There I was, sat there glumly swooshing my spoon back and forth through the pale white sludge. It was somewhere between mashed potatoes and parsnip soup and was the consistency of slurry. This was proof, as if I needed any, that I’d lost my cooking mojo.
I searched for it high and low, far and wide. I set a course for the heat and aromas of SE Asia with an aubergine and coconut curry. But it failed to excite. I stayed in the east – usually the source of so much inspiration – with some spicy prawn cakes. But they were only so much salty rubber.
So I tried something nourishing and nearer to home, some food for the soul. And I ended up with the aforementioned bowl of sweetly bland and mediocre puree. This was bad.
And then, suddenly, there it was. Not in a cookbook, or a restaurant. And a long way from my usual spicy haunts. I discovered my mojo lurking at the bottom of a big box of violet potatoes in a grocer. I clutched a deeply coloured tuber in my hand and inspiration struck. I grabbed a couple of handfulls and almost ran back home.
In the veg box was a two week old bag of long and knobbly pink fir apple potatoes. Out on our wee balcony we still had some herbs, hanging on valiantly in the bad weather. Perfect. A few snips and I had the making of an aromatic, fresh and beautifully coloured dish fit to go with anything.
This felt both comfortingly Sunday-ish and wonderfully Mediterranean at the same time. It would sit well with a roast chicken or alongside some fresh seared fish and lightly steamed greens, which is what we ate it with. And consummately easy to make.
Roast violet and pink fir apple potatoes with garden herbs
Feeds four as an accompaniment or starter
This works with any potatoes, paticularly new ones. But if you can get your hands on some of those lovely purple spuds, then give it a go with them. It makes for a dish that is great to taste, smell and look at all at the same time.
1kg of violet and pink fir apple potatoes – washed
A handful of aromatic twiggy herbs – I used dried oregano with fresh rosemary and thyme
5 cloves of garlic – squashed a little with the flat of a knife
Sea salt and black pepper
Turn the oven on to 180oC. Put the potatoes in a pan and bring them to boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, until tender. Drain and pour into an oven proof dish and toss with a couple of glugs of oil.
Slice the spuds into bite sized pieces and squash them with the underside of a spoon. Tuck the herbs and garlic in amongst them. Scatter with sea salt, grind over some pepper and put them in the oven for about 30-40 minutes until crisp around the edges. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.