THE potato sits like an understudy behind the curtain of dinner's meaty star. It's the dirty veg we complain about peeling but today is the day we put spuds in the spotlight!

What is possibly the most versatile vegetable of all time is often considered merely an 'accompaniment' and potatoes may be just that but they do a darned good job! Potatoes are the best friend to all those comfort meals we know so well; slow cooked stews, lamb shanks, roast dinners, pieces of deep-fried meaty goodness and of course, some of the most loved soups. My Mum makes a pretty unbeatable potato & leek soup and I'd love to share the recipe but I can never seem to get it right!

A sack of potatoes is a staple in most pantries but it is Spain who must be thanked for introducing them to the world. It is suspected the Spanish took potatoes on their voyages around the world throughout the 1500s before the hearty veg was discovered by peasants who began growing them. Since then, around 4000 varieties of potatoes have cropped up around the world and, despite their starchy carb reputation, they carry plenty of nutritional value.

Spuddly duddlies (as I sometimes like to call them,) contain Vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium. Apparently they're also packed full of antioxidants and, as a complex carbohydrate, will fill you up and fuel you for longer than simple carbs, like lollies. Spuds - 1, Sweet Tooth - 0.