Sunday 15 February 2015

Cheese & Mashed Potato Comfort Food

It's absolutely comfort food season right now. All I want to do is hibernate under my duvet and eat stodgy, greasy food - preferably bought to me by someone else. But actually, cooking is a really nice thing to do on a cold day. It doesn't involve going outside, and slaving over a hot oven is pretty pleasurable when you're chilled to the bone. By the time you sit down to eat, you're toasty and satisfied - and you have a good, home cooked meal awaiting you.

Today's recipe isn't a difficult one, nor is it particularly calorific - but it does tick my stodgy comfort food boxes, as it's basically just potatoes and cheese. It's adapted from a recipe I found in the book Pie! by Genevieve Taylor, which I got as part of a set along with Stew! and Mince! Despite the 'states-the-obvious' names, they're actually really good cookbooks, full of recipes that make me go 'Ooooh, I want to make that!' which is generally what I want to get out of a recipe book.
They're on sale at the Book People right now for £7.99 for all three, a pretty awesome deal. S'where I got em.

I'm actually trying to challenge myself to cook more from recipe books. I tend to find most recipes online - I'm a Pinterest junkie, so constantly have a list on the go of ones I want to try - but I'll also do a quick search if I have something to use up or an ingredient I want to experiment with. But I also have a stack of recipe books that I never use, so my mission this year is to use them more. I'm going to try and do at least one recipe a month from a recipe book, which doesn't sound too difficult... so we'll see. I guess this one counts, even though I've changed it quite a lot from the original recipe!

These quantities serve 4. If you're not cooking for 4, I recommend either halving the recipe or popping the other half in the fridge, all made up and ready to be topped with cheese and to go in the oven for the final step. I'm not convinced this would freeze amazingly, but report back if you give it a go!

Cheese & Mashed Potato Comfort Food
4 baking potatoes
150g Danish Blue
10 x bacon medallions
200g x mature cheddar (I used Cathedral City Lighter Extra Mature)
4 tsp Lurpak Lighter
Splash of milk
Salt and pepper
1 red onion
2 cloves garlic
200g peas

1. Chop up your potatoes and boil for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through.
2. Grill your bacon until nice and crunchy.
3. Dry fry your onions with your garlic, and add any other veg you might fancy (mushrooms would probably be good)
4. When your veg is just about done, throw in your peas to heat through

5. Drain the potatoes and add the butter to them, then mash them well. You may need to add a splash of milk to the potatoes if they're dry - this will just ensure they're nice and smooth.

6. Break up your Danish Blue and stir it into the mash. It's a soft cheese and should dissolve quite quickly.

7. Throw your onions, garlic and peas (and any other veg you're using) into the mash, then chop up your bacon and throw that in too. Stir until well distributed.

8. Add salt and pepper if required, for taste.
9. Transfer the mixture to 4 oven proof dishes, or into one large dish if you're serving it all then and there.

10. Top with the cheddar (50g per dish) and bake for 20 minutes.

11. Serve with some veg on the side, and eat immediately.

This is such a simple dish, and one that I wasn't originally going to share (because it's so easy) until I was asked to on Instagram. But the nice thing with it is that it's really easy to customise. It's basically just cheesy mash, so have fun with it - use different cheeses or vegetables, or mix up the meat - I think this would be great with chorizo, for instance.

It works out at about 15PP if you're on Weight Watchers, but this can be reduced with less cheese or smaller portions.


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