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Mashes with more

Potato bake with garlic

Potato & blue cheese pie

Potato mashes with more

Mashed potatoes are a sublime comfort food and by combining them with other vegetables you can create exciting and unusual dishes.

saffron mashSaffron Mash

I love the flavour of saffron and am a sucker for any recipe that includes those magical threads. Good saffron is expensive but a little goes a long way and its colour and perfume instantly lift a dish to treat status.

Cook and mash the potatoes in the usual way. In a small saucepan heat 1 tablespoon milk and 1 dessertspoon butter per person, when the butter has melted put in a pinch of saffron threads per person and a little salt and white pepper and leave to infuse on the side of the stove for 5 minutes. Heat to nearly boiling and gradually beat into the mashed potato using a stout fork.
This is particularly good with fish and any dish including lots of tomatoes.

Tattie and Neep (Swede to non-Scots).

One of the simplest mashes. You will need roughly equal quantities of raw potatoes and neep. Peel the neep and chop it into 2cm cubes (approximately). Put these into a large pan of boiling, salted water and return to the boil. Peel the tatties and chop into rather larger chunks; add them to the boiling neep and continue to boil gently until both vegetables are tender. Drain thoroughly and leave the pan, with the lid off, at the side of the stove to get rid of the last of the cooking water. Then mash. In a small frying pan or saucepan heat half a tablespoon of olive oil per person. Finely chop fresh rosemary (available all winter from the garden or balcony providing it is given a little protection from cold winds) to give a teaspoon of rosemary per tablespoon of oil. Add the chopped rosemary to the hot oil and fry gently for a minute to infuse the oil with flavour. Pour over the mashed tattie and neep mixture and beat well with a wooden spoon to incorporate.

Mashed potato and Celeriac

Celeriac looses most of its flavour when boiled so cook it separately to the potatoes. Again use roughly equal quantities of the two vegetables. Peel and boil the potatoes, drain well and dry off at the edge of the stove. This really does improve the flavour and texture of the mash. Meanwhile heat a generous knob of butter in a heavy bottomed pan, add salt and plenty of ground black pepper. Peel the celeriac and chop into roughly 1cm cubes; put these straight into the melted butter and stir to coat them. Celeriac discolours quickly. Cook gently until soft then add the whole contents of the saucepan to the cooked potatoes, scraping out the buttery juices. Mash together, adding a dash of whole milk or cream for extra indulgence.

Himmel und Erde

This is a mixture of apple (grown in the heavens) and potato (grown in the earth); they combine to make a luscious, slightly piquant mash. Make plenty: everyone will want more. You will need twice the quantity of potatoes as of apples. Use apples that go fluffy when cooked like Bramley or Newton Wonder. Peel the potatoes and cut into similar sized pieces so they all cook at the same time. Boil in a pan of lightly salted water until almost ready, then pour off most of the water, leaving a thin covering at the bottom of the pan. Add the peeled and cored apples, cut into small pieces and cook gently until the apples have nearly dissolved and the remaining water has gone. Mash together, adding a good knob of butter, plenty of black pepper and a grating of nutmeg. This is a moist and creamy mash.

Skordalia

A dish of garlicky mashed potatoes regularly eaten in Greece to accompany fish or fried vegetables. The exact proportions vary from household to household and are largely a matter of taste so adjust the quantities to suit your preference. Peel and chop a kilo of mashing potatoes and boil them in a pan of lightly salted water until tender. Drain well and mash; crush 2 cloves of garlic, or more, and beat them into the mashed potatoes. Add at least 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the juice of 1 lemon and beat it again; taste and add more oil/lemon juice/garlic/salt. The skordalia should be light and “stand up” on a fork. Don’t be tempted to mash or beat potatoes in a food processor, it reduces them to paste. Skordalia was traditionally made in a pestle and mortar but a modern masher does fine.

Rumbledethumps

An old Scottish Borders’ dish of potatoes and cabbage. You will need equal quantities of potatoes and cabbage. Peel, boil and mash the potatoes. Finely shred the cabbage (use a January King or Spring Cabbage type) and just blanch it in a little boiling salted water; drain very well. Soften a medium onion in a little butter, don’t let it brown and then add it and the cooked cabbage to the mashed potatoes, together with extra butter and plenty of black pepper. Beat with a wooden spoon or strong fork to mix well. This can be made with left-over mashed potato and left-over cabbage, gently frying them together in a large pan with plenty of butter. Keep turning the mixture so it doesn’t burn though a few brown bits add zest. It can also be reheated in the oven; covered with cheese and browned is even better.