Thursday, April 29, 2010


Wikipedia tells me that potatoes are the world’s fourth largest food crop, after rice, wheat and maize; and that nearly a third of the world’s potatoes are harvested in China and India! The average global citizen, over the last decade, will have consumed 33kg of potatoes per year.

I remember, with delight, that as a child I went to firework displays and stood round the bonfire burning my fingers and mouth on baked potatoes, but I have never baked a potato in foil, in the oven, in all my (many) years of cooking. I usually do them in the microwave in a little water, but they are just not the same cooked like that. From the oven they come out fluffy and the skin goes a bit crispy. What is the secret? Maybe it’s best that I never find out, otherwise I would be cooking them every day!

A few years ago the potatoes in this country were packaged and labeled as ‘suitable for’, so I could buy potatoes specifically for baking or mashing or chips or boiling. That labeling seems to have fallen away and our supermarkets now stock potatoes graded only by size. I like to buy the ‘medium’ size (about the size of a tennis ball), they usually weigh about 120gms each which is a handy portion for one person. If you mash them, of course, they shrink before your eyes and it looks like you should’ve cooked two per person instead of one.

I’ve recently been experimenting with mashed potatoes and found that they bulk up very nicely and look and taste more interesting if you combine them with something else. By adding white beans you can retain the texture and colour while adding to the flavour. Peas and mint, broad beans or soya beans change the texture and colour, and keep the kilocalories/kilojoules down. Spinach is very good too, but then you should ‘crush’ rather than mash. Try leaving the skins on, too (anything to save peeling!)

If you want creaminess in your mash, reach for natural fat free yoghurt or smooth cottage cheese, or a little bit of low fat mayo. Add some spices – nutmeg is very good and wholegrain mustard makes an interesting addition. And a teaspoon of baking powder in your mash is supposed to make it light and fluffy.

You know how left over mash picks up a funny taste in the fridge? Mash in some sweet potato and that taste won’t appear.


VENICE. said...


Sphinx said...

Thanks for your visit, Venice. I hope you find lots of information here.