Author: Suse Coon

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Wednesday, March 26th, 2008 at 6:01 pm
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Tastebuds

Tasty Tatties

Potatoes are the ‘in’ vegetable this year – it’s International Year of the Potato, so here are some healthy cooking tips and recipes.

A very important part of a balanced diet is carbohydrate. It’s an essential “fuel” for our entire metabolism. Potatoes are an easily digestible source of carbohydrate, so make sure you get the most nutrients and vitamins from potatoes. Compared with other carbohydrates potatoes are great because they give you a bonus of vital vitamins and minerals with virtually no fat. This chart from The British Potato Council shows just how good for you potatoes are.
Potato Nutrition Preparation
Waxy potatoes are best for boiling, while floury potatoes are best for mashing, so choose the best variety for your purposes. Potatoes scrub up well, so leave that old peeler in the drawer. A lot of the goodness in potatoes lies in or just under the skin so you can save time and gain an excellent dietary fibre bonus by serving potatoes with their nutritious skins on. If you really want to peel older potatoes, take just the thinnest possible layer off just before cooking.
Chips
Oven baking is the healthiest – and some would say most delicious – way to cook chips. Make the chips big and bold: chunky chips absorb less fat and have fluffier insides.

Microwaving
Make your cooking time micro-sized by microwaving potatoes. Youll be amazed how fast and easily you can cook a baked potato this way. Best of all, those timesaving microwaves don’t damage nutrients inside – its almost as healthy a way to cook as steaming!


Steam Baking

Steam Baking is the new cooking method for the health-conscious. New potatoes in their skins are sealed in parchment or greaseproof paper and then gently steamed for 20 minutes. Very healthy, stylishly different and totally tasty.

Grow Your Own
Here’s a link to our gardening page for instructions on how to grow potatoes and which varieties to choose.


Here are some recipes to try.

Chilled Potato and Avocado SoupChilled Potato and Avocado Soup
This is a delicious twist on the traditional potato and avocado soup served all across South America.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
½ tsp chilli flakes
2 potatoes, approx 450g, peeled and diced
1 litre vegetable stock
2 ripe avocados
170ml carton soured cream
To garnish, chopped coriander

Method

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan and fry the onion for 5-6 minutes over a gentle heat. Add the chillies and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered for 10 minutes until tender. Reserve and dice 8 pieces of potato for garnish.

Using a hand held blender or food processor, blend the soup until smooth. Allow to cool. Add the avocado and soured cream and blend again, season to taste. Chill before serving, garnish with diced potato and chopped coriander.

Tuna and Potato LayerTuna and Potato Layer
Tuna and Potato Layer
A quick and satisfying main meal
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Serves: 4

Ingredients

500g new or salad potatoes, scrubbed and thinly sliced
1 packet savoury white sauce mix
300ml milk
2 x 200g tins tuna in brine, drained
195g tin sweetcorn, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
75g Cheddar cheese, grated

Method

Place the new potatoes in a pan of lightly salted boiling water. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile make the sauce with the milk according to pack instructions. Stir in the tuna, sweetcorn and parsley and cook over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes or until piping hot.
Place half the potatoes on the base of a heatproof serving dish. Pour over the tuna mixture. Place the remaining potatoes on top.
Sprinkle over the cheese and place under a pre-heated grill for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with a green salad.

Garlic Mushroom Potato JacketGarlic Mushroom Jacket Potato
Vegetarian comfort food.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 60 mins
Serves: 1

Preparation

Select even-shaped potatoes and scrub.

Ingredients

15g (½oz) butter
2 Cloves of garlic, crushed
175g (6oz) Mushrooms, sliced
2 x 15ml spn (2tblspn) Cream cheese
2 x 15ml spn (2tblspn) Freshly chopped herbs
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Method

Place the potatoes in a pre-heated oven at 200ºC/400ºF/Gas Mark 6, for 1¼ hours or until soft.
When they are cooked, make a crosswise slit in the top of each potato and squeeze gently to open out the cross.
Serve immediately, with a knob of butter in the opening if wished.

Garlic Mushrooms filling

After the potato has been cooking for about 1 hour, melt the butter, add the garlic and mushrooms and cook gently for 5 – 10 minutes depending on the variety, (wild mushrooms need to be cooked thoroughly)
Stir in the cream cheese and continue cooking for 1 minute. Add the herbs and season to taste.
When the potatoes are cooked cut them almost in half lengthways and spoon in the mushroom sauce.

TIP
Rub a little salt into the skins before baking to make them extra crispy. If cooking an ovenful of potatoes, increase the temperature to 220ºC/425ºF/Gas Mark 7. Use metal skewers or baking prongs pushed through the potatoes to reduce the cooking time by up to a quarter.

Potato HashPotato Hash
An inexpensive, yet nutritious dish. Why not experiment with chicken or fish instead of corned beef?
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Serves: 4
Ingredients
675g floury potatoes e.g. Desiree, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
340g tin corned beef, diced
195g tin sweetcorn, drained
Salt and pepper
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley

Method
Place the potatoes in a pan, cover with boiling water, add a little salt, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until just cooked. Drain.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan and sauté the potatoes for 10 minutes until golden. Add the onion and red pepper and fry for 5 minutes.
Stir in the corned beef, sweetcorn, seasoning and Worcestershire sauce and return to the heat for 10 minutes or until piping hot. Sprinkle with parsley to serve.

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