The Student Digestive: Deborah Ryan explains how to make a cheap and cheerful grated potato fritters dish
Potato and carrot rostis with avocado and a poached egg. Photograph: Deborah Ryan
My student kitchen is smaller than a shower. Between three of us living there, we own 3 knives, 6 forks and 2 teaspoons.
My hob has two settings, hot and cold. There are countless days when I come home from work or college to find every pot, pan and plate dirty. We also don’t have hot water in our taps so we have to boil the kettle every time we need to clean the dishes.
I bet you’re jealous now, but in the wise words of David Attenborough*, “Students… Have the most incredible resilience, able to find sustenance in even the most inhospitable and expensive of environments...”.
Even with this natural resilience, trying to fit cooking into your schedule can be quite the feat. You go to college, work on assignments, cram for exams, exercise, socialise and you might even have a part-time job. At what point in this are you supposed to make three meals a day for yourself that are somewhat healthy and don’t taste like cardboard? All within a student’s budget...
Rostis are grated potato fritters that are the perfect vessel for a runny egg yolk. They are pretty quick to whip up and can be made with most root vegetables (sweet potatoes are really good instead of the potato and carrots). If you don’t have carrots, leave them out. If you have parsnips, you can use them instead etc.
All that matters is that you have a starchy root vegetable as a base. You can also fry these but I find it easier to just leave them in the oven until they get crispy or just until you forget about them and they’re “extra” crispy.
Potato and carrot rostis with avocado and a poached egg
2 medium potatoes
2 tbsp. flour
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a baking tray with baking parchment.
Wash the veg well, then coarsely grate and place in a large bowl. Crack in one egg and add in the flour.
Season with salt, pepper and chilli flakes, if using.
Shape into two patties approx. 1” thick and place on the baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 25-30mins or until golden brown and crispy.
While they’re cooking, prepare the avocado: cut around the stone with a sharp knife, twist to release both halves, remove the stone carefully and scoop out the flesh into another bowl Mash with a fork, adding salt and pepper along with the lime juice.
Make the poached egg last minute: Boil a saucepan of water, then reduce the heat so it is barely simmering, add the tbsp. of vinegar. Swirl the water and crack the egg into the middle. Let it cook for 2-3mins, the yolk should still be soft but the white should be firm.
Assemble by putting the rostis on the plate, followed by the mashed avocado and top with the poached egg.
*He didn’t actually say that, but it’s better to read that in his voice.