27 August 2010

Panna Cotta With Apple Compote

I went to Waitrose the other day and picked up yet another recipe card, I just can't resist those. This one was Delia's Vanilla cream terrine and is basically a panna cotta, but with yoghurt instead of milk.


Though instead of berries, I made a Bulgarian apple compote.

Panna Cotta
7 g leaf gelatine
425 ml double cream
75 g caster sugar
425 g Greek yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract

Apple Compote
850 g apples
7.5 dl water
1 lemon
2.5 dl caster sugar
2.5 dl apple brandy or white wine
0.5 tsp ground cinnamon
3 cloves


  1. Make the panna cotta first, as it needs a few hours to set. Place the gelatine in a little cold water for 5 - 10 minutes to soften up.

  2. Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and heat up on low just enough to dissolve the sugar.

  3. Squeeze out the gelatine and stir into the cream until it dissolves, then remove from the heat.

  4. Mix the yoghurt and the vanilla in a bowl, then pour in the cream and stir through well.

  5. Pour into moulds or a loaf tin and allow to cool, then put in the fridge for a few hours to set.

  6. Peel and core the apples, then dice finely and place in a bowl. Note that the amount of apples is after peeling and coring.

  7. Put the water in a saucepan with a couple of strips of the lemon peel and all of its juice, then bring to the boil.

  8. Once it's boiled, pour over the apples and let stand for 5 minutes, then strain the liquid back into the saucepan.

  9. Add the sugar, brandy, cinnamon and cloves to the liquid and bring to the boil once more to dissolve the sugar.

  10. Transfer the apples to glass jars, then distribute the liquid so that all the apples are covered. They will float up to the surface though. Put lids on the jars and allow the compote to cool, then store in the fridge.

Actually I had to make yoghurt first, since I was almost out, and I did that last night, since it needs about 12 h to form. My yoghurt is a bit sweeter than the yoghurts available in the shops, I'm not sure why, perhaps the yoghurt bacteria has changed over a few generations.

The panna cotta turned out very nicely indeed. I was going to use a loaf pan originally, but then I spotted my brioche moulds in the cupboard and decided to use them instead. Just after I put the panna cotta in the fridge, I got some doubts about not using enough gelatine and indeed, according to the packet, I should have used more. It was a bit tricky to get the panna cotta out of the moulds and it just about held its shape, but Lundulph thought the texture was very good and said I shouldn't put more gelatine in.

The compote isn't a traditional one, since the apples aren't actually cooked. I used the remainder of the apples I got from my neighbours last week and being cooking apples, they were quite tart, even with the sugary syrup, but the panna cotta took the edge right off them.

The only thing I would have liked in addition is a bit of a crunch in something like a brandy snap or such. Lundulph thought some sort of créme brûlée crunch would be in order. I'm not sure about that, but will have to try it out.

The second time round, we had the panna cotta with the remaining caramelised figs and that was really nice too, plus they had their own built-in crunch. And what I found interesting was that in the first serving, the panna cotta was the sweeter part of the dessert, offsetting the sourness of the apples, while in the second, it was the neutraliser to the strong sweetness of the figs. I see a lot of possibilities with it.

26 August 2010

Under Development...

Ever so often, when I go to the greengrocer's I get seduced by a tray of big soft figs and the other day was such an occasion. They weren't fragrant, but were soft and seemed perfectly ripe, so I bought four with the thought of making a second attempt at caramelising them. Click here for the first failed attempt.


Also, I've been catching up on Celebrity MasterChef 2010 and have had loads of inspiration. In fact, I went and bought a notepad yesterday, to write down my ideas.

But back to the figs. The top hits on google for caramelised figs didn't seem quite right to me. But having watched berries be dry fried in cast iron pans with sticks of cinnamon and vanilla pods and star anise and being sprinkled with sugar, I decided to give it a try.

I skipped the spices though, they looked very pretty in the pan, but without liquid to transfer the flavour, I doubt very much that they'd do their job.

So, I washed and quartered the figs and had to be very careful, they were extremely soft and easy to squash. In the mean time I heated up my trusty pan on medium.

All the quarters went in and were sprinkled with 3 tbsp of caster sugar to add sweetness and 3 tbsp of dark brown soft sugar to add flavour, it's not really sweet on its own.

Then carefully stirring around to get the fruit coated with a little bit of the caramel that started forming pretty quickly. I took the pan off after a couple of minutes to prevent the sugar from burning and kept stirring for another minute or two.

And we had them for dessert after our salad tonight. Lundulph had seconds on them. They were good, even if they weren't as aromatic as the ones we've had in Bulgaria.

But they are most definitely a work in progress, I think quite a few things were missing to make them a good dessert, though I'm not entirely sure what is missing. Lundulph suggested maybe some balsamic vinegar. I'd toyed with the idea of red wine, so I might try both out, a lot of the caramel remained in the pan, so something to deglaze it would be good an form some sort of sauce. Perhaps it can be reduced with some spices like cinnamon etc.

25 August 2010

Stuffed Squashes

The other day at the PYO, I took a shortcut between two rows of beans and saw what appeared to be courgette plants, but they had round bright yellow fruit - squashes! (I guess, Wikipedia isn't too clear on it, maybe they are a type of golden courgette or zucchini).


And I had to pick a couple. The chap at the till said they were large and possibly over-ripe. And indeed they were, the seeds were almost fully mature, when I cut them in half.


I thought scooping out the seed bits, then filling up with minced meat and baking in the oven would work nicely, so I set to work. I'd planned ahead and had defrosted a batch of Bulgarian meatball mixture.

So, I turned the oven on to 200 degrees C and in addition to cutting the two squashes in half, I also cut off a slice at each end, so that the halves could stand up.

I was worried that the squashes would be very sweet, so sprinkled each half with salt, dried dill and dried savory, before distributing the mince mixture between them. 575 g of mince mix fitted quite nicely into the four halves.

I brushed a little grapeseed oil on a baking tray and placed the four halves on that, then drizzled a bit more over the top edge of each squash half, but not the meat as it was pork and had enough fat of its own there. This was a lot quicker to do than I expected. I wondered if I needed to do something more and decided to sprinkle two of the halves with polenta to get a crispy coating on top of the mince, to see how it would taste.


So into the oven and bake for an hour, at which point the squash was soft.

For carbs, I boiled some brown basmati rice and some black Venus rice in separate saucepans. Each takes about 35 minutes. I drained them well, then stirred together to get a more decorative effect. The black Venus rice still coloured off on the brown basmati rice a little.


I managed to time everything just right and dinner was ready when Lundulph came home.

And it tasted very nice actually. When I think about it, it's pretty much Bulgarian meatballs served with courgettes with rice, but presented differently. The squash was indeed rather sweet and tasted a bit like butternut squash, but I'd managed to season it just right.

Lundulph suggested it would be nice to swap the meatball mixture with a hearty chilli con carne, like the one from DinnerDiary. So I might give it another try soon.

24 August 2010

Sausage Buns

A few weeks back I spotted some wonderful looking sausage buns on The Fresh Loaf blog, then I also spotted them in Bulgaria as part of the breakfast assortment in our local bakery and I just had to try them out.


However, searching for a recipe on the internet didn't result in what I was after - a sourdough recipe for these buns. What I found called for instant dry yeast.

But I still have loads of starter to use up in order to come down to the regular level! OK, improvise once again.

The bun should be a bit on the sweet side, to balance the saltiness and smokiness of the Frankfurter sausage. It should also be very soft.

Thus, I needed a soft dough. Thus I changed the feeding habit of the starter - 2:1:2 and this was thinner than pancake batter. I left it to feed up for over 8 h, but of course with little food, it only rose about 50% in this time. In fact it reached this point after about 5 h, but I thought I'd give it some more time.

Then making the dough, the starter was 480 g, so I added the same amount of water and 880 g of super strong white flour. This was all I had left, as I also made 3 loaves of bread earlier. The dough was very sticky, I mixed it for a few minutes, then let it autolyse for 30 minutes, then about 10 minutes further mixing at medium speed, during which I added 45 g honey and 20 g salt.

I let it rise for 2 h 30 minutes and folded it at 50 min and 100 min. It was still very sticky, but had a bit of a backbone to it.

And sadly this is where I got sloppy - of all I've learned about bread making, I completely ignored most of it. That is to fold it again before dividing, then divide up and fold each piece again before rolling into a string to wrap around each sausage.


I also realised that I had way too much dough for the 10 Frankfurters I had to hand, and thus didn't follow the recommendations not to wrap too much dough around each sausage. But it used up most of the dough and what was left, I made into knots.


It all fitted on four trays and they ended up proofing for between 45 minutes and 2 h. And because I hadn't worked the dough properly, it all splodged out on the trays, rather than rise upwards like it's supposed to.


However, I baked the sausage buns and the bread knots at 200 degrees C for 23 minutes and they were tasty and light, however the ratio bread to sausage was completely wrong. I think I'll try this again, with a smaller amount of dough, work it properly, add more honey, as it wasn't sweet enough and use big Frankfurters.

Oh, and I didn't have any eggs, so I brushed the bread knots with oil and sprinkled poppy seeds on top, and of course almost all of them fell off at the lightest touch. Lundulph had one of the knots as a sandwich with butter and cold Swedish meatballs and said it was very good.

Lots of things to keep in mind for next time.

19 August 2010

Wiener Apfelstrudel

I got talking to our neighbours the other day. Their apple tree is bent over with fruit and they very kindly gave me a tray of apples, not being sure what to do with all the fruit and telling me to help myself wherever I can reach. They are cooking apples, they said, but can be eaten if really desperate.


So I washed the apples and lined them up to dry and racked my brain and my cook books on what to do with them. Then it struck me - strudel! It's been ages since I had it, in Munich in fact in 1996, and I've not thought of having go at making one myself.

So a quick google later and I found two recipes. The first one was in pictures and and looked pretty straight forward, but on reading it through, it talked about letting the dough rest in the oven at 50 degrees C. Unfortunately the lowest setting on my oven is S, for slow cooking and is just over 100 degrees C, so I thought I'd have to skip it.

The second one, however also had a better way of dealing with the "rest in a warm place" thing.

This resting of the dough in a warm environment is a new technique to me, I wonder what the chemistry and physics are behind it. It wasn't in my food science book as far as I remember anyway. I had my doubts, but it most definitely worked. I followed the second recipe, along with the photos of the first one. By the way both are in German, so you might want to run them through google translate. As always, I had to make some changes, due to lack of certain ingredients.


200 g strong flour
5 tbsp water at room temperature
50 g unsalted butter
1 ml salt

about 1 kg apples
zest of 1 lemon
2 tbsp dark rum
5 ml vanilla essence
75 g unsalted butter
100 g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
50 g finely ground breadcrumbs
50 g sultanas
50 g chopped nuts
1 egg yolk (optional)
icing sugar for dusting

  1. Half-fill a heavy lidded saucepan with water, put the lid on and bring to the boil.

  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter on low heat.

  3. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the water, salt and the melted butter and stir together into a dough. Take it out onto a work surface and knead it for a few minutes.

  4. When the water has boiled, switch off the hob and pour out the water. Dry the saucepan and the lid and return to the hob, then shape the dough into a ball and place in the saucepan and cover. Let rest for 30 minutes.

  5. Now peel the apples, quarter and remove the seeds. You should end up with about 850 g of cleaned apple pieces, then cut into juliennes or small dice and place in a bowl.

  6. Grate the lemon zest over the apples and also add the rum and vanilla essence, then stir through to mix as evenly as possible.

  7. Melt the butter on low heat, once melted switch off the hob. Mix the caster sugar and the cinnamon in a bowl and set aside. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.

  8. Place a large clean kitchen towel on the work surface and dust liberally with flour. Take out the dough after it's rest and place on the towel and start rolling it out until it begins to go transparent.

  9. Brush the dough very sparingly with some of the melted butter, then start stretching it by hand. A method for this is to pick up the dough and let it hang off your knuckles and letting gravity stretch for you, but this requires practice and speed, as it can tear quite easily. You want to end up with a transparent rectangle of 50 x 70 cm approximately.

  10. Brush with about two-thirds of the melted butter, then sprinkle the breadcrumbs.

  11. Then spread the apples over the whole surface, except the outer 3 cm of each of the short sides of the dough rectangle. Follow with the sultanas and the chopped nuts.

  12. Finally sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over the filling.

  13. Now, fold the two bare doug strips of the short sides over the apple filling, then carefully pick up two corners of the long edge of the towel and use it to roll up the strudel. Continue all the way until it's all rolled up, tucking in the sides where they try to unfold.

  14. Line a baking tray with baking paper, then turn over the strudel. If it won't fit, bend it very carefully into a horse shoe shape.

  15. Using the towel edges to wrap around the baking tray, swiftly flip the whole caboodle, so the strudel ends up in the baking tray and the towel regains its freedom.

  16. Bake in the middle of the oven for 30 minutes, then take out and brush with the remaining melted butter, then continue baking for a further 15 - 30 minutes, until the strudel gets a golden brown tinge.

  17. Let cool before serving.

This resting the dough in a warm pot was very novel and although it felt a bit tough when I put it in the pot, when I took it out, it was as soft and stretchy as anything. I just need to work faster to avoid it drying out. I did over-stretch in a couple of places and it broke, but the holes were quite small. I should have worked on getting thinner edges too.


I wasn't too good with the swift flip, and my towel wasn't big enough and I struggled to wrap it around the baking tray. Besides I also fidgeted too much with taking photos and this and that and the dough dried out a bit and was even more fragile, so some of the apple filling fell out and will make an interesting addition to my cereal tomorrow.


I actually also made a few mistakes during the making - I forgot to add the vanilla essence to the apples, so used my recently purchased dropper to sprinkle the essence around. It sort of worked, I think. I was also worried that I'd over-done the rum, the apples smelt quite strongly of it, but after baking it blended in with the other flavours.

The sultanas might seem like ridiculously few, but don't be tempted to add more, once the strudel is rolled up it'll be fine.

I also brushed the remaining butter before putting the strudel in the oven, not after 30 minutes, so will try out brushing with egg yolk next time, to give it a bit more shine, though the strudels I've had in cafés have all been dusted heavily with icing sugar, so it doesn't really matter if the surface is shiny or not. I ended up baking my strudel for 55 minutes.


And what did it taste like? Like a rather nice strudel actually, though the apples were perhaps a bit on the sour side, I should have used a bit more sugar, but Lundulph liked it and said less sugar is better. The dough was nice and crispy, but not as brittle as filo or puff pastry.

I was just so amazed that I succeeded in rolling and stretching the dough into transparentness. You see, I've made filo pastry once in my life and that's many years ago and under the supervision of a friend who was a very experienced filo baker. That dough was not kept warm, but was rolled and stretched and resulted in a similarly thin sheet. I also foolishly didn't note down the recipe. But after this experience, I'm quite keen to try making filo as well.

This has used up about two-thirds of the apples, I'll have to think up something else do with the remainder.

18 August 2010

Jamming Sessions


Over the Summer, I've been picking the patch of wild strawberries I started a couple of years ago, a bowl every other day pretty much. I put them in the freezer and ended up with just under 4 litres, leaving the last few to the fat wood pigeons that frequent our garden. By weight, this corresponded to 1.6 kg of wonderfully fragrant redness.

So the other day, I thawed them all in my pressure cooker (the biggest pot I have).

In preparation I'd purchased jam sugar, which is granulated sugar with pectin added to it. According to the instructions on the packet 1 kg of this sugar would be enough for 800 g of strawberries. I thought that would be well too much sugar, so decided to use a 1 kg packet for all my lovely wild strawberries.

The instructions also said only boil for 4 minutes, however that was nowhere near the jam setting point and I ended up boiling them for nearer 40 minutes. This was such a shame, as it pretty much killed them and all the fragrant flavour was completely lost and I ended up with a generic strawberry jam.

Additionally I made losses to the pot itself, a they'd burnt onto the bottom, well beyond caramelisation. It took two runs through the dishwasher and then finally manual scrubbing with a scourer to remove the black stuff off the pot.

Thus I ended up with 2 jars.

We had also a bumper crop from our three gooseberry bushes, that came with the house. I moved them a couple of years ago and put in a lot of manure. It turned out to have herbicide residue in it and the poor plants did struggle last year, but have come back with a vengeance this time. I picked the whole lot in one afternoon and ended up with 1.2 kg of these wonderful berries.

Into the freezer they went of course and I thawed them this morning. Before starting to cook them, I searched for pectin on the internet. I found a couple of web sites that sell it, however postage would have cost more than the pectin itself. So, I wandered down to the Co-op, which is nearest. They didn't anything in that direction, so on to Waitrose, who did! Yes, saved me the additional few hundred meters to go to Sainsbury's. I bought two packets, to be on the safe side.

Reading the instructions on the sachet, they were quite different from the instruction on the jam sugar. The whole thing seems a bit random. I warmed up the jars in the oven, on the slow cook setting. I'm not sure if that's strictly necessary with the types of jars I use, but if it sterilises them, that's good. Also on the whole I think reducing the amount of sugar is good, as well as not cooking the jam for too long, so adding extra pectin should help there.

Again, I reduced the amount of sugar massively - on the 1.2 kg of gooseberries, I used 500 g of the jam sugar and I added 1 sachet (8 g) of pectin powder too. It still required about 15 minutes of boiling before they reached the setting point. I put in the whole gooseberries, then kept stirring frequently to prevent anything burning to the pot. They all popped in the mean time and I strained them through a colander, so that seeds and fruit flesh came through, but the skins didn't. I got just under 2 jars of this jam, it's now cooling.

Earlier I also had a bumper crop from our 8 rhubarb nests and wasn't really sure what to do with them. I spotted a jar of plum jam that my Mum had given me, and thought why not rhubarb? Again with reduced amount of sugar (by a third this time though), I'd cut them in bite sized pieces and they went completely mushy in the cooking process. 2 jars + one small jar was the result from just over 1 kg. We've already eaten the small jar, it was delicious. Both on toast for breakfast, but I think it would work nicely with cheese. It still retained a bit of its sourness, so more of a grown-up jam.

And because of the drought all over the land, I've been watering my rhubarbs and they've re-sprouted fabulously and I'll be picking them tomorrow for a second round of jam.

I'm quite looking forward to trying them out properly so to speak.

9 August 2010

August Birthdays

Well, both Lundulph's parents have birthday in the beginning of August. Originally we'd planned to get together the whole family to celebrate them, however this didn't quite work out. Still, I'd decided to make a cake at least.


Lundulph had been talking about fancy jellied fruit contraptions and I thought I'd give that a go.

Sadly my capabilities with gelatine are limited to say the least, thus it was effectively a failure, but a highly edible one. So I'll be repeating the exercise as soon as possible.

First of all, a word on the design - I'd spotted a big three page article about strawberry cakes in a newspaper and cut it out and saved it in such a safe place that I wasn't able to find it. Thus plan B - improvise and make it look sort of the same way.

Thus, bright and early we went off to our PYO for strawberries. I picked 3 punnets, not sure how much that was, but I wanted enough for 500 ml of purée, a number of roughly equal sized ones for the filling and a few really big and red ones for decoration.

For the sponge I made a Génoise from Lenôtre's Desserts and Pastries. I made the single batch which gives a 20 cm sponge, about 5 cm high. The method was quite interesting too, never seen it before. I didn't have vanilla sugar, so used extract instead.

Génoise Ingredients

78 g caster sugar
3 medium eggs
2 ml vanilla extract
23 g unsalted butter
78 g plain flour

Génoise Method
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line a cake tin with baking parchment and boil up some water for a bain marie, making sure that the top bowl will not touch the water in the bottom saucepan.

  2. In the top bowl, place the sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Place the bowl over the saucepan with the boiling water and whisk by hand for 1 minute.

  3. Take off the double boiler, then whisk with an electric whisk on high for 2 minutes, then a further 5 minutes on low. It will be very pale and foamy and form ribbons.

  4. Melt the butter on low heat, while sifting the flour into the egg mixture and carefully folding it in. Then fold in the butter.

  5. Quickly pour into the cake tin and bake for 30 minutes until golden brown.

The first part of the whisking over a bain marie made the eggs runnier and they mixed very well with the sugar. It sounds overly complicated, but was well worth it and doesn't actually take too long to do. The resulting sponge was very light and moist. I let it cool completely, then cut it in two.


Next it was time for the mousse. I used the instructions from my Le Cordon Bleu Complete Cooking Techniques.

While the Génoise was baking, I made the strawberry purée and strained it to get most of the seeds out. I then made mistake number 1. The mousse is made with gelatine, and I was worried that if I used the recommended amount on the packet, I'd end up with a jelly texture, rather than a mousse texture which I was after, so decided to halve the amount of gelatine. Big mistake! Huge!

Mousse Ingredients

leaf gelatine to set 810 ml
500 ml strained strawberry purée
1 dl caster sugar
310 ml double cream

Mousse Method
  1. Soak the gelatine in water according to the packet instructions, then squeeze out and put into the strawberry purée along with the sugar.

  2. Place the purée over a bain marie and heat up gently, stirring constantly to dissolve the gelatine.

  3. Let the purée cool down, then whisk the double cream to stiff peaks and fold it into the purée gently.

Putting the cake together
  1. Place one of the Génoise halves at the bottom of a cake ring.

  2. Brush over it with a little orange juice.

  3. Pour a thin layer of the strawberry mousse and spread it evenly.

  4. Cut some strawberries in half and line along the edge of the cake ring, with the cut side outwards. Then fill in the middle with more strawberries.

  5. Pour over more of the mousse to cover the strawberries.

  6. Brush the second Génoise with a bit more juice, then place it on top in the cake ring.

  7. If there is space and there's mousse left over, pour over the second Génoise. Then chill for at least 4 h until the mousse has set.

  8. Decorate with more strawberries shortly before serving.

Here is where I made my second big mistake. I wanted to glaze the decoration strawberries with more jelly and for this purpose had specifically bought a packet of so called Red Quick Jel, which is specifically designed for the purpose of glazing red fruit. I followed the instructions, however didn't realise how very fast it would set, so started covering the fruit far too late and ended up having to scoop it off the cake and ruined what I thought was a pretty cake decoration.

Once ready to serve, carefully cut around the cake ring (if the top layer is mousse), then even more carefully remove the ring.

My cake held long enough for me to take a photo, but by the time I'd taken it to the table for serving, the strawberry halves were poking out of the mousse and cutting the first piece pretty much made the whole lot collapse into what could be called an advanced Eton Mess.

3 August 2010

Vegetables Plakia with Pork Fillets

Having succeeded once with a plakia attempt, I've been wanting to try variations on it. I have several recipes and most of them sound appealing.

Today I couldn't make my mind up so decided to improvise. I ended up with something edible, but not entirely tasty. Very close to my gyuvetch failures.

It also took a lot longer than I expected, but then that's what happens with lots of vegetables to clean and chop.

Ready to go in the oven

On the plus side, I got to use some of the potatoes I planted this year that are now ready. Most of the other veg is from the Pick Your Own pace down the road and a couple are from the supermarket.


You can also see the elephant garlic that I grew as well. It was massive, but only one bulb, no cloves, despite planting it last September and having a decent cold Winter, which should make it form cloves.

600 g potatoes
4 pork fillets
pepper and savory
1 tbsp grapeseed oil

2 medium sized onions
3 tbsp grapeseed oil

500 g courgettes
250 g French beans
175 g okra
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 dl water
1 tbsp paprika
187 ml red wine (small bottle)
2 cloves garlic
Salt, pepper and savory to taste

3 beef tomatoes (about 650 g)
1 lemon
1 dl olive oil

  1. Wash and dice the potatoes and parboil for a few minutes.

  2. In the mean time sprinkle coarsely ground pepper and savory on one side of the pork fillets, heat up a little oil in a pan and brown them off. Start with the spiced side down and sprinkle the upper side before turning them. Then place in a deep baking pan.

  3. Peel and slice the onions, add a bit more oil to the pan from before and soften them for a few minutes, then transfer to the baking pan.

  4. Dice the courgettes to about the same size as the potatoes, wash and cut the French beans and okra also to the same size pieces and add to the pan.

  5. In a small bowl, stir together tomato purée, water and paprika, then pour over the vegetables, followed by the red wine. Season further with salt, pepper and savory and stir carefully to distribute the flavours.Slice the garlic and push the pieces in here and there among the vegetables.

  6. Remove the woody bits from the tomatoes, then slice them as thinly as possible and lay them on top of the baking pan. Peel the lemon, slice and lay over the tomatoes.

  7. Bake in the oven at 200 degrees C for about 45 minutes.

Ready to eat

I'm wondering if I should have steamed the courgettes and beans as well as the potatoes. I had definitely too little salt and things were crunchy, but not too unpleasant.

Some of the recipes call for adding a bit of flour to thicken the sauce. I did end up with a lot of it and it might have been better if it was thicker.