The Cottage Smallholder


stumbling self sufficiency in a small space

Dazzling crispy new potatoes recipe

Photo: fried new potatoes

Photo: fried new potatoes

My father was in the army and my parents were stationed in Germany after WW2. The country was devastated and poor.
“Every single piece of each garden was filled with vegetables. No flowers. No lawns. Just vegetables. I think that a lot of people were starving.”
 
My mother always described them quietly.

My parents swapped a pack of fresh coffee for their first Min Pin, Nippy. The couple didn’t want money. They longed for coffee – not available in their shops. The pup was named after the Nippies – the waitresses at Lyons Corner House in London. Nippy’s mother, Oushie, was put down after Nippy was born. The couple who owned her couldn’t afford to feed an old dog who had given birth to just one pup. The wife cried when my parents collected Nippy. The husband was delighted with the coffee.

Old family stories that still rock my emotions so many decades later.

In those days each British army officer couple was given a maid and a cook (it was over sixty years ago). And this is where my parents were first introduced to these wonderful reheated new potatoes. They do need a lot of patience. They are perfect fried with an hour of gentle heat. If you try to rush the process they just don’t work. Leave them initially for 15 minutes each side and they will be easy to turn without sticking. After the first 30 minutes you can tweak them when you want. They should just get crisper and crisper. Each time I cook these I think about Nippy and Oushie and the people who tilled row after row of vegetables. And I’m always amazed how good these potatoes taste.

Dazzling crispy new potatoes recipe (for two)

Ingredients:

  • 250g-300g of cooked new potatoes
  • Half a teaspoon of garlic granules (or a chubby clove of finely diced fresh garlic)
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil and a walnut sized wedge of salted butter
  • Salt and loads of freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • I tbsp of chopped fresh parsley

Method:

  1. Slice the new potatoes into three
  2. Add the olive oil and the butter to the frying pan along with the garlic granules.
  3. Toss the potatoes well in the frying pan so that they are coated with the oil and butter mixture and then leave them to gently fry for fifteen minutes each side, before turning. This means that they will not stick.
  4. Then cook very, very gently for a further 30 minutes, turning occasionally. Just before serving, add a decent lash of salt and freshly ground black pepper and the finely chopped parsley.

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11 Comments

  1. Fiona Nevile

    Hi Wendy

    I often think about this time. Described in detail by my mum as I wasn’t born then.

    I know how fond I am of the Min Pins and would hate to give one away for a bag of coffee. Even if Danny craved the coffee.

    Hello Springtime

    I suppose these troubled times have made me think about WW2 and what my parents described.

    I chose to budget and grow our own veg etc. The German people had no choice.

    Hi Joanna

    It’s very sad when people cannot afford to live when they work full time.

    Poor you with the heating being turned off to your block of flats. Surely this means burst pipes and more misery.

    I work for a wide range of income brackets. It’s usually the poorer people that are most welcoming and always pay their bills on time.

    Hi Joanne

    My mum grew a lot of fruit and veg in the fifties and up until the last five years ago (she’s 89 now). So I’ve always wanted to do the same. The fruit and veg do taste so much better as they are so much fresher.

    Hello Lee B

    The addition of rosemary sounds lovely. Thanks for the tip.

    Hello KarenO

    Thanks for sharing your impressions of Romania.

    I have a few friends who work nights in supermarkets in the UK. They also look much older than their contemporaries. The pay packet is pretty small too.

    So silly to compare pensions like that!

    Hi Kelly the City Mouse

    I so agree, giving people allotments and encouraging people to grow/rear their own produce would be beneficial.

    I suppose that the commercial value of land makes this out of the question. But with imagination there is so much fallow land in cities and the country that could be used and improved with sustainable cultivation. Allotments have proved to be so therapeutic over the years.

    If you have space to grow stuff you feel more in control as you have the potential to feed yourself even if you do nothing.

    Hi Chris

    Yes it was so sad about Oushie. Nippy was still around when I was born (although I can’t remember her) and tales of Nippy were recounted with joy throughout my childhood. So when I moved to the country I bought my first Min Pin – how could I resist. They are great dogs, with the independence of cats and the intelligence of Nobel winning scientists.

    Hi Sara

    Garlic, parsley and chives are all great additions to these exquisite potatoes.

    Hello Diane

    It’s terrible that people are losing their jobs and their homes. Many of them will never work again. Boom is only really for the people on the top rungs of the ladder. The people at the bottom really feel the bust.

    Most of the people that I know are frightened about the future and cutting their spending to a minimum. Quite often they have sacrificed the holiday for me to decorate so I’m really pleased that they have invested in their home rather than a week in the Canaries.

    We haven’t had a holiday away from home for a couple of years and that’s fine with me as I love spending a few days in our cottage. It’s a perfect spot.

    Compared to many countries nowadays we are very blessed. We can still choose what and when we eat.

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