Mash not Smash

On making my faithful old fish pie recipe, it occurred to me that perhaps my mash checklist could be considered more meticulous than most. In my defence, Root was essentially a mashed potato shop. Kind of. And my Granny was a beef farming Scot: we love our mince and tatties. Even my non cooking uncle felt compelled to bark instructions at me on the need for endless mashing and whisking as I sweated over his Aga. So, here’s my step by step guide on perfect mashed tatties.

Feeds 6 (or 4 farmer portions)

1kg potatoes: Rooster tend to lump less; and Maris Piper, a safe, readily available bet.
60g low fat cream cheese
3-4 tbsp olive oil
100ml warm, full fat milk (or cream if you prefer). I often drop all together.
Salt, lots of
Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Peel potatoes and cut to similarly proportioned pieces. Quartering is generally a fair guide.
  2. Place in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Set to boil gently.
  3. After approx. 20 mins, test with a knife. You want soft right through, though not disintigrating.
  4. Drain off water and return pan to the lowest heat, ensuring all water evaporates. Dry potatoes are key if you want a fluffy, non-Smash, mash.
  5. Keeping the pan on the heat, start to mash. When you think you’re finished, go round again, working to remove all the lumps.
  6. Add cream cheese, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork.
  7. Add olive oil and milk (if using) and whisk until you feel the need to remove layers of clothing from having burned more calories than in a spin class.
  8. Taste, season, add more oil or milk if needs be. Whisk and test again.
  9. Ta dahhh!

Add wholegrain mustard, chives (added to hot milk then whisked through), lemon or frozen peas – they’ll de-frost in seconds. Potatoes go with everything so you can’t go far wrong.

Swapping the Rooster for new potatoes, skins on, and adding rosemary sea salt is my all-time favourite. Top with salmon and poached egg. Trust me. 

Note: Potatoes love salt and fat. There are times when no-one’s any the wiser if we cut out or swap the ‘baddies’, and there are times when food partners need to be respected, however waist expanding. So speeketh the Scot.

PP (6): 218 kcals Protein 3.7g Carbs 28.8g OwS 1g Fat 10.6g Sat fat 3.8g Salt 0.9g

PP (4): 328 kcals Protein 5.6g Carbs 43.3g OwS 1.5g Fat 15.9g Sat fat 5.6g Salt 1.4g