Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Roast potatoes, two ways

You're in for a serious treat today. I don't know if it's just in our South African culture, but we love roast potatoes...Years ago all I knew was a very standard, white fleshed potato, but now-a-days we've got the most beautiful varieties available in our local stores and they were the inspiration for this shoot.

This is where I think it all started for me... Just before I turned four, my parents took my siblings and I on the adventure of our lives. They bought 'Round The World' plane tickets and we flew to Canada where my father would work for most part of the year and we'd travel from there. I firmly believe this is where my love for  vegetable gardening started. You see, previously we'd lived in Namibia, a country that is mostly desert, so my father just loved the fertile Canadian soil and generally, the fact that things grew. We had a huge garden in comparison to our house and my father grabbed the opportunity and planted rows and rows of potato and mielie plants (corn plants). I'm still not sure if he accidental planted too much or if he was convinced he had to stock up for the snowy winter months, but I have memories of a mountain of corn and potatoes in our basement after our harvest and spending our evening cleaning corn cobs as a family.
In the little village where we lived, there was quite a large Ukrainian community and my mother was taught how to make potato Peroghi's, but that's for another day and another blog post...

Today I just want to share two creative dishes which are so, so easy, and in case you haven't picked that up, I'm all about fuss-free cooking. These are more tips, than actual recipes, so feel free to give it your own unique twist!

For this roast potato dish, you'll need a  variation of potatoes. Go to the local market and find as many varieties as you can. Organic potatoes are packed with 'of the earth' flavour. I also added some sweet potatoes cut into wedges, a good drizzle of olive oil, sage leaves from the garden, baby leeks and sea salt flakes with coarsely ground, black pepper. Roast this for about 30 minutes, then give it a good mix, making sure that everything is coated in delicious olive oil and roast for a further 10-15 minutes until crispy. Serve it with a whole roasted chicken or even a pork roast, the sweet potato is lovely with pork.

The next 'recipe' is once again very, very simple. It's more in the technique than anything. You'll need some medium sized roasting potatoes. Give them a good wash and take a very sharp knife and cut thin slits into the top of the potato about half way through the potato. Arrange then in a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season well. Roast them at about 180 degrees Celsius for about 30 minutes or until they are cooked through and the tops are crisp and pulling apart. Serve them with sour cream and lemon zest as a delicious accompaniment to a roast.


This picture was taken of my brothers and I in our vegetable garden, to send to our family back in South Africa.