Potatoes – the kitchen heroes

“What I say is that, if a man really likes potatoes, he must be a pretty decent sort of fellow.”

― A.A. Milne

I have had the humble potato on my mind since I attended a study day a couple of months ago and learnt that potatoes are high in potassium, which is good news for most of the population, but not so good if you happen to suffer from chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Dietitians recommend special diets for CKD sufferers depending on the severity of their condition and this can include recommendations to adjust their diet for protein, potassium, phosphate and sodium. If the level of potassium becomes too high in a person suffering from CKD, it can cause the heart to stop suddenly. As a precaution renal dietitians advise their patients not to eat potato crisps and to reduce their consumption of potatoes and potassium salt substitutes.

The unintended consequence of this is that convenience food then becomes difficult to navigate as many dishes already have a significant amount of salt which is one of the minerals CKD patients have to avoid and if the dishes also contain potato then it’s off the ‘approved’ list.

Cooking from scratch is an option but the potatoes need to be rinsed, boiled for longer to leach out the potassium and the water drained off which has an impact of the vitamin C level.

Potatoes are a source of vitamin B6, vitamin B1, vitamin C, fibre and folate as well as potassium so when eaten at reasonable quantities they contribute to a healthy diet.

So the majority of us can keep eating this great food source but spare a thought for those who aren’t able to enjoy extra roast potatoes with Sunday lunch or a add a side of fries to go with a lunchtime wrap.


It’s afternoon tea week – Leave the teenagers at home without breaking your health kick………….

Afternoon tea week is definitely something to celebrate and if, like some of my friends, you have been counting down the days until school starts and looking for reasons not to engage with your 14 year son then this is a clear option.

Usually, I’m quite happy to share an afternoon with friends and kids over a cup of tea but there is a step change in 14 year old boys that means it is no longer ‘cool’ to hang out with mum. In addition, it seems that half the U.K is heading to Spain this holiday and employing the usual ‘no carbs before marbs’ strategy.

What to do?

It would be a shame not to acknowledge the celebration of all things ‘afternoon tea’ so here is a list of places to enjoy that are unlikely to be a playground for said teenagers. Alternative menus are available for those who’ve already started the post-holiday restraint or want to stick with pre-holiday salads…


The Tea Box, Richmond nr London


A delicious selection of salads and gluten free dishes is available from the main menu in addition to afternoon tea. The selection of teas is amazing and the fabulous tableware ‘to-die’ for.

Abode, Manchester


A gorgeous venue that I ate at a few months ago. Relaxing but suitably smart for you to feel like you are out to celebrate. They offer a vegetarian selection.

Rockcliffe Hall, Darlington


My go-to venue when in search of a p.i.e (psychologically inspiring environment), the relaxing view over the golf course and gardens is difficult to move away from. High quality ‘light bite’ alternatives to afternoon tea.

Malmaison, Leeds


The last time I attended a girls’ get-together here. We drank far too much champagne and spent serious money in the Victoria quarter. I recommend going easy on the champagne. Vegan options available.

The Orangery, Burghley House, Stamford


A trip to Stamford is not complete without a visit to Burghley House. The lovely, light Orangery reminds me of a scene from a 1920’s film and the selection of small plates is recommended for those not wanting indulgent afternoon tea.

Brandshatch Place, Brands Hatch Kent


A beautiful setting for a spa day with afternoon tea thrown in. The Spa is discretely tucked behind the hotel and has its own cafe. Standard afternoon tea is available in the hotel as well as light bites from the main menu.

Betty’s, locations in Yorkshire


No afternoon tea list would be complete without a mention of Betty’s. Any of my visitors to the U.K get a standard trip to Betty’s thrown in so that they can experience afternoon tea at its best. The light menu is very good.

The Sheraton, Edinburgh


There are so many fabulous places to have afternoon tea in Edinburgh. The Sheraton has a wonderful Spa and is a great venue where you feel part of the city but tucked away from the hustle and bustle. A small plate menu is available.