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potatoes, the ultimate comfort food.
Member Name: teafan11
Advantages: cheap and versatile
Potatoes must be one of the most versatile vegetables there are. They can be cooked in so many ways, each being as tasty as the next. There is something so comforting about a bowl of onion and potato soup or bangers and mash. Potato is the ultimate in comfort food and is extremely economical. I buy mine in 25kg sack for £7.50 and they last a good six weeks. The varieties I opt for generally are a white Saxon, but I prefer Maris piper although these are a more expensive potato. If I were to list the varieties available I would fill an A4 page, the list would also include blue and purple varieties. Not what I would consider appealing, but they could be fun to put on you kids plate.
Instead I will tell you a little about the uses I put them too. First and foremost I cook them as a potato, roasted, mashed with butter and cream and sometimes with cheese (now I'm getting hungry!), chipped, baked and boiled. You can also posh them up making dauphinoise potatoes etc. But at home with kids simple is best. Another of my families favourite is soup, and I make a really tasty and homely potato and onion soup, by simply lightly frying onions in a little butter add mashed potatoes and stock and then add salt and pepper to taste. This is an easy recipe for these long cold nights and perfect for when the snow starts falling and I have cold little fingers and toes that need warming after making snowmen.
The potato is not just a great winter vegetable, as they make a great addition to a salad and you can make an absolutely fantastic potato salad for with a barbeque, just boil them until tender then add mayonnaise if you're in a hurry (or natural yoghurt and sour cream) with finely chopped chives and celery and salt and pepper to taste. You can also add diced crispy bacon, chopped spring onion or chopped boiled egg just before serving if you're feeling adventurous.
One of the other things I enjoy about this time of year is fireworks night, and coming home to hotdogs and a big jacket potato that's been cooking while we've been out is great; you open the door to the pleasant aroma which makes your mouth water. Once the potatoes are cooked which dependant on size take around an hour to bake at 180 degrees, I scoop out the fluffy potato into a bowl and add butter, cheese and chopped ham or any other combination that takes my fancy. I mix it up and then place it back in the skins and sprinkle more cheese on top and then lightly grill.....yummy!!
Another great idea for potatoes if you're a little strapped for cash is the classic potato pie which is an incredibly frugal, filling and nutritious meal. There is no real recipe that i use for this and I lightly boil potatoes' in stock and add any vegetables or meat I have in the fridge, if I don't have any I simple add onions and place in a pastry case and bake. It what I call an `all in` pie as I can use up any left overs so I don't need to throw them out.
Nutritional values per 250g:
Energy 188kcal -
Protein 5.25g -
Carbohydrates 43g -
Of which sugars 1.5g -
Fat 0.5g -
Of which saturates trace -
Fibre 3.25g -
Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6, are very low in sodium/salt and are a great source of fibre. They also contain lots of vitamins and minerals. They are a very starchy food that is high in carbohydrates. Potatoes contain enough vitamins and minerals to sustain a person if they are supplemented by milk and butter which contain vitamins A and D, these are the only vitamins that a potato lacks, not bad hey?? However I would ere on the side of caution and not follow this particular diet as potatoes are high in carbohydrates that can cause substantial weight gain if eaten excessively. They do not count towards one of your five a day which is unfortunate, because it's such an adaptable vegetable that is both comforting and tasty.
Although not native to Britain, potatoes grow exceptionally well in our climate and they are surprisingly easy to grow at home in potato sacks, so I've been told, I'm going to try sowing them in February, so wish me luck!!!
Potatoes are best left in the ground, if you are growing them at home; until needed, but if you purchase them they are best stored in a cool, dry and dark place with ventilation, that way rot is kept to a minimum, if you discover a few bad potatoes remove them immediately and check the surrounding potatoes.
Of course there is also the sweet potato, which may also be referred to as yams, they taste brilliant roasted and then mini marshmallows sprinkles on top. They also make a fantastic sweet pie (more of a tart really). It resembles an egg custard tart and is a mixture of evaporated milk and mashed, cooked sweet potato, with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. It makes a fantastic Christmas dessert with a big dollop of cream.
Summary: A wonderfully comforting and nutrtious food.