The Fresser

Lockdown lunch jackets

How baked potato showed me the way - to less work


Baked loaded potato with bacon, cheese, sour cream and onion

I'm back in the swing of three-a-day meal planning.  Once a week is baked potato day. 

Jacket potatoes make a simple lunch that everyone can help themselves to. But — and here's the good news — I've worked out how to make life easier (and protect the planet a little) by batch cooking them. 

Same work. Same oven time, but many more meals.

Those tatties end up being upcycled into: 


When you boil, the potatoes take in more water. You need to steam dry before adding your flavourings. If you bake them, the mash is dry from the start. Just scrape the flesh out, and mash with butter and milk or oil and a dairy-free milk if serving with meat. Simples. 

I then use that mash with sausages; on top of a pie - cottage or shepherd's or even with a mixture of leftover chicken and mixed veg. Or it makes a fab base for fritters (mixed with fish cakes - see below. 

Potato skins:

When scraping out your mash, leave a layer of potato flesh. Brush with a little oil, sprinkle with salt then return to the oven or flash under a grill to crisp up that soft potato flesh for 10 minutes per on each side. Then fill with whatever floats your boat - ideally something involving grated cheese and return to the oven/grill to melt. A family favourite is tuna with a little mayo and finely chopped spring onions or chives, mashed with cheese. Add more cheese on top and the spring onions/chives. 

Fish cakes:

Leftover potato makes light work of fish cakes. Mix the scooped out mash from a couple of medium to large tatties with a large tin of tuna or salmon. Add enough egg to bind, plus whatever flavourings you like. 

For the batch above - please excuse their unstyled state - I used a handful of grated mozzarella and cheddar plus the remains of the challah glazing egg to bind and stick. Plus a little salt. I coated them in a mixture of panko crumbs and matzah meal. I prefer panko for crunch, but didn't have enough for the whole batch. Such is life in lockdown... Then shallow fried for colour.

This spur of the moment recipe, was served up (with spin worthy of a career politician) as Tuna Melt Cakes - was a winner and will definitely be cooked again. My children ate them with veggies on Sunday and reheated in a hot oven to keep the crunch and served in a burger bun for lunch yesterday. Winning!

(Other fish cake flavouring might be - ketchup and mayo for a rissole-style cake; spring onions, ginger and soy for an Asian-style version or a handful of herbs and lemon zest which you could then serve with tahina sauce.)

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