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      14.02.2014 16:49
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      The kitchen staple ingredient!

      The humble potato is one of the most versatile items to cook, from simple roast, boiled, baked and mashed potato to more elaborate dishes. Potato's are also very filling a fairly economical to purchase and can form part of breakfasts, lunches or dinners. I always have potatoes at home and recently experimented and made some very quick and easy chorizo potatoes.

      ~~Ingredients~~
      400g Potatoes either new or old
      75g Chorizo chopped into small chunks or slices
      6/7 Spring Onions chopped
      Olive Oil

      ~~Method~~
      1. Leaving the skins on the potatoes chop into small chucks and boil until just beginning to soften then drain.
      2. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan or wok and the chorizo and fry for a couple of minutes.
      3. Add in the potatoes and spring onions and cook until potatoes being to brown.
      4. Serve with sour cream on the side.

      I served these as a side dish with some Mexican food but would also make an excellent tapas dish.

      Bon Appétit!

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        28.10.2012 13:09
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        A wonderfully comforting and nutrtious food.

        Potatoes must be one of the most versatile vegetables there are. They can be cooked in so many ways, each being as tasty as the next. There is something so comforting about a bowl of onion and potato soup or bangers and mash. Potato is the ultimate in comfort food and is extremely economical. I buy mine in 25kg sack for £7.50 and they last a good six weeks. The varieties I opt for generally are a white Saxon, but I prefer Maris piper although these are a more expensive potato. If I were to list the varieties available I would fill an A4 page, the list would also include blue and purple varieties. Not what I would consider appealing, but they could be fun to put on you kids plate.


        Instead I will tell you a little about the uses I put them too. First and foremost I cook them as a potato, roasted, mashed with butter and cream and sometimes with cheese (now I'm getting hungry!), chipped, baked and boiled. You can also posh them up making dauphinoise potatoes etc. But at home with kids simple is best. Another of my families favourite is soup, and I make a really tasty and homely potato and onion soup, by simply lightly frying onions in a little butter add mashed potatoes and stock and then add salt and pepper to taste. This is an easy recipe for these long cold nights and perfect for when the snow starts falling and I have cold little fingers and toes that need warming after making snowmen.


        The potato is not just a great winter vegetable, as they make a great addition to a salad and you can make an absolutely fantastic potato salad for with a barbeque, just boil them until tender then add mayonnaise if you're in a hurry (or natural yoghurt and sour cream) with finely chopped chives and celery and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add diced crispy bacon, chopped spring onion or chopped boiled egg just before serving if you're feeling adventurous.

        One of the other things I enjoy about this time of year is fireworks night, and coming home to hotdogs and a big jacket potato that's been cooking while we've been out is great; you open the door to the pleasant aroma which makes your mouth water. Once the potatoes are cooked which dependant on size take around an hour to bake at 180 degrees, I scoop out the fluffy potato into a bowl and add butter, cheese and chopped ham or any other combination that takes my fancy. I mix it up and then place it back in the skins and sprinkle more cheese on top and then lightly grill.....yummy!!


        Another great idea for potatoes if you're a little strapped for cash is the classic potato pie which is an incredibly frugal, filling and nutritious meal. There is no real recipe that i use for this and I lightly boil potatoes' in stock and add any vegetables or meat I have in the fridge, if I don't have any I simple add onions and place in a pastry case and bake. It what I call an `all in` pie as I can use up any left overs so I don't need to throw them out.


        Nutritional values per 250g:
        Energy 188kcal -
        Protein 5.25g -
        Carbohydrates 43g -
        Of which sugars 1.5g -
        Fat 0.5g -
        Of which saturates trace -
        Fibre 3.25g -
        Sodium trace


        Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, are very low in sodium/salt and are a great source of fibre. They also contain lots of vitamins and minerals. They are a very starchy food that is high in carbohydrates. Potatoes contain enough vitamins and minerals to sustain a person if they are supplemented by milk and butter which contain vitamins A and D, these are the only vitamins that a potato lacks, not bad hey?? However I would ere on the side of caution and not follow this particular diet as potatoes are high in carbohydrates that can cause substantial weight gain if eaten excessively. They do not count towards one of your five a day which is unfortunate, because it's such an adaptable vegetable that is both comforting and tasty.


        Although not native to Britain, potatoes grow exceptionally well in our climate and they are surprisingly easy to grow at home in potato sacks, so I've been told, I'm going to try sowing them in February, so wish me luck!!!


        Potatoes are best left in the ground, if you are growing them at home; until needed, but if you purchase them they are best stored in a cool, dry and dark place with ventilation, that way rot is kept to a minimum, if you discover a few bad potatoes remove them immediately and check the surrounding potatoes.


        Of course there is also the sweet potato, which may also be referred to as yams, they taste brilliant roasted and then mini marshmallows sprinkles on top. They also make a fantastic sweet pie (more of a tart really). It resembles an egg custard tart and is a mixture of evaporated milk and mashed, cooked sweet potato, with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. It makes a fantastic Christmas dessert with a big dollop of cream.

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          21.07.2010 16:18
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          Very tasty and very basic recipe, very filling too!

          Irish Potato Layer Cake Recipe
           
          This is a firm favourite in my house, especially when we can use our own cabbage and potatoes; however, I am yet to find a packet of seeds from which a pack of blue cheese will grow!
           
          What you'll need:
           
          Pan and lid
          Casserole dish and lid
          Knob of butter
          Cabbage (shredded - Savoy cabbage works well)
          Bacon (about 8 slices chopped up)
          7 or 8 large potatoes (peeled and thinly sliced)
          Shropshire Blue cheese
          Salt
          Pepper
          Olive Oil
          Herbs of your choice
          Set oven to 180 degrees C
           
          1.  Melt the knob of butter in the pan, then add the chopped bacon and shredded cabbage leaves.  Cover with the lid and turn the heat right down as you don't want the cabbage leaves to wilt into nothing.
           
          2.  Use a little bit of butter to grease the inside of the casserole dish - this will ensure that the potatoes don't stick to the sides when you start to add the "layers" of the "cake".
           
          3.  Once the dish is greased, place your thinly sliced potatoes in a layer which covers the bottom of the dish.  Then add some of the bacon, cabbage and crumble some of the cheese over this as well.
           
          4.  Add another layer of potatoes on top of this base layer, then again add the bacon, cabbage and cheese.
           
          5.  Repeat this process until you get to the last, uppermost layer of potato slices and you have used all your bacon, cheese and cabbage.  Season this "naked" top layer of potatoes with the salt, pepper, and drizzle some of the oil over them.  Also, add the herbs you have selected (Rosemary works well with this recipe).
           
          6.  Place the lid on the dish and put in the oven for 1hr 30mins, but at 1hr 15mins remove the lid to allow the top layer of potatoes to brown up a bit.  
           
          7.  Take great care to avoid the steam that will escape when removing the casserole dish lid - use oven gloves and keep your face well away from the superheated cloud.
           
          8.  Serve and enjoy - goes well with a cheddar cheese sauce (Dooyoo review for cheese sauce on its way!).

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            08.02.2010 12:10
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            A great light meal or snack.

            Ideal for a quick meal or snack - my favourite jacket potato.

            Take a medium size potato, make a prick on the top with a knife. Place the potato in the oven for an hour at 180 degrees.

            (This is far more time consuming than microwaving but it is a nicer taste and well worth it).

            Let potato cook, once the hour is up, slice open to make sure potato is cooked and soft, if it is still a little hard, put back in for 10-15 minutes depending on how far away from fully soft it is.

            Once potato is cooked, cut across the top and open.

            Add 20 grams of cheese and one slice of honey cured ham, chopped up in to bits on top of the cheese. Allow this 2 minutes to melt in and create the best jacket potato.

            Once the potato is set, you can feel free to eat. This light meal is worth only 4 weight watchers points, and whilst more cheese or other toppings add to the point system, you could add salad to make it a larger meal.

            I really like eating jacket potatoes like this, I am overall not a fan of potato, but this is lovely, and if the potato is cooked right, the creamy mixture of cheese and potato with the added flavour of ham is great.

            It also isn't bland in taste, I always think of jacket potatoes to be bland, but I find myself really enjoying this combination.

            You can eat this and it is quite filling, if you want a larger potato it may take longer to prepare and also count as more points in weight watchers terms but it is a substantial meal.

            If I am in a rush, I can quickly put a potato in the oven and leave it to cook while I get on with my life, to quickly take it out and put the cheese and ham on takes 2 minutes, which means preparation and eating time is minimal.

            (For those who don't know about the weight watchers diet, you sign up and are weighed and allocated x amount of points for your daily diet, you are supposed to stick to these, and can effectively eat anything you like as long as you count the points. The points are calculated through fat and calories of the product and a point allocation is given.)

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              07.02.2010 22:25
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              Enjoy :)

              The perfect baked potato:

              1.Roughly judge the size of your spud, medium or large (small potatoes are no good for baking really).
              2.Prick all over with a sharp knife then for a medium tatty put in the microwave full whack for about 5 mins, for a larger one 10mins, on a plate covered with a single sheet of kitchen paper.
              3.When done gently reprick the potato making sure it is reasonably soft, if not just put back in the microwave for a bit longer.
              4.Drizzle with olive oil and make sure it gets coated all over. Then get the salt (preferably sea salt) and evenly and lightly scatter over the potato.
              5.Wrap up tightly in a bit of tin foil and pop in the oven at 200'c for at least 20mins but preferably longer.

              The great thing about this is you can leave it in the oven for hours and just take it out when you fancy eating it. This leaves you perfect baked potato with lovely flavoursome crisp skin and intensely fluffy innards! Yummy... serve with whatever topping you fancy!

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              03.12.2009 22:48
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              Something to look forward to in the morning

              My husband was born in Cork, and as such, loves eating potatoes at any time of day! One Saturday morning, I found our fridge stocked with left-over champ from the night before, pork lardons, and eggs - from those ingredients, I rustled up a quick, delicious breakfast for the two of us and was duly rewarded with kisses and a trip to the farmer's market that afternoon.

              To make the champ, you'll need:
              * Potatoes (I go with about three normal-sized tatties a head for a generous portion)
              * Spring onions or leeks (I think spring onions impart a much stronger flavour, so if you don't want it too onion-y, then go for leeks)
              * Kale (I use either curly or black, either is very good)
              * Cream (I typically use single, but I think most people use double - I just knew I was going to use a lot, and didn't want to add too many calories on!)
              * Butter
              * Salt and pepper

              To start, prepare your potatoes as you would your regular mashed potatoes. My method involves peeling the potatoes and then cutting them up into quarters. I put them in a pot filled with room temperature, salted water, bring it to a boil, and then simmer for 20 minute. If you have a different, tried and tested way, by all means, go for that (and let me know if it works better!).

              Meanwhile, I dice the spring onions (including the green stems) and then add them to a pan with the cream (just enough cream to cover the onions). I bring that to a boil, simmer it for about 5 minutes, and then take it off the heat.

              When the potatoes are done, I transfer them to a different bowl and let them steam off underneath a dish towel. I often try to use the same water used to boil the potatoes to then quickly boil the kale - just a way to save energy and time. To do this, you'll need a slotted spoon to take the potatoes out of the pot. I also don't tend to re-season this water, but I guess you could if you were so inclined.

              The kale should be cut into a size similar to the onions - you don't want it to get in the way of the mashing, so make the pieces quite short. I found the Watirose ready-shredded curly kale was a perfect size. Only 2 minutes or so for the kale - I have over-boiled it before, and the kale disintegrated as soon as I started mashing the potatoes and turned them all green! Drain the kale and then return to the pot.

              Once the potatoes are done steaming off (I usually poke them with a fork - if it comes apart easily, I'm happy to start mashing) I add them back to the pot, along with the spring onions and cream, plus a good helping of butter and some more salt (like I said, single cream made me feel a LITTLE better about this very indulgent side dish!). And then get to mashing! I don't have a masher and have experimented with several kitchen tools in the past - I now rely on a whisk to get the big mashing done, and then a wooden spoon to do the finer work. My arm is always sore afterwards, but it does make me feel a bit better about eating all these calories!

              From there, you can plate up and enjoy along with your main course! Or, for a full meal:

              * Pork lardons
              * Free range egg
              * Cooking oil

              I started off with the pork lardons - they're quite fatty already, so I put in only a dash of cooking oil to get them started. Once I thought they were cooked quite thoroughly, I took them from the pan and then cooked the egg, sunny-side up, in the remaining fat and oil, to impart all the yummy flavours.

              I then scattered the lardons on each serving of champ, and then laid the sunny-side up egg on top. To serve, we each mashed all the ingredients together! And then enjoyed with a spoon. It was so delicious - and we were full until dinner.

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              29.11.2009 20:35
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              Afamily staple

              My favourite potatoes are locally grown by a nearly organic grower ,and I'll be cooking them at Christmas because they do taste better.

              All our family like potatoes, and the recipe is one I've used many times over the years. I have a feeling its originally a Welsh dish called Tattws Carolyn, but we more often call it potato casserole in our house.

              Ingredients__
              2x 400g tins of mushroom or chicken soup
              1 large onion
              Approx 300g cheese
              About 1.5kg potatoes red ones (desiree) are nice, any largish ones will do

              -Method_
              Cut the potatoes into thin slices,also slice the cheese and onion, and place in alternate layers in a casserole dish, (no lid) with a potato layer on top.Pour over the soup, if you only have one tin of it you can top up with milk, but all the potato spaces need to be filled with liquid, and the potatoes covered with a final layer of soup. Cook in a medium hot oven for about an hour or hour and a half, depending on the variety of potato, thickness of slices. When a knife goes easily through the potato it is ready.The top should look nicely brown, not burned.
              Serve with veg or salad of your choice,eg brocoli or tomatoes.
              As a variation add small slices of bacon, you could use leeks instead of the onions, or make up your own favourite.

              One final spud-tip-if you're the mum (or dad) of a hard up student, donate them a sack of potatoes, so they never starve to death!

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              18.10.2009 19:00
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              Perfect potatoes, every time!

              Potatoes surely must be one of the most versatile foods going, plus they are a lot more innocent as regards calories than people think they are - it's what we cook them in or put on them which can make them evil, rather than the makeup of the humble potato in its naked state.

              I always make sure I have plenty of potatoes nestling in a dark corner somewhere, as when I'm going through one of my phases of just not knowing what to eat or don't fancy anything that's in the fridge or freezer, my trusty spuds always come to the rescue as I can fish various bits and pieces from the store cupboard and create a delicious, filling and sometimes nutritious potato-based meal.

              I'd like to share the following four potato recipes which I've discovered over the years, simply by messing around with different ingredients and enjoying the results. They are all very tasty - I can't promise they are all low in fat and calories - and they can all be eaten as an accompaniment to other foods, or on their own.

              All the recipes serve 2 people as an accompaniment to other food (apart from the soup), or will serve 1 person when taken as a meal in itself.

              Hope you find these tempting!

              1. SPICY POTATOES WITH POPPY SEEDS & CORIANDER
              (Suitable for vegetarians & vegans)

              INGREDIENTS

              1 very large or 2 smaller potatoes, peeled & cut into bite-sized chunks
              1 tablespoon ground nut oil
              Half a teaspoon of each of: turmeric, chilli powder, ginger, paprika
              1 rounded tablespoon black poppy seeds
              Lots of freshly ground black pepper
              1 small onion, peeled and roughly chopped
              1 squirt (to taste) of garlic puree
              ¼ pint water
              1 tablespoon tomato puree
              6 cherry tomatoes (leave whole, and leave the skins on)
              A small bunch of fresh coriander, washed & finely chopped

              METHOD

              In a medium-sized saucepan, heat the oil. Fry the onions and potato pieces until well browned, then add the turmeric, chilli powder, ginger and paprika. Fry for about 5 minutes over a fairly high heat (the mixture will go very dry), stirring continuously - allow the mixture to smoke just a tiny bit, but try to avoid breathing in the fumes directly. Then add the water, garlic puree, tomato puree and black pepper, and stir thoroughly. Bring to the boil (stirring occasionally), then turn the heat to a low simmer. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer slowly for about 15 minutes (stirring about twice during the cooking time). Five minutes before the cooking time is up, stir in the cherry tomatoes - then complete the cooking process. Serve liberally sprinkled with the chopped coriander and the poppy seeds.

              Notes: If you don't like coriander, you can use fresh snipped chives instead. Also, this works well if you use spring onions instead of ordinary onion. Note that the finished result makes a fairly dry dish.

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              2. QUICKIE CHUNKY POTATO & LEEK SOUP
              (Suitable for vegetarians)

              INGREDIENTS

              1 large peeled potato, cut into small chunks
              1 large leek, washed and cut into rough chunks
              2 tablespoons plain set Greek yoghurt
              Either ½ or ¼ pint of milk, depending on how thick you like soup
              Half a vegetarian Oxo cube, finely crumbled
              A generous pinch of dried paprika
              Lots of freshly ground pepper
              Half a teaspoon of runny honey
              2 tiny drops soy sauce

              METHOD

              Place the potato pieces, leeks, milk, Oxo, paprika, honey and soy sauce in a medium-sized saucepan - mix well, and bring to the boil, stirring frequently, over a fairly high heat. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid, and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Just prior to serving, stir in the yoghurt, and sprinkle the surface of the soup with the black pepper.

              Notes: This soup is great with warmed crusty fresh bread, and can be made suitable for vegans by using soya yoghurt and milk.

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              3. POTATO & SMOKED HADDOCK BAKE
              (not suitable for vegetarians)

              INGREDIENTS

              1 medium sized piece of smoked haddock fillet, cut into chunks
              1 large potato, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks
              1 knob of butter or margarine, approx. 1oz
              1 rounded tablespoon wholemeal flour
              Half a pint of milk
              Half a teacup of frozen peas, thawed
              1 pinch ground nutmeg
              Lots of freshly ground black pepper

              METHOD

              Parboil the potato pieces in water for about 12 minutes, then drain. Arrange the haddock, peas and potato pieces in a deep oven-proof dish. Pre-heat the oven to medium (gas mark 4, electric 350F/180C). Meanwhile, and over a medium heat, melt the butter in a non-stick saucepan until the foam has subsided. Using a plastic or wooden spoon, blend the flour into the melted butter/margarine until it forms a smooth paste. Cook this paste over a medium heat, stirring continuously, for about 2 minutes. Gradually and slowly add the milk, stirring vigorously. When all the milk is blended into the flour/butter/margarine, raise the heat to high and bring to the boil, stirring continuously. If there are lumps, beat with a non-stick balloon whisk until the lumps have smoothed out into the sauce. Cook the sauce (still stirring or whisking continuously) for about 4 minutes until it thickens, then stir in the nutmeg. Pour the sauce over the fish/peas/potatoes and cook (uncovered) in the pre-heated oven for about 20 minutes. Just before serving, sprinkle generously with the black pepper.

              ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

              4. SPICY HOME-MADE CRISPS
              (suitable for vegetarians & vegans)

              INGREDIENTS

              2 very large potatoes, washed
              1 teaspoon each of chilli powder, black pepper, turmeric, ground ginger
              Lots of clean vegetable oil
              A little salt (optional)

              METHOD

              Place the chilli powder, black pepper, turmeric and ground ginger into a large clean plastic bag, and shake up to blend thoroughly. You can leave the skins on the potatoes or peel off, whichever you prefer. Using a very sharp knife, slice the potatoes into very thin, almost transparent disc shapes. Pat the potato slices with clean kitchen roll to remove excess moisture, then place them in the bag with the spices. Shake vigorously so that the spice mixture coats the surface of the potato discs. Heat up the vegetable oil in a chip pan until it's very very hot - just as you would do for chips - and fry the potato discs, a few at a time, until they begin to curl at the edges and have gone crispy. Remove each batch of cooked potato discs from the oil with a slotted spoon, and drain on kitchen roll. Repeat until all the potato discs are cooked. Serve lightly sprinkled with salt, if desired. I prefer mine unsalted, but that's not to everybody's taste.

              Note: If you want to re-use the oil which the crisps have been fried in, bear in mind that it will retain the flavour of the spices used.

              ==========================

              I hope the above has got a few taste buds going, and that at least one of the recipes will appeal so much that you'll want to try it or them for yourself.

              Thanks for reading - I promise they are all YUMMY!

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                16.10.2009 21:08
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                Ultimate Roast Potatoes

                This is how to make some utterly scrumptious Roast Potatoes, its simple, easy to do and they are always complimented by eaters.

                So to start with you need potatoes, the best are red potatoes, you can generally buy a 1kg bag in most supermarkets for between £1-£1.80.

                If you are cooking for 4 I suggest taking 8 or 9 decent sized potatoes and peeling them, then cut them into large equal sized pieces, slip a knife into the potatoes to allow them to breath when boiled and scrape the oval side of each potato with a fork to give a stripe on each potato to allow the oil to penetrate the potato making it extra crispy.

                Parboil the potatoes for ten minutes until they are part boiled but still fairly firm. Take all the water from the pan, cover it with a lid and then shake the potatoes around , this should rough the potatoes up a bit and take off the edges.

                While you've been boiling your potatoes you should have had the oven on at 200 degrees, you should pot a roasting tin coated with oil in the oven for a good amount of time until the oil is spitting.

                Remove the potatoes from the pan one at a time, add to the tin and coat all sides in the oil, once all potatoes are in the tin, place in the oven and leave for 45 minutes turning once during the process, you should have lovely golden crispy Roast Potatoes with fluffy middles.

                These go perfectly with roast dinners so the oven may have been going cooking your joint while you were boiling the potatoes, they taste great with apple sauce, gravy or mint and this recipe works every time for me.

                I use Vegetable oil for the roasting, but I understand that you could use goose fat to make even better Roast Potatoes.

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                  14.04.2009 22:07
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                  Great for a snack or as a side dish, go for it if you don't mind a few minutes peeling potatoes

                  Spicy Potato Wedges

                  I love potato wedges but I find the frozen ones are very expensive for what you get, and I'm sure are packed full of additives and goodness knows what! So, if I have time and want to use up some potatoes, I much prefer to make my own with this simple recipe. It's easy to do, doesn't take long and I think the result is actually nicer than shop-bought ones; and feels healthier because it's homemade. If you already have a well-stocked spice rack then this is a very cheap recipe, needing only a few potatoes other than store cupboard ingredients. This recipe serves four people as part of a dish, or two as a good snack.

                  Ingredients
                  o 4 big potatoes
                  o ½ tsp Chilli Powder
                  o ½ tsp Coriander Powder
                  o ½ tsp Cumin Powder
                  o ½ Paprika Powder
                  o Teaspoon - Tablespoon of Turmeric
                  o Pinch of Salt
                  o Pinch of Black Pepper

                  You will need
                  o A mortar and pestle (or a dish to mix the spices in)
                  o A baking tray
                  o An oven and hob
                  o A sharp knife
                  o A chopping board
                  o A potato peeler (or if you're really good, just use the knife)
                  o A saucepan

                  Method
                  o Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, around 220°C/425°C
                  o Wash the Potatoes but don't peel them
                  o Slice them into wedges
                  o Boil some water in a pan and parboil the potatoes for about 5 minutes, until slightly soft
                  o Meanwhile mix the spices in a bowl (crushing them together if using mortar and pestle)
                  o Coat the Potatoes evenly in the spice mixture. (The turmeric acts as a bulking agent and so helps the spices bind to the potatoes evenly. It also adds great colour.)
                  o Drizzle with olive oil
                  o Place in an oven for around 15 minutes or until potatoes are crispy and golden brown
                  o Serve alone with ketchup and mayonnaise, or alongside homemade pizza or burritos

                  Tip - add more or less chilli powder and cumin depending on how spicy you like them. My sister is very wary of spicy food and found these quanties ok!
                  Use less olive oil to reduce calorie intake.

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                    12.04.2009 14:41
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                    A Quick & Easy Recipe for Left Over Potato!

                    Do you have left over mashed potato from that roast dinner you had and don't know what to do with it? Then this is the recipe for you.

                    My brother & I have been having potato cakes ever since we were kids. They use up the left over mashed potato and make the base of a meal. Potato cakes are also easy to make!

                    To make plain potato cakes, You need:

                    A bowl of mashed potato (or simply mash some boiled potatos)
                    1 tablespoon of flour
                    1 egg yolk
                    A pinch of salt (or other seasoning, if you wish)

                    Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl. The mixture should be fairly firm.

                    When firmly mixed together, make into little cakes (ours tend to be the size of the average adult palm of the hand) and put into the frying pan which has been pre-heated with a small amount of oil.

                    Cook the potato cakes gently on both sides until they are golden brown.

                    These can be served with salad or (my preference) bacon (or sausage) and baked beans.

                    I also like to throw some grated carrot into the mix to make the potato cakes a bit crunchy (this can also be done with other vegatables and is a handy way of getting children to eat vegetables without really realising it!

                    I also throw in a little chopped ham into the mix sometimes.

                    Put some cheese into the mix to make them cheesy or some spice to make them spicy!

                    Either way, the choices are endless!

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                      09.04.2009 00:37
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                      Easy way to perfect roast potaoes.

                      The Perfect Roast Spud!

                      What You'll Need:

                      Potatoes
                      Salt and pepper
                      Half a cup of flour
                      Oil
                      Mixed dried herbs



                      Its taken me many years to perfect this method based around my grandmothers way of making them ( she used to use lard , I do not! ) the rest with a couple of little twists added is hers bless her!

                      OK so you need to start off, ideally with a good roasting potato , you need something a bit floury I like Maris Piper for roasting.

                      Peel your potatoes and any that are large cut in half , you don't want them too small or you end up with burned crispy things.

                      Place your potatoes into a pan and cover them with cold water. Let stand for 30 minutes to an hour if you have the time , rinse the water out of them , this removes a lot of the starch giving you a nicer textured potato.

                      Refill your pan and place on the heat , bring to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. You don't need to par boil them any longer than that , in fact to do so will result in a mushy roast potato , not good!.

                      Remove from heat and drain , set to one side.

                      Cover a shallow baking tray in tin foil and add a thin layer of oil , this can be vegetable or olive oil , I prefer vegetable for roast potatoes they come out crispier. Place your oiled tray in a hot oven at 230 degrees.

                      Go back to your potatoes and add them to a large sieve or colander , place over a large saucepan , give them a shake of salt and pepper, half a handful of flour and a few shakes of mixed dried herbs, cover the colander with a plate and give the potatoes a shake making sure they are all coated with the mixture well and their skins are slightly roughed up.

                      Remove your backing tray with the hot fat from the oven being careful not to spill any! place it on the side then with a large spoon or tons place each potato into the hot fat , be wary of spitting , make sure each potato is turned and covered in fat and quickly get them back into the oven.

                      Roast for 45 minutes to an hour, turning once.

                      Perfect roasties!

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                        21.03.2009 19:24
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                        My twists on the baked potato

                        Baking potatoes have become a favourite evening meal recently of mine, because I can team it with a number of vegetables or cooked chicken and it's a nice change! Since I became a student, instant noodles were a frequent commodity for a while and I was really getting fed up of them! So I thought I would try out baked potatoes again, which I have found very versatile and have come up with some great toppings for them! So here I hope to give some ideas on how to cook the perfect baked potato and provide a number of different toppings.

                        - The perfect baked potato: preparation -

                        So I have found to get the perfect baked potato, they are better to be bought loose, as the pre-bagged ones in supermarkets are quite small and don't fill that gap very well for a main meal. Make sure you wash the potato well in cold water, to scrub out any soil or dirt. Then (carefully!) stab with a fork all over 5 or 6 times. Preheat the oven to 200C for a few minutes and pop it in the oven for an hour to an hour and a half to bake away. Some people like to put a bit of sea salt and oil on the potato before cooking but I have found this gives the potato a funny aftertaste and makes the skin soggy and greasy, so I don't do this. Once time is up, take it out the oven, cut in half and mash up with a fork and salt and pepper to taste. I also like to add a knob of butter to each half as well as a teaspoon of mayonnaise as this adds a nice flavour and makes the potato more mouth watering and less dry. Of course, this isn't too healthy if you are trying to lose weight, but it's a nice substitute and as I'm trying to gain weight, this is a great little extra to add. If I'm out of mayonnaise I add a bit of cream cheese instead and mix it in.


                        - My 3 favourite toppings! -

                        Prawn and mayonnaise

                        This is one of my favourites. I simply take a couple of handfuls of prawns, usually frozen ones and defrost them, give them a quick rinse in cold water and dry them off and put them in a bowl.
                        Added to the prawns I put 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise and 1 teaspoon of seafood sauce. I then add paprika for a little kick and some pepper.
                        I spoon this straight onto the jacket potato halves and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, and it goes under the grill for 10 minutes.


                        The Classic - Baked beans and cheese

                        This is fairly straight forward, heat up a tin of baked beans in a pan on the stove and pour on top of the jacket potato halves.
                        I then grate some cheese - I like Dutch gouda, as it's not so strong as cheddar is sometimes and it melts very nicely - and this is sprinkled on top, and the jacket potatoes are then placed under the grill for 10 minutes.


                        Herby cheese and salsa

                        Simply get some herby cheese, like Boursin, and cut 4 or 5 small chunks for each jacket potato half and set aside.
                        Get some tomato salsa like the ones in supermarkets that are sold as dips for nachos and spread some on top of each half of the jacket potato, then put the small cubes of herby cheese on top and grill for 10 minutes.


                        Well there you have it, those are my 3 favourite jacket potato toppings and I hope the little twists such as adding cream cheese to the potato for more flavour have helped if you are stuck for ideas! Enjoy!

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                          09.03.2009 19:49
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                          A delicious potato soup to warm up the long chilly evenings!

                          One of the few vegetables that are almost never eaten raw, where would we all be without the humble potato? Easy to grow and not requiring huge quantities of fertiliser or chemicals, this unassuming root vegetable rarely gets a second thought.

                          Astonishingly, there are thousands of varieties of potato grown all over the world, and in Great Britain there are over eighty different varieties available.
                          These range from King Edward, Maris Piper, Rocket, Rooster and Desiree right through to perhaps the lesser well known varieties such as Osprey, Nicola, Pink Fir Apple, Nadine, Maris Peer and a whole host more besides!

                          With this vast array of potatoes available it can become a bit of a dilemma in finding the 'perfect' potato to do a particular culinary job. Potatoes high in starch will break apart easier, while potatoes with a lower starch content will keep their structure. Therefore it follows that 'high starch potatoes' may be more suitable for frying and baking whereas 'low starch' potatoes may be more beneficial if you require the potato to retain its structure and solidness such as when making a potato salad or sautéed potatoes. (Potatoes with a waxy skin are usually the ones with a low starch content to them).

                          Added to this quandary of whether to use high or low starch potatoes comes the next dilemma of whether to use 'old' or 'new' potatoes. Basically any variety of potato can be 'old' or 'new' with the 'new' variety being harvested in the Spring or Summer and are younger with far less starch and very thin skins, and do not keep as well as their 'older' counterparts' which are almost the opposite in that they are harvested in Autumn, are far more starchy, with thicker skins and store far better.

                          The world's largest potato weighed in at an incredible 18 pounds and 4 ounces and is enough to make over seventy portions of medium fries at a McDonald's (or five hundred bags at our local chip shop).

                          This retiring tuber has also been grown in space, and has nearly all the nutrients in them that our body needs, and are almost entirely fat free, and therefore is the staple diet of many diet conscious countries.

                          So as you can see, the 'spud' has a varied and interesting background to it, and I'm going to try and make it more interesting by giving you a delicious potato recipe.

                          Ingredients: (Home made Potato Soup)

                          * Four Large potatoes (peeled and cut into bite size pieces)
                          * Mushrooms - 500g of fresh (depending on preference)
                          * 1 large onion (chopped)
                          * Garlic - 3 or 4 cloves (peeled and minced)
                          * 2 stalks of celery (trimmed and chopped)
                          * Butter (1/4 pound)
                          * Milk
                          * Salt and Pepper
                          * Flour (if needed)

                          1)... Melt the butter on a medium heat, in a large pot, and add the chopped onions, mushrooms, celery and garlic.

                          2)... Add some salt and pepper to taste.

                          3)... Cook until the onions have become transparent.

                          4)... Next, add the potatoes until they fill the pot to about 3/4 of the way up the pot and allow them to heat up in the butter/vegetable mixture, and stir the potatoes around often.

                          5)... When the potatoes are cooked and getting soft, take out 1/4 of the contents of the pot and place this into a blender and mix well to a 'mushy' consistency ( this will be the thickener).

                          6)... Add the 'blended' mixture back into the pot and add just enough milk to cover the potatoes, and give the soup a stir.

                          7)... If the soup seems a bit runny at this point, add 3 tablespoons of flour to a small cup of cold milk and add to the soup.

                          8)... Now, turn the heat down to low and cook for about 40 minutes or so, stirring regularly.

                          9)... Serve it up hot with some thick chunks of crusty bread.

                          Viola!

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                            04.03.2009 21:04
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                            Excellent for a family meal

                            I have to say that the majority of main meals in our house include the humble potato. But when you sit and think about the potato it is not as humble as it makes itself out to be. When we were children no meal was complete without either roast, boiled or mashed potatoes. It was a rare occasion that chips appeared on the menu and my Mum fried her chips in a frying pan in shallow fat, they were rationed and we probably had around ten chips each!
                            As times have changed so have eating habits and now many people favour pasta or rice rather than the potato. I agree that pasta and rice make a welcome change from potato but give me a nice crispy roastie any time.

                            I dont know what you think but I always think that the variety of potato that you buy is important , I favour the red skinned potato, Desiree if they are available. A lot of supermarkets are stocking the Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes and they are superb for creaming.
                            Only recently I cooked a pot of Roosters leaving the peel on them, when they were boiled I rolled them in garlic butter and they were delicious.
                            The packs of salad potatoes can work out as good value, they have no waste attached to them, they can be boiled in their skins and served with practically any meal.
                            I have found through experience that buying the large jacket potatoes can be an expensive job! I would rather buy a normal 2.5kg bag and then pick out the bigger ones to bake. Jacket potatoes are a meal in themselves, just choose one of many toppings and then add a side salad, it couldn't be easier.

                            Our favourite way to enjoy potatoes is unfortunately very high in fat and calories. I peel and cut enough potatoes for two portions and then boil them in lightly salted water.
                            At the same time I peel and chop an onion and lightly caramelise it, until the onion is golden in colour.
                            When the potatoes are boiled then drain them well and mash them, adding butter, pepper and a drop of milk to make them creamy and tasty.
                            Then stir the caramelised onion into the creamy mashed potato and place it in an ovenproof dish.
                            Grate some tasty cheddar cheese and sprinkle it over the top of the potato mixture. Place the dish into a preheated oven (180c) and cook until the cheese on the top starts to turn brown and bubble.
                            This dish can be served with many things, it is exceptionally tasty and filling.

                            Bread is always reffered to as the Staff of Life, but I am sure that potatoes must come a close second.
                            A starchy carbohydrate that is rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.

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                          • Product Details

                            A versatile root vegetable with a thousand and one uses.