Sandra’s Taste of Britain – August 2012
“We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may live without conscience and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilized man cannot live without cooks”.
– Owen Meredith
TRUE, TRUE, and some better than others. Not everyone likes or can cook, and I do understand that, but I cannot ever remembering not liking it. I don’t think ‘Domestic Science’ or any cooking is now taught at schools, which is a great shame, and today’s society in general tend to eat out far more than we used to, and unfortunately much of that is all fast food places.
Anyway, I wasn’t sure what to feature for this month, and decided on a personal favourite of mine, that really isn’t British, except it has lots of potatoes and cheese, always a fabulous combination. So I will try to get away with the fact that it has lots of cheese in it, and because Cheddar cheese is a truly British cheese! Jane Grigson was one of Britain’s first classic food writers, in the early 50s on, and she made the statement which I agree with, that “No other country has developed so rich a variety of excellent hard cheeses as England.”
Cheddar cheese was first made in the Somerset village of Cheddar on the edge of Sedgemoor, near the geological fault known as the cheddar gorge. It was the first English cheese to be made in a regular formula, and first became popular in the 17th century. Potatoes of course are an extremely versatile vegetable, and especially loved by the Scots and Irish.
A few weeks ago, we had a pot luck evening with the Sarasota Brit Club, and I made a big portion of this, which was extremely well liked, and I had several requests for the recipe. I have made it several times through the years and it is always popular, also it can be made ahead of time, and if you don’t want to have the oven on the summer, it can also be micro-waved.
So in my convoluted way, I am justifying this recipe to be “eligible” for British culture, even though I adapted it years ago when we were living in Wisconsin … another great place for cheese!!
So I hope you enjoy another of my versions for the great potato and cheese combination; I will warn you that it is not a low calorie dish!
Sandra’s Pot Luck Potatoes
3 lbs russet potatoes (about 9 medium), peeled and cut into small pieces
2 peeled garlic cloves
8 oz cream cheese, softened
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup sour cream
2 cups grated extra sharp cheddar cheese, and
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper
1 package 10oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Place the garlic and potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook about 15-20 minutes until soft … but not too done. Drain well. Return to pan, and mash potatoes and garlic with the cream cheese and butter. Add the sour cream, two cups grated cheese, salt and pepper and spinach. Stir until just mixed. Bake uncovered in a 350 degrees oven for 30 minutes, top with the remaining cheese and bake another 5-10 minutes until the cheese on top has melted. (If micro-waving, cook on high 10-15 minutes) Yield: 10-12 servings.
(I welcome comments, recipes and requests and can be reached at Yourcuppatea1@yahoo.com.)