HOW TO MAKE MASHED POTATO
It may sound little strange but my old dad had an absolute passion for mashed potato. Not only was it a dish that he took great pride in creating, he also believed that a large enough pile of it would cure a hangover - if enough was eaten!
His obsession may well be due to his farming family background who predominantly grew parsnips and potatoes in the Spey Bay region of Scotland. All I know is that Dad's mashed potato was excellent.
Getting the right potato
My favourite variety is 'Pink fir Apple'. The trouble is that the yields are poor, but the flavour is second to none! I even cook it with the skin left on - make sure you wash it thoroughly first.
Of course, soil conditions will vary depending on where you live, so if you decide to grow your own potatoes talk to local growers to find the best performing varieties.
How to make mashed potatoes
The main ingredients for mashed potato are as follows:
Butter - good quality not cheap own brand.
If you are on a diet then loose the butter. If you need fattening up then you can add grated mature cheese and or double cream. If you are posh then add or just top with chopped parsley or chives.
When the potatoes are near to being cooked, test them with a table knife. If the knife doesn't go into the potato then it isn't ready. If the knife slides in comfortably then it is cooked and ready for mashing. If the knife slides in and the potato begins to fall apart then it is too late - your potatoes are overcooked you Muppet so pay attention for next time!
Using a colander drain the water off. Once it has stopped dripping place the potatoes back into the hot saucepan. Add a knob of butter, a drop of milk to improve the consistency and a touch of salt and pepper.
Mash the mix with a potato masher. Once all of the lumps have gone taste test the mix and add more of any ingredients that you feel are lacking. Mash it once more and serve. Enjoy, and don't forget to add lashings of thick gravy.
To add a little more character to your mashed potatoes consider adding a large spoonful of mayonnaise, salad cream, cream cheese or mustard.
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