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.
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  1. David Hall7:54 PM

    A great big bowl of buttery hot mash - not too many better accompaniments is there?CheersDavid

  2. David Hall7:55 PM

    A great big bowl of buttery hot mash - not too many better accompaniments is there?CheersDavid

  3. Mmm... garlicy mash-ed topatoes, as I called them as a kid. Yum!

  4. At the risk of dividing your household once again, I'd say garlic! We love to mix a clove of minced garlic and some green herbs into our mash.

    You have some great ideas there for adding more nutrients and colour. I'll give one of them a go next time (soy) sausages are on our menu.

  5. I like mashed potatoes with parmesan and a bit (okay, a lot) of butter, all whipped together. The beets and carrots mashed in look gorgeous.
    I'm sorry your poor kidnapped pumpkin met with such a sordid end.

  6. Meg - I like anything with parmesan and does Freddie. But the surprise was that he liked all the vegetable -packed mashes as well.
    Mr P deserved better.
    Cindy - Do try them out. The colours are beautiful and the kids loved that aspect of it.
    Topatoes is one of those words isnt hostipal.
    No there arent - it beats everything.

  7. Your colour swatches of mash are a joy!

    We love squash-mash (half baked squash, half potato) as a topping for shepherds pie - or with cooked sausages laid in it and browned in the oven - an ersatz toad-in-the-hole.

    . . . and there's always colcannon - I've just read that a tradition is to hide coins in colcannon at Halloween!

    Celia :)

  8. what time did you say dinner was? It's only eleven in the morning and you've got me starving hungry!

    I've been thinking about 'Q' for you, and I think quince may become an honorary vegetable this week...

  9. We love our potatoes mashed with either broccoli or cauliflower. I boil them together in the pot with one clove of garlic and then mash it all up. Love it.

  10. If it's mashed and it's got potatoes in it then we like it. We like it pure and simple with butter and milk. We also like it with celeriac, or carrots, or swede, or turnip, or pasnips, even garlic. We've never had it with beetroot but it's a beautiful colour and think we'd probably like that too.

  11. cheesey leek mash used to be the mash of choice in our house.

    these days when mum has mash it;s just olive spread (no butter in our house due to heart troubles) and a dash of milk.

  12. I LOVE this post! I've only experimented with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, pumpkin mashed potatoes, spinach mashed potatoes and sweet green peas mashed potatoes but I am yet to try some of your combos here with herbs and spices and beets! This might just be the way for me to have this veggie.

  13. Cynthia - You are clearly a top Mash experimenter. I like the idea of pumpkin mashed potatoes. Very tasty. Let me know whether you like the beets version
    Jenny - Not being able to have butter is a pain, but some of these low- fat spreads taste pretty good. Incidentally if you mix in butternut squash into the mash it has a lovely buttery richness, without the fat of butter.

    Amanda at Little Foodies - you cant go wrong with mash I know.
    Erika W - I will be trying out your broccoli version tonight. Good addition to our repertoire.

    TBDF - Sorry about that - I can't read food blogs at 11 without feeling like having lunch straightaway.
    On Quince - there is a case for treating it like a vegetable but would it like that?

    Magic Cochin - I thought you would appreciate the colours. They are beautiful. You could paint in mashed potato.

  14. I just meant that q is going to be a tricky one, so we might have to pretend the quince is a vegetable for the day :)

  15. I loved the idea of mixing mashed potatoes with puréed beetroots! I'm making that for the kids dinner today. Thanks for the inspiration.

  16. Schmoof12:13 PM

    I made the most amazing mash on Sunday.

    The oven was on anyway for the slow-roasted pork belly, so i threw in all the spuds as well and baked them. When they were done, I cut them in half, scooped the flesh out into a pan, and mashed them with some milk, butter and dijon mustard.

    It's quite labour intensive, but it results in the most potatoey and gorgeous mash ever. Do try it if the oven is on anyway.

  17. Great Big Veg challenge1:18 PM

    SChmoof - Gorgeous recipe. I love the taste of spuds that have been cooked alongside meat. Its delicious. I will try out your combination.

    Eva L - I hope they enjoy it - its just about balancing the mild taste of potatoes with the more complicated taste of beetroot. It gradually got Freddie used to the whole idea of liking beetroot - Well actually it was Chocolate and Beetroot Cake that really clinched it for him. ( Not the healthiest recipe)
    BoyDoneFood - i have some quince in a basket under the sink - Do you know of anything easy to do with them - that doesnt involve making jelly!

  18. I shouldn't have written that comment. Just this evening having served some beautiful creamy mashed potatoes. Youngest throws a big wobbler and announces he doesn't like potatoes. Refuses point black to eat any of it and because it was on the plate next to the lamb chops and green beans refused to eat those until I moved the mash off his plate - aarrrggghhhhhh! I thought it was terrible 2's not terrible 3's...

  19. if you use the quince in a savoury dish - does that help the case for treating it as vegetable?

    i did a quick search....

    or another thought for Q - could you find a veg that you haven't tried yet which has a Latin name beginning with Q?

  20. Charlotte - I was useless at Home Ec. as a kid (late 80s). The only thing I really remember making well is lemon curd, which I continue to make, often with other fruits, such as feijoas or redcurrants. I recall a particularly embarrassing moment when my cookies slipped off the baking sheet and shattered all over the kitchen floor. Because of the way they shattered, the teacher said that mine were obviously too airy and that I had not beaten my ingredients together properly. That put me off baking for years. I don't remember learning cooking principles for vegetables or protein, though.

    I must have defective tastebuds or something because I have never inordinately loved mashed potatoes. In fact, the only time I have ever enjoyed it was when I used olive oil instead of butter. I am intrigued by your kale and onion mash, though.

  21. schmoof7:09 PM

    Oh no - I meant on a tray below the meat, so that they bake plainly, then scoop out the flesh - result is the most potatoey mash ever.

  22. The beetroot mash looks interesting. did it taste nice?
    Sara from farmingfriends

  23. I love the look of the beetroot as well, and carrot and cumin are always a great combo. I like to make parsnip and potato mash, as well as celeriac and potato, with a bit of horseradish sometimes thrown in to either of those two.

  24. Great post! I know my nephews would love all those colors on the plate. Such a fun idea.

    It's a shame about Mr. Pumpernickel :(

  25. Anonymous2:05 AM

    I spent 5 years in the 70s doing Domestic Science in a room that had a very strange smell first thing in the morning - I think it had something to do with the tea towels that we had to hand wash at the end of the lesson then put through a mangle! I kid you not! I also had a couple of really scary teachers and consequently can recite all the basic methods as well as cook just about anything. I love buttery mash and will definitely be trying out some of your mash combos. We had really evil fake mash at school made from a product called potato pearls which didn't always all get mixed in and was served with an ice-cream scoop, so spent 5 years on a low carb lunch.

  26. Anonymous6:16 AM

    Thanks for the potato mash up recipe. gonna try it immediately :D


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