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Growing potatoes

Growing potatoes is super satisfying. With a little planning and preparation, you can experience the delight of uncovering little golden nuggets in the dark soil. Plus, growing potatoes can help develop your soil tilth.

When you are ready to plant out, dig a trench around 12cm deep and then put your chitted potatoes in at a 20-30cm spacing. Ideally, dig over your potato patch in the autumn or early spring. Some folks also add well-rotted manure or compost in the bed around a 6-8 weeks before planting. Meanwhile, chit your little 'seed' potatoes in a dry spot until they start developing little 'eyes' or sprouts around 1.5-3cm long.

Potatoes tend to be grouped in to first earlies, second earlies and maincrops. For first earlies, plant in March; second earlies in early to mid April; maincrops late April. At Global Gardens, we are growing Maris Peer (second earlies) Sarpo Mira (main crop) and Cara (main crop). First earlies can be harvested from June to July, second earlies from July to August and maincrops between August through to October. We particularly like Cara and Sarpo Mira as they have strong blight resistance and a beautiful red colour.

Chef feature: Manuel

Hello there! My name is Daniel, but most know me as Manuel! In the past I have been involved with several vegetarian and vegan eateries, working for Milgi, Riverside sourdough and collaborating with Herbivore for supper clubs and events. I am currently just cooking at home, purely for the joy of it, and steadily working on new food ventures for the future.

My thought process when it comes to recipes starts with what’s in season. I will focus on a specific crop, read and research. This usually takes me on a bit of a journey, maybe a few late nights of over thinking but eventually I will have stitched together an idea which I think will work. After some trail and error we have a dish. Take potatoes for example. On a wet and windy day I had the pleasure of walking around global gardens to see what they had been growing this year. We decided potatoes would be the best crop to work with for this recipe share. Watching them being dug out was immediately satisfying. Seeing them pop out of the ground, more and more with each turn of a trowel set my mind off. Potatoes. Oh, now 2 types of potatoes. The journey began.

Between the varieties we harvested one happened to be waxy and one floury. Here I share two potato-based recipes...

Maris Peer Potatoes and Sourdough Pizza

When asked to make a potato recipe, pizza was the first thing that came to mind. I’ve been making potato pizzas quite a lot through lockdown, for one, I've really been enjoying different uses for sourdough starter, secondly, it’s a consistent crop that appears on my door step every week in my seasonal veg box. Maris peer potatoes are a waxy kind, they hold there shape well so are good for salads, roasting and perfect for this recipe. Follow the link for Manuel's Potato, roast garlic sauce and rosemary sourdough potato pizza here.

Mira Potatoes and Rostis

The Mira potato used in this recipe is the floury kind, great for mash, roasties and chips. The Rosti is something I have explored a few times before and with a newly purchases julienne slicer, it felt right to give it another go’

The great thing about rostis, like potatoes, is that they are versatile. You have them as part of a breakfast, with eggs, fish, with salad elements or just by themselves with a condiment. Feel free to vary the size, but bare in mind the cooking times. Mine were quite thin and the width of a crumpet. I would make them thicker next time.

Inspired by the recipes of Richard Buckley I decided to pair my rostis with pickled cucumber, confit tomatoes and roast garlic aioli, which brings a balance of sweetness, freshness and richness to the dish. A little note on these recipes also, I recommend reading them through before cooking as they take time. Some things ideally take overnight to make, or a few hours to rest or chill.

Manuel's Potato and dill rosti with roast garlic aioli, pickled cucumber and confit tomatoes

400g Mira potato

50g onion

1 tsp salt

15g flour

A Hand full of dill

- To begin, prepare an ice bath, cold water and ice in a bowl. We will plunge the partly cooked potato into this bowl.

- Add the potatoes to a large pot, cover with water. Season the water. I go for a big pinch then taste the water, as a wise man said, you want it to taste like the ocean. I add a splash of vinegar also, about half a teaspoon. This helps the potato crisp up later...apparently.

- Simmer the potatoes for about 5-7 minutes. Check them regularly, you don’t want them to be cooked all the way through, just enough for the tip of a knife to pierce without too much force.

- Drain the par boiled potatoes and place into the ice bath.

- Now, when chilled, dry off the potatoes, let them chill further in the fridge for a few hours. When assembling the rosti you want to be using cold potato.

- In the mean time, slice some onion. Heat a pan with 2 tbsp of rapeseed oil and gently fry on a low heat. Do this for 10-15 mins, you want them cook down until they look glassy. Once cooked set aside.

- When you are ready for the rosti, ideally you want to use a mandolin with a julienne setting. Alternatively you can use a box grater. Grate the potatoes and add to a bowl.

- Chop and add the dill, flour, salt and onion to the bowl with the grated potato and mix until the potatoes start to feel a little sticky from the flour.

- Now form a pattie. I made mine about 1cm thick and used a crumpet ring mould. If you don’t have a ring then you can just use your hands, a thick jar lid or a shallow circular tub to help you shape.

- Pre heat your oven to 160C

- Now to fry. A non stick pan would be ideal here, but if you don’t have one use a good glug of sunflower or rapeseed oil. Get the pan nice and hot then add the oil. Place in 1-2 rosti in the pan (depending on the size). Rostis can be delicate, use a spatula to help you move them.

- Turn the heat down to medium-low and cook for about 5-6mins

- Now to flip it, I use a spatula and then another implement to help them over. A small plate or another spatula will work.

- Cook for a further 5-6 mins. The topside of your rosti should look golden brown.

- Now, place the patties into the oven for 10 mins to ensure the center is cooked through.

Pickled cucumber

1 cucumber (160g)

1/2 tsp salt

4 tbsp cider vinegar

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp salt

3 tbsp water

- Using a mandolin, ribbon the cucumber. Alternatively you could slice it into round, cutting on an angle.

- Mix in the half tsp of salt with the cucumber and leave for one hour. The salt will draw water from the cucumber

- In the mean time combine the brine ingredients in a bowl with a whisk. This is a cold pickle so no need to heat the brine.

- When ready, drain the cucumber and rinse under cold water. Pat dry.

- Add the cucumber to the pickling liquid. Pickles are made.

Confit tomato

235g tomato (I used large cherry tomatoes, about the size of ping pong ball)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar

2g rosemary

2 cloves garlic

100ml olive oil

- We will start by blanching the tomatoes. To do this, prepare and ice bath, and bring a pot of water to the boil.

- Cut a small X in the bottoms of the tomatoes.

- Add the tomatoes to the pot, as soon as you see the skin peeling away, lift them out. Mine took about 30 seconds. Drop them into the ice bath

- When cold, peel the tomatoes carefully, add them to a bowl with the salt and leave them for an hour, they should expel some tasty juices.

- Then, add the vinegar, rosemary and garlic to the tomatoes. Leave for at least an hour but preferably over night.

- When ready to continue, preheat the oven to 140C

- Remove the tomatoes from the marinade and half them. You can keep the marinade for later.

- Now, we want to submerge the tomatoes in olive oil.

- Using a small tin, pack it with the tomatoes laid face down.

- Add the olive oil, it took me about a 100ml to just about cover them

Note : if you don’t have a small tin and don’t want to use copious amounts of oil, just give them a drizzle to achieve slow roasted tomatoes.

- bake the tomatoes in the oil for about 30 mins, keep an eye on them, you don’t want them to break down.

- Remove the tomatoes from the oven and allow them to chill to room temperature. Remove them from the tray with a spoon into a tub as they are delicate.

- The oil can now be added to the marinade left overs, you now have a tasty tomato oil you can use to garnish a plate or for salads.

Roast garlic aioli

For the roast garlic :

1 head of garlic

Olive oil

- Preheat the oven at 160 C

- Cut the bottom from the head of garlic enough to reveal the cloves

- Mix the garlic with a little olive oil and wrap in foil

- Cook for 30-40 mins in the oven

- To check its ready carefully unwrap the foil and poke the cloves, they should be soft and smelling amazing

- When cooked, allow to cool and remove the cloves, I use the handle end of a teaspoon to scoop them out.


1 head of roast garlic

4 tbsp of Aquafaba (chickpea water)

3 tsp cidar vinegar

3 tbsp olive oil

100ml sunflower oil

1/2 tsp salt

Pinch of cayenne

Pinch of paprika

- Measure out all ingredients into a heavy based jug

- Using a hand blender, on the slowest setting blend the contents.

- We now need to incorporate the oil slowly whilst blending

- Pouring from another jug, add the sunflower oil, slowly in a steady stream whilst blending.

- Moving the blender up whilst you add the oil keep going until the mix thickens and you can start to see peaks form when you lift out the blender from the mix.


Now all your components are made you can plate. Swipe some aioli on the plate and get creative, garnishing with more dill, salad leaves and the marinade oil. Alternatively chuck it all between some fresh sourdough and enjoy a very decadent sandwich!

Follow Manuel on Instagram @cashmanners

Community featured crop-share recipe by Matt

Dad’s Onion Bhajis

This is a good side dish to any curry you are making.

-Wash and peel (or leave skins on) some medium size potatoes, cut lengthways in small slices less than ½ inch thick.

-Gently heat 2 tablespoons ghee/oil in a frying pan.

-Add ½ tsp methe (fenugreek) powder and add potatoes in sections.

-Cover and cook for up to 15-20 mins, turn and add a thinly sliced onion.

-Cook covered for a further 5mins or so then add 4 cloves crushed garlic.

-Add ¾ tsp tumeric, a sprinkling of chilli powder to taste, 2 tbsp lemon juice and a little salt (I like to add some frozen peas toward the end of cooking as well).

-Continue gently cooking covered up to 30 mins until potatoes become a rich brown yellow (I like mine very slightly burnt).

-Serve hot (with a extra drizzle of lemon juice if you like).

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