Day 1 – Potato and Corn Cakes
There is something about comfort food which compels me to return to it again and again during times of stress. I know ultimately these potato cakes are not the healthiest for me, but the day I made them I was in a mood for reflection, for being methodical and, most importantly, for not over thinking the to-do list in my head.
Instead, as I worked the mash through corn, onion, spice and ham, my brain fixed on a mantra-like, “And now … and now … and now…” approach to gentle, quiet preparation.
Certainly there is a production line element to making these tasty morsels but oh my goodness they satisfy so much more than hunger. For me, on a day that involved the pressing questions of ‘if not now, then when?’, it was a way to keep my feet on earth and to be grateful for small kindnesses and tender mercies. These are insanely easy to make but are best eaten slowly, if nothing else for the redemptive powers of soothing what ails you.
They are also fantastic lunch box fillers, tasting so much better the day after they are made and holding up surprisingly well after being dragged, dropped and tussled out of lunch boxes by young hands. Try them instead of sandwiches – make double if you have to. Use them as delivery devices for ham, cheese, corn, roast vegetables, whatever you have.
800g potatoes, peeled; 1 corn cob OR 1 cup corn kernels; 1 small onion; ½ cup diced red capsicum; ½ cup (100g) finely diced ham (optional if you want a vegetarian meal); ½ cup (100g) grated cheddar or swiss cheese: ½ cup (50g) finely grated parmesan cheese; 2 tbsp finely chopped parsley; 1 egg, 1 tsp cumin; 1 tsp paprika; sea salt and freshly ground black pepper; 2 tbsp plain flour; ½ cup (125ml) vegetable oil; green salad to serve
Peel and cut potatoes then boil them for about 15 minutes until tender. Drain them and push them through a potato ricer or mash them until smooth but without adding milk.
Steam or boil corn until tender then cut away the kernels from the cob. Add to the potato in a large heatproof bowl. Grate onion into potato, and then add capsicum, ham, the cheeses, parsley, egg, cumin and paprika and mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
Form into patties about 3cm thick and 10cm in diameter. Lightly press each side into the flour and shake off the excess. Fry in hot oil for four minutes on each side. Allow the potato to crisp up a little to help you turn them without them splitting. Drain on paper towel, serve at once with a lightly dressed green salad.
$10.30 for eight potato cakes or for four people