Potato Cakes from Tara Road by Maeve Binchy
'...I was wondering if I drove back this way and made you a Caesar salad would you cook those potato cakes?'
Last night I re-wrote my About page and it struck me how long I've been writing about food in literature. It's been over five years, now. Three years writing my Feasting on Romantic Comedy column for Novelicious and two years with my own, now defunct, Feasting on Female Fiction blog. I say defunct, I still have it, it just isn't available to the public at large.
And for good reason. You see, if I look back at those posts I can see the creative 'journey' I've travelled. I cringe a little and think, aw, I really didn't know what I was doing did I? But I did try.
I've been on a massive learning curve over the last few years as I developed my writing and photography and tried to keep up with the rapid changes in social media. At times I felt my head was going to explode with all the information I was taking in. It still does feel a little like this as I transfer domain names from my Helen Redfern blog to this one, A Bookish Baker. And I'm still learning about photography.
But throughout all of this change: the growth of Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Self-hosted blogs, there has been one constant. Books and baking.
One of the first recipes I created for my Novelicous column was actually a post I expanded upon from my defunct blog: Potato Cakes from Maeve Binchy's novel, Tara Road.
I wrote: all of Binchy's books are like a truly satisfying meal; comforting like home cooking and a roaring fire. Quentins, Scarlet Feather, Circle of Friends. They all contains Maeve's trademark magic warmth.
I still think that about Maeve Binchy's work. And I'm incredibly sorry she's now passed away. It may be a cliche but Maeve Binchy's novels are like being embraced by a favourite aunt. She warms you, is gentle with you and entertains as she tells you a captivating story about normal, everyday people.
Potato cakes are not dissimilar to her novels. Made from a normal everyday food item they warm you, comfort you, and wrap you up in a wonderful potato-fuggy embrace.
Potato Cake Recipe
Makes 6-8 potato cakes
- Balloon whisk
- Measuring jug
- Frying pan
- 2 large potatoes, peel, cooked and mashed. You're looking for approximately 400g of mashed potato, cooled.
- 100g self-raising flour
- 150ml milk, whisked lightly with a fork
- 2 large eggs
- salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper
- oil for frying
- Take your cooled mashed potato and add in the flour. Stir or mash to remove the lumps.
- Add the milk and the eggs and stir in. You might find a balloon whisk is useful.
- Once the thick mixture is smooth stir in the salt and pepper.
- Heat a frying pan and add a little oil.
- Place two spoonfuls of the mixture into the frying pan to create one potato cake. If you've space add more mixture to make additional cakes.
- Cook on a medium heat. You want the cakes to cook through but not burn.
- Flip over and cook the other side.
- Serve hot. Maybe with bacon, a fried egg and a dollop of ketchup. Or you could add brown sauce, I'm not prejudiced.