This year I grew some massive potatoes, and they are great baked. I am working through a list of possible recipes. I came across one that involved making a mayonnaise with tuna as one of the base ingredients. It looked good, it contained capers, lemon juice, egg yolks and a can of drained tuna.
Now, I haven’t bought tuna since the early 1980s. I went to look to see what was in the shops, shelves of different varieties, some in brine, and some in oil. I stopped buying it, and most other commercial catches of white fish, because of worries about fish stocks and environmental damage.
Surely, I thought, things have changed. I looked into whether the tuna fishing industry has improved its practices. Well, only just, in that tuna stocks have recovered a little. However, within the tuna-fishing industry there are problems with sustainable fishing, by-catches, and human rights.
Bluefin tuna is the largest and most expensive, found in sushi as a delicacy. It is severely overfished and exploited, critically endangered as a species.
Albacore tuna is most likely to be canned. Overfishing is threatening the populations in the Altantic.
Skipjack tuna is smaller, and the most commonly consumed. It is overfished in most areas.
Yellowfin tuna is overfished world-wide. Larger fish in breeding condition are being removed from stocks at a rate that could lead to collapse of their populations.
Bigeye tuna is similar to yellowfin, and is considered to be overfished world-wide.
The recipe looked delicious, but it is off the menu. How can you help? Read more, don’t eat tuna.
We have lots of delicious potatoes, so when my daughter came over, we cooked this curry. It uses coconut milk along with spices to make a fragrant curry. We served this with a salad of grated beetroot, flavoured with toasted cumin, and dressed with lemon juice and salt.
3 tbsp rapeseed oil, or other vegetable oil
1 tsp whole black mustard seeds
1 tsp yellow split peas
2 whole dried birds-eye chillies
10 basil leaves
1/2 can chopped tomatoes, or a couple of medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small onion, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
a small pinch of cayenne
1 tsp garam masala
400g potatoes (we used charlotte) and 100g carrots (we used yellow carrots) – cut into 2cm large chunks
1 tsp salt
1/2 can coconut milk
Chopped coriander leaves
In a medium saucepan, heat up the oil and then add the mustard seeds, yellow split peas and chillies. After a minute or so, they’ll start popping. Add the onions and basil leaves as soon as this happens. Turn the heat down a bit and cook until the onion has softened.
Add the coriander, cayenne, tomatoes and garam masala, and stir to mix. Add the potatoes and carrots along with around 250ml water and the salt, bring to the boil and then simmer on a low heat for 15+ minutes
When the potatoes are cooked, add the coconut milk and fresh coriander leaves, and heat through, stirring.
Serve with other dishes, for example a salad, or dal, or a kale dish.
My potatoes are getting harvested, and I am trying out potato recipes. The first lot that I lifted were Arran Pilot, with white flesh that mashes very well. I made this from a recipe in Elizabeth David’s ‘Italian Food’. I also used some local free-range eggs.
1 Kg of potatoes that mash well
100g Gruyere or Emmental cheese, sliced
75g cooked ham or Italian sausage (I used Fonteluna sausage from Valvona and Crolla), sliced
2 eggs, boiled for around 7 minutes and peeled
3 tbsp breadcrumbs
4 tbsp milk
salt, pepper and nutmeg, to taste
Peel and boil the potatoes until cooked, around 16 minutes. Mash them with about 40g butter and the milk, and put them through a mouli or potato ricer to make a very soft smooth mash. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
Grease a dish with butter (I used a small lasagne dish) and then coat the bottom and sides with 2 tbsp breadcrumbs
Put half the mashed potatoes in the bottom of the dish, then add the cheese, ham and chopped boiled eggs in a layer. Cover this with the rest of the mashed potato. Sprinkle the rest of the breadcrumbs over the top and dot with butter.
Cook the pie in a hot oven (around 200C) for 30 to 40 minutes until the top is golden.
I served this with shredded kale. It is good with any green vegetable, or with a green salad.
The trick with this dish is to stew the peppers and potatoes slowly in olive oil. We had this with grilled pork chops.
250ml good olive oil
3 onions, sliced
5 cloves of garlic, sliced
3 green peppers, roughly chopped
1kg firm potatoes, peeled, halved lengthways and then sliced
salt and pepper
a pinch of fennel seeds, optional.
4 bay leaves, optional
In a large pan or casserole dish, heat the oil over a lowish heat.
Start cooking the potatoes in the oil, and when they start to cook and soften a bit, add the onions, peppers, garlic, fennel seeds, bay leaves, grated black pepper and a good pinch of salt. Simmer for around 15 minutes.
Drain off the oil using a sieve, set the oil aside for further use.
I’m home alone this week, Mr Bolton is checking up on family members in the south, sleeping in his van and stocking up on essentials. I have a lot of eggs, and a lot of potatoes, so frittata was inevitable. I also had a box of Salar off-cuts from a local supermarket, so I made this. I had half last night and half tonight.
2 medium potatoes, cooked with the skins on and cooled. (left-over potatoes are the best)
4 eggs, beaten
flaky smoked salmon
Garnish – choose from chive flowers, chopped parsley, or dukkha spice mix
Heat the grill
Cut the potatoes into thick slices, and fry in the olive oil until crisp and golden brown on both sides
Season the eggs with the pepper, and pour over the potatoes, and scatter the salmon and garnish over the top. Stir a little to allow raw egg to the bottom of the pan.
When it is nearly cooked, pop it under the grill so that the top begins to set.