Monday, 21 May 2007

Meal Number 1 - Mashed Potatoes, Gammon and Onion

Difficulty rating: 7/13

This meal is a nice one for beginners and the more experienced student cooks alike. It only uses two pans on the hob making it a lot easier to keep an eye on so things don't get out of control and you end up either burning your food or, worst case scenario, burning your house down (which will almost certainly burn your dinner in the process as well!)

What you will need for this meal:

Potatoes - Not sure on quantity, more than a handful definitely. but not too many! its so easy to cook too many and if you end up mashing them you could get the mash sickness so be careful! unfortunately judging potato quantities is not something which can be taught - you can only learn through experience.

Gammon - A lot easier this. One piece of Gammon.

Onion - I like to use a good third of an orange sized onion. You need a lot of onion as it adds colour to an otherwise dull plate.

Step 1:
Fill the kettle with water and put it on, while thats boiling peel your spuds. When they've been peeled chop them up fairly small so they cook quicker (Thats two good tips straight away, aren't you glad you took the time to read this?) then bung the potatoes in a pan add the boiling water and put on a high heat on the hob, I usually add a pinch of salt at this point to liven them up a bit.

Step 2:
Put some oil or butter in the frying pan and then put the gammon in on a low to medium heat. After you have started this chop the onion ready for the next stage. Now you need to let the gammon and spuds cook for a few minutes, remembering to turn the gammon over now and again. Very important that bit! To pass the time I sometimes flick through a newspaper or read a menu from the chinese down the road and imagine what I could be eating instead. Add the onions after about 10 minutes.

Step 3:
After about 12 minutes, if you have cut the spuds small enough, they should be done. What you do then is drain the water, add some butter and salt, and mash! Once mashing is done the gammon and onions should be ready to go on the plate. Before you do this, remember: Presentation is 35% of cooking.

As you can see from the picture, for a bit of fun I decided to go with a face theme. The gammon is the face itself, the mash is beautiful blond curly hair, onions for eyes and to finish it off I used tomato sauce for the mouth.

A good meal by anyone's standards this. Mum will be so proud.