A Jewish customer at the Wembley café had not eaten latkes since his grandmother had made them for him back in the seventies.
Spurred on by my own memories of grating potatoes for my Polish mother, I decided to make him some as a surprise.
Sometimes we cooks get the most pleasure from the reaction we get from serving up a dish. Equal parts ego and the desire to feed, I was both relieved and delighted that I had passed the test with flying colours.
Another couple of customers spied the latkes and polished the rest off.
TIP Serve them with sweet or savoury additions. Apple sauce, honey, smashed avocado and poached eggs, sour cream and chives.
Makes 5 large latkes
3 medium potatoes (favourites seem to be russets and I like to use organic potatoes)
1 medium onion
1 free range egg
1 tsp baking powder
5 matzo crackers
good pinch of salt
oil for frying
Peel and place the potatoes in a bowl of cold water for half an hour. Peel and grate the onion into another bowl.
Add the grated potato and transfer the mixture into a sieve. Press all the water out with the back of a large spoon.
Put the crackers into a plastic bag and smash with a rolling pin till you have fine breadcrumbs. Mix together the potato mixture, egg, breadcrumbs, baking powder and salt in a clean bowl.
Place a good amount of oil in a large frying pan (about half a cup) and heat gently. Keeping a low heat (as they won’t cook in the middle if the heat is too high and the outside overcooked) and fry gently for about three minutes on each side.
If you prepare the mixture you can keep it in a box in the fridge but be sure to squeeze out the water again before frying.