Sometimes cookery is about carefully following a recipe but often it’s a joyful improvisation instead. To improvise well, you need to know the materials you’re working with and, crucially, you also need to know when to stop.
I was very pleased with the potatoes I cooked up to accompany our smoked mackerel and salad for dinner yesterday. Originally the idea was to have mashed potatoes and, as is my my wont, I decided to add a little flavour to enhance them. Sometimes I just use salt and pepper but, glancing at was in the fridge, I settled on a jar of capers in brine.
The potatoes had boiled for a few minutes and were now cooked although not completely melted, so I drained them off and added the chopped capers and a couple of slices of butter. In order to have the flavours well distributed round the mash, I swirled the mixture round with a spoon; that’s when I realised that they actually looked fairly appetising as they were – boiled potatoes, flavoured and smashed around so that they were beginning to lose their edges but far from mashed.
And, so, that’s my latest recipe. Proceed as for mashed potatoes, add some flavour, mix it round and then STOP… delicious!