Friday, 13 December 2013


The festival season is on the wane. Purbeck is this weekend and that signifies the end of the run for us. Though we hope to get out in the camper a couple of times before it gets too cold.
As I mentioned last post I spent a couple of days with friends in Dorset. For me one of the joys of camping is the opportunity to sit around a fire, and as well as talking nonsense long into the night, the chance to cook outdoors. Regular readers may remember the photographs of last year’s last year’s Purbeck Festival paella.
Today I thought I would offer you a recipe developed by my brother-in-law Alex and called with no great imagination Alex’s Festival Potatoes.

You will need a barbeque of some description, not a disposable they aren’t worth a candle. I use a fire pit with a grill plate on top. The dish will take about three quarters of an hour to cook, so you need something that you can keep going for that long, a disposable isn’t up to it.

You also need a decent flat-bottomed pan. Again we use a paella pan. This is ideal as it’s shallow and thick enough to spread the heat evenly.

Light the charcoal and wait until it’s white and at maximum heat. While you are waiting slice you potatoes as thinly as you can. As to quantities: at least a large potato per person, and a large onion also thinly sliced.
Place the pan on the fire, add olive oil/ rapeseed oil, when hot add the onions. Keep turning them so that they cook evenly and after a couple of minutes add two or three cloves of garlic, again finely chopped. Then add the potatoes. Keep turning them as at this point they will stick if you are not careful. The aim is to coat them in oil. Add any herbs you may have, fresh rosemary is good, dried thyme and sage work well. At this point season the dish.

Next add half a bottle of white wine- cava is the preferred tipple, good Catalan sparkling wine-but any wine will do. I have used red on occasion. You can even use beer. Boil the alcohol off.

At this point the potatoes will be nowhere near cooked, so once the wine has gone add water and bouillon, a couple of spoonfuls, until the potatoes are covered. Stir regularly, add water as necessary. In about half an hour you will have a tasty meal. Serve with grilled hallumi, falafels or veggie sausages and a salad.

You may need to feed the fire as you cook so a supply of kindling is useful. As you can see this is not a recipe you can do on the fly, it requires a little forethought, but then again so does all good outdoor food.


  1. Looking forward to tasting this recipe!! It looks scrumptious!!

  2. It looks delightful Paul. My husband could take some lessons!

  3. If you send him over here we could work something out!

  4. We would love to make a trip to England. I visited some years ago when I was in my early 20s. I rather enjoyed it. I need to go to England to finish my genealogy research. I've been doing genealogy research on my husband's family who are all English, however, his family has been in the states since the 1600s. I guess you could say they were the pilgrims before the pilgrims. I traced them back to Englad going back 1,000 years, which is not as typical as it used to be in America. Most Caucasian Americans are of German, Scotch-Irish, or some form of Eastern European descent. It's been a fascinating project.

  5. One other things Paul, 'The Jowler' looks quite intriguing. I just realized it was your book!!! :)

  6. Fascinating history-how did your husband's family arrive? I didn't realise that there was much settlement before the pilgrims-would he have been east coast say Pocahontus time? Apologies for my mangling of history.
    Glad that The Jowler looks interesting. I'm at work on the follow up. Would you like an ecopy to review?