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The humble spud

How can the humble potato compete with fast foods in the modern family kitchen? Check out these 10 great potato tips for some delicious ideas.

Ten good reasons to always have potatoes in the kitchen
If you’ve got a family to feed, or even if you haven’t, the ordinary potato can be far more exciting than we could ever imagine! Experiment and enjoy!

1. Jackets: Bake your potatoes whole in the oven after scrubbing them. Add a little oil and a few herbs to the baking tray, for a crispy, aromatic result.

2. Leftover jackets: If you’ve cooked twice as many potatoes as you need, by accident or design, slice and fry cold leftovers. Try frying in olive oil or a nut oil. Add a little fresh chopped coriander to the pan for a spicy flavor.

3. Roast: You can roast your potatoes, after peeling and cutting them into reasonable sized pieces, with a little oil (and maybe a sprinkle of “herbs de provence,” or you can cook them round a joint of meat, in the fat from the meat. Either way, delish.

4. French fries: If we really have to satisfy our need for fries, it’s probably a lot better to make our own than microwaving reconstituted frozen French fries. My lot always prefers to keep me in the kitchen that bit longer for the nicer chips!

5. Mash: Boil and mash your potatoes with a little butter, pepper and milk, then mix some chopped cooked bacon into it, or cooked flaked white fish. Heat through thoroughly in a fairly hot oven until slightly crisp on top.

6. Potato cakes: Treat prepared, or leftover, cold mash as if it were minced beef and you were making burgers. Add a beaten egg to bind, mix in whatever’s available — a little sweetcorn, a few chopped onions, tomatoes, a few herbs. Doing it this way means they come out different every time! Roll in your hands and pat flat, then fry or grill until hot through.

7. Potato salad: Best results come from new potatoes in early summer, but all potatoes will work. Boil until just cooked not mushy. If they go mushy, change recipe idea quick! Cool then gently toss in a sauce . Then chill for at least 30 minutes. A good summer sauce is: half mayonnaise, half natural yogurt, with a few chopped chives or spring onion.

8. Boiled new with mint: New potatoes boiled gently, or preferably steamed, with a few mint leaves tossed into the water. Toss in a little butter when they have been drained.

9. Homemade chips:
Go for this when you have nothing to do because it takes ages, but it is fun. Peel and very, very thinly slice a medium-sized potato. Try to use a peeler to slice them, but careful of your fingers. Soak in water for 10 minutes. Then drain and dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel. Fry in hot oil for a couple of minutes.

10. Garlic spuds: Nice family meal. Peel and slice potatoes. Boil or steam until just cooked. Drain and layer the slices of potato in a greased high sided oven proof dish, adding a few chopped onions, maybe some chopped cooked bacon, and lots of garlic! Pour milk over the potatoes until it reaches about half way up the side of the dish. Then sprinkle as much grated cheese as you want over the top. Cover dish with lid or foil, and bake in a warm oven for half an hour or so. When the cheese is golden brown, it’s ready to eat.

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