Simple Rosti

I used to think that making potato rosti would be a real faff. Something about muslin cloths and cooking rings? Happily, I was wrong.

I saw Marcus Wareing rustle one up on Master Chef and he made it look a doddle. Well Mr Wareing is a top notch chef so everything he cooks looks effortless. With this in mind, I was still a little reticent as I stood at the kitchen counter armed with a potato and a box grater.

Truly this rosti is so simple. You peel potato, grate potato, squeeze juice out of potato, season potato, cook potato, eat potato. Magic.

There really is no need to invest in a muslin cloth to squeeze out your potato juice, a clean tea towel does the job very nicely (and washes up well after).

There are recipes out there that add flour, eggs, bicarb etc etc and they all look delicious but I am very attracted to the simplicity of this one. Partly because a simple recipe beckons for a bit of tweaking here and there. I do a love a bit ad libbing… One time I added finely chopped onion to the mix, another a sprinkle of cumin and coriander and yet another time I added some tiny thyme leaves.

I’ve made these as small individual rostis and also just chucked masses of grated, seasoned spuds into a large frying pan and cooked a family size version. Either way, it’s important not to cook these over a high heat. Cook these over a medium to low heat and your reward will be rostis which are golden brown and crisp on the outside but cooked through and fluffy inside. If the heat is too high they will, instead, be burned on the outside and raw in the middle. A crime against potatoes.

One thing that remains constant for me is an egg sitting proudly atop this crispy bed of carbs. Although even that wavers between poached and fried.

The moral of this tater tale is to start with the classic rosti then just go as wild as your heart desires (or store cupboard allows) with the flavours and accompaniments.

Simple Rosti

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • A knob or 2 of butter and a little olive oil

Method

  • Put your grated potatoes into the centre of a tea towel then twist the rest of the material together. Over the sink, or a large bowl, twist the tea towel until most of the liquid has poured out (there’s a surprising amount).
  • Pop your spuds in a bowl, add seasoning (you could also add finely chopped onion or any other flavours you fancy at this point) and give it a good mix with your hands.
  • Melt a knob of butter and a little drizzle of oil in your pan over a medium to low heat while you shape your rostis into 4 rough rounds (or just keep as a big sharing rosti).
  • Pop the rosti into the pan and cook for 8 – 10 minutes or until golden brown. Then flip over, plop in another knob of butter and cook for a further 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown on that side too.

Lovely Things That Go Very Well With Rosti

  • Onions, either chopped finely and added to the potatoes before cooking. Or golden brown cooked onions to serve on top.
  • Spring onions scattered over with a good dash of sriracha.
  • Eggs. Fried, scrambled, poached, your choice.
  • Brown sauce.
  • Fresh herbs such as chives, sage, thyme or basil.
  • Grated cheddar cheese, especially if you are using chives.

Super smoked salmon and avo open sandwiches

I was in the bakery section of the supermarket yesterday and was feeling drastically underwhelmed by the rows and rows of white loaves with slightly different names: bloomers, farmhouse loaves, white sliced, batard etc etc. These are all very nice but none of them were calling ‘eat me, I’ll be your perfect lunch today’.

I was about to move on when I spotted a brown sourdough loaf shouting ‘take me’. And I did. From there it all slotted into place: lovely fresh brown loaf needs slithers of pink smoked salmon atop a tangy cream cheese.

When I got home I found a perfectly ripe avocado in the fridge (joy!), a bag of fresh dill and some lettuce (freshly picked from my Mother in Law’s garden). Heaven.

The colours in this sandwich are so delicate and attractive they simply have to be served as open sandwiches.

In every bite you have the tang of the sourdough, the cool cream cheese, the salty salmon, the creamy avo, the crisp lettuce and the grassy freshness of the dill. Get this sandwich in your life. Today.

Smoked Salmon & Avo Open Sandwiches

Recipe

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 4 – 6 slices of brown or white sourdough bread (depending on appetite)
  • Cream cheese (I like full fat)
  • 1 small packet of smoked salmon
  • 1/2 an avocado, peeled and sliced
  • A few sprigs of dill
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • A squeeze of lemon or lime
  • A few lettuce leaves

Method

  • First of all spread your bread generously with cream cheese.
  • Now gently tear up your smoked salmon and scatter over the bread.
  • Arrange the avocado slices next.
  • Scatter over the dill and add a modest grinding of black pepper.
  • Spritz over a little lemon or lime juice and artfully toss in a couple of leaves to complete this beautifully delicious tableau.

Mexican Style Beany Rice

Although Mexican rice is usually more of a side dish, this is actually a lovely little vegetarian lunch dish. Made even more fabulous if eaten under a warm sun and served with some fresh guacamole.

If you’re short on time use white basmati rice and you could halve the cooking time.

Mexican Style Beany Rice Recipe

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped fairly finely
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 1 fresh chilli, chopped (leave this out if you prefer a milder dish)
  • 1 teaspoon each of cumin, coriander and smoked paprika
  • 1 bayleaf
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, chopped
  • 300g brown basmati rice
  • 600ml of hot stock
  • 1 can of black beans or kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • A large handful of fresh coriander, chopped
  • The juice of 1 lime

MEthod

  • In a large pan heat your oil and gently fry your onion for about 5 minutes.
  • Now add the garlic and chilli and continue to cook for another minute before stirring in the spices and bayleaf.
  • Tumble in the tomatoes and cook for a further minute.
  • Tip in the rice and stir so that it is coated with the spicy mix. Pour over the stock and bring to the boil.
  • Turn down and simmer with a lid on the pan for about 40 minutes or until the rice is tender, keep an eye on it and if the water disappears before the rice is cooked to perfection, just add a little water. When it is cooked the liquid should have absorbed into the rice.
  • Turn off the heat and stir in the beans, lime and coriander and season if you think it needs it.
  • You can serve this straight away, at room temperature or even cold. If you have an avocado or 2 in your fridge then I urge you to make a simple guacamole to top this off.

The Most Delicious Falafel Wraps

Falafel Wraps

There’s the most fabulous place in Glasgow called ‘Falafel To Go’ which serves, almost exclusively, Falafels. They are absolutely delicious, served in wraps crammed with crumbled falafels, spicy and garlic sauces and a little salad. They are also wonderfully reasonably priced.

During this lockdown I’ve been hankering for this delight so decided to have a go at creating my own version at home. You can use any chilli sauce that you like – we love sriracha. I did make a quick and easy garlic sauce with a few simple ingredients but you could use shop bought or use garlic mayo if you like.

The groans of pleasure around our kitchen table told me these were pretty awesome in their own right, so here’s the recipe for you dear reader. Do try this at home.

Falafel Wraps

Serves 4 – 6, depending on appetite

Ingredients

  • 4 wraps (I used wholemeal)
  • 2 packets of ready made falafels
  • Spicy sauce of your choice (I like sriracha)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • A couple of handlfuls of spinach or rocket

For the Garlic Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons of Greek yoghurt
  • 1/2 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
  • A pinch of salt

Method

  • Heat the falafels in your oven according to the packet instructions.
  • Meanwhile put a generous amount of chilli sauce, garlic sauce and salad on each wrap.
  • When the falafels are warm take out of the oven and crumble them a bit as you scatter them over each wrap.
  • Fold the wraps and either eat as they are or heat in a dry frying pan or griddle for a minute on each side to add a little crisp texture.