You Say Potato!

Ooooh, it’s potato weather! So many recipes, if I could spend the winter just cooking potatoes for dinner every night, the three months wouldn’t be enough! Mashed, roasted, chipped, hashed, layered with onions & cooked with stock, diced with garlic & rosemary & lemon, in a soup with leek, in pancakes, I better stop, I’m drooling already.

Potatoes are still very good value for money, at an average of $4 a kilo, they are happy in a dark cupboard for a week or three. Versatile, comforting, filling and so flexible with so many uses.

I love a proper mashed potato. It’s a labour of love, and it’s always worth it to make twice as much as you need for dinner, because leftover mashed potatoes can make your day!

It’s best to use dirty potatoes for mash, peeled and rinsed, with any eyes cut out, they love to start cooking in well salted cold water. Cover and onto the stove top, cover with a lid. As soon as they come to the boil, turn the heat down to a simmer, and set the lid slightly to allow the steam to escape. This action allows the starch in the potato to cook through gently without becoming waterlogged.

Make sure your spuds are fully cooked through before tipping them out into a colander to dry out while you rinse your pot and add butter to melt. I’m not going to advise on the amount of butter to use. It’s absolutely a matter for you and your doctor. And I am embarrassed to let you know how much butter I use.

When your butter has melted, add the still steaming drained potatoes back into the pot and use either your mashed or a wooden spoon to crush the spuds into a lovely smoosh of creamy mash. Adding heated milk here, along with sea salt, white pepper & freshly grated nutmeg is the minimum for seasoning. For dinner party lux, adding extra flavour with chopped parsley, seeded mustard, lemon zest, or even sour cream takes your mash from belonging under fat pork sausages, to chumming up to slow braised lamb shoulder or your perfect steak.

Leftover mash, at the very least, makes beautiful potato scones, adding sharp cheddar cheese to serve with soup. Making a can of tinned salmon shine, mixed with an egg, some fresh herbs and crumbed. Chilled in the fridge for an hour before pan frying for dinner with lemon mayo and minted peas. Layered over cooked lamb mince for shepherd’s pie, even better, over lamb moussaka with grilled eggplant and roasted garlic. Potato Pancakes make for a wonderful winter brunch with fried ham, eggs and mushrooms. Get Peeling!