Img_0251_edited Living in a foreign country far from your family and friends has its ups and downs. For me, the upsides of London have included the incredible travel opportunities, the opportunity to start a blog (which I doubt I would have done had I stayed home), the eclectic mix of people I have met, and the excitement of living in a truly world-class city.  Of course, the downsides are that you miss things:  the weather, your family, birthdays, weddings, your favourite beaches, your favourite childhood foods, and your friends. 

To a large extent, you just have to take the rough with the smooth, remind yourself that you didn’t come to England for the weather (!!), and make a point of going home regularly with your own body weight in gifts for the family stowed in your suitcase.  But there are some ways of making it seem that your friends aren’t that far away.  For some, that may mean having photos of them dotted around the house, but for me it means regularly making a recipe that I associate with a specific friend. In this way, I can’t make warm avocado soup without thinking of my late friend Peter Roberts; Christmas mince pies without thinking of Andréa; Mexican chicken without thinking of Alison; butternut soup without thinking of Paul – or scones without thinking of Mamma. And I always relish the prospect of collecting a new recipe from a friend because I know that when homesickness bites I will be able to make the dish and think of the friend in question who suddenly does not feel that far away at all.

I have known Claudette for the better part of fourteen years, having first met her in Port Elizabeth when she was sharing a flat with Paola and Catherine. I remember later visiting her in Cape Town and having a fab dinner on the tiny balcony of her flat perched above Sea Point and was thrilled when both she and Catherine arrived in London.  As Claudette is a chef, she and I always seem to have loads to talk about and I remember some very lively dinners at the flat in Blackheath discussing exotic ingredients and cooking techniques. But all good things must come to an end and she is now back in Johannesburg – which means that I always have an excuse to stop over on my way to Port Elizabeth and invariably food is involved. On my most recent stopover, we decided to let the boys do the work and braai, while she and I each made a salad. My contribution was carpaccio of courgettes, and Claudette’s was a potato salad originally born out of the inventive use of leftover roast new potatoes but now a firm favourite in its own right. It’s so delicious, though, that there is no way I could wait for leftovers to present themselves and I’m willing to bet you’ll feel the same way once you’ve tasted it!

I used baby potatoes cut in half for this, but you can also use larger potatoes cut into appropriately-sized chunks. The great news is that you don’t have to peel them, so all the vitamins stay put.



About 10 baby potatoes (or 2 large waxy potatoes)

1 clove garlic, minced

Olive oil



2 spring onions, chopped

a handful of fresh dill, chopped

2 generous Tbsp crème fraiche

2 generous Tpsb mayonnaise

Salt & black pepper to taste


If you have plenty of time:  cut the baby potatoes in half (or if using larger potatoes, cut them into bite-sized chunks).  Toss them in olive oil together with the garlic and arrange in a single layer in an oven-proof dish.  Sprinkle with rosemary and roast at 200C until the edges of the potatoes are brown and crispy.  Stir the potatoes up after about 15 minutes so that they brown evenly.  Cooking time should be about half an hour, but use your judgement.

If you are pushed for time:  cut the potatoes as described above.  Place in a microwave-proof dish and cover.  Cook on high for about 6 minutes until the potatoes have softened but are not yet done.  Drain any water from the dish.  Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy fraying pan.  Add the potatoes, garlic and rosemary and fry on medium heat until the potatoes have golden brown edges.  Watch the pan and stir – you don’t want blackened potatoes! 

Drain the potatoes on paper towels and allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a salad bowl.  Add the chopped spring onions, crème fraiche and mayonnaise and mix well.  Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and serve slightly warm.

This post is my entry for this month's edition of Waiter There's Something in My…  Our charming host is Andrew and he has selected salads as the theme.  There are still a couple of days left to get your entry to him by the end of February so make a start on those seasonal salads! 

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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Suganya February 27, 2008 at 10:07 pm

So its not just cooked potatoes, but roasted. Wow!


Anne February 28, 2008 at 6:16 am

Oh, yum! It’s never occurred to me that you could use roasted potatoes for a salad, but I bet they have so much more flavor than just regular boiled ones! By the way – you’re tagged. :)


Annemarie February 28, 2008 at 10:50 pm

It’s hard to let any roast potatoes remain as left overs, but this looks VERY worth it. I would really, really want to try some, preferably right now. :)


robin from 'caviar and codfish' February 29, 2008 at 2:15 am

MMMmmm, your potatoes look delicious!
My partner and I are in the beginning stages of planning a move out of the country and it’s so nice to read advice and stories from people who have gone through it. Thank you!


Nicisme February 29, 2008 at 9:15 pm

I can totally relate to the part about living in a foreign country and cooking certain recipes always reminds me of particular people.
This is one fabulous potato salad, I have bookmarked it!


Absolute Vanilla... (& Atyllah) March 1, 2008 at 11:15 am

First Vanielje, now you – seems there are a lot of cooking Saffas tucked away in the UK!
I really like your idea of a roasted potato salad – gives new life to the old aardappel :-)


Absolute Vanilla... (& Atyllah) March 1, 2008 at 11:15 am

First Vanielje, now you – seems there are a lot of cooking Saffas tucked away in the UK!
I really like your idea of a roasted potato salad – gives new life to the old aardappel :-)


Absolute Vanilla... (& Atyllah) March 1, 2008 at 11:15 am

First Vanielje, now you – seems there are a lot of cooking Saffas tucked away in the UK!
I really like your idea of a roasted potato salad – gives new life to the old aardappel :-)


Amy March 1, 2008 at 1:45 pm

I love the idea of roasting the potatoes. Always looking for new ways to make favorite recipes. I’m going to give this a try. Thanks!


african vanielje March 2, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Typically my salad for WTSIM…has been made, photographed, eaten and not blogged about, so I think I’m going to assuage my guilt with this lovely salad from lunch’s leftover roasties and serve it with some cold tongue for supper.


jeni March 4, 2008 at 5:35 pm

You seem like you have found a balance between your two countries and are a grateful person.
I love any recipe that uses leftovers to turn into a whole new dish. I must have leftover roasted potatoes in the fridge several times a month and never thought of this. I will make it today with what I have! Thanks.


David Hall March 5, 2008 at 1:08 pm

Hi Jeanne
Good to see you in Olive this month. I had a feature in there too, cracking magazine.
Lovely salad by the way. And funny. I’ve just managed to get a huge bag of pink russet potatoes and I’m devising a potato salad for tonight’s tea!
Keep in touch.


Niamh March 5, 2008 at 2:20 pm

OH! This looks good. I will be trying it.


Zlamushka March 9, 2008 at 5:55 pm

What a gorgeous salad. Roasted potatoes? That is such a great idea.


ejm March 9, 2008 at 10:01 pm

This sounds wonderful. And it reminds me that I keep meaning to make a German-style warm potato salad with a chive, lemon juice, olive oil, mustard and garlic dressing. It calls for boiled potatoes but now I’m thinking that it might be even better with roasted potatoes.


Bron March 10, 2008 at 4:50 am

Jeanne!! You know I just want to dive into this right now, ohhh yes … I’d be a very happy girl with some on this on my plate!


Spittoon Extra March 10, 2008 at 12:59 pm

The Salad Round-up

Having given those late-comers a few more days to submit their salad-masterpieces here, late, is the marvellous collection of recipes for Waiter There’s Something In My… Salad! Sorry for the brevity of the recipe listings, no personal comments I’m af…


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