Potatoes and Sunday Lunch…

We’ve had a lovely weekend.  It feels odd, it being the last of the Summer holidays (the boys return to school next Thursday) and even though it’s been a warm sunny day, there is a definite Autumn feel to things, the days are noticeably shorter and it all feels a bit chillier.

Sundays mean Sunday lunch.  Today I departed from the usual roast and made Bill Granger’s ‘Okayodon’ (which means ‘mother and child’ in japanese, apparently), from his book ‘Feed Me Now’.  It’s a stew made with chicken thighs, onions, soy sauce, mirin, dashi stock and sugar, with some beaten eggs thrown in at the last minute.  I always feel guilty if I copy a direct recipe into a post, but if you do a web search you’ll find the details all over the place.  I served it with rice, and some green vegetables, including pack choi from the garden and it went down very well with the boys so a winner there.  I didn’t take a photo as the scrambled egg makes for a slightly messy looking dish, in fact I noticed in the book they have included a photo minus the egg, which is a bit misleading.

For dessert I made a blackberry and apple pie with the first berries from the garden.  I love how they ripen a few at a time, it takes the pressure off to eat a whole crop in one go, sadly I’d picked the best ones before thinking to take the above photo.  I always feel the need to wash them very carefully and then inspect each one before putting it into the dish as various little critters cling on and I don’t need any extra protein with my fruit!  Again it went down well with the boys, F was very keen to try some berries raw, it really reinforces the idea, for me, that they might be more adventurous with their eating when they see things growing in our own patch.

I wouldn’t normally eat a big dinner after a Sunday lunch, but I got a sudden craving for some pickled herrings (Scandi style in dill – from a jar, I should add) to be ideally eaten with some chives and creme fraiche, thin crisp rye and a few new potatoes from the garden with herbs.  Lucky we have potatoes and chives in the garden and the rest in the cupboards.

I realised I’ve never done a round-up on the potatoes I planted this year.  Back in March, I received the following seed potatoes from good old Thompson & Morgan.

  • Potato ‘Charlotte’  Truly sensational flavour whether eaten hot, smothered in butter, or cold in a tasty salad niçoise.
  •  Potato ‘Maris Peer’ – Favoured by restaurants and gardeners alike as the firm creamy yellow fleshed tubers retain their colour and have a superb flavour, without disintegrating.
  • Potato ‘Rocket’ – A very early bulking and heavy cropping variety producing almost round, white skinned and fleshed tubers. First early.

They were planted (late!) in 14 litres exhibitor bags (1 tuber per bag) and when we came back from our holidays, recently, they looked like this:

All the tops were gone, the bags were quite dry and weeds were moving in.  I had expected this as the leaves were already on their way out when we left, but I wanted to give them as long as possible to grow.  The lack of water and late planting meant some of the tubers were still rather small when we left for Yorkshire.

It appears to have been the right decision, as on turning out the bags, each contain a nice bowl full of potatoes, enough for a single meal for our family with few tiny ones that never reached their full potential.  It backs up my theory that planting one tuber per small bag is the way to go for us, if I had enough space in beds, I’d probably plant them there so I could dig up one plant at a time, but I don’t so growing bags it is and not having to eat a large bag with 4 or 5 plants again takes the pressure off and reduces the sense of having a glut.  As per last year, I plan to leave the bags in the garden and turn them out each time we want to eat some, so long as they are all gone before the first frosts, I know they will keep nicely this way.

I am off to work outside now as I have plenty to do plus I’ve just cooked the most amazing batch of cookies and I’ve eaten four in a row and need to leave the kitchen.  I’ll write about them in the next post.