Marvellous Mash

I think I am obsessed with mashed potato! As mum to a young son (who is 18 months old) I try to cook food that will appeal to both of us.

My staple at the moment seems to be potato mashed with Laughing Cow cheese and butter, served with baked beans. Not a culinary masterpiece but Isaac loves it!

It is now my mission to make some new variations on mash and to serve it with other things for a change. I have looked back at some of our previous books and found some unusual suggestions. In fact one of our recipe writers has suggested a lovely twist on mash for our next cookbook – you will have to wait and see what that is!

The quality of potato makes a huge difference to taste. I had a delicious variety a while back called Anya. Anya was specially bred on the banks of the river Tay just outside Dundee and is a result of a cross between Pink Fur Apple and Desiree potatoes. Lord Sainsbury’s gardener grew the new variety for the first time in 1995, and liked it so much that he suggested it be called Anya after Lady Sainsbury!

How delightful and how many of us can say we have had a potato named after us?!

Have you tasted Champ mashed potatoes? Try it, I think you’ll love it.

Can you suggest your favourite potato variety for mash, and what do you add to yours?


The ultimate mashed potato recipe

Wonderful Champ mashed potatoes

Spring onions transform ‘ordinary’ mashed potatoes into something rather special.

Serves 2

Potatoes 450g (1lb), peeled and quartered
Spring onions 5, trimmed and finely sliced
Milk 150ml (1/4 pint)
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Double cream 60ml (2fl oz)

Potatoes 450g (1lb), peeled and quartered
Spring onions 5, trimmed and finely sliced
Milk 150ml ( ¼ pint)
Unsalted butter 50g (2oz)
Double cream 60ml (2fl oz)

1 Boil potatoes for 15-20 minutes in salted water until tender when tested with a knife.

2 Soften spring onions in simmering milk for 2-3 minutes, drain.

3 Drain and dry potatoes over a low heat. Cover with a lid and shake to start breaking up.

4 Add butter and cream, a little at a time, while mashing the potatoes. Season and mash until fluffy and creamy. Stir in spring onions and serve.

Find more scrumptious recipes in the Dairy Cookbooks.

Hand-made Birthday Cards

Hand-made birthday card

Hand-made birthday card

One of this week’s tasks for the Dairy Diary was great. I escaped copy-writing and management for a day and got my teeth into some card-making.

It was hard to believe I got paid for having so much fun!

For the 2011 Dairy Diary I am putting together a feature on how to make inexpensive cards. I managed to make use of old ribbons, buttons and even wool that I have leftover at home. They looked pretty good when I had finished them (if I do say so myself!)

In the future I am going to try and be really thrifty and save lots of odds and ends in a craft box to use on hand-made cards. Whether I will actually find to time to make another card who knows!

As I was working from home I took to opportunity to test one of the recipes for the 2011 Dairy Diary too – Tasty Tomato Potatoes – easy, healthy and yummy. Try it and tell me what you think.

Do we have any budding card-makers out there and what inexpensive (or free) materials do you use for your craft projects?

Tasty Tomato Potatoes

Tasty Tomato Potatoes

Tasty Tomato Potatoes

Baked potatoes filled with a delicious tomato, onion and cheese filling. Mmmmm.

Time 35 mins
Serves 4

Baking potatoes 4
Butter 25g (1oz)
Tomatoes 4, skinned and finely chopped
Spring onions 6, trimmed and sliced
Cheddar cheese 175g (6oz), grated
Double Gloucester cheese 50g (2oz), grated
Eggs 2, beaten

1 Preheat the oven the 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Cook the potatoes in the microwave for 5 minutes. Then bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

2 Melt butter in a small pan, add tomatoes and onions and cook for 5 minutes until softened, stirring, until most liquid has evaporated.

3 Mix cheese and eggs together, add to pan and stir continuously over a low heat until thickened.

4 Split open each baked potato and top with cheese mixture.

Find more scrumptious recipes in the Dairy Cookbooks.

Easy Peasy Pasta

I had a call from a Dairy Cookbook regular last week, who enquired where to buy the bruschetta topping used in the pizza recipe on page 60 of Clever Cooking for One or Two.

This is available from Waitrose (Bruschetta topping in olive oil) and Tesco (Tomato and basil bruschetta topping).

We then got chatting about sauces in jars, specifically sauces for pasta. I must admit, I have never found one that I am totally satisfied with (except pesto) and I much prefer to make my own.

My favourite for a really speedy meal is to stir some low fat cream cheese into cooked pasta and to heat it gently with one or two tablespoons of pesto sauce.  I then season well with black pepper and add some steamed or stir-fried vegetables (great for using up leftover veg). Not only is this quick but it’s healthy too.

We would love to hear your easy pasta sauce suggestions. Which ready-made sauces do you enjoy and what tips do you have for simple home-made sauces?

While you are thinking about your pasta suggestions try our easy One-Pan Pasta recipe.

One-pan Pasta for One

One pan pasta for one

One pan pasta for one

A delicious and nutritious one-pan pasta meal for one that takes just 30 minutes to prepare and cook.

Taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two, Dairy Cookbook.

Preparation time 5 minutes
Cooking time 25 minutes
Calories per portion 620 Kcal
Fat per portion 19g
of which saturated 3.8g

Serves 1

Oil 1 tbsp
Skinless chicken breast fillet 1 (approximately 200g (7oz)), chopped
Courgette 1 small, trimmed and roughly chopped
Red pepper 1 small, deseeded and sliced
Garlic 1 clove, peeled and crushed, optional
Chopped tomatoes 227g can
Boiling water 150ml (1/4 pint)
Pasta shapes 50g (2oz)
Pesto sauce 1 tbsp
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and add the chicken breast. Cook the chicken for 1–2 minutes, turning it occasionally, then add the courgette and red pepper, and the garlic, if using. Cook over a medium heat for 5–7 minutes, until the vegetables have softened, stirring regularly.

2 Add the canned tomatoes and boiling water and bring the mixture to the boil. Add the pasta to the pan and cook over a medium heat for about 15 minutes or until the pasta is tender. Stir the mixture occasionally, particularly as it starts to thicken, so that it does not catch and burn on the base of the pan.

3 Stir in the pesto sauce and season to taste before serving with green salad or crusty bread.

Cook’s tip
If the sauce starts to thicken too much, then add a little boiling water. Different pastas absorb different amounts of liquid, which is why it may be necessary to add more water.

Shopper’s tip
Any pasta shape can be used in this recipe, but it works particularly well with trottole or spirals.

Taken from Clever Cooking for One or Two, Dairy Cookbook

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