since I posted any pictures of my newly acquired allotment.  I feel that we’ve done quite well with our plot, considering that we only get down there occasionally.

This photo was taken almost a month ago – we had just finished planting five large beds of potatoes! 

p1110549

With N out playing cricket, I made a trip down there on Sunday and ended up there for about 3 hours.  The garlic, onions and shallots seem to be doing well. 

p1120287

The shallots have started to split, which is quite exciting for someone who’s never grown onions or shallots before:

p1120292

I planted some Cosmos that I have grown from seedlings, which had probably spent a couple of weeks too many in their tiny pods, so we shall have to wait and see how they fare on the allotment.  I also managed to plant out some Purple Sprouting Broccoli plants that I bought at least a month ago and have been hanging on to as it said to plant them out in May.

I spent a good while erecting a chicken wire barrier between them and potential death – I’m not sure whether bunnies like broccoli plants, but I’m not about to wait and see:

p1120283

Overall I was quite pleased with my attempt, especially as it was quite a challenge with no one to hold the other end of the roll of chicken wire:

p1120282

I do feel that having put a fence to prevent the wild rabbits from munching on my tiny vegetable plants that it will attract them.  I worry they will see it as a challenge, that because there’s a fence whatever’s behind it must be even tastier, and therefore they will try especially hard to get it.

The potatoes have finally shown their faces – I was beginning to think that maybe all five beds were lost…but fear not, they are growing:

p1120294

The fruit canes (believed to be raspberry) behind the ‘shed’ are now green and leafy with lots of flower heads appearing, which means (fingers-crossed) lots of berries – my mouth is already beginning to water at the thought of harvests yet to come:

p1120300

I burnt off at least one of the three-and-a-half-bars-of-chocolate brownies that we made for N’s birthday by hoeing a piece of ground at the bottom of the allotment.  I am undecided as to whether I will sow it with purple clover (which is a green manure) or whether I might try making it into a mini meadow. 

p1120297

I do think it’s a shame you don’t drive along country roads in this country and find odd patches of meadow brimming with colour and buzzing bees like these we’ve found in France:

p1100039

And finally, the rhubarb has shot up thick stalks topped with a foam of white flowers.  How pretty.

p1120310

p1110138

This week has been a bit mad and I just haven’t had a chance to sit down and tell you about our lovely visit to the Potato Day at Hulme Community Garden Centre last weekend.  I am finally getting that chance. 

Hulme Community Garden Centre is what it’s name says – a community run garden centre.  It is based in Manchester and is a little oasis in what is an area of concrete and tarmac.  I have long been on their mailing list and receive regular updates about the lovely events and things that they are doing.  But I hadn’t ever been in.

p1110136

Last weekend they held a Potato Day.  Having just taken on an allotment I have plenty of space for those large vegetable plants (like potatoes), so it seemed like the perfect opportunity to visit the garden centre and stock up on potatoes and onion sets.

It was everything I was hoping it would be, and although looking like most gardens rather dreary at this time of year, you could see that it is a well loved green space.  There were community gardens, a green roof, ‘pot rescue’, and a small shop selling local handicrafts and artwork. 

p1110133

one of the community gardens

one of the community gardens

 p1110135

the pots of 'pot rescue'

the pots of 'pot rescue'

The potatoes of ‘Potato Day’ were laid out in a large polytunnel.  A huge long table was laden down with hessian sacks and there was a fantastic display celebrating the many different varieties.  We came away with a bag of salad and maincrop potatoes, some onion and shallot sets and a small bag of garlic.  There was a good selection of fruit bushes and other lovely plants that I was tempted by, but with N there I was quite restrained.  

p1110123

p1110125

p11101311

There were baked potatoes (how appropriate) and chunky soup for lunch and berry cupcakes for hungry children.  I am planning on going back during the summer to see the community gardens in bloom and perhaps without N so I can be a little less restrained…

For more information on Hulme Community Garden Centre please visit their website: http://www.hulmegardencentre.org.uk.

ingredients for a storecupboard dinner

ingredients for a storecupboard dinner

A storecupboard meal to save you.  On realising that I am 2 ounces short of enough risotto rice to make the planned (and I might add for a number of days…plenty of time to check the jar of risotto rice and buy more) Pea, Mint and Mascarpone Risotto, I had a mild panic and was then saved by a couple of items that have been lounging in the fridge since Christmas.  I like nights like these, when plans go to pot, but in turn make way for a creative meal to be cobbled together. 

Tonight’s meal has been cobbled from: potatoes (delicious golden fleshed potatoes, ashamedly I admit from the supermarket, but grown in Hertfordshire), an onion, chorizo sausage (the cooking type, not the salami), green olives (remnants of the edible Christmas gifts), and a lump of hard Spanish cheese (brought back from Madrid by my dad).

Chop up the potatoes and parboil.  Slice the onion and fry in an ovenproof dish on a medium heat.  Add some sliced chorizo.  And some finely chopped garlic.  A sprinkle of dried herbs.  Ground black pepper.

Add the drained potatoes.  Stir well.  Add half a tin of tomatoes and 200ml of chicken stock (from a cube).  Bung in the oven (180°C).

20 minutes later, remove from the oven.  Sprinkle over the green olives.  Grate on some cheese.  Bung it back in the oven for a further 5-10 minutes until the cheese is all gooey and golden.  Yum.

time to lay the table

time to lay the table

The fantastic weather over the weekend meant a perfect opportunity to enjoy the English countryside.  On Saturday we went for a walk along the canal, and picked a meagre amount of blackberries that are currently in the freezer as I can’t dedice what to make with them yet – blackberry junket or hedgerow crumble?

Sunday heralded a local food festival, held in a nearby town (Altrincham) in their covered market – which with the sun blazing down was more like a greenhouse.  It was great to see so many people out and about, enjoying locally made and produced food, and sampling dishes from local restaurants.  We bought our festival currency and scoffed down a vegetarian curry, a chicken tikka wrap, a glass of Spanish beer and two slices of pizza for lunch on Monday.  Sadly, I forgot my camera and haven’t any pictures to show for the fantastic food on offer.

Our favourite local farmers were there – Sue from Little Heath Farm – a table laden with delicious cuts of beef and pork, and a hamper displaying the local veg they sell in their modest farm shop.  The ‘pie man’ as he’s affectionately known in our house – Neil from The Great North Pie Company – a new addition to the local food scene, hadn as usual sold out an hour into the festival and by the time we arrived all that was left was his empty pie stands and a handful of leaflets.

We sampled some freshly squeezed apple juice from a stand celebrating local allotments, fought over the last few crumbs of one of the best Victoria sponge cakes I’ve ever had – from Hulabaloo Cafe – and went home carrying a treasured bottle of local ‘Discover’ apple juice an an ‘escargot chocolat’ – a French breakfast pastry like a cross between a Danish pastry and a pan au chocolat.  De-lish!

As I haven’t any pictures to show of all this loveliness, I shall post a shot of the weekends harvest from the garden – freshly dug potatoes and a variety of tomatoes.

freshly dug potatoes and homegrown tomatoes

freshly dug potatoes and homegrown tomatoes

Bookmark and Share

Eat the Earth

I love food, especially locally grown and seasonal food. This is my place to share my food finds and the food I like to eat.

My Pictures

All pictures are my own unless stated. I would kindly ask that you don't use them elsewhere unless you ask permission first. Many thanks x

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent recipes

Food memories: Greece

Food Memories: Dordogne

Food Memories: Amalfi Coast

Food Memories: Naples

Food Memories: Loire Valley

Food Memories: Sweden

Food Memories: Barcelona

Advertisements