Domini Kemp: loaded potato skins and a chicken schnitzel will put a spring in your step

These tasty recipes will please all palates.

Potato skins are a great way to use up your favourite cheese. Picture: Dean Carroll

The stretch in the evening, the end of relentless January, faux-February and the sight of green shoots have generated a desire in me to be a bit more sociable. This month’s column focuses on seriously tasty dishes that get people around a table – no phones, no distractions, just some extra bowls of salady bits and a can-do attitude. Good chat is obligatory.

The schnitzel and the pork produce some decent leftovers that can do a good nixer as the ultimate sandwich filling, especially for anyone fed up with ham and cheese combos. The blitzed stuffing of lemongrass and ginger that goes into the pork is salty, fragrant, and packs a punch.

There is something about the zingy taste of lemongrass and its startling smell as soon as you start chopping that gives me a lift and convinces me that sunshine is on the way. The potato skins are a firm family favourite, but while prepping for this shoot I munched on a crisp skin with a spoonful of the gribiche and found it very tasty.

I'm delighted that our head chef in Lottie’s, Ted Ostache, was even taken in and ta-da, this hybrid is now on the Lottie’s menu as a snack.

Loaded potato skins

This is hands-down, one of the things I love to eat most in the world, when wanting to eat something “junky”. I’ll use cheddar, parmesan, Gruyére, and anything else that needs using up in the mix.

Ingredients, serves 4

8 large potatoes

Few tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper

300g bacon lardons

1 tsp brown sugar

Bunch spring onions, finely chopped

200g of your favorite cheese, grated

200g sour cream, approximately

150g cream cheese

1-2 tsp good quality white wine vinegar or mirin

1 bunch chives, finely chopped


1. Preheat your oven to 200C, then make a slit around the longest width of the potato and bake in a really for at least an hour until super crisp and the flesh is completely soft. Remove from the oven and reduce the temperature to 180C. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh – we don’t use this here, so keep it aside to use up as mash, in soup or as a fish pie topping.

2. Put the potato skins on a baking tray, drizzle with olive oil and salt. Bake in the oven for about 5-10 minutes until much crispier – you might need to turn them over halfway though – but this stage is just to dry them out and crisp them up.

3. Fry the bacon (add a little butter if necessary to get it going) and when the fat has rendered, add the sugar and cook on a very low heat until sticky and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.

4. When ready to do the final heating, sprinkle the potato skins with the cheese and lardons. Finish with the spring onions and bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese is all melty.

5. While finishing the potatoes, mix the sour cream, cream cheese, vinegar, and chives with some salt and pepper. Place the cooked potato skins on a large platter and serve alongside the sour cream dip.

The sauce gribiche used here is really easy to make, and the schnitzels taste really good cold too. Picture: Dean Carroll

Chicken schnitzel with sauce gribiche

Ingredients, serves 4

For the chicken schnitzel

Salt and pepper

2 eggs, beaten

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

½ tsp smoked sweet paprika

1 tsp dried oregano or thyme

4 chicken breasts

100g panko breadcrumbs

A few knobs of butter or ghee

Olive oil

Lemon wedges to serve

For the sauce gribiche

4 eggs

100ml olive oil

Big bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 large tbsp chopped drained capers, roughly chopped

4 gherkins, finely chopped

2 tbsp Dijon mustard

2 tbsp red wine vinegar

½ red onion, finely diced


1. Preheat the oven to 180C. To make the schnitzel, first season the eggs with salt and pepper, then add the garlic, paprika, dried herbs and whisk well. Put the slices of chicken between two sheets of cling film (or in a heavy-duty ziplock lunch bag) and bash with a rolling pin until thin and nearly doubled in size.

2. Drop the chicken into the seasoned egg mixture when they are all bashed out. You can leave them to marinate in this while you get everything ready to fry them.

3. To make the sauce gribiche, cook the eggs in boiling water for seven minutes, then drain and run under cold water until cold. Peel and roughly chop the eggs, then put into a food processor (or chop by hand) and blitz on pulse mode with the olive oil and flat leaf parsley until well blitzed.

4. Next, add the capers, gherkins, mustard and red wine vinegar. You really want to leave this chunky, so you might leave the chopping to the food processor but then mix in the capers, gherkins, and red onion if necessary. Season well and set aside or chill

5. When you are ready for final cooking, heat the butter or ghee and some oil in a large frying pan. Remove a couple of pieces of chicken from the egg mixture and dip the breasts into the breadcrumbs. Press them in so that they stick well, and then fry one to two at a time, depending on the size of your frying pan. When they are golden brown and crisp on one side, turn them over.

6. When evenly coloured on both sides, you can place them on a baking tray ready to finish cooking in the oven, then finish frying the rest of the chicken. Halfway through frying, you may have to wipe out the oil and start again with fresh oil and butter, as the loose breadcrumbs can start to burn quite easily.

7. Season lightly, bake in the oven for about 10 minutes, and then serve with lemon wedges while still hot. These are also delicious when eaten cold, but I also reheated them in the oven for about 20 minutes the next day, and even though they were a bit dried out, they were still delicious.

The fennel will stay crispy if you want to prep this zesty salad ahead of time. Picture: Dean Carroll

Fennel, lemon and Parmesan salad

This salad is a cinch to make and goes well with nearly everything. It’s also one that is fine eaten the next day as the fennel holds its crispness.

Ingredients, serves 4

1 heaped tbsp Dijon mustard

1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed

200ml olive oil

Juice and zest of 2 lemons

100g Parmesan, very finely grated

Salt and pepper

2 large fennel bulbs, finely sliced

25g flat leaf parsley

Finely sliced chives, to garnish


1. First, make the dressing, so it’s ready to pour on the fennel so it doesn’t discolour while waiting. Put the mustard and garlic in a measuring jug, then whisk in the olive oil gradually to emulsify. Season with lemon juice and the parmesan, and then season well.

2. Pour this dressing over the fennel and parsley, then mix thoroughly. Garnish with the lemon zest and chives before serving - you can serve straight away, or it will happily sit for a while at room temperature before serving.

Leave the pork to cool slightly before slicing and serving

Fragrant lemongrass pork loin

Ingredients, serves 4-6

1kg boneless pork loin, plus some string

6 sticks of lemongrass, with the tough outer bits removed

3 garlic cloves

3 tsp flakey salt

2 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tbsp black mustard seeds

Black pepper

2 tbsp curry leaves, approx

Big knob of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

Big bunch coriander

Few tbsp honey


1. First, blitz together in a blender all the ingredients except the pork and 1 tbsp of the honey. This will act as the filling for your pork.

2. Next, slice the loin horizontally and then make another horizontal slit so that it opens flat – you want it flat so you can then spread all of the 'stuffing' over the entire inside. Roll up the joint, with the stuffing mixture now on the inside, and tie with twine. If any bits splodge out, you can on rub the outside of the pork. Leave to marinate overnight if possible, but don't fret if it only gets an hour. It will still taste great.

3. Before cooking, preheat your oven to 170C. Remove the joint from the fridge and bring to room temperature if possible by leaving it out for 30-60 minutes.

4. Place the joint in a roasting tin and bake for 2 hours, basting with the last tablespoon of honey for the final half hour. Leave to cool slightly before slicing and serving.