Reader Interview: First Time Away from Home

Czech potato pancake for one or twoPlease welcome Alex for today’s reader interview. If you’d like to be interviewed, contact me.

Introduction: I’m Alex from the United Kingdom, Currently Living Alone, but recently moved out of my parents’ home which was host to a closely knit family of four.  I’m the owner of the Cheap Living Blog and am currently trying to save money and inform others of doing the same mainly by cooking cheap, but tasty food.

  1. What do you remember about family meals and your mother’s cooking style when you were growing up? Family meals were always a time to share our days with each other and were pretty traditional – the whole family sat around the table with pretty traditional home cooked British food being cooked (think roast beef, Yorkshire puddings, gravy and greens).  I think this traditional mealtime set-up is perhaps one of the reasons our family was close, aside from enjoying the meal together often times when my brother and I were younger we would help with the preparation of the food witch again, I feel added to the richness of the experience.
  2. How is your cooking style different from your mother’s? My cooking tends to focus on less traditional fare with a focus on saving money.  For example I’ve recently been experimenting with Asian and Eastern European foods which can be really cheap and really tasty if cooked right, typically focusing on staples such as rice and hearty soups.
  3. What is your favorite gadget? Not really a gadget, but the most important tool in my kitchen is the knife block.  I really splashed out on a set of extremely high quality Japanese steel knives – it makes cooking so much easier and consequently, more enjoyable. (I’m sure neatly sliced veg tastes better too!).
  4. Can you share a typical daily menu? Weekly menu? This really does vary as I go through ‘flights of fancy’ when it comes to food.  As I mentioned earlier, I’m really into Eastern European home style cooking at the moment.  Last week one of the better meals I was experimenting with was Roast Beef with Dumplings (Houskové Knedlíky) – I got the recipe from My Prague Sites if anyone wants to try it!  Another great eastern food to try out is “bramboracky” (potato pancakes) really hearty and delicious with some home made gravy!
  5. Can you recommend any cookbooks, TV shows or websites that have inspired you? I couldn’t pinpoint just one as I usually get inspired by something I’ve seen out and about in my daily life, such as the mention of a particular country, or a simple food and I’ll then go online and Google recipes for that destination or foodstuff so it really does vary wildly.
  6. What posts on CM have you enjoyed? Do you have suggestions for future posts? I really enjoy the posts on Cooking Manager that focus on baking, as if you have the time I believe it’s a really rewarding pursuit, and who doesn’t love the smell of freshly baked bread?!  I’m looking forward to trying out Tips on Baking withWhole Wheat Flour as I’ve been known to jump on the healthy food bandwagon now and again.
  7. What is the oldest item in your kitchen? The newest? I’m ashamed to say that I’m probably the oldest item in my kitchen – there are very few things in there that aren’t brand new as I’ve only just moved in! I’m looking forward to purchasing some cast iron cookwear that will hopefully outlast me though!

Please share a recipe that you enjoy.

Recipe: Czech Potato Cakes

Summary: Parboiled potatoes lightly fried in olive oil.


  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil for frying.


  1. Peel & parboil potatoes in slightly salted water
  2. Use food processor to coarsely chop potatoes, then add the egg and mix briefly.
  3. Finely chop an onion (thickness depends on taste, sometimes I like ‘chunky’ onions, some people might like to sweat the onions too, but I prefer the crunch the raw onions give)
  4. Mix potato, onion and flour until they reach a firm texture (firm enough to form into cakes, you can also add a little salt/pepper to flavour)
  5. Form cakes into patties and shallow fry in olive oil until outside starts to become crispy.

Preparation time: 15 minute(s)

Cooking time: 25 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 2

You may also enjoy:

The Potato Cake Mystery

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Five Basic Recipes for the Food Processor