Saturday, 7 September 2013

Pimp your mashed potatoes

Another leisurely Saturday coming to an end. I have done nothing except a little bit of cleaning, and spent the rest of the day crafting. More correctly, I have spent the day stamping, but I have only managed to put together one card. Everything else is in a big mess on my table but I'm a bit short of inspiration right now (see pic of the chaos that is my craft room below). But I need to keep my hands busy. I am going through a weird patch of melancholia. It must be the fall coming, and the thought of a long, dark winter ahead. And things at work are rather stressful.

However, I'm trying to focus on the bright sides. We have a tenant for the Bachelor Pad, and the re-decoration is almost finished. The remaining things that need to be done are small DIY stuff that I can't help with, so I have been freed from DIY duty. And even better, I finally managed to join a gym last week. Based on my first visit yesterday I'm rather impressed. We had to do a gym induction with a gym employee who can't have been more than 18 years old and looked like she would rather have been anywhere else. But the actual gym is really nice. It's a council gym, so I had my doubts, but it has recently been completely refurbished and has completely new studios and gym equipment. And best of all, a spa with different saunas, steam rooms and "experience showers". Tomorrow I'm going for my first Les Mills class in three months, and I'm hoping and praying that the instructors are nice, as I am quite an instructor snob after being fortunate enough to get to work out with the most amazing Les Mills instructors over the last few years. I do feel like I'm cheating on them but I just couldn't drive all the way back to Cambridge for a gym session, and I would never have made it on time for the classes. While I'm really excited to get back to working out again, I know it will be a long and painful road to get back to where I was. But I really need to get a handle on my expanding figure, I can't let all the hard work I did go to waste.

Today's recipe is most certainly not one for the health conscious, but it is a nice treat for the weekend. If I remember correctly, the recipe is from a cooking class in high school. This recipe was from a girl who spent a year in the US as an exchange student. I think she said it was a Thanksgiving recipe. I have long since lost the original recipe, but I remember it was basically mashed potatoes with sour creme added in. I think the original recipe also had chopped chives in it, but I didn't have any chives handy when I made this so I have omitted them from the recipe.

Pimped up mashed potatoes (serves 4-6):
8 medium potatoes
25 g butter
250 g Crème fraîche (or sour cream)
salt to taste
(bread crumbs and/or grated cheese for topping)
Before going into the oven.

The howto:
Preheat oven to 200 degrees C/400 degrees F/gas mark 6. Peel potatoes and cut into small pieces. Cook in boiling water until soft. Drain water and mash. I like to keep my mash a bit lumpy as it adds texture, but feel free to go as wild with your masher as you like. Add butter, sour cream and salt and mix. Transfer to an oven proof dish and bake until golden on top, about 25-30 minutes. 

The verdict:
I went almost two years without buying a single potato. After starting to cook for my Culinary Consultant I have slipped back into bad habits, and have been known to enjoy a bit of potato every now and then. And I do like a simple mashed potato with just a bit of butter and salt, but this is so much better. The sour cream really adds a nice richness to the potatoes. I think sometimes I have also added a bit of cream cheese in the mix to make it even more decadent. I like to serve the potatoes with oven baked salmon, but they also work nicely with sausages or a meat stew.

Card of the day:
I made these cards for my trip to Finland a few weeks ago. One was for my good friend who got married, and the other is for my cousin who is getting married in a few weeks. I was very short of time so I had to make a really simple card to get it all done before my trip back home and I remembered seeing cards like this on Pinterest and thought they were a rather funny idea so I decided to give it a try. I fussycut all pieces using a template I drew freehand, and embossed the white dresses using Cuttlebug folders. I then sprayed them with Perfect Pear mist before adding the embellishments and attaching everything to the black cardstock. Very simple and quick.

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