Monday 26 August 2013

Tinned potatoes

Saag aloo
I have been reintroduced to tinned potatoes thanks to Jack Monroe from the blog, 'A girl called Jack'. That's right, I did say tinned potatoes. Those salty, disgusting white blobs that people use when camping. But tinned potatoes have changed since I last used them.

For a start they are not salty. And secondly... actually I can't think of any other improvements. They are still pretty vile in my opinion. But they do have a couple of plus points: they are cheap, they are convenient and storage is simple.

So, what do you do with a tin of potatoes? Well, I tried sautéing them. This was a disaster but then I have never successfully sautéed anything, I suspect that I'm too mean with the fat.

My second attempt was to roast them. I drained the potatoes and put them in a bowl. I poured over a little oil and a generous spoon of dried rosemary. If I had had dried garlic I would have added that too. Finally a sprinkling of sea salt (table would do) and then gave it a good mix before pouring it into a hot tray ready to roast in the oven. They don't take too long and prep was much quicker than peeling potatoes. On the downside they had an odd texture but I could forgive them this for the yummy, crunchy coating. A semi-success. I don't think that I'd like them without the extra flavour but they are definitely worth keeping in mind if I need to rustle up a meal quickly.

The third attempt was to tip them into a casserole. Absolutely brilliant. They absorbed the flavour of the meal so there was no odd taste and the texture seemed fine. I am definitely using them for this again!

Fourth attempt was dauphinoise potatoes. Semi-success, when eaten with lots of the cream mixture they were very yummy. Without it you could taste that they were tinned potatoes. So an okay meal but one I probably won't bother with again.

Final meal, saag aloo; I followed my own simple recipe for this. Chop up one small onion finely, gently fry it with a spoonful of Balti paste. Add garlic, stir, then add the chopped cooked potatoes and spinach. Just a couple of minutes to cook the spinach and you're done. With tinned potatoes this meal was still great... until you ate the potato and that odd taste was back again.

Overall I found that as a family we are very fussy about our potatoes! It was a good experiment and I am definitely going to be keeping a couple of tins in the larder from now on. Very convenient but ultimately fresh is best.

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