WHEN a friend complained that she was bored with new potatoes already, I was surprised. New potatoes are so versatile and, providing you buy freshly-dug potatoes - which you will find now at most farm shops, pick-your-owns and farmers' markets - they taste simply glorious.

When we talked further, I soon discovered what the problem was. She was just boiling them in salted water, without even taking the skins off, and serving them just as they were.

When I suggested adding fresh mint to the water, and then smothering them with butter once they were cooked, she cheered up no end.

But, of course, there's even more than adding mint and butter to new potatoes that you can do if you use your imagination.

However, before you get cooking, do remember that the most important thing of all is to buy your new potatoes in small amounts to ensure that they are really fresh when you cook them. Leave them sitting around for a while and they lose that essential freshness that makes them so easy to handle and delicious to eat.

To ring the changes I remove the skin from small new potatoes, cutting any big ones in half, then fry them in a little hot olive oil. Once they have begun to brown, I toss in a few broken sprigs of fresh rosemary and cook for a few more moments, stirring as I go, before tossing in a couple of garlic cloves chopped fine. I lower the heat at this point, so that the garlic doesn't brown, as this will add a bitter taste to the dish. Once the potatoes are done, I scatter sea salt crystals over them - the resulting dish is delicious.

New potatoes can also be given a Thai flavour.

For enough Thai new potatoes to serve four, you will need: 1lb (450g) new potatoes - peel removed 1oz (25g) butter One stick lemon grass - chopped fine One or two red chillies - de-seeded and chopped fine Root ginger the size of a walnut - peeled and chopped fine Half a bunch fresh coriander leaves - chopped fine Salt and freshly-ground black peppercorns to season Method: Cook the peeled new potatoes in salted boiling water until done Drain the potatoes and reserve while you melt the butter in a frying pan and gently cook the chopped lemon grass, chillies and ginger until the garlic begins to give off a delicious aroma and turn soft Toss the drained potatoes into the mix and stir well. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.