Monday, November 26, 2007

The Last Potato Post

Last night it was so cold we needed to light a fire in our living room so I went foraging,in Central London. What we lack in trees, hedges and grass verges we are more than compensated for by skips. Every time someone moves into a new home, they throw out the old kitchen. The streets around are dotted with huge yellow builders'skips. If you were to look into the landfil sites around London, you would find entire room sets and intact kitchens, like dolls house rooms. I put our supper into the oven. This is our last potato dish of the Great Big Vegetable Challenge. The recipe was emailed to us by Cynthia Nelson, a Guyanese lady who lives in Barbados. Her site is called Tastes Like Home. And as I
put on a woollen hat, boots and fetched the Radio Flyer truck from the cellar, I thought of Cynthia in her warm kitchen in Barbados. Envy is unbecoming. Freddie waved me goodbye as I stepped out into the misty November night.
"You look like that woman in Mary Poppins," said Alex. "You know, the old tramp that feeds the birds."
I rifled through a huge skip that loomed out of the fog in the street around the corner and returned with a truck full of old wood. There is a movement, known as the Freegans, who spend their lives foraging in urban settings. I might join. I would stop short of rifling through the refuse bins of the local supermarket. I don't quite have the same zeal as the urban Freegans.
When I returned, Cynthia's twice baked potatoes were ready to eat. Freddie and Alex were waiting for me with the table set. For the children I had replaced the hot pepper sauce with a mild green tabasco sauce which has the heat but not the same bite as hot pepper sauce. This is the perfect meal for a winter's evening and Freddie wanted Cynthia to know that her recipe worked wonders. He gave it 9 out of 10From cold wet London we send a big thank you to Cynthia in Barbados.
This morning as I posted this, an email came from the wonderfully talented chef William Leigh at The Boy Done Food. His Pimp My Potato recipe ends our indulgent potato posts with a delicious Chorizo and Manchego cheese baked potato with fennel and tomato salad. Thank you William.


5 large russet potatoes
¾ cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
¼ cup chopped green onions or chives
4 tbsp melted butter
4 tbsp heavy cream or sour cream
1 tsp hot pepper sauce
Salt to taste
1 tbsp vegetable oil

1.Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
2.Scrub and wash potatoes, pat dry, prick with a fork all over and massage with oil
3.Place in a baking pan and roast for 1 to 1 ½ hours
4.When potatoes are finished baking, do not turn off oven, turn it up to 450 degrees F
5.When cool enough to handle, cut potatoes in half and using a spoon, scoop out the flesh, leaving about ¼” layer all around.
6.In a bowl, mash the potatoes with the melted butter and cream or sour cream, and cheese
7.Mix in pepper sauce
8.Fold in green onions
9.Divide the mixture equally into 4 parts and fill in the potato shells
10.Return to oven and bake for 20 minutes or until a light crust forms on top.

•Though the recipe only makes 4 servings, you are using 5 potatoes so that you have enough stuffing.
•You can opt after the 20 minutes of the second baking to sprinkle cheese on top of your baked potato and bake for another 5 minutes letting the cheese melts.

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  1. What a lovely recipe to end your exploration of potatoes! And to have a nice fire with found scrap wood at the end of the day sounds pretty nice, too.

  2. Had to chuckle at the thought of you singing "feed the birds, tuppence a bag!"

  3. Charlotte, they look so tasty. Thank you for including me and the recipe in your veg challenge and give Freddie and Alex big hugs for me.

  4. Everything sounds lovely!!! We our first snowfall of the year last night on my way home from work. I daren't look out the window to see if it stayed....Brrr....

  5. I adore your blog! Afraid, I missed out on the potayto challenge but did buy myself some potaytos today and will definately be following one of the listed recipes! It's going to be very difficult to choose.

  6. Pixie - Thank you for your comments. Do try out some of the wonderful combinations people have suggested - particuarly David's Crab tatties which sound delicious.

    Bellini Valli - What do you like to eat to stay warm?

    Cynthia - It was kind of you to think of us with your recipe. Lets come together with plantain and bring together some of your expertise with this vegetable/fruit!

    David - mmmmmmmis about right!

    Hannah - Mary Poppins is a legendary film in our household!

    Lydia - thank you for your commments. Do lkeep coming back !ow wh


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