Scientific Mashed Potato
On leaving home for the first time I was keen to speed up the time taken to make mashed potato, it was better tasting and healthier than the instant mashed potato of the time, but took too long. I decided to graph the length of time that different sizes of raw potato took to cook; as the surface area of the potato was increased the smaller the pieces of potato were, and this should lead to faster cooking times. A faster cooking time would mean that more flavour would be kept. I found that the ideal size of raw potato was one cubic centimetre, any bigger and the potato would take longer to cook, any smaller and the potato would break up, and taste of water. Professional chefs in the UK have done taste tests, and found that this is the best way of boiling potatoes.
Next came a taste test to see if adding water to the potato pan would make any difference to the final result. I found it unlikely that any salt in the water would penetrate a raw potato because they are so hard. And I was proven right. Why waste salt?
What you add to the mashed potato to taste is a matter of preference, but the science has been done.
A Simple Dessert
Banana Surprise is a simple dessert that is easy to master. The banana is marinated overnight in neat Whiskey, and is then served whole, with any syrup that is left from the marinating. This dessert does not look appetizing, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating. The taste of the whiskey improves the taste of the banana, while the banana improves the taste of the whiskey. A woman I met in Scotland who works in a whiskey distillery was interested in this phenomena, and promised to get back to me on her research into the matter, but did not. So perhaps bananas are being used as flavour enhancers now! A maximum of two Banana Surprises should be the limit, even thought they are moreish. This recipe has won cookery competitions, but has also lead to alcoholism in one of the judges, so be warned. Do not drive after eating this dessert.
For this recipe, just follow your favourite recipe for Sherry Trifle, but substitute Whiskey for the Sherry. This is a great recipe for parties, but definitely not for the children.
It is traditional to buy exotic cheeses at Christmas, but in our household they often get left until well after the celebrations before being eaten. My son, William, (when aged 9) came up with the idea of putting two different cheeses onto a cheese cracker, put another cracker on top to form a sandwich, and then microwave until the cheese has just melted. Great, that's my son.
The Top Secret Heinz Baked Beans Recipe Ingredient?
Heinz are able to sell their baked beans at a higher price than other companies because of their special ingredient; it is kept secret from everybody, including their employees. But because Heinz has to say on the food label the list of ingredients and nothing was there, I guessed that it was another foodstuff. The first thing that came to mind was brown sauce, which I added to a cheaper make, and it was far more like the Heinz version of this popular meal. Now we too can improve our beans and yet still pay less for them. And perhaps even develop a simple recipe that tastes even better than the original, I like ground pepper in mine.
On The Perfection of Punch
We all have our own recipes for Punch, but what brings the best out in them is to use fresh fruit, and liquidise the fruit with the rest of the ingredients; this makes for a better taste, and the fruit is distributed more evenly throughout the drink. Non-Alcoholic Punch is just as nice as Alcoholic Punch using the liquidiser.
Halal/Kosher Devil's on horseback
Christmas is not complete without Devil's on horseback on the big day, and I came up with the idea of wrapping a beef sausage with vegetarian bacon for a family occasion, the taste is better than the original pork sausage wrapped with bacon. This is a must-try.
Medicinal Ice Cream
Many people complain of stomach problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. You can get a recipe for Mint Choc Chip off the internet. Just take out the sugar from the recipe, use dark chocolate chips instead of the regular milk chocolate chips, and then add fresh mint. Bung it all into an ice cream maker. The dark chocolate gives a boost to mood when you are not feeling well, and mint has been known to relieve stomach pains for a long time, so you will find that you feel much better afterwards.
One Christmas my son, William, mixed three flavours of Shloer as a non-alcoholic drink, and came up with 50% Rosé, 40% Red Grape, and 10% White Grape as the perfect mix, we hope you like it.
Champagne is still recognised as an expensive luxury for most people, but a cheap substitute can quickly be made at home if you are an owner of a SodaStream device, which normally adds carbon dioxide to water in a process that ends up with fizzy drinks for children. In this case, we substitute the water for a cheap bottle of wine, and carbonate it using the SodaStream. This causes leaks so catch the leaks with a drip tray such as a plate. You will find that the carbon dioxide improves the flavour of the wine, but you will get better results by spending a little bit more on the wine. Home made “champagne” can be made from red wine, which is a first. Two glasses is the recommended intake for your inhibitions!