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Cookery: eight variations on Potato salad, and how to make Summer pudding

10 July 2020

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THE humble Potato salad is a picnic staple. I’ve also been experimenting with it for lockdown meals. Take a stand­­ard 1kg (2 lb) bag of new pota­toes, boil until soft in salted water, drain, cool, dress with some oil and seasoning, then make your salad. Here are eight ideas to shake it up a bit:

  • Try a 300ml (11 fl. oz) pot of crème fraîche with some chopped chives and dill; also good with smoked salmon.

  • 190g (6 oz) jar pesto with a handful of black olives and olive oil.

  • 5 tablespoons mayonnaise, the juice of half a lemon, and two tablespoons of capers.
  • Melt 3 tablespoons of butter, stir through a handful of picked sage leaves until they crisp a little, sprinkle over some sea salt.

  • 2 tablespoons of mango chutney, 1 tablespoon each of mayonnaise and yogurt, two teaspoons of curry powder or paprika.

  • 1 tablespoon each whole-grain mustard and runny honey.

  • A 150ml (6 fl. oz) pot of soured cream, four rashers of streaky bacon (cooked and crumbled); also add Stilton cheese.

  • 2 tablespoons each of chopped green olives and sundried tomatoes, small handful of thyme leaves, black pepper.

SUMMER fruits seem to be abun­d­ant. Get some strawberries, black­­cur­rants, raspberries, blueberries, even cherries, and make a Summer pudding. This does need making in advance; Crème de cassis is op­­tional.

900g (2 lb) red berry fruits
150ml (¼ pt) water
150g (5 oz) sugar
1-2 tablespoons Crème de cassis
8 slices white bread or brioche loaf
handful of mint leaves

Wash the fruit, hulling if required, and place in a saucepan with the water and sugar. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook through for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the fruit is soft and the water coloured dark red. Stir in the cassis.

Cut the crusts off the bread and arrange them around the sides of a 1-litre (2-pint) pudding basin. Cut down a slice for the base, and make sure everything overlaps a little to create a seam. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of juice and pour the fruit into the bread mould; place another slice of bread on top to ensure everything is sealed. Loosely cover with clingfilm, then a saucer, and leave in a cool place with weights on top. Leave overnight, during which time the juices should have soaked into the bread.

Run a knife around the inside edge to loosen from the bowl, place a plate on top, invert, and let the pudding slide gracefully down. If required, dot any juice over bread where the colour hasn’t taken, then chop mint, mix with any remaining juice, and pour over the top. Serve with double cream.

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