In my head, the potato and goat’s cheese gratin was perfect.
On my plate, unfortunately, it was less so.
I ate it anyway, pondering how it could have been better. I also pictured my childhood self, who would probably have sat there, refusing to eat, whilst on the receiving end of my mother’s well-worn lecture about the starving babies in Africa who would have been happy to eat whatever-it-was. It was always tempting to suggest that perhaps my mother might wrap up the uneaten dinner and send it to those less fortunate than ourselves, but I generally thought better of doing that.
The also-ran gratin
My goat’s cheesy efforts had, in fact, been inspired by news of Milano’s Christmas campaign to support Oxfam’s efforts to buy goats for needy third world families. You get fed, by way of Milano restaurant vouchers which can be claimed when you shop in Oxfam, and, through the gift of goats bought with the money raised, so do those families. An approach which is, of course, far more practical than sending those unloved leftovers through the post.
I’ll come right out with it: cup measurements freak me out. (And that’s cup measurements for baking Mister, before your mind starts wandering elsewhere. Tsk).
Despite possessing a set of measuring cups, not to mention several conversion charts, I am never entirely sure how much a cup of X actually contains, as it seems to vary quite significantly, depending on how that cup of X was filled and who was doing the filling. Give me ounces or grams and the reassurance of a weighing scales any day.
My cup-o-phobia was the one thing, in fact, that concerned me ever so slightly about participating in the International Holiday Cookie Recipe Exchange. The brainchild of Adrienne from Gastroanthropology and Lori from Fake Food Free, the idea behind the exchange was to pair up participating bloggers, who would then swap recipes for seasonal treats. Would I be foiled by the dreaded cup measurements in my designated exchange recipe?
Butterscotch-glazed coffee shortbread bars
I was attracted by the name. Kartoffelpuffer. I may not have known exactly what they were to begin with, but reports of people willing to queue for them were bound to get my attention.
It turns out that there was no great mystery to it. As far as I could discern, these German potato pancakes were simply a seasoned mixture of grated raw potato, grated onion and egg, fried in a generous amount of oil. A reaffirmation of the irresistible draw of fried potato goodness.
Reading recipes for kartoffelpuffer, they did, on paper at least, seem almost indistinguishable from Jewish latkes, those potato pancakes often slathered with apple sauce and sour cream and traditionally eaten during Hannukah.
Kartoffelpuffer? Latke? I suspect either name will do