Soft on the inside & crispy on the outside; these potatoes are comfort food with a capital ‘C’ & have been a family favourite for as long as I can remember! You can mix it up a bit by adding garlic and herbs or paprika or sumac or chilli flakes – whatever compliments the dish you are serving.I was thinking about my family’s favourite dishes, mentally ticking through the list starting with the sweet offerings. Top of the list is Nanna’s Apple Cake. She taught my mother (her daughter in law) how to make this before I was born and mum was so good at it that I think Nanna pretty much stopped making it (but we still called it ‘Nanna’s Apple Cake!) at least I only remember mum mostly making it. Mum has now taught me to make it & my sister also knows how to turn out a good one of these. My sister calls the ‘cake’ dough Crazy Paving…which does somewhat give our ages away. The one on the left is mums and on the right is mine…mums is ‘cakier’ (I know that is not a word!)
There are mum’s scones…truly the fluffiest and most buttery of scones. Of course she serves them with freshly whipped cream & strawberry jam…finger licking good! My Aunt’s meringues are legendary, and her Pavlova is to die for. It stands to reason she is from New Zealand where the Pavlova originated (although this is still hotly contested in some Australian ranks – incorrectly). Nanna’s mince tarts have to be mentioned; I make the mince early in November so as it can develop the wonderful Christmas flavours & when the time is right I make her forgiving, yet very short, pastry, which seems to go forever. Also over the last few years I have been trying to perfect my Tarte Tartin (to my husbands delight). I think it’s getting there and so should make the list. Finally, the list wouldn’t be complete without honey Madeleines and Tarte Citron (Lorraine Godsmark’s recipe is my favourite – I picked up at a cooking class I worked at over 16 years ago!)
Looking now toward the savory favourites, and sadly there are fewer photos of these, I would have to start with the all-time favourite, Lamb Roast Dinner. I have a tried and true Osso Bucco recipe which hits the spot on a cold Winters day and of recent years a new addition to the favourites list has been slow braised beef cheeks (served with creamy potato puree is my husband’s favourite). Then there is Mum’s coleslaw, my hearty potato salad with mustard, egg and bacon) and a roast pumpkin salad which is rocketing up the chart – all great side dishes. There are spicy cheesy pinwheels, Polpettini (small Italian meat balls) & pumpkin soup too…the list goes on (risotto and pasta dishes etc) but I must stop somewhere!
And ( yes, yes….I know you shouldn’t start a sentence with ‘and’) right up there on the list are these little gems which over the years have been improved upon. Once upon a time I would cut large potatoes into small dice and cook them in oil but now I halve small potatoes, either cocktail, small chats or small kipfler potatoes, steam them & then cook them on the stove top in butter & oil. Sometimes I add other flavours, if the dish I am serving them with supports it, but they are simply delicious as they are with a generous sprinkling of sea salt. It’s the butter which makes the difference (tell me, when doesn’t butter make a difference?). I serve these with mussels, rather than the traditional chips, but also with a range of fish, poultry or meat dishes. They are also nice paired with a blue cheese dip & a pre-dinner drink… mmm…I think I’ll go make some now ……
Over time I will share some of the recipes for these family favourites and I also would love hear about yours…
Bon appetite & happy cooking,
Crispy Pan Potatoes
This is a recipe for which I don’t use measures (quite regular in my kitchen). You really can’t go wrong as long as you don’t leave them whilst they are frying. It is all done by eye and depends on how many people you are serving. The potatoes are small, so I generally allow for at least 3 each & more for your hungrier guests.
Small chats, cocktail or kipfler potatoes
Olive Oil – a good glug
Unsalted Butter – be generous
Optional – garlic and/or fresh Rosemary or dried chilli flakes (add when frying in the pan) or a sprinkle of sumac or paprika after they are cooked…play around with flavours you like.
- Wash and cut the potatoes in half
- Steam them until just soft – not falling apart
- Heat oil and butter in a heavy based pan over a medium heat and add the potatoes ensuring they are all well coated in the silky oil and butter emulsion
- Stand by, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure they are evenly browned
- Reduce the heat towards the end to ensure browning continues without burning.
- Remove from the heat and tip into a dish, seasoning to taste with salt.
Serve whilst hot