Monday, 31 January 2011

Potato Peel Pie

I'd never been part of a Book Club before, but I'm really enjoying our LS book group here in Brunei.  We meet once every 6 weeks and generally have 2 books to read.  We take it in turns to host the club, and I had volunteered to have the last meeting at our house. 

Our main book was the somewhat bizarrely-named The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and as the host for the evening usually provides some nibbles, what else could I make but Potato Peel Pie?!

A quick Google search revealed that I was far from the first person to think of making this for their book club!  It appears that this dish is probably not a genuine wartime recipe, and that the author invented it - but it does seem plausible that dishes such as this would have been created with the intention of using up every last kitchen scrap.  And there's nothing wrong with eating potato peel - it's just the 'jacket' after all!

The book's website helpfully contains a Potato Peel Pie recipe - although it does warn that it 'tastes like paste', especially if made in an authentic fuel-saving way.  I decided that we could do without complete authenticity, so I tried to make it a little more edible, taking inspiration from various internet discussion boards such as this one.

I made the base rather like a potato rosti - grated potato peel, grated onion, 3 tbsp flour and a beaten egg to bind it.  My first attempt at this had the consistency of rubber, so I ended up making another one, this time remembering to squeeze the moisture out of the grated potato before proceeding (thanks Clare!).

The topping was mashed potato, but laden with butter to make it more appealing.  The book also mentions that the pie includes 'beetroot for sweetness'...  This baffled me; I really wasn't sure how to include beetroot, so I decided to steam 2 beetroot until soft and then dice them.  I put them in the middle of 2 layers of mashed potato, which gave the distinct impression of a cake with a jam filling...

It gave us all a laugh, but was somewhat surprisingly (to me) quite tasty too! 

As an aside, the book proved popular with the group, although I was a little more lukewarm in my praise of it than others.  Whilst I found it fascinating to learn about the Nazi occupation of Guernsey, I found the tone of the book often rather 'twee' and several of the characters were quite frankly very irritating!  The final section of the novel (written completely in the form of letters between the characters) descended into what I can only assume was supposed to be comedy, but I found buttock-clenchingly awful, which was a great shame.  Still, I did enjoy reading it - and after all, the whole point of a book group is to generate discussion which this one definitely did.

1 comment:

snowy said...

I bought this book on a friend's recommendation, and I didn't enjoy it very much. Agree with you, Kate, that the occupation of Guernsey was interesting, but the rest ...... !
Your pie sounds and looks interesting!