Neeps and Tatties
A traditional accompaniment to the Haggis
Champit Tatties (A.K.A. Mash)
side staple veg
- 2lb tatties - 4 or 5 big ones
- 8oz butter
- 1 head garlic
Heat the oven to gas 5 or 6.
Scrub the potatoes, prick them and stick them in the oven for 1-1½ hours until they are soft.
Add the head of garlic.
The garlic will be ready after about half an hour when it is soft and starting to brown,
and certainly before it starts to ooze. Take it out, separate the cloves, snip off the stalk end,
and squeeze them out into a dish using the back of a heavy knife (or your fingers).
messy work, though if you're lucky the cloves will squidge out reasonably cleanly.
When the potatoes are cooked (and if they aren't then congratulations - you're about to make irretrievably lumpy mashed potatoes)
cut them in half and scrape them out with a spoon into a pan.
Keep the skins for filling with guacamole or sour cream, for baking leftover potato topped with cheese
or just for serving the mash in.
Crush the potatoes with a potato masher
then using the masher or a wooden spoon
gradually beat in the butter ,
add the garlic and loosen with a little cream, season, and serve.
Other things you can put in your potatoes:
- wild garlic tops
- no garlic
- melty cheese like Gruyère or Edam
- cream cheese
- eggs or egg yolks
- sour cream
- spring onions
- grated creamed coconut
- grated fresh horseradish
- lemon and thyme
- pumpkin and red onion
- butternut squash
- truffle oil
- minced black truffles
- olive oil, olives and cumin
- chopped preserved lime (pickled lime) & cheese - a surprisingly good topping for cottage pie
- crab or lobster and maybe a touch of lemon zest or Boursin
- celeriac or parsnips.
- yo' Mamma'
- 1 medium swede
- couple carrots
- butter, lots of butter
- golf-ball sized piece of ginger
- Grand Marnier
- salt and (white) pepper
- grating of nutmeg
Peel the turnip, cut it into chunks (about 1-2" is good), cover with water and set it on the stove to simmer.
Turnip takes quite a long time to become tender, if it ever does, depending on the size of your chunks.
20 minutes at least.
You will want it tender or it will be like mashing shoes.
Meanwhile peel and grate the ginger then fry it up gently in the butter until the harsh smell has gone,
the ginger starts to take some colour, and the butter starts to separate from it, but don't brown it!
Thoroughly drain the turnip (leave it to steam off a little in the dry pan),
then mash it up with the ginger butter and a nice glug of Grand Marnier.
Season with salt and white pepper. Dress with a grating of nutmeg. Serve.
Other things you could have with your mashed neeps:
- ginger powder instead of fresh
- no ginger
- caraway seeds
- orange (juice or peel)
- mustard oil (a nice aromatic oriental addition without being too foreign)
- cooked apple pieces (you could throw them in with the turnip half-way through)
- sweet potatoes. Allegedly
Lime And Thyme Mash
side staple veg
Mashed potatoes with lime and thyme.
Just a gentle note - it really is easier to mash overcooked rather than undercooked potatoes,
and simmering a lumpy mash in milk afterwards doesn't seem to recover the situation,
so if you aren't sure whether the potatoes are cooked, boil them for longer.
(Joël Robuchon boils his unpeeled potatoes for 20-30 minutes to make his famous purée de pommes de terre)
At least until they actually begin to disintegrate into the cooking water - and if you had left them in their skins as instructed
they should be protected from completely dissolving!
I first tried these on board yacht Erin (which is why I didn't even think about baking the spuds),
and poor Flora gave up trying to mash the lumps out.
Mind you, she seemed incapable of peeling them either, so maybe the incompetence was not all mine.
- 6 decent potatoes
- knob of butter
- milk or cream
- a large bunch thyme, stripped
- zest and juice of a lime
Cook the potatoes in their skin until they are well done and a knife goes easily in and out (about 15 minutes),
then allow them to cool slightly before scraping the peel off with a knife.
Allow the potatoes to dry off back in the pan, then heat a little milk or cream (if you like),
and mash them up with an enormous blob of butter as normal.
Finally add in the thyme leaves, the lime zest and juice, and season.
Apple Mashed Potato
side staple veg
I made this up to go with a pheasant stew
I quite like the general idea, but it didn't really work with the stew,
though it did make an excellent thickening agent when I ate the leftovers.
- some nice fat potatoes
- some apples
- butter, lots of butter
- a splash of calvados, cider or celery stock
While your nice fat potatoes are baking, peel, core and chop up an apple or two.
Put the apple pieces in a saucepan along with a few knobs of butter, a splash of cider or calvados, and a little celery stock.
Simmer until the apple softens and thickens, then mash or purée it.
Season with salt and pepper.
Mash the potato with as much of the apple as you like to flavour.
Mashed Potatoes with Pumpkin and Red Onion
side staple veg vegan
A nice seasonal variation on the universal mashed potato theme.
- 1 small pumpkin or other squash
- 1 small red onion
- 4-6 decent-sized potatoes
- whole head of garlic
Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6/200°C.
Halve the squash, scoop out the seeds, rub the cut with oil or butter and place cut-side-down in an oven tray.
Prick the potatoes and add to the tray (if there's room).
Bake in the oven for 1-½ hours.
Add the garlic after ½ hour.
Peel the red onion, halve it, divide each half into three leaving them attached at the root, then slice generously - about 1cm.
Soften in a generous amount of butter. Set aside.
When the pumpkin is golden and soft, scoop out the flesh and mash it or pass through a potato ricer.
When the garlic is soft or browned or starting to leak, squeeze each clove from the pointy end,
(or use a flat edge to press out the flesh) and mash or press through the ricer.
When the potatoes are crisp and browned, whack them with the edge of your hand to split them open,
break into halves or quarters and mash or press them through the ricer.
Mix everything together, not forgetting the onions, add more butter if necessary and season generously.
Decorate with some green herbs if you like.