Preparing and cooking potatoes

 One of our most versitile foods is the fantastic potato. Who doesn’t like them, whether it be as chips, roast spuds, mashed, boiled or added to dishes
Potatoes are very easy to prepare and cook and can be used in a variety of dishes.    

They can be:    

  • boiled
  • baked
  • fried
  • roasted
  • barbecued
  • microwaved
  • added to casseroles
  • made into soup.

There are many varieties of potatoes and most supermarkets have brands of potatoes and the best way to cook them. If you like potatoes and have a family itis often better to buy in bulk so buy 10kgs instead of 2.5 to 3.0 kilo bags. Check the spuermarket for prices.    

TO SKIN OR NOT TO SKIN.
Most of the nutrition in potatoes is in the skin but when I was a child we always peeled our potatoes. Many potatoes  now sold are washed so it makes handling and cleaning them much easier.
New potatoes are very tasty with the skin on. However if you are mashing potatoes it is often nice to
peel them.    

PEELING POTATOES.
Use a potato peeler or small sharp knife to peel off the skin, don’t go too deep. Remove any marks or eyes from the potatoes.(supermarkets and department stores will sell potato peelers).    

WASHING POTATOES.
Scrub potatoes with a small brush, or rub with your hand, under running cold water if you are cooking them with the skin on.    

VOLUME OF POTATOES.
Cut potato into medium size pieces    

  •  2-4 pieces per adult.
  •  1-2 pieces per child.

BOILING POTATOES.    

INGREDIENTS    

Potatoes  2- 4 pieces per person    

Once you have peeled and or washed the potatoes place them in a pot and cover with cold water. Make sure all the potato pieces are of similar sizes so they all cook at the same time. Add salt to the water,about 1 teaspoon if you have a pot feeding five people or less if using smaller amounts. You can always add extra salt once cooked.
Put the pot on the element and turn onto high, once they start boiling turn the element down to low and lift the lid slightly until cooked. To check they are cooked insert a knife into the potato, once cooked the knife should go through the potato easily.
Once cooked drain the water off the potatoes and serve.
When boiling potatoes you can add fresh mint leaves to the water. Remove before serving.
 
Options for serving
1. Eat as they are.
2. Place on plate and cut in half and add a knob of butter to each potato.
3. Leave in pot, add some butter and fresh parsley, stir and serve.
4. Leave in pot, add a tablespoon of basil pesto, stir and serve.
MASHED POTATOES    

INGREDIENTS                                                                                  

Mashed Potato

Mashed Potato

    

Potatoes 2-4 pieces per person
1 Tablespoon butter
Milk    

Peel and cook potatoes the same way as for boiling.
Once cooked drain the potatoes. Leave in pot and using a potato masher, mash potatoes up until all the lumps of potato are mashed. Add a tablespoon of butter and a splash of milk. Using a fork mix until white and creamy. Add more milk if needed but different types of potato may retain more moisture than others so require less milk.    

Serve potato.
Options for serving
1. Eat as they are.
2. Once mashed add a teaspoon of garlic (or more depending on taste)
3. Once mashed add some grated parmesan cheese (or other cheese)
4. Once mashed add a tablespoon of basil pesto (according to taste) Beware there will be a green tinge to the potato.
5. Once mashed add some finely chopped onion.    

Mashed potato can be used on a variety of dishes for toppings.    

BAKED POTATOES.
 
Large Potatoes (1 per person, unless you are very hungry).    

Wash potatoes and leave the skin on. Bake in the oven at 200 C for 1 hour.    

Remove from oven and cut in half. Add butter and eat.    

STUFFED BAKED POTATOES.    

Cook as above for baked potatoes. Once cooked cut in half.
Scoop out potato being careful not to break skin of the potato. The potatoes will be hot, hold with a clean cloth or glove.
Put potato in a bowl and mash it up with a fork or potato masher.
Add toppings (see below for ideas) and mix together. Place potato and toppings back into potato skins, place in a oven dish and put back into oven and cook until toppings heated through then eat.    

TOPPINGS.
1.Finely chopped or grated onion, grated cheese, finely sliced ham and chopped tomato.
2.Finely chopped mushroom, red capsicum 1 tablespoon of basil pesto, grated cheese.
3.Finely chopped ham and pineapple and grated cheese.
4.Finely chopped salami or sausage, tomato or sun dried tomatoes and spring onion.    

There are many other toppings you could use for your baked potatoes.    

Potatoes are versatile, easy to cook and lovely to eat in a variety of ways. These are just afew options for cooking potatoes, there are many more which I will cover over the next few months.    

Next week the onion.
Happy cooking and eating.

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    […] and mash some potatoes (see Preparing and cooking potatoes). Place Bolognese sauce in an oven proof dish, spread with mashed potato and top with grated […]


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