Tag Archives: Water

Recipe: Speedy Mashed Spuds

Some Cheesy Mashed Spuds
Elly's favourite Mashed Spuds, Cheesy

Ingredients;

200g peeled potatoes per person
A knob of butter
A splash of milk or cream
Salt

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This method for making mash is based on my Dad’s method. After my Mum got ill and subsequently passed away in 2007, he had to learn a lot about cooking in a fairly short period of time as Mum had always cooked for him.

Being a man that loves his spuds he quickly learnt that the smaller you chop the potatoes the faster they cook (to a point) and not wanting to wait for long when he got in from work in the evening he experimented until he came up with the optimal size.

He would usually peel and chop the potatoes into roughly 1 inch cubes before going to work in the morning or over his lunch hour and leave them in a saucepan covered with water until he arrived home in the evening. I usually let mine sit for half an hour to an hour, before draining the water and covering them again with cold water, and adding a large pinch of salt.

Get the saucepan onto the cooker at the highest heat. Put the lid on the pan and when the water starts to boil bring the heat down so that the water is at a good simmer.

After about 5 minutes test the potatoes with a skewer or tooth pick. Do this by pushing it into a few different potato cubes, the skewer should slide through relatively easily with the same resistance all the way, if this is the case they’re done, if you find it goes in part way and then needs more force, they will need some more time. But always test a few as some can take little longer than others.

Once the potatoes are done, remove them from the heat and drain the water off. Take some kitchen roll and cover the drained drained potatoes with 2-3 sheets of this and leave them to stand for 4-5 minutes. This helps to remove some of the moisture from the potatoes making for better mash.

Finally, remove the kitchen paper, add a knob of butter, a splash of milk or cream and mash the potatoes until smooth, this is not an exact science so you may need to add a little more milk or cream to get them smooth. Taste them and season with salt as required and your ready to serve.

I have been known to add fresh chopped chives or spring onions (when I have them) at the mashing stage (Elly likes to add grated cheddar) for extra flavour.

Recipe: Pizza Base

A naked uncooked Pizza base

Ingredients;

1kg of strong white bread flour
1 teaspoon of sea salt
2 x 7g packets of dried yeast
1 tablespoon of golden caster sugar
4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
625ml of tepid water (tepid = 2 parts cold to one part boiling)
1 handful of cornmeal

Makes 6-8 Pizza bases

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Sieve the flour and salt into a large bowl or onto a clean work surface and make a well in the middle of it.

Mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork (or your hands) start to stir the liquid in the well while bringing in the flour until the dough starts to come together. Then work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour or until the dough has doubled in size.

Now place the dough on a flour-dusted surface and knead it around for a 2-3 minutes to push the air out. As you are doing this, work the dough into a giant sausage shape. Divide the dough into six or eight pieces (eight if you like a thin and crispy base) and put them to one side.

Take one of the portions and make it into a ball, then stretch that into a roundish shape about 3-4 inches across and place on a floured surface and grab your rolling pin. Rolling away from you and turning the pizza regularly, roll the pizza base out until it is thin (about an eighth of an inch or less) then flour the pizza base and place on a baking tray lined with cling film – if you don’t have a suitably-sized baking tray, you can substitute with a chopping board or any flat surface that will fit in your freezer.

Fold the cling-film back over the top of the pizza base ready for the next one to be placed on top and repeat until all the portions have been rolled out.

At this point, you can dress one of the pizza bases (simply using passata and cheese) on a baking tray or preferably a pizza stone, either way you will need to sprinkle some cornmeal on before placing the pizza on it to prevent it from sticking.

Then place in a hot oven (approx 220 degrees C) for about 8-10 minutes and enjoy.

You can wrap the cling-filmed pile of bases in tinfoil and put them flat in your freezer to be used later.  The bases, once dressed, will cook from frozen in 8-10 mins as well – perfect for a quick dinner when coming home late from work.