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Spuds to the rescue

1090135_72753304All Christmas I couldn’t stop thinking about food out of greed and now I can’t stop thinking about it out of fear. I live on the top of a mountain in West Wicklow and I’m snowed in – alone. I did make provisions last week and got copious amounts of food including an auxiliary ham but stocks seem to be dwindling.

Over Christmas, we lost power for five days and were reduced to baking spuds in our wood burner and reheating stew on the top which was fairly romantic by candle light. Day two was less congenial – warm spaghetti hoops out of the can. We tried to fancy them up by adding chorizo and tabasco sauce but there’s no getting away from those horrible hoops.

Well those heady days of sharing such misery are gone and although I do have power and the luxury of running water, my food situation is starting to get drastic and I’m having to stretch what I have.

What I have rediscovered is the mighty potato and how generous this little fellow is. I have been having the humble spud for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Spanish omelette in the morning – very tasty with some chorizo added, potato soup for lunch using Jeans delicious Potato and broccoli recipe and for dinner I used up the last of my auxiliary ham and made a Ham, Leek and Potato pie by Jane Hornby of the Good Food Magazine. This recipe serves 4-6.

Do you have any interesting spud ideas?

Ham, Leek and Potato Pie


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 leeks, finely sliced
  • 2 large potatoes, cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp plain flour , plus extra for dusting
  • 300ml chicken or ham stock
  • 100ml pot crème fraîche (I used leftover cream)
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 200g cooked ham, shredded
  • 4 bay leaves , optional
  • 375g pack puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze (or use milk)


  1. Heat a large frying pan, melt the butter, then add the onion and leeks. Cover, then very gently cook for 15 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes after 5 minutes cooking.
  2. Stir in the flour, turn up the heat, then add the stock, stirring until the mix thickens a little. Take off the heat, then stir in the cream or crème fraîche, mustard and ham. Season to taste, then cool, if you have time. Spoon the mix into a large pie dish, adding a couple of bay leaves. Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7.
  3. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to the thickness of a £1 coin. Cut a pastry strip the same width as the lip of the dish, wet the edge of the dish with egg, then fix the strip around it. Brush the top with egg, then lay over the remaining pastry.
  4. Trim pastry to the edge of the dish, then ruffle the cut edges with the knife blade to help the layers rise. Cut a few slits to let the steam escape, decorate with bay leaves, if you like, then brush all over the top with egg. Can be done up to a day ahead, keep chilled. Bake for 30 minutes until risen.


  1. Sounds yummy!! A great way to use up leftover ham too.

  2. Here’s a cheap spud recipe which serves 4. I know it sounds pure dodge but trust me, it’s awesome.
    -Preheat oven to around 200 C
    -Boil potatoes
    -Roughly mash, adding some wholegrain mustard, and any other spices you fancy
    -Get a deepish casserole dish
    -Empty 2 tins of beans into bottom of casserole dish (I sometimes add chili flakes
    -Open a tin of corned beef, and break/crumble this up with your hands over the beans (you can discard any fat that’s around the outside)
    -Put your roughed up spuds over the top
    -Put in oven for about 25 minutes, or until beans are bubbling up around the edge. If desired, put grated cheese on top at the 15 – 20 minute mark

  3. I usually steam Golden Wonders or Kerr Pinks in their jackets, and eat them with yogurt. Healthy and delicious.

    Leftover spuds can be peeled, sliced and fried in olive oil, with an egg and a tomato. Not quite so healthy, but better than tinned corn beef!

  4. I had a tasty and quick dish with leftover spuds recently. I baked loads of potatoes in their jackets to go with a stew and had a few left over. The internet told me to scoop out the cooked spuds, slice them up and heat them in a pan with cream, garlic and black pepper. It was like a very quick, easy and lazy version of potato gratin. Yay!

  5. Make potato bread by kneading mashed leftovers with flour. Add bacon, sausage, cheese whatever you have, brush with beaten egg and fry with olive oil. Serve with melted butter on top or poached eggs

  6. Quick, cheap egg and potato dinner: fry a chopped onion, add some leftover potatoes, sliced. Break an egg in the middle and fry it.
    Home made potato wedges: cut into wedges, add some oil, salt and pepper and toss to cover. Spread on a single layer on a baking sheet. Cook in the oven for 30mn at 200C
    Bacon and potato pan cake: fry bacon and onion, add some roughly mashed potatoes, press well in the pan so it sticks together. Fry gently and invert on a plate. Put back in the pan and fry the other side
    Potato salad with sliced spring onion and French dressing made with wholegrain mustard and olive oil
    Grate potatoes, press them well to extract the moisture. Fry in a pan with olive oil, pressing them well to make a potato straw cake
    Egg nests: spread mashed potatoes in a dish, make a whole, break an egg, bake in the oven until the egg is cooked through
    Add some cream, beaten egg, cheese to mashed potatoes, bake. Also delicious with added mashed carrots or sweede or parsnip
    Snow peas and baby potatoes strir fry (parboil the potatoes first). Add soya sauce
    Slice potatoes very thinly, add some thinly sliced sping onions. Spread in a dish. Add a cup of stock. Cook in the oven

    Shall I go on???

  7. Do I have any interesting spud ideas? I have a blog full of them at ! 🙂