These are fairly easy to make and a great alternative to mash or baked potatoes. They do need a bit more effort though, not much, so let’s not think about it and just get started.
First you need to peel and wash the potatoes, they should be roughly the same size so cut them only if you really need to. Next place them in a saucepan with just enough salted water to cover them. Place this on a high heat and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for about a minute then remove the potatoes from the water and allow them to cool slightly before moving onto the next step.
Grate all the potato using a large grater, season with salt and pepper and add the melted butter, a little at a time, mixing in well each time, until the potatoes stick together. Depending on the type of potatoes the amount of butter will vary, however I find the starchier the potato the less butter is required. You could also substitute sunflower oil for the butter, but I find this can effect the flavour and colour of the result.
Next take a small amount of the mixture and form it into a mini burger shape. Fry it until golden brown on both sides and taste to check the seasoning. If you’re not happy add more salt and pepper to taste.
Next, shape the mixture into rounds like you’re making burgers. I use a ring mould for this but you can form them into rounds by hand either. Then fry on a hot pan until golden brown, usually 3 -4 minutes a side.
Peel and wash the potatoes, then place them in salted water and bring to the boil and simmer for a minute. Drain the water and allow them to cool.
Next shred the potatoes, using a grater, into a large bowl. Heat the butter in a saucepan until it melts then add a little at a time to the shredded potatoes just enough to allow the mixture to bind together and season lightly with salt and pepper. You could add some herbs (maybe some fresh picked thyme or finely chopped rosemary) at this point, if you wanted to.
Form the mixture into rounds either by hand or using a ring mould.
Fry the shaped rosti in a hot pan on both sides until crisp and golden brown.
1 whole chicken, best quality you can afford
30g butter, softened
Mixed herbs, finely chopped (should give approx 1 handful when chopped)
1 lemon, zested and cut in half. Zest finely diced
Coppa di Parma (or Parma ham)
Root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, onions)
Heat your oven to 180 C.
This is a beautiful and simple one tray dinner. Start by preparing your chicken – check it has been thoroughly cleaned out internally, trim away any excess fatty skin from the openings. Begin to delicately tease the skin away from the flesh of the breast area, creating a pocket under the skin.
Mix your chopped herbs, lemon zest and some salt & pepper with softened butter. Rub this into the chicken flesh inside the pocket you created by lifting the skin. Also rub it all over the outside of the chicken, covering all of the skin. Next, take your pieces of coppa di parma and place in the skin pocket of the chicken. Place one half of the lemon in the cavity of your chicken, this will help to keep your chicken moist.
Chicken should be roasted for 20 mins per lb plus 20 mins. Your vegetables and potatoes will take about 1 hour to cook, so place the chicken in a large roasting tin and place it in the oven. Now, begin to prepare your vegetables and add them to the roasting tin when there’s one hour of cooking time left.
Peel your vegetables as needed and cut into similar sized chunks. Toss them in a little olive oil (add a little dried herbs if you like) before adding to the roasting tin.
Ensure that the juices of the chicken are running clear, by cutting into the bird with a sharp knife, and then rest for 10 minutes before carving.
For the fish cakes:
450g potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 large onion, finely diced
225g smoked trout, flaked
225g fresh cod, poached & flaked
225g fresh salmon, poached & flaked
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped chives
2 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley (divide into 2 equal halves)
Zest of 3 lemons, finely chopped (divide into one-third and two-thirds)
6 tablespoons of breadcrumbs (approx 2 slices bread)
3 tablespoons of plain flour
2 eggs, beaten
For the parsley sauce:
1 medium onion, finely diced
75g plain flour
Large handful of flat leaf parsley, leaves and stalks finely chopped (keep the stalks separate)
Makes 8 fish cakes (2 per person is a very decent meal) and enough sauce to cover them. If you are going to chill / freeze some of the fish cakes, reduce the ingredients for the sauce proportionately.
Directions on how to make speedy mashed potatoes can be found here.
To poach the fish, cover in cold water, add 1 bay leaf and bring to boil. After boiling for 5 mins, remove from heat and flake the fish, discarding the skin and the bay leaf. Remove any bones at this point and throw away.
Heat the 50g butter and sauté the onions over a medium heat for about 10 mins, so they are well cooked but do not take on colour.
In a large bowl combine the breadcrumbs, half of the chopped parsley and one-third of the lemon zest. Tip out onto a plate. On a 2nd plate, spread out your flour. Finally, on a bowl (or plate with high sides), pour out your beaten eggs.
In your empty bowl, combine the mashed potatoes, flaked fish, cooked onion, dill, chives and the remaining parsley and lemon zest. Mix well with your hands and divide into 8, forming into fish cake shapes. Dip each fish cake into the flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs, coating well and set aside. The fish cakes can be chilled or frozen at this point for later use – 24-48 hours in fridge, 1 month in freezer.
Now turn your oven on to 200 C. Begin to cook the parsley sauce while the oven heats. Melt your butter over a medium heat and add in the chopped onion and parsley stalks, frying gently for about 10 minutes until softened, but not coloured. Reduce the heat and add in the flour, stirring well. Start slowly adding in the milk, about 2-3 tablespoons at a time, stirring in well to avoid lumps. You may need to play with the heat here, keep your mix just below a simmer.
Just after you start adding the milk to the sauce, heat enough vegetable oil in a frying pan to just cover the bottom. Fry the fish cakes over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes on each side, until lightly golden. Be careful not to use too much heat as they will burn easily. Once fried, transfer to a baking tray and place in the oven for 10 minutes.
All this time you should have been keeping an eye on your sauce, adding the milk until you get to the consistency you desire. With about 2-3 minutes before the fish cakes are ready to come out of the oven, add in the chopped parsley and stir well. Season to taste with salt and pepper – this is very important as the sauce will be incredibly bland without added salt!
Note: if you can’t get the specific types or quantities of fish listed here, feel free to substitute smoked salmon, tinned tuna, etc, as needed.
200g peeled potatoes per person
A knob of butter
A splash of milk or cream
This method for making mash is based on my Dad’s method. After my Mum got ill and subsequently passed away in 2007, he had to learn a lot about cooking in a fairly short period of time as Mum had always cooked for him.
Being a man that loves his spuds he quickly learnt that the smaller you chop the potatoes the faster they cook (to a point) and not wanting to wait for long when he got in from work in the evening he experimented until he came up with the optimal size.
He would usually peel and chop the potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes before going to work in the morning or over his lunch hour and leave them in a saucepan covered with water until he arrived home in the evening. I usually let mine sit for half an hour to an hour, before draining the water and covering them again with cold water, and adding a large pinch of salt.
Get the saucepan onto the cooker at the highest heat. Put the lid on the pan and when the water starts to boil bring the heat down so that the water is at a good simmer.
After about 5 minutes test the potatoes with a skewer or tooth pick. Do this by pushing it into a few different potato cubes, the skewer should slide through relatively easily with the same resistance all the way, if this is the case they’re done, if you find it goes in part way and then needs more force, they will need some more time. But always test a few as some can take little longer than others.
Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the heat and drain the water off. Take some kitchen roll and cover the drained drained potatoes with 2-3 sheets of this and leave them to stand for 4-5 minutes. This helps to remove some of the moisture from the potatoes making for better mash.
Finally, remove the kitchen paper, add a knob of butter, a splash of milk or cream and mash the potatoes until smooth, this is not an exact science so you may need to add a little more milk or cream to get them smooth. Taste them and season with salt as required and your ready to serve.
I have been known to add fresh chopped chives or spring onions (when I have them) at the mashing stage (Elly likes to add grated cheddar) for extra flavour.