Tag Archive for Potato

Potato and leek soup

This delicious, hearty and filling soup transforms the humble ingredients potato and leek to a refined and delicate dish. There is one problem: the soup doesn’t look very nice. The combination of the colours of leek and potato give it a slightly icky colour, and the texture before binding the soup with butter and cream doesn’t help either. Therefore I use a picture of the ingredients instead of the finished soup for this recipe. But don’t let the slightly icky look hold you from making and eating this soup, after the first spoon you will know that it is completely worth it! In France this soup is called potage bonne femme (good woman’s soup).

Potato and leek soup

Potato and leek soup (serves 2 as a main course, more if you also serve bread)

50 gram butter
1 large onion, cubed
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
600 ml chicken or vegetable bouillon (from cube is fine)
1 bay leave
2 large leeks, rinsed well and sliced in rings
150 ml cream
salt and pepper
Optional: crisp bits of bacon

Melt a quarter of the butter in a soup pan. Add the onion, cook until soft and translucent.
Add the potato, cook them a few minutes, then add the stock and the bay leave. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are just tender. This takes about 10 minutes.
Add the leeks, bring to a simmer and cook until the leeks are soft. This will take about 5 minutes.
Puree the soup. Place a sieve over another pan, scoop some of the soup in there and use a wooden spoon to press most of it through, leaving the tough bits behind. Repeat until all the soup has passed through. It may seem tempting to use a blender for this, but don’t! The starch in the potato will get free and your soup will resemble wallpaper glue.
Stir in the cream and bring back to serving temperature. Don’t let the soup boil any more, as the cream might split. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Stir through the remaining butter in small cubes. The cream and butter will give the soup a lovely texture and shine.

Cottage pie

There is always confusion about cottage pie and shepherd’s pie. People call a pie with beef shepherd’s pie and a pie with lamb cottage pie. But actually it is quite easy to remember: a shepherd herds sheep, not cows. When I realized that it was so simple, it wasn’t difficult any more to remember which pie contains which meat.

Cottage pie is real comfort food, it is a dish you want to eat on a cold day, cozy in a warm sweater. Some cottage pies contain stewing meat, but I love this quick version with mince. I use half pork half beef mince, not traditional, but it gives a good, hearty flavour together with the herbs and flavourings. The creamy mashed potatoes complement this perfectly, and the crispy top finishes it all. I use my trusty ovenproof Le Creuset Dutch oven to prepare the meat, so that I can top it with the mash and place it in the oven, instead of having to use another dish for this (less cleaning this way).

By cutting the potatoes in cubes they will cook faster than when leaving them whole. But take care not to cut them too small, as they will absorb a lot of water, which is not pleasant to eat. You can make this dish very well in advance, it will only get more tasty. If doing so, reheat the cottage pie on 150C in the oven, then turn it up to brown the top.

Cottage Pie

Cottage pie (2 generous servings)

500 gram mince
olive oil
1 big onion, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
3 sprigs of thyme (or rosemary)
1 small can of tomato puree
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
splosh of red wine
1 beef stock cube

600 gram potatoes, peeled and cut
knob of butter
splash of milk
salt and pepper
nutmeg (optional)
egg yolk (optional)

Cook the potatoes in salted water until soft, drain.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil in an Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook until soft and translucent. Then add the mince, fry until browned. Add the other ingredients and cook until the acid of the tomato puree is cooked of and the mixture starts to caramelize and stick to the bottom of the pan. Add a drop of water to dissolve the sticky bits, stir this through the mixture and turn of the heat.
Make the mashed potatoes. First, mash the potatoes, working of the heat to prevent burned bits on the bottom. By mashing before adding liquid you get rid of the lumps easily. I like to do this part with a masher. Stir in the knob of butter and some milk, using a fork. Then gradually add some more milk, while stirring, letting it absorb by the potatoes, until you have the consistency you like. Still using the fork, beat the potatoes vigorously, until you get a light and fluffy mash. Good mash needs some effort. Season with salt and pepper, and nutmeg if you like. Taste if you seasoned the mash enough, because underseasoned mash is really not nice to eat and hard to remedy after finishing the dish. If you are using the egg yolk, add it now. This adds a nice richness to the mash, but only use this trick for dishes with mash that go into the oven. Pile the mash on top of the mince, decorate with a fork (stop here when preparing in advance) and place in a preheated oven of 200C to brown the top of the mash.

Potato Pizza with Home-made Ricotta (and paneer)

Making your own ricotta is incredibly easy, anyone can do it. You don’t need special equipment. The time investment is small, the cheese does take a few hours to drain, but the actual work only takes about 5 minutes. You could do this in the morning, leave for work/other business and when you come back you have this lovely cheese waiting for you. It only has 2 ingredients: milk and lemon juice. And you can make it with any dairy milk you like! I used full fat cows milk from the supermarket this time, but I would love to make it from farm milk or goats milk. Both are a bit harder to get, but since the flavour of the cheese is basically the flavour of the milk, it pays off to search for the best milk you can get.
After draining you can use it in the same way as you use ricotta/fresh cheese, but you can also press it. Then you will get paneer, a fresh Indian cheese that is often used cubed in curries, or fried. The pressing gets rid of a lot of moisture, which makes the cheese more firm than ricotta.

Homemade Ricotta

I mixed my freshly prepared ricotta with a little salt and pepper for seasoning and served it on a potato pizza. The idea of putting slices of potato on a pizza seemed very weird to me the first time I saw it, but after a while it actually made sense. The crisp pizza bottom combines very well with the slightly soft, but crispy on the edges potato. And the garlic oil I spread on top gave everything a nice, mellow garlic taste. The ricotta on top was nice to give the pizza a bit more of succulence. I imagine that something like a nice, tangy fresh goats cheese would also be very nice.
You want good potatoes for this dish! They won’t be hiding under a thick layer of sauce, you will really taste the potato.
For the pizza base I used my standard pizza base recipe that works always and with every topping. It is a dream to work with, I find that many pizza doughs are very difficult to roll out nice. They shrink and you end up with having a much thicker base than you like. This recipe does not have that problem, you can roll it out very thinly without any problems. I use Italian 00 flour suitable for pasta making, because it just gives a better result. I am still trying to find out what 00 flour exactly is, because there are many different explanations on the internet. My understanding at the moment is the following: it is made from hard (durum) wheat instead of soft wheat, it is milled very fine and the gluten strength is quite high. But you can also make this recipe with normal (bread) flour.

Potato Pizza

Home-made Ricotta (about 1 cup)
1 liter milk
3 tbsp lemon juice

Put the milk in a pan, heat slowly and add the lemon juice. Wait until the milk curdles and leave it to cool for a bit. Rinse a clean tea towel (or cheese cloth) to get rid of soap residues. Put it in a sieve above a bowl. Pour in the curdled milk. If you want, you can rinse the curd to get rid of the slightly lemony taste, but I didn’t. Leave it to drain a while in the sieve with tea towel to get rid of the largest part of the whey. Then hang the cloth from something, to drain further. You can use the cheese at any moment you like, mine took about 2-3 hours to drain. Scrape the cheese from the towel and put in a bowl. If you reserve some whey, you can mix it through in the end if you find your cheese a little too dry.
If you want to make paneer leave the cheese in the cloth, put it on a plate, put another plate on top and put weights on there, to press more moisture out.

Potato pizza (1 pizza)
Marie Claire De Ultieme Keuken – M. Cranston (potato pizza)
De Zilveren Lepel – Van Dishoeck (pizza crust)

250 g 00 flour
3/4 tsp salt
15 g fresh yeast ( or 7 gram/one packet of dried yeast)
120 ml tepid water
2 tbsp olive oil

2 big potatoes (waxy or slightly floury)
seasoning (I used garlic oil, but some rosemary, thyme or oregano would also be very nice)

Dissolve the yeast in the tepid water. Mix the flour with the salt. Make a well in the middle, pour in the water with the yeast and the olive oil, mix crudely with a fork. Then knead the dough well for at least 10 minutes, until it is silky smooth and stretchy. This is essential for the development of gluten (necessary for the crispness). Put it in a bowl, cover and let it rise on a warm spot for 3 hours.
Slice the potatoes very thinly. Roll out the dough on a silicon sheet or baking paper, put the sheet with the dough on a baking tray. Arrange the potato slices neatly on top. Brush with garlic oil and/or sprinkle with herbs, sprinkle some salt on top and bake for about 25 minutes (until edges of potatoes are golden) in a preheated oven at 190C.
Serve hot with the home-made ricotta mixed with some salt and pepper.

Green bean salad two ways

I think salads are very versatile dishes, that are healthy too. And most of the time they are also very fast to prepare. Quite often they are a meal on their own, or they become a meal when adding a little bread, or a dessert.

Green bean potato salad (2 mains)
500 gram potato (large: peeled and cubed; small: scrubbed and halved)
400 gram green beans (fresh or jarred/tinned)
1 apple, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yoghurt
splash of lemon juice
splash of Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, garlic powder
150 gram cooked ham, chicken or bacon, cubed
2 eggs

Cook the potatoes. When using fresh green beans, cook them. Cook the eggs (medium/hard). Mix the mayonnaise, yoghurt, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and garlic powder to a dressing. Add the cooked potatoes, green beans, apple and meat, mix. Serve immediately or leave to cool. Serve with quartered cooked eggs.

Green bean salad (2 side dishes)
Adapted from Guy Savoy
400 gram fresh green beans, halved and cooked
100 ml creme fraiche
1 shallot, minced finely
few sprigs of chives, chopped
splash of lemon juice
salt, pepper
Optional: feta or fresh goats cheese

Mix everything.Stores very well, so can be prepared early. It is suggested to serve the salad cold, but I like it better when lukewarm.

Potato salad and broccoli with feta

Potato salad is one of my favourite fast meals, especially in summer, because there is not much cooking involved and it is very nice to eat lukewarm. And if you use cubed cooked potato instead of the fancy small potatoes in their skins, it is even a very budget dish. I usually eat it as a main dish, but you can also serve it as a side-salad at a barbecue or take it to a potluck.
The dressing for the potatoes is basically the mayonnaise-yoghurt dressing that I also use in other salads and as a dipping sauce, it is a very versatile dressing because it works with almost anything, and because of the addition of yoghurt it is more light and fresh than most of the mayonnaise based dressings.
The feta crumbled over the plain cooked broccoli is a way to make the broccoli nicer. I don’t like plain vegetables very much, they are just plain and boring if I don’t have anything to combine them with. So a bit of feta fixes this.

Potato salad (2 main courses)
500 gram potato (big: peeled and cubed; small: scrubbed and halved)
100 gram bacon
2 eggs
3 medium sized gherkins, finely diced
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
2 tablespoons yoghurt
splash of lemon juice
splash of Worcestershire sauce
salt, pepper, garlic powder
Optional: onion, finely diced (raw or cooked); mustard

Cook the potatoes. Fry the bacon. Cook the eggs (not too soft). Mix the other ingredients into a dressing. Add the bacon (and if you like, the bacon fat) and the potatoes when they are still warm. In this way they will absorb the dressing, which is very nice. Peel and chop up the eggs, mix in with the rest. Serve immediately or leave to cool.

Aloo gobi

This is a very nice, slightly spicy vegetarian (vegan) curry with cauliflower and potato. I hate cauliflower, but by preparing it this way, I love it. The preparation is very simple, but the result is superb.

Aloo gobi
From the Hairy Bikers

vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
4 cm fresh ginger, grated
1 tsp mustard seeds
5 curry leaves
1/2 tsp kurkuma
1/2 tsp fenugriek
2 green chilies, whole
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 potatoes, peeled and cubed
250 gram tomatoes, diced (or use from a tin)
1/2 small cauliflower
1 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp water

Fry the onion in the vegetable oil until soft.
Add the ginger, mustard seeds, curry leaves, kurkuma, fenugriek, green chilies, chili powder and salt, fry for a while. Then add the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Serve with basmati rice, naan and raita.

Hasselback potatoes with creme fraiche dip

Since I saw these on foodgawker I wanted to make them. I just love crispy potatoes and these seemed to become very crispy. So tonight I gave them a try. I’ll warn you beforehand, they are addicting and very easy to make! We ate them with grilled salmon and courgette, and a crème fraiche dipping sauce.

Hasselback potatoes

medium sized oval potatoes
garlic/garlic oil
salt and pepper
olive oil

Slice the potatoes, but leave a little part still attached in the bottom, so that you get sort of a harmonica. Put slices of garlic in between the slices of potato (4-5 per potato is enough). Brush them with olive or garlic oil. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Put them in the oven at 220 degrees Celsius for 45-60 minutes. Serve them with a dipping sauce.

Crème fraiche dipping sauce

Crème fraiche (or sour cream/yoghurt)
Lemon juice
Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
Fresh parsley and chives, chopped

Season the crème fraiche with the lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Add the parsley and chives.

An easy summer meal (beetroot salad, fruit soup)

The weather here in the Netherlands is very hot. I’m not a person who likes weather like this, it is much to warm. The warmth makes also that you don’t really feel like eating, so the last few days we ate mostly salads. I’ll share one of these salads with you, it is a cold potato salad with beetroot and tuna (from a can). Very easy to make and light to eat. I’ll also share a nice summer dessert, even more easy to make.

Beetroot salad (2 servings)
400-500 gram baby potatoes, scrubbed and cut in half (or diced normal sized potatoes)
1 jar of cooked and sliced beetroot (300 gram)
1 can tuna
1 apple, diced
1 small onion, diced
3 tablespoons yoghurt
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
pepper and salt to taste
2 cooked eggs, quartered (can be omitted)

Cook the potatoes. Drain them and let them cool. Add the beetroot, apple, onion, yoghurt, mayonnaise, pepper and salt. Mix well and check for seasoning. Put on 2 plates, spread the tuna on top and garnish with the egg. Eat directly.

The salad can also be prepared in advanced, make it and store in a sealed container in the fridge.

Fruit soup
coconut milk
soft fruit, 1 kind or a mixture (mango, banana, strawberry, melon, etc)

Mash part of the fruit (1/3 to 1/2 of the portion you use). Add coconut milk until you have a soup (or use less coconut milk, just as you like). Add a little sugar when your fruit is not really sweet. Add the rest of the fruit, sliced, to the mixture. Serve chilled, add some lime juice for extra freshness. Nice refreshing and coconutty.