Friday, July 2, 2010


Most people have a stopping device with potatoes: “Gosh, these are delicious, but I think I might explode if I have a third!”  Me?  I have no stopping device.  Potatoes in any shape and form.  Chips (Hout Bay’s Mariners Wharf Fish & Chips I rate the best), Pommes-frites in Belgium (oh die and go to heaven!  There are no bad Pommes-Frites in Belgium), fluffy mashed, Sunday Roast Potatoes, large crispy skinned baked potatoes with paddles of butter and other evil bits… and then of course, Roasted New Potatoes with Preserved Lemon and Rosemary from The Kitchen…(see recipe below)

Here are some things to know about potatoes:
  1. They are not all the same when you buy them.  Some are good for baking, some for roasting, some for salad.  Just act ignorant and ask, “Are these good potatoes for baking?”
  2. Potatoes are all about surfaces.  Consider a just boiled potato (you’ve boiled it whole).  If you slice it, you have a flat surface.  A flat almost glassy surface.  How is your delicious mayo, or tarragon dressing or butter going to penetrate and become acquainted with the potato?  You slice it with a knife and that’s all you’re ever going to have: a flat impenetrable surface, longing hoping for a delicious engagement.  If you could be brave and break the spud with your fingers… even pierce it with a small knife and then tear it, let it burst open to release it’s starchy inside, creating surfaces ready to absorb your favourite potato Lure.  This is true for the roasted potato too.  You want to create maximum surface for the oil to penetrate so that you get multiple crispy surfaces exposed for roasting.
  3. The other thing about potatoes is that one can’t be shy with salt and seasoning.  I tend to be quite circumspect with other vegetables, especially with organic ones, because they tend to want to show you their flavour.  It takes only the tiniest bit of coaxing to let them be what they want to be. But potatoes, I feel, are destined for flavouring.

K’s Family Potatoes
This treatment tends to work well with almost any kind of potato.  What wouldn’t…

6 medium to large potatoes boiled til soft.
You can pour off the water and give them their treatment in the pot or transfer them to a large deepish bowl so that you can work with them freely.
The potatoes will be quite hot to work with so you may need a small sharp-pointed knife to help you open them up.  You could also wait a bit for the potatoes to cool down but not too much.  Gently tear or open your potatoes, allowing
A minimum of 4 Tablespoons of butter (about a 2mm slice off a block of butter), a generous shake of fine salt and white pepper to paddle and spread with your wooden spoon over every thirsty surface of potato, spreading the love.   If you want to go OTT, you could add a ¼ cup of warmed cream to the steaming heap.  You could even just pour it over for dramatic effect.  The potatoes and your family will gobble up every last bit.

Roasted New Potatoes with Preserved Lemon and Rosemary
2 kg baby potatoes or small potatoes
1 ½ cups sunflower oil
½ preserved lemon, pith removed and sliced finely in long strips
4 short twigs of rosemary, their leaves pulled off and squashed a little with your fingers.

Boil the potatoes in plenty of water until tender.
Pour off the water and empty the potatoes onto a shallow baking tray.  We line our trays with baking paper.  Squash the potatoes with a wooden spoon or squash them with your fingers to reveal their fluffy insides.  Pour over the oil and toss the potatoes with the preserved lemon and rosemary and finally spread the whole lot out evenly on the tray.
Bake at 220˚C until deeply golden and you have some decent crisp bits (40 - 50 mins)
Sprinkle generously with Maldon Sea Salt, toss gently and serve immediately.

Some of the Potatoes we do at The Kitchen
Picnic Potatoes
Gremolata Potato Salad
Patatas Bravas
Tarragon Horseradish Potatoes
Darts-in-the-Garage Potatoes (curried dill)
Lemon Atchar Potatoes
Russian Salad


When you can feel that what you are eating or drinking comes from a good place, it makes an already delicious thing that much more irresistible. 

We have been watching and waiting with barely repressed excitement for the launch of BOS Iced Tea!  Richard Boucher and Grant Rushmere and their team have crafted their product with tremendous care.  Their Headquarters are across the road from The Kitchen in the old Fairweather Building in Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. You just don’t get more local than this!

BOS Iced Tea is so good it is destined to be a South African icon!  The packaging is completely irresistible – think pure and virtuous and uber sexy at the same time!  And the flavours are truly delicious:  first grade organic rooibos, natural healing ingredients (gingko biloba, panax ginseng, gotu kola and guarana to name a few) and none of the bad stuff.  Read about BOS country and come and taste for yourself at The Kitchen.