Monday, November 05, 2007
The Great Big Potato Mash Up
I went to school in the days when Home Economics was compulsory. I had to learn to cook, sew, knit and keep my finger nails clean.I was a chaotic cook, dangerous with a needle and my nails were always dirty. But the biggest problem I had in cookery was that I was out of synch with the rest of the class. When they were making Christmas Cake, I brought along a basket of ingredients to make Quiche Lorraine. And so it went on for half a term. I prepared for Margharita Pizza when it was Chelsea Buns,Coconut Ice when it should have been Victoria Sponge.
My punishment each week was extreme boredom. I would sit in the cupboard where the spare pots and pans were kept, writing out long lists of cooking terminology. When I need to get to sleep I can still recite the alphabet of cooking terms as if it were the shipping forecast. Béchamel, blanch, bouillon, chaud-froid, court bouillon, croutons and so on... Eventually things got better, I resynchronised and I started to learn to cook. We were taken back to basics and I learnt how to cook boil, roast, bake and of course mash potatoes.
The government doesn’t include potatoes within its recommended five-a-day portions of vegetables and fruit. Is this the same in other countries? So the challenge for us was to enhance the humble potato by combining them with other vegetables and flavours. This was the Great Big Mash Up. We turned our kitchen into a laboratory. We sautéed beetroot with rosemary, boiled carrots, parsnips, swedes, chopped spinach and chives, roasted garlic and made pesto sauce. This was bangers and mash with a difference. Freddie’s favourite combination was the Beetroot and Potato Mash, which was a beautiful pink colour. Alex loved the carrot combination. These earned 8 out of 10. Now it is over to you. What are your favourite ways to cook potato mash and what would you add?
Great Big Potato Mash
1kg floury potatoes (King Edwards, Maris Piper, Desiree)
150 ml full fat milk
Ground black pepper
Knob of butter
Peel the potatoes and cut into similar size pieces so that they cook at the same rate. Add the potatoes to a large pan of salted water. Bring to the boil and then simmer until the potatoes are soft but not mushy. Drain well. Put the lid back on and leave for 4 minutes. Mash the potatoes with a masher, adding the milk, butter and season with salt and pepper.
Beetroot, rosemary and potato mash
3-4 cooked beetroot, olive oil and a sprig of fresh rosemary.
Sauté the diced beetroot in a pan and the rosemary leaves with a little oil for a few minutes. Puree in a blender. Add the beetroot puree to the mashed potato.
Roasted Garlic Mash
Follow recipe for mashed potato. See G for Garlic for instructions on how to roast a whole garlic head. Squeeze the soft contents of the roasted garlic into the mashed potato, mixing in with a fork.
Carrot and Cumin Mash
Take 3-4 large potatoes, scrub them and slice them. Cook in boiling water until soft. Drain and mash up with the potato, adding half a teaspoon of ground cumin. Any root vegetable will work well combined with potato. Try celeriac, sweet potato, parsnip or swede. Just remember to boil the different vegetables in separate pans as they cook at different rates.
We also tried Chive Mash and Kale and Onion Mash...
PS We found a section of Mr Pumpernickel's cheek on a neighbouring street...and fear he met a violent end.