pota­toes

FOR TAMSIN CARVAN, UN­EARTHING HOME­GROWN POTA­TOES IS NOT UN­LIKE FIND­ING BURIED TREA­SURE.

Country Style - - YOUR PAGE - WORDS AND RECIPES TAMSIN CARVAN PHO­TOG­RA­PHY AND STYLING CHINA SQUIR­REL

ou wouldn’t ex­pect pota­toes to be the cause of ar­gu­ments in our veg­etable patch. But when my de­sire to serve our freshly dug pota­toes at ev­ery Sun­day Ta­ble lunch in­ter­feres with my part­ner Al’s de­sire to have them ev­ery night for din­ner, com­pro­mises must be made. Like onions, it seems that ev­ery year we grow more pota­toes, but never are there enough. If you have ever eaten a hand­ful of freshly dug pink fi­fir ap­ple pota­toes, gen­tly scrubbed but de­fifinitely not peeled, boiled in salty wa­ter and served with huge amounts of salty but­ter, then you’ll un­der­stand what the fuss is about. One of the joys of grow­ing your own pota­toes is the dis­tinct vari­a­tion in taste and tex­ture be­tween the difff­fer­ent va­ri­eties, and how sat­is­fy­ing it is to jum­ble th­ese to­gether in the same dish. For­tu­nately, when it comes to back­yard pota­toes, achiev­ing this is much eas­ier than it sounds. Af­ter only a sea­son or two of grow­ing them, your pota­toes will hap­pily grow them­selves and will of­ten make a bet­ter fi­fist of it than you did. A few sea­sons ago I planted out two long rows of the new (to me) va­ri­ety pur­ple sap­phire (with se­duc­tive deep blue-black skin and pur­ple flflesh that holds its colour when cooked) only to end up with a pal­try hand­ful when it came time to har­vest. Yet this sum­mer, ev­ery time we scratched around in the potato patch, fear­ing that this time we re­ally had dug the last of them, an­other buck­et­ful of the long-for­got­ten pur­ple sap­phires would re­veal them­selves, each larger and more splen­did than the last. Be­fore grow­ing my own, I found one of the frus­tra­tions of potato recipes was be­ing di­rected to use ei­ther ‘waxy’ or ‘flfloury’ types with­out any sense of how this trans­lated into speci­fific va­ri­eties. But since hav­ing our own to work with, I’ve re­alised that this dis­tinc­tion is nei­ther very clear cut nor ter­ri­bly use­ful. Many com­mon va­ri­eties — such as de­siree, royal blue and Dutch cream — are great all-rounders or do most things rea­son­ably well. When it comes to chips, how­ever, noth­ing beats the ex­cep­tional flflouri­ness of a rus­set burbank. In the end, fresh­ness and de­li­cious­ness trump all else, so ex­per­i­ment with what you have on hand — you might be sur­prised! Cook, farmer and ac­com­plished gar­dener Tamsin Carvan hosts cook­ing work­shops and sea­sonal lunches at her farm at Poowong East in Vic­to­ria’s Gipp­s­land. For in­for­ma­tion, visit tam­sin­sta­ble.com.au

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