This little gem of a recipe was originally one of my Grandma’s favourites. However, over the years I have changed and (I hope) improved it. I was so keen on these as a kid I would sit in front of the oven and watch them bake, willing them to crisp up golden brown so I could eat them.
I am sharing my own preference but the beauty of this recipe is you can change it to whatever ingredients you have at hand. The chopped onions can easily be spring onions or even leeks, and the bacon can be replaced with cheese. The point is, it’s a ‘waste not, want not’ recipe – a way of using up those few roast vegetables that won’t quite stretch to bubble and squeak. So, for that handful of roasties in the fridge that you don’t know what to do with but would feel guilty chucking out, why not make potato cakes? Here’s how.
Grandma’s Potato Cakes
1 teaspoon of light olive oil
1 small onion finely chopped
2 rashers of bacon cut into small pieces
half a teaspoon of dried sage
a splosh of water
left over roast vegetables
1 large potato
a pinch of salt
a teaspoon of butter
a splosh of milk
plain flour to form the cakes
Heat a frying pan, adding the light olive oil. Once hot, add the bacon and gently fry. When the bacon is half-cooked, add the dried sage and the onions and continue to fry. Once the bacon is done, add a splosh of water to stop sticking and to infuse the pan juices into the onions. Once the water has evaporated, set the bacon and onions to one side. Peel the potato, chop it into chunks and boil on a low light until soft. While the potatoes cook, get your leftover vegetables out of the fridge, chop them and pop them in a mixing bowl. At this point it’s a good idea to pre-heat the oven to 160.
Once the potatoes have boiled, strain and add them to the leftovers in the bowl. Add the salt, butter and a splosh of milk. Squish all the ingredients together with a potato masher, then stir in the bacon, sage and onions. When the mixture is thoroughly stirred through, take a dinner plate and cover it thickly with plain flour. Put three large tablespoons of mixture into your hand and form into a ball, press the ball onto the plate flattening it into a cake. Then turn over and press it lightly again so both sides have a light flour coating. Pick the cake up and gently roll all the edges in the flour then set to one side on a fresh plate. Repeat the process until all the mixture has gone.
Take a baking tray and put a tablespoon of light olive oil on it, put the empty tray in the hot oven for a minute, then roll the hot oil all over the bottom of the tray so it is lightly coated. My Grandma used to rub the tray with large knobs of butter which you can do if you prefer. Either way, the aim of the game is to prevent the cakes from sticking. Place the cakes on the hot oiled tray and pop them in the oven. After 20 minutes, carefully flip them with a fish slice. Once both sides are golden brown they are ready to butter. Serve then eat. Don’t burn your mouth…