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Growing Your Own Fruit and Vegetables

We grow our own fruit and vegetables for our meals for as much of the year as we can. Without a greenhouse we have to buy shop food in the winter months but in the spring, summer and autumn we often have enough to share with family and friends.

Read about growing your fruit and vegetables here on my growing your own food pages.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Potatoes for Cooking Mash,easy recipe, how to make shepherd's pie.

If you grow your own potatoes you will want to make the most of them when you cook them. There are many ways to cook potatoes but if you want to get the best from the potatoes that you cook then knowing that there are different varieties and types of potatoes helps.
Some potatoes are classed as being waxy in texture and others floury texture when cooked. 
It helps if you know about this as it saves the classic beginner cooks mistake of boiling the potatoes until they disintegrate in the saucepan. the potatoes most likely to fall apart when over-cooked are the floury types. 
Waxy types of potatoes are good for salads as they hold there shape well when cooked.
Floury types of potatoes are good for: 
You may also notice that different varieties of potatoes are different 'shades' of white/off white when peeled; some are almost yellowy in color and some are pure white this is due to the variety of the potato. You can even get some fancy varieties of potatoes that are an interesting shade of blue, however most people are more interested in the taste than the color of the potatoes on their plate. having said this their are a few varieties of potatoes that can go a bit grey if left when cooked and it might be best not to use these for some meals especially if you are not planning to serve them straight away.
Making Mashed Potatoes.
Mash potatoes are a variation on boiled potatoes, once they are cooked you simply mash them with a potato masher or a wooden spoon or fork if a masher is not available. 
You then add sufficient milk and butter to turn them into a smooth tasty texture. Season to taste or let the diners add their own. For more luxurious mashed potato add cream to the mash and beat it in.
Mash potatoes can be put into an oven-proof dish and textured up on the top with a fork before placing in the oven or under the grill to crisp and brown the surface of the mash.

How to make cheese and potato pie and shepherd's pie.

this is a really easy recipe,useful for last moment meals and a good student recipe as there is not a lot of washing up to do.
  • Cook the potatoes, by boiling them.
  • Mash the potatoes as described above.
  • To the mash potato add grated cheese; the quantity and type of cheese depends on your own tastes, but try not to use a cheese that goes stringy when cooked.
  • Put it into an oven-proof dish and crisp the top surface under the grill or in the oven.
You can make the dish in advance store it in the fridge then heat it through and brown it when you are ready to eat it. Remember not to put 'pyrex type' glass dish straight from the cold fridge into a hot oven or under a grill - the thermal shock shatters the glass

Shepherd's Pie.

If you are cooking for meat eaters - use lamb mince (although any mince will make this dish).
For vegetarians this dish works well with Quorn type mince.
To make the shepherd's pie you need cooked mince and save some of the stock for extra gravy and mash potato.
This meal is usually served with carrots and peas.
  • Cook your mince with cut up onions, To do this gently fry the sliced up onions in a little oil
i.e. saute them until translucent not browned add the mince and fry gently until brown.
  • Then cook the mince with a stock cube and enough water to cover.
  • Meanwhile cook the potatoes and make your mash potatoes up ready to use in this dish.
  • When the mince is cooked place it in the bottom of an oven proof-dish.
  • On top of the mince add the mashed potatoes.
  • Pattern the top of the potatoes with a fork into 'peaks' or ridges.
  • Brown the potatoes beneath the grill or place the dish in the oven to crisp the topping.
  • Make your left over stock into gravy to serve with the shepherd's pie.

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a healthy potato plant in flower

a healthy potato plant in flower
photo of potatoes in flower

home grown carrots.. grown from seed

home grown carrots.. grown from seed
photo of my first bunch of carrots 2009

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful

Even a small batch of mixed fruit can be useful
Home Grown Fruit can be made into delicious compote