It seemed like such a good idea at the time. I had a post-Christmas glut of potatoes and a cabbage in the house and thought “I know! I can make some potato cakes. Everyone likes those.” So I cooked up the potatoes and cabbage and pureed them in the Magimix. Oh dear! Mistake number one: despite arriving in our Abel and Cole Christmas box and therefore presumably suitable for roasting, these spuds turned out not floury but waxy. So putting them in the processor resulted in a goo that could in the future be a decent substitute for wallpaper paste if necessary. Mistake number two.

Mistake number three: purees don’t fry on their own without addition of flour. I should have known THAT from experience, and the first batch of potato mix floated to the top of the not-quite-hot-enough oil like the shreds you sometimes find in Indian bar savouries. So I added flour and tried again. Painful. This time the cakes burned on the inside whilst remaining stubbornly uncooked in the centre. I stood there by the hob, Nigella-like down to my Brora cropped cardi (shade Rhubarb) and gamely fried away. For ages. Waste not, want not. The gooey potato mixture kept sticking to the bottom of the pan and having to be scraped off. Dear oh dear.

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Action shot of doomed potato cakes

It was like a scene from that 1970s Carla Lane sitcom, Butterflies. You know, where Wendy Craig dishes up daily disgusting food that her family tries to avoid, and gradually goes off her head. I’m actually not a bad cook but I had three hours’  sleep last night and a trip to Potters Bar and back today. This latest culinary disaster came hot on the heels of yesterday’s yellow split pea New Year’s Soup, however, which I misguidedly made from ham stock left over from Nigella’s Ham in Coke, made for Christmas. While the ham was as great as everyone says, the stock was far too sweet to use for savoury soup. The poor Boywonder, whose favourite soup it is, was deeply disappointed.

Not even tomato salad and fresh lettuce accompaniments could save this supper. Clearly I’m losing my touch.

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