Perfectly Mashed Potatoes

Thank you for stopping by to read this post and find out how to make Perfectly Mashed Potatoes.

If you are curious as to why I should post such an easy recipe here’s my answer.

Everyone has to learn the basics. I did. I wasn’t born with the knowledge of how to cook a roast, boil an egg or mash potatoes. I learnt, mostly, from watching my Grandma, whilst I was growing up.

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes no fancy equipment needed!

Always an inquisitive child, I literally hung around her apron strings and learnt how to cook, bake, make preserves, prove bread and much more. My earliest memory is standing on a stall, shucking peas that my Grandad had freshly picked from the garden.

So a love of cooking, indeed, more being in the kitchen and making something, was present from a very early age. At home, I recall asking if I could peel some potatoes. I was given a bowl, full of cold water, to wash off the dirt, potatoes didn’t come pre-washed in the 1970’s and a small vegetable peeler. An hour had passed and I still hadn’t finished! That didn’t matter, I was learning.

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Perfectly Mashed Potatoes creamy and delicious.

In today’s world of convenience food and £1 packets of ready mashed potatoes available from the supermarket, learning how to cook basic recipes, isn’t always taught at home, in the way I learned. So yes a recipe for Perfectly Mashed Potatoes, is here, because who doesn’t love mash???

Most kitchens will have a potato masher utensil in them, if not they can be picked up, fairly cheaply, from any shop that sells kitchenware. I will not be using a potato ricer, hand whisk, kitchen stand mixer or any other contraption to make these Perfectly Mashed Potatoes, simply a potato masher. It is what most people have to hand and in my opinion, produces the best mashed potatoes!

So the only equipment you will need to make your mash is:

  • A sharp knife
  • Saucepan
  • Colinder
  • Potato Masher
  • Optional – vegetable peeler

Most kitchens will be equipped with this equipment, if not, each item can be bought inexpensively as mentioned above.

Recipe: Perfectly Mashed Potatoes serves 6-8 adults

2.5kg/5lbs Potatoes suitable for mashing – I used Albert Bartlett Elfe Potatoes – these have a particularly creamy texture and buttery taste, Rooster potatoes are also good for mashing. Any potato that is described as floury, suitable for mash can be used. However for the best mash I’ve tried I do recommend Elfe potatoes.

75g/3oz Butter

100mls/4fl ozs Whole Milk

Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg – freshly grated is even better.

Method: Half fill a large saucepan with cold water

  • Using a vegetable peeler or small paring knife peel the potatoes.
  • Cut them into 5cm/2″ chunks as you go and immediately place in the pan of cold water.
  • NOTE: If peeled potatoes are left out of water they will start to turn brown.
  • Once all of the potatoes have been peeled and cut up, top up the pan with cold water, so that the potatoes are just covered.
FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
The potatoes are prepared and ready for cooking.
  • Turn the heat onto high on the hob and bring the potatoes up to a boil.
  • As soon as they are boiling turn the heat down and let the potatoes simmer for 15 minutes.
  • To test if the potatoes are cooked, insert a sharp knife into a couple of chunks, there shouldn’t be any resistance and the potato chunk may well break in half.
  • Once cooked drain the potatoes in a colinder and allow to steam dry for 5 minutes.
FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Allowing the potatoes to steam dry makes better mash!
  • Empty any water from the saucepan the potatoes were cooked in.
  • Add the butter and milk to the pan and heat until the butter is melted.
  • I add 1/2tsp of sea salt, a good grinding of black pepper and the ground nutmeg to the milk/butter at this stage.
  • Take the pan off of the heat and add the cooked potatoes.
FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Time to get mashing!
  • The next step is simply to plunge in with the potato masher and keep mashing until all the potatoes have broken down and you have smooth, creamy, Perfectly Mashed Potatoes.
  • I quite often get the children to mash our potatoes and yes, it does require a bit of elbow grease and effort (which with my back I’m not able to apply).
  • The potatoes are so beautifully soft and creamy, that they break down easily.
  • Serve the potatoes straight away onto dinner plates, or for special occasions, pile into a serving bowl, dot with a little extra butter and a light sprinkle of nutmeg.

Yes it really is that simple!

FF Perfectly Mashed Potatoes
Utterly delicious Perfectly Mashed Potatoes every single time.

Perfectly Mashed Potatoes are the perfect accompaniment to so many meals, made well they are delicious just on their own, perhaps with a little grated, sharp cheddar to top!

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Perfectly Mashed Potatoes, here are some other potato recipes you also may like:

Leek Colcannon

FF Leek Colcannon
Sautéed leeks and savoy cabbage mixed with mashed potatoes.

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

FF Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

FF Tangy Lemon Potato Salad
Tangy Lemon Potato Salad

Were you taught to cook at home, or are you just learning?

Thank you for all of you lovely comments, I get such a thrill knowing you have baked and enjoyed one of my recipes, please keep them coming.

Also it is great seeing all the pictures of your makes and bakes on Twitter and Instagram. Please keep them coming, tag me in and I’ll be sure to give you a shoutout or retweet.

Are there any other basic recipes that you would like to see on Feasting is Fun? Let me know and if I can, I will post them for you.

Remember, everyone has to start at the beginning, the fun is in the journey and we are all here to support each other as we learn.

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

The Albert Bartlett Elfe potatoes were won in a competition. All opinions and views are my own, as is the content of this post. Please see my Disclosure Policy

 

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Lime Couscous

Today I have the easiest, most delicious and versatile side dish for you, my Lime Couscous.

MD Lime Couscous
Lime Couscous the perfect side dish to compliment your main dish.

Full of fresh lime flavour and so easy to make, this dish will soon become part of your repertoire.

MD Lims Couscous
Lime Couscous fresh parsley and lime slices give this dish the finishing touch.

For those of you who have not yet tried couscous, let me explain what it is. Couscous are tiny pieces of dried pasta and unless labelled otherwise it is NOT gluten free.

Due to it being so small it doesn’t even need cooking. It simply needs rehydrating with hot liquid.

How easy is that ??!!

MD Lime Couscous
Lime Couscous pairs beautifully with this Morrocan Lamb Stew.

I developed this recipe for Lime Couscous to specifically partner my Morrocan Lamb Stew. It is absolutely delicious with the stew. Balancing the fruity, spicey sauce, with its own tangy, citrus flavour.

As couscous can be served at room temperature it is absolutely perfect for buffets and barbecues. It’s fresh lime flavour pairs really well with fish, chicken, lamb kebabs – really the possibilities are endless. I cannot wait to try it with my Chunky Chilli.

Recipe: Lime Couscous serves 6 people.

300g/11oz Dried Couscous – allow 50g/2oz per person

2 Limes

1 Vegetable Stock Cube – I use Knorr’s

Boiling Water

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method: Do not stir the couscous at any point!

Weigh out the couscous into a large, heatproof bowl.

Dissolve the stock cube in a jug of boiling water, approx 450mls/1 pint.

Squeeze the juice of one and a half limes and add this to the couscous.

Pour the stock over the couscous and top up with boiling water so that the liquid comes 2.5cm/1″ above the top of the couscous.

Cover the bowl with cling film, or I used a plate and leave for 15 minutes.

After this time the couscous will have absorbed all of the hot liquid.

MD Lime Couscous
The couscous has absorbed all of the stock and lime juice.

Remove the cling film/ plate.

Using a fork, fluff up the couscous, like you would with rice,

MD Lime Couscous
Fluff the couscous with a fork.

Taste the Lime Couscous and check for seasoning, add as necessary.

Roughly chop a large handful of parsley leaves. Add these to the couscous and transfer to a serving dish.

Finish by adding a few slices of lime to the couscous and a final sprinkle of parsley leaves on the top.

MD Lime Couscous
Lime Couscous – what will you serve it with?

It really is that simple to make this dish!

With Spring now here and the promise of warmer days beckoning, this Lime Couscous is the perfect dish to serve, as it can sit at room temperature, not taking up fridge or oven space.

In fact, although it is perfectly fine eaten hot, I much prefer it slightly warm.

However you serve this Lime Couscous, it will be enjoyed and feasted on, simply because it tastes so delicious.

Do you have any simple, go-to recipes? Please leave a comment in the box.

If you have enjoyed this Lime Couscous, here are some other recipes that you might like to try:

Leek Colcannon

GF Leek Colcannon
Leek Colcannon

Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

MD Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo
Lemon Garlic Vegetable Orzo

Baked Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

MD Garlic Herb Potato Wedges
Garlic Herb Potato Wedges

I absolutely love to see what you are cooking, baking and making. Please pop a photo on Twitter/Instagram and tag me in, I’ll be sure to give you a shout out or re-tweet!

Whatever you are making in your kitchen, make a little extra and invite someone round for dinner. Food always tastes better when it’s shared!

Sammie xx

@sammiefeasting Twitter/Instagram/Pinterest

 

 

 

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Garlic Rosemary Focaccia Bread

Hello there everybody. I really appreciate you taking time to read my blog. Thank you. I hope it inspires & encourages you, makes you think and most of all makes you smile!!!
So this week in our house is all about birthdays!!!!!
Our Lil Man will be 12 this week, it’s also my sister & Dad’s birthday in the same week!!!
Definitely time for ‘FEASTING, CELEBRATING and FUN’!!!!!
Covert baking operations during the day – ready for surprises on their special days. Ooh I love a celebration – well that is as long as I’m not the center of attention!
Fortunately, shyness is not something our son could ever be accused of having! His enthusiasm & passion for life is infectious and wonderful to see. He waits all year for his birthday and the night before, without fail, he reaches ‘ready to explode’ status!!!!
Christmas is the same for him, times a gazillion!!!!!
I adore his passion & zest for life (even if at times it can be exhausting & overwhelming!!!!!).
Soo to make life a bit easier on myself today: I grabbed a previously, made & frozen, chicken & bacon pasta bake from the freezer last night & left it to defrost in the fridge overnight ( and yes – I did feel a tiny little bit smug!!!).
Then, because I have a bread maker that makes my life (in the world of bread baking), sooo much easier, I decided to whip up a couple of these GARLIC and ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD.  And because I’m a nice person & the recipe is a dream, I thought I’d share it with you!

Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.
Even with 4 Garlic bulbs added to the bread mixture & the same sprinkled on top, this Focaccia only has a mild Garlic taste.

GARLIC AND ROSEMARY FOCACCIA BREAD: makes 2 loaves.

You will need 2 x lightly oiled 8×8″ square tins ( with at least 2″ depth), or – 1 larger oiled baking tray (2″ deep) to bake one large focaccia.

PREHEAT THE OVEN TO 220C (200C Fan Oven)

Recipe:

1lb Strong Plain White Flour

300ml Warm (hand hot) Water

1 x 7g Sachet, Easy Blend Yeast

2 tbs Olive Oil (plus extra for drizzling over bread, oiling baking tins & cling film)

1 tsp Salt – for bread mix

Sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper for top of the bread

2 tbs Fresh Rosemary – finely chopped

8 Garlic Bulbs (4 for bread mixture, 4 for topping the bread).

Method:

When using a bread maker or stand mixer:

Place the warm water into the pan or bowl of the device you are using, making sure the dough hook is attached to the stand mixer.

Sprinkle over the sachet of dried, activated yeast & swish about with clean fingers to mix.

Next place the flour on top of the liquid mixture. Add the oil & salt.

Now add 1 tbs of the finely chopped Rosemary & salt.

Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!
Mince most of the Rosemary finely, allowing a few whole & half leaves to remain so they can be seen in the bread!

Add in four minced bulbs of garlic. I’m a very big fan of my garlic press (no peeling or chopping), but you may chop, process, squish with the back of your knife (please don’t write in with other methods for finely mincing garlic – just be happy that you’re unique!!).
Now mix & prove (if using a bread maker). With a stand mixer, attach the dough hook & mix for 8-10 minutes, until the dough has a silky, stretchy, elasticity about it.

If kneading by hand, bring all the ingredients together & work (knead) the dough until you can feel the change, when the dough again stretches easily & feels silky to touch – a good way to check that the dough has been worked enough is that it should be hard to tear.
Shape the dough into a ball & place into an oiled bowl, then turn the ball over, so the top has an oily layer & cover tightly with cling film. Place in a warm draught free place until doubled in size (about an hour).
Prepare the baking tins (or large tin if only using one) by placing some oil in the tin (approx 1tsp for a smaller tin) & then using your fingers (I like the squishy feeling – whilst also getting a cuticle treatment: multi tasking. Genius!!!) or using a piece of kitchen towel to completely cover the inside of the tin with a light slick if oil.
Talking of fingers, if you have long nails it’s probably easier to apply the oil with the kitchen cloth. It also probably means you look after your hands & nails & may not need a quick, olive oil cuticle treatment!!! Just saying, I NEED the treatment!!!!
If using a bread machine switch on to knead cycle to knock the dough back for a minute. With the dough in the bowl, remove the cling film & gently punch down (enjoy the soft enveloping feeling!)the dough to knock out the air bubbles & gently knead by hand for 2 minutes.

Half the focaccia dough.
Half the focaccia dough.

Divide the dough in two (or leave whole if making a larger Focaccia) using a sharp knife or a dough cutter.
Place half the dough into each tin (or all into one tin).

NOW is the absolutely BEST thing about making this type of bread (if you loved making mud pies when you where younger, or maybe still do – you’re going to LOVE this next bit!!!!!!).
Using your the heel of your hand, gradually press the dough out until it reaches the edges of the tin & is roughly the same thickness across the tin.

Check out my dimples!!!!
Check out my dimples!!!!

Next using your fingers, have great fun making lots & lots & lots of dimples in the dough – to give it the classic focaccia look.
Can you tell how much I really love that part. Sooo much fun!!!
Drizzle a little olive oil, sprinkle some sea salt flakes, (I use Maldon), the rest of the finely minced Rosemary, a grinding of pepper & the rest of the garlic (split over 2 tins if making 2 Focaccia loves).
Lightly oil some cling film:
TOP TIP: Using a clean wet cloth wipe some of your work surface so that it is damp – when you lay your cling film over the top it will lay flat & not attempt to attach itself to itself, you, random kitchen objects!! You can then easily spread a light coating of oil over the cling (using your hands – my fav, a pastry brush or some oil poured onto the cling & spread with kitchen paper).
I KNOW there’s oil in the dough, the tin has been oiled, you’ve just drizzled oil on top of the focaccia – JUST TRUST ME!!!
Most of the time you could get away with not oiling the cling, but – and it’s happened to me – it WON’T EVER STICK if you oil the cling!

The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect - so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!
The risen dough does lose some of the dimply effect – so if you want more dimples, repeat the process!!!!

Cover the top of the tin with the oiled cling (so it’s airtight) & leave in a warm, draught free place until doubled in size – OR – place the dough in the fridge, it will take longer to rise & the bread will develop a lovely flavour. It’s your dough – do whatever you fancy.
ANOTHER IMPORTANT TIP – I have successfully risen the dough slowly in the fridge, completely forgotten about it, so it quadruples in size, then knocked it back by recreating the dimpled effect, as before, left to rise & it’s turned out fine!!!!
Bake the focaccia in a preheated oven for 15 – 20 mins (longer if baking a one loaf), until a golden colour & still quite soft.
Remove from oven, take a deep breath, the smell is intoxicating, leave to cool for 10 mins in the tin, run round the outside with a palette knife until you can feel the loaf easing from the tin. Turn the bread out & place onto a cooling rack, repeat with second tin.

Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?
Please dunk me in some scrummy soup, pasta sauce or sausage casserole?

The bread will be marshmallowy soft & is fine to serve warm as is. Or cool, wrap in foil & freeze for up to one month.
If you prefer a slight crust to your focaccia, 10 mins before serving, place the bread directly on to the rack of a preheated oven (as for baking the dough) for 5 – 10 mins, depending on how crusty you like it.
Because this bread is thinner than a loaf, you can cut or tear the bread whilst still warm.
This bread goes with any dish you would normally serve garlic bread with. It also goes fantastically well with soup. Spicy vegetable, leek & potato are especially good with this bread. It is ideal for dunking!
One focaccia is plenty for our family of five, so I wrap in foil & freeze the other one.
A final VERY BIG THANK YOU to those of you who have looked at this post whilst it was unfinished. I’m sorry it took a while, but hope the finished blog was worth it.
THIS REALLY IS ONE OF THE EASIEST AND MOST IMPRESSIVE BREADS TO MAKE.
I really hope you give it a try. You can vary the herbs. I’ve used Thyme, Oregano & SHOCK/HORROR dried mixed herbs!!!!
Ooh I’m such a rebel!! But seriously, it works better with the woodier herbs (rather than parsley/fennel) mentioned. Soft herbs I find are better mixed with butter & oil, then slathered into a baguette/ciabatta (part bake baguettes work well for this!).
Until next time, I hope you have fun giving this recipe a go and enjoy feasting with whoever you share it with.
See you soon. Sammie xx

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