We get through a lot of potatoes in this house. When we were engaged, several members of the family took me aside to tell me that Lucius didn't consider a meal to be a proper meal unless there were hot potatoes. This makes for a lot of last-minute work at a buffet party.
The problem is that everyone likes them done differently. Lucius likes plain boiled best, and roast potatoes. The boys also like them roasted. So do the girls, but they like little new potatoes in their skins cooked in olive oil with a couple of anchovies chucked in. I like those too. Eleanor likes mashed potato best, which makes Lucius pull a face, as he thinks it's a waste of a good potato. Lettice likes mash, too, but she likes it to have some sort of flavouring - olive oil, or grainy mustard, or pesto. I'd happily do without potatoes, although I do like the occasional bit of mash.
This week, Eleanor finished her final piece of work for her degree (drama and education), and came home to flop. So dinner was roast chicken with mash ("What, no roast potatoes?" said Alfred, indignantly). Plain mash. I make it with a good lot of skimmed milk, and the result is creamy, if that doesn't sound like a contradiction in terms.
I always make too much. On purpose. It's so useful to have cold mash in the fridge - to top a pie, to make farls of potato cake to eat for breakfast with bacon, or just to reheat. It can be a little forlorn, reheated mashed potato. But not if you mix it with pesto ... a great dollop of it, so that the mash is a lovely pea green. Then cover the dish, and put it in a hot oven for 20-30 minutes. Bliss.
I've posted this as an entry for Heart of the Matter 4, this time on the theme of vegetables. Also because a couple of people asked me what to do with pesto sauce once you'd made it. And because I wanted to say that the pesto I made this week is the most delicious I've ever tasted - because I've only ever eaten bought stuff before. Never again, if I can help it!
Labour of love - Mr. C. - doing sterling work in the borders, as I write - recommends Weeds, Weeding (& Darwin): The Gardener's Guide by William Edmonds. 'Know your enemy' is...
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