Thursday, January 27

Comfort food.....

What food do you turn to on a bad day? Are you a chocolate lover, or like me, a carb freak?
We have been having supper with Mum most nights, but it was my first day back at work today so I was back at home for dinner. I managed to avoid eye leakage for most of the day, but by the time I got home energy and motivation levels were low. The answer for me, a stuffed potato.
I can appreciate this would not be everyone's recipe of choice, but I have eaten industrial quantities of potato since birth, and I love it. This is probably a cultural choice also, growing up, just like my parents would have, we ate potato pretty much every day. A friend of mine prefers toast, preferably smothered in peanut butter, my younger sister will make Mac n Cheese in times of trouble. The other night Mum had to have two boiled eggs and toast soldiers, nothing else would do.
So I am going to share my very precise instructions for my stuffed baked potato, you might think this entirely inappropriate in the middle of summer, but times of crisis seem utterly oblivious to seasonal timetables.......

Stuffed baked potato for a grim week

First scrub your potato, I prefer Agria for a fluffy inside. To get a crispy result dry, then rub a little butter or oil over the skin, prick a few times with a fork and bake at 200C for about 60 minutes.
Meanwhile finely chop a spring onion, and place in a bowl, with a knob of butter. Grate a handful of your favorite cheese, I tend to use cheddar, with maybe a little Parmesan. Pour yourself a glass of wine and sit on the porch for a while.
When your spud is cooked take out of the oven and immediately cut away the top. This lets the steam escape, preventing the skin going soggy, and also allows you to scoop out the flesh into your onion and butter bowl.
When all the potato flesh is scooped out mash with a fork, adding a splash of milk or cream, plenty of salt and pepper, some shopped chives and the cheese. When this is nice and creamy, spoon back into the potato shell and pop back into the oven for 5 minutes or so until heated through and slightly brown on top. The top will puff up, sadly by the time I grabbed my camera it had settled down....
Eat with a salad that has a nice sharp dressing to cut through all that cheese.

You could gussy this up with crispy bacon or prosciutto, or maybe some lovely sharp blue cheese, but it really is good as is. Yes I know it is deeply uncool (even the name stuffed potato sounds so 70's) , and I promise I will do something clever with lemongrass and pomegranate next week, but I doubt a meal at Noma could have made me feel any better after a really crapola week than that spud....
A word of warning, cooked potato is one of the hottest substances known to man, after many years I can eat this without peeling a layer off the roof of my mouth, but a novice should approach with extreme caution.

Continuing my hydrangea theme, I got a lovely little bunch of flowers from a work colleague today, my favorite flower so it did make me smile. Go old fashioned flowers, we love you.

I also wanted to share a wee link for a new vintage store which has opened up in Auckland, Bread and Butter Letter, which I discovered via the very cool Extracurricular Magazine site. This is a great little mag (zine?) about crafting, even for the craft challenged like myself........

Now if you can, ring your Dad and say hi. If you cant, I'm sorry.


  1. I have been a little absent for a few days - I am so very sorry to hear about your father's death. As you say it's the natural order of life but something I can't bear to think of. Carb load and cry. Thinking of you, your mum and the rest of the family. Ann x

  2. I have eaten several of your baked spuds and vouch for their comfort qualities.
    Nice to be reminded how good they are.
    Take care - Ange

  3. If wrapping you up in a potato blanket would help ease the sorry I would do that for you. Take care and see you soon

  4. Firstly, may I offer my sincere condolences to you and your family during this very sad and difficult time of adjustment. I realise words can be so hollow at a time like this, but they are all I am able to offer.

    Your photographs are WONDERFUL and your meal looks positively...DELICIOUS! I'm not personally a great potato fan, although I do enjoy a really good baked or roast potato...not in industrial quantities, however ;)

    I LOVE hydrangeas, but have never been able to grow mine to take on such rich and vibrant shades. These are absolutely lovely.

    Take care and cry as much, and as often, as you need to!

  5. This is comfort food in my book too and hope you are comforted. Love blue hydrangeas.

  6. I love how your spuds burst from the skins, so creamy and inviting. I do hope that, whilst the pain will not go away, you and your family are finding love and solace with each other. Sending lots of support across the miles.

  7. You guys are just the best, thanks:) xx


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