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NOW CLOSED: Tell us what you think of James Martin’s recipes and win a £50 Love2Shop voucher

(100 Posts)
AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Feb-12 16:11:59

This month, Celebrity Chef James Martin has sent our Mumsnet Potato Councillors the choice of two of his exclusive recipes that he has made for The Councillors are to make one of them for their families and feedback their thoughts on this thread.

The recipes are Goat's Cheese and Potato Tart and Chicken and Potato Kebabs - both can be prepared in around 30 minutes. Photos on my profile

We want to give all of Mumsnet the option to try these two recipes, so feel free to try them this week and add your feedback on this thread - do tell us: how easy it was to cook, whether your family enjoyed it, and if you included your own twist? Everyone who does so will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £50 Love2Shop voucher.

James has also given us his top potato tips; see below:

If you can add to them or suggest any other top potato tips such as cooking, chopping or slicing potatoes then share them on this thread with the community and you will also be in the running for the £50 voucher that is up for grabs this month.

If you have any further questions on potatoes, feel free to post onto the thread and we?ll endeavour to answer them asap.

James Martin top tatty tips

1 Baking small new potatoes and stuffing them with cheese and crispy bacon makes a great canapé for a party
2 Always store potatoes somewhere dark and cold as this will make them last longer
3 If your curry is too spicy when cooking, add a potato as it will take out some of the heat
4 Peeled potatoes can be stored in cold water in the fridge for up to 24 hours before cooking
5 Use up leftover cooked potatoes in an omelette or frittata

In addition, for 100s of 30 minute recipes or if you would like more information on which varieties of potatoes are best used with specific meals then go to

James is also helping manyfacesofpotatoes search for Britain?s Best Potato Recipe for full details and to enter see

Thanks, MNHQ

FromGirders Sat 18-Feb-12 18:44:58

We did the potato and chicken kebabs tonight. Yummy!

Preparation-wise, the recipe seemed about right. My potatoes were a bit on the big side, so I chopped them quite small, maybe about an inch in diameter. Whizzing up the marinade was no problem, I just used my hand blender though ds wrinkled his nose at the colour.
Had a minor panic when I couldn't find enough skewers! I was sure I should have more! Used some long handled teaspoons too, they worked just fine.
We have a gas grill which is quite fierce, so the cooking time was just perfect. Luckily, I also thought to line the grill pan with foil, as the marinade dripped off the chicken and burnt on to the pan.
Ds and I loved them, dh thought they were nice, but quite delicately flavoured. I think he'd prefer a bit more robust marinade, but then of course the kids wouldn't eat them. DD turned up her nose as usual <sigh>. She doesn't like even a hint of burning on anything, but she did eat up most of the chicken, under threat of no pudding. However, on further interrogation, although kebab potatoes aren't as good as baked (her favourite) or chips, they were better than boiled or mashed spuds. Does anyone else's 7yo dd have to rank everything in favourite, second favourite, third etc? I didn't find them dry at all, perhaps because they were cooked fast?
All in all, I'd say this recipe was quite a success. However, the kebab making was a bit too fiddly for mid-week when I'm always in a hurry, so I'd save it for the weekend.
Also, I had some potatoes left over when I'd run out of skewer space and chicken, so I put them in the marinade and popped them in the space under the grill pan. They cooked a bit more slowly so weren't charred at all and were really scrummy - a bit like a hot potato salad.
I might try out the cheese tarts too, but I'd use cheddar or smoked cheese I think. I can't even cope with blue cheese, and frankly, i'm scared of goat's cheese.

Gethsemane Sat 18-Feb-12 20:17:12

Good potato tips. I'll be trying the kebabs....

ClaimedByMe Sat 18-Feb-12 21:02:36

We were supposed to having the kebabs tonight but I forgot to get Greek yogurt so we are having these tomorrow and I will review them tomorrow night!

BehindLockNumberNine Sat 18-Feb-12 22:42:55

Oooh, have only just seen this and it is perfect, I have a gap for Wednesday in my weekly menu plan so the chicken and potato kebabs will fit perfectly.

Is there a deadline on this or can I cook them on Weds and report back that evening??

OvO Sat 18-Feb-12 23:09:33

I made the chicken and potato kebabs.

It took much longer than the supposed 10 minutes prep time - more like 25 minutes.

The potatoes really needed much longer cooking time than 6 minutes.
The marinade was okay but not okay enough that I would make this again. My 7 year old loved it but no one else was that fussed. I'd much rather a spicy marinade for the chicken.
I did like the basic idea of the chicken and potatoes on skewers so will definitely tweak the recipe and try it again.

I hate it when recipes say "a large bunch" for the herbs. What's a large bunch??? I'd much rather a measurable amount. I have no idea if the marinade would have been more pleasant if I'd had more or less of certain herbs.

Hulababy Sun 19-Feb-12 09:31:22

When do they need to have been made for?

I generally like James martin's recipes and have a couple of his books, so would like to try.

gazzalw Sun 19-Feb-12 17:37:34

Thought the Goat's Cheese and Potato 'Tart' recipe was very simple to make. However it wasn't really big enough for a 'hearty' family meal (and our DCs don't even have big appetites). I used rosemary instead of thyme as the DCs don't like the latter. It was delicious though and I would definitely make it again but for two rather than four unless as a starter!

Think it would be nice with asparagus spears too!

Thanks for the recipe!

ClaimedByMe Sun 19-Feb-12 19:27:02

We had the chicken and potato kebabs tonight

Very easy to prepare, I marinated the chicken after lunch time and left it in the fridge until tea time, I read the reviews on here and made sure I boiled the potatoes for a bit longer.

I am not a fan of mint in food so i modified it slightly by only adding a very small quantity of mint, I also served it with cous cous as I had predicted the DC wouldnt like it and they didnt like the chicken, but ate the potatoes.

Me and Dp loved it, im glad i didnt put in a load of mint as i wouldnt have enjoyed it, i loved the potatoes, like mini baked potatoes, gorgeous!

I am surprised the potatoes were so tasty done like that, I am def making this recipe again, just without the marinade for the DC!

roquefortlover Sun 19-Feb-12 21:23:20

I have now done the goats cheese and potato tart. When i looked at my copy of the recipe it said it served 2 not 4 and there was plenty for me and dh served with salad. Very easy to prepare although a bit of a faff having to use 2 frying pans for onions and potatoes - i like one pan dishes, being a bit lazy when it comes to washing up. Potatoes took longer to cook than stated, maybe 10 mins extra. To save time I cooked the onions ahead of time and they reheated nicely on top of the spuds - did this bit under the grill as no oven proof frying pan.

When I dished it up it fell apart rather, so was more of a hash than a tart!We both thought it was tasty if a little dry (i used a cooking spray to fry potatoes instead of olive oil so no greasiness). Onions and goats cheese always a winner here. DH felt it needed something extra though - he suggested cream, or bacon - so i might try it again with one or both of those, as well as more onion.

Looking forward to our next recipe, can't believe it is the last one already!

gazzalw Sun 19-Feb-12 21:52:43

Oops so much for reading the recipes thoroughly....I always assume recipes are for four.......particularly on something like Mumsnet - 1/10 for paying full attention....blush

roquefortlover Sun 19-Feb-12 21:56:22

No no gazza, you did read it properly - the MN recipe says for 4 but the Potato Councillor hard copy which I got in the post says for 2! MN fault not you...grin

gazzalw Sun 19-Feb-12 22:05:10

Well my DW was beginning to worry that we were just plain greedy! We are not!

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 19-Feb-12 23:18:58

Apologies....the goat's cheese recipe does serve 2, not 4 blush - my fault...and it will be duly amended.

zipzap Mon 20-Feb-12 00:55:17

Half term rather got in the way of doing these during the week. However in penance I did make (and photo) both of them over the weekend, I just haven't made it to my pc to switch it on let alone type up comments (sorry, on the phone at the moment and it's a real pain answering long questions properly on it). Will put the answers to the questions up tomorrow (mon).

nannipigg Mon 20-Feb-12 14:36:48

I enjoy watching him cook on Saturday Kitchen x

zipzap Tue 21-Feb-12 00:36:24

OK finally made it to put the comments up. Should be some photos up soon too.

Firstly made the potato and goats cheese tart.
1. how easy it was to cook...
It wasn't particularly difficult but it wasn't particularly quick. Having had experience of undercooked potatoes on previous recipes and others on here saying about potatoes being a bit hard, I sliced the potatoes then zapped them in the microwave for about 4 minutes to give them a head start. I do think it helped but it then meant I had very hot potato slices to handle and put down in the pan.

It would have been handy to have known how the potatoes should have been put down - I just did concentric circles but it meant that some bits were significantly thicker than other bits. Or if we were aiming for a single layer of potatoes rather than overlapping bits...

Recipe seemed a bit out of order - would have been better to get the onions started first as they are the bit that takes the longest and then get onto the potatoes. Plus it should have mentioned the size of the onion needed and the size as well as the type of potatoes to aim for - I wasn't sure if I needed big ones or little ones. I used big ones sliced thinly but I think if you used little ones you would end up taking ages to lie them out, especially if they were par cooked and hot - unless a random layer was acceptable. Oh and there was no gas equivalent temperature.

I just did the onions in a saucepan - I tend to do onions in a saucepan for things like spag bog a lot as ds1 hates onions so I do them separately and add them after taking his portion off. Also easier to stick a lid on to them initially if they are in a saucepan - so if the heat is low (which it would be useful if the recipe mentioned) you can put a lid on them and let them sweat a bit which means they don't need quite so much looking after and they do a bit more quickly but taste just as sweet. The onions were yummy though, even though they only had dried thyme in (shop was out of fresh thyme). I could quite easily eat the onions themselves as a side dish; despite doing two large red onions in order to pick at as chef's perks quality control them, I think the tart could have handled more of them.

Having been lucky enough to go on the goats cheese tasting event, I am now lucky enough to know that there are loads of different goat's cheeses around so it would have been nice to have a little direction as to the type of goat's cheese that would have worked best. I ended up with a small log with rind that I cut small slices from, popped them around a bit like you would on a pizza which worked well (plus the packet said it was one that was good for cooking).

Took longer in the oven to melt the cheese than the recipe said and longer for the potatoes to look cooked - probably took 10 mins on the hob and 8 mins in the oven.

2. whether your family enjoyed it...
DP ended up unexpectedly having to rush off out the evening that I made it and whilst I left him a portion when he got back he wasn't that bothered about trying it, not least because he isn't a fan of goat's cheese particularly and is trying to eat very healthily so the fact it was out of a frying pan made him automatically think it was unhealthy.

I enjoyed it - but as others have said it was a pain to get out of the pan nicely so it just ended up as a heap on my plate. If I had been serving up for dh would have made a bit more of an effort but as it had all taken longer than I expected I was tired and hungry so just left it and ate it as it was. I had salad on the table that the dc were eating so ate it with some of that which went well. I also warmed up a portion the next day for lunch as we were having a bit of a tapas-y pick and mix selection and it went down well in that. Would have been very nice with a bit of my mum's home made cranberry sauce but I've run out of my christmas stash of that so used red currant jelly instead, which gave it a nice extra dimension. It would have been even nicer with lots more onions on!

3. if you included your own twist...
I used a bit of butter and some local cold pressed rapeseed oil instead of olive oil to cook with - I prefer the taste plus I had it in and I figure that of all the people to switch to butter in a recipe - well it has to be a James Martin recipe really grin

It was a bit of a funny tart, not least because my potatoes ended up being thickest in the middle (I'd started layering my potatoes around the outside first) which meant it was more of a pile than a tart - I think of tarts having edges to contain the filling whereas on this you were putting the filling onto the thickest bit and there was no edge to contain it. Saying that, some of the underneath bits of the potato got a bit more burnt than I was expecting, not least as they still looked fine on top.

It would have been nice to have had a clearer picture of what the tart was supposed to look like on the printed recipe.

I would also have been nice with the onions and then 'british breakfast stuff' on top - bacon bits, sweet cherry tomatoes, egg each that baked whilst in the oven - might give that a go as a weekend brunch soon. Would also work with other roasted veggies on too. And for all of them with nice red pepper chopped up and cooked with the onion to be all tasty within it.

zipzap Tue 21-Feb-12 01:08:23

And now for the potato and chicken kebabs... Again, photos soon on my profile.

1. how easy it was to cook...
Nothing difficult, just a bit messy - especially with raw chicken thrown into the equation.

Regarding the recipe:
- would be nice to know how many chunks to aim to cut the chicken into or the approximate chunk size (I cheated and got the ready chopped chicken breast chunks as they were on offer and just needed to halve a couple of the bigger ones which made it lots easier). Guess this will ultimately reflect on cooking times too.

- How big is a large bunch of herbs? The large bunches my local market stall man sells are a lot bigger and a lot cheaper than those sold in my local supermarkets. And sod's law being what it is these days - last week was the week they only had parsley in rather than their usual wide selection. Buying small quantities from the supermarket at their inflated prices could make it a very pricy dish.

- didn't have a food processor so just finely chopped the herbs and hoped it would be ok.

- didn't have metal skewers so used the bamboo ones I did have tucked away in a drawer - soaked them for a good half our but they still charred on the ends. Would this have affected cooking times?

- didn't have a bbq or hot grill so stuck them in the oven instead for about 25 mins which worked fine.

- ingredients list for serving doesn't include oil or seasoning

Back to the cooking:
Again, i par-zapped the potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes - I've just got used to cooking them this way rather than on the hob as it's more convenient in my kitchen.

Once I'd realised it was a lot easier to have a fork to fish out the bits of chicken from the marinade and skewer through it was a lot easier and faster to do. I wasn't sure how many skewers I was aiming to make (ended up with 8) or how close together the chicken and potatoes needed to be to ensure the chicken cooked properly and the potatoes didn't over cook.

Popped them over a roasting tray so they weren't sitting in their own juices, worked well.

Having read the rest of the thread before cooking them, I made sure I scooped up the rest of the marinade in the bowl and added it to the chicken to provide extra moisture during cooking.

I assembled the salad on the plate and drizzled nice rapeseed oil (rather than olive oil) over the salad rather than tossing it in a bowl as I couldn't be bothered to wash the salad bowl up for a bit of simple salad.

2. whether your family enjoyed it...
DH and I both enjoyed the kebabs but as others have said, would have been nice to have had something juicy and tasty on there as well, such as pepper and onion.

My chicken stayed moist and was tasty although I'm not sure if in everyday cooking I would go out and buy three expensive packs of herbs to blitz for the marinade - would buy a big bunch of whatever is nice in the market or pick a handful of whatever is growing well in the garden.

Didn't manage to persuade the dc to try the kebabs - they didn't like the look of the bits on them. Then they spotted the skewers and thought they would make good things for sword fighting and jousting. As dh and I were enjoying them it seemed far more sense to keep them for us to have a second meal from that we would enjoy and give the boys something different.

3. if you included your own twist...
First night did it more or less by the recipe aside from the tweaks mentioned above. I did make a second smaller batch of the marinade to use as a dipping sauce for the kebabs given the thread had mentioned the kebabs could be dry. It was very nice as a dip and the contrast between the hot kebab and cold sauce also worked well.

the kebabs were very nice the second night, despite being warmed up briefly in the microwave. Tired so just grabbed the first bits that came to hand to have something to go with them - ended up with a pile of salad of chopped fennel, chicory and sharon fruit which all went surprisingly well with it and made a change from the regular lettuce/cucumber/tomato salad that I can end up eating lots of (especially during the summer). I also had some of the herby marinade-as-dipping sauce left which was equally as good if not better the second night when the flavours had had a chance to blend well.

I definitely will be making kebabs again as they are something I do make, particularly in the summer. I don't usually think of putting potatoes on which I may well do now. However I think if I was doing them I would maybe do a kebab just with chicken (or lamb), pepper, onion etc and a separate set of kebabs with just lots of little potatoes on, I think they would be great too.

zipzap Tue 21-Feb-12 01:13:28

The letter we got also asked about other potato based questions.

I've got a couple this time...

1. Are there any slow cook potato recipes around? I use my slow cooker a lot, especially in winter but tend to avoid potatoes as I don't want them hard and have read they can take longer to cook than the meat. So any tips or good recipes for using them in the slow cooker please.

2. Are there any sweet recipes - or maybe not specifically savoury recipes is maybe a better way of putting it - for potatoes? Maybe for cakes or muffins or I don't know - just something a bit different or surprising...

Hope this is the sort of question you were thinking of!

sherbetpips Tue 21-Feb-12 06:20:40

tried the potato and chicken kebab but it was a bit bland for me so last night did it again but with chorizo and put paprika on the potatoes, much tastier.

Potato tip - when making fresh chips soak them first, drain the water away, soak again, drain the water away and give them a really good spin in a salad spinner before putting them in the hot oil. Cook them on a lower heat first in the deep fat fryer so they stay pale white but start to get squidgy. Then wack the heat up and plunge them in the hot oil again for a few minutes for a lovely crispy plate of chips.

AnnMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 21-Feb-12 10:24:03

thanks for all the keep it coming! Will definitely leave this open til the weekend to give you chance to try them should you want to...

nickelDorritt Tue 21-Feb-12 11:07:13

We tried the Potato thing last night.

I have to say, although it tasted really yummy, it was a proper ball-ache of a recipe.
First, you need an oven-proof frying pan, which I can't imagine many people own!
Secondly, whilst you're cooking in one pan, you have to get another frying pan to do the onions!
DH made it and he was getting really frustrated with it. He follows instructions to the letter, so he ended up burning the onions because it didn't tell him how hot the ring needed to be. And he ended up doing the last part under the grill, because if he'd done it in the oven, he would have had to transfer the whole thing in to a baking tray.
And he couldn't understand where the "tart" came from, because as far as he was aware, there was a pan full of potatoes and a pan full of onions. no tart in sight.
(i explained that I thought the tart was the pan full of potatoes, and he said "but it's just potatoes confused" )

We wouldn't make this again, just because it's too complicated, but we might use the ideas in our own recipes - I liked the Goat's cheese, but I think it was a bit too strong for DH.

nickelDorritt Tue 21-Feb-12 11:21:03

oh, yes, like zipzap's comment on the type of goat's cheese.
I didn't read the recipe before we bought the ingredients, so we just got he first goat's cheese that was on the shelf, and it wasn't a cooking one - it was very like Boursin in consistency, so we used the whole thing and it didn't melt, but it tasted very nice.

Ettiketti Wed 22-Feb-12 22:23:08

I did the tart....

It took about the correct time to prep and cook, I used large ish new potatoes, red onion but into big rounds and Monterey Jack cheese as nobody likes goats cheese.

Very easy to make, but my frying pans are oven proof as I adore tarte tatin grin I love the ingredients, so hoped it would work.

Only my husband and I ate it, he's not keen on onion but enjoyed this. I served it with salad....garnish as he calls it! I loved it!

My only twist was the cheese....

I'll definitely make it again, really enjoyed it. Might change onion for bacon and give it to the kids too.

nickelDorritt Thu 23-Feb-12 11:26:54

DH looked through the chicken recipe and thought it sounded awful.
so we used the greek yoghurt on this instead (we had no ricotta, so he did greek yoghurt mixed with normal cheese).
it was yummy.

stephgr Fri 24-Feb-12 00:25:50

My family loved the tart which was really easy to make. I've made it twice and I'll keep making it throughout the year. I didn't have any thyme the second time I made it so I used chives instead and it was just as delicious. It's great with a tomato salad.

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