Thursday, 3 September 2015

New Potatoes

If you like spending nearly an hour cooking new potatoes

Then this is the recipe for you.  It's based on a recipe on the Guardian's website which in turn stole it from Elizabeth David.  I love that recipes have no copyright, because slightly changing one tiny aspect of it makes it new enough to be yours.  Happy Days.

Anyway.  Earlier in the year I filled one of the giant clay-mud-filled raised beds (side of a pit heap from Harraton Colliery days) with fresh horse manure.  The kind that comes with lots of stinking sawdust.  Part of it was set aside for courgette growing (fine as long as you protect the leaves) and the rest remained for spuds.  Pink Fir Apples since they are delicious and seem to grow up here in the cool dry North East.

Planting the spuds took a long time to get round to, and they hadn't impressed me with their chitting, so one day in the spring I shoved 12 of them into holes in the manure and hoped for the best.  Fastforward a few months, and in particular the day we came back from 3 weeks holiday.  The peas (planted 3 feet below the spuds) and courgettes had vanished underneath potato foliage.  I assumed that the nitrogen in the manure had given us super-foliage, but thought it would be all leaf and no potato.  Until I started to dig them!

Incredibly, I'm getting a mixing bowl of potatoes from each plant.  I have no idea if this is good or not in general, but it's the best potato crop I've ever had.  And this from potatoes grown in 6 inches of manure. Today I discovered that the potatoes hadn't penetrated the clay at all.  In the shallowest manure there was a mat of root and potatoes.  All beautifully whole, not green at all (despite no earthing up).  A miracle of potato growing. 

So, not wanting to just boil them (boring!), i googled, and came up with this.  Risky, but in the end, worth it. Delicious!

Fondant New Potatoes

Choose your heaviest pot with a lid.  These need LONG SLOW cooking, so you don't want a pan prone to burning.  

Melt a chunk of butter in it (50-75g I guess) then add your (whole) new potatoes. Put lid on.

Turn down to lowest heat and let cook for 10 minutes.  Turn over and cook for another ten, and repeat until you reckon they are cooked and have a lovely colour.  Mine took about 40 minutes. Maybe 45.  I was talking to my mum and dad on the phone simultaneously so couldn't be exact!  You could turn the heat up a little near the end to give a more caramelised outside.

They were sticky, buttery, salty (from the butter) and completely delicious, nicely complementing the outstanding lamb chops (from New Close Farm Shop.  You should definitely visit), the buttered balsamic beetroot (I should probably post this recipe), and the never-ending runner beans from the garden.

I feel hungry again now just imagining it!


  1. Recipes are not generally subject to copyright - only the actual words describing them. So long as you give your own version of the instructions, you can pass on any recipe. Up to you whether you think it's ethical, but it's definitely legal.

    Also, these sound yummy.

    1. That's an interesting clarification, thank you. On ethics. Good point. Does it help that I'm not claiming to have invented it? And quoting the source, like eg Nigella does when copying from Elizabeth David? I guess I'm doing what other people do on the internet. I'll ponder!

    2. Doesn't make any difference who 'invented' it - the law assumes that there are no new recipes. It's nice to quote the source, but you don't have to. The only thing you're not allowed to do is copy the text of the instructions directly from the book.

    3. Sorry, you were asking about ethics not law. Yes, I do think it's nice to quote the source, just so that anyone who loves it knows where to look for more of the same.