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Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

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default Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Sparhawk on 9th June 2010, 9:29 pm

According to just about everyone that I have cooked for I am a fairly acceptable cook (unfortunately something that Lady S found out about at a very early stage in our relationship ) & am quite capable of turning out quite complicated meals including inventing new recipes, & wandering off the narrow confines of recipes that I am supposed to be following...

But,

Even I have trouble with one simple item - boiled potatoes - no matter what I do they just don't turn out like boiled potatoes & normally transform into mash, which of course when dished up I was planning all along ...

Is there something really basic that anybody else would like to share with everyone & please do reply if you have any tips to help sort out these woes... If you don't want to admit to it you could always tell us about the problems "a friend" has ...

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"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Dandelion on 9th June 2010, 9:54 pm

Have you tried different varieties of potato? 'King Edward' tastes lovely but goes to mash very easily (but is great for things like roasties). Desiree, Wilja or Marfona are better for boiled potatoes if you can get them. Boil gently for 20 minutes, and keep checking to make sure they don't overcook.

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Sparhawk on 9th June 2010, 10:00 pm

Yes tried loads, all to no avail ...

................................................................................................................................
"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Compostwoman on 9th June 2010, 10:40 pm

Steam them? That usually does the trick...and saves energy if you cook other stuff in the pan as well.

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 9th June 2010, 10:47 pm

Maybe don't boil them so long and use a timer and keep checking them with a fork?

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Sparhawk on 9th June 2010, 11:20 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:Maybe don't boil them so long and use a timer and keep checking them with a fork?

Not tried steaming them thanks CW will give it a try sometime,
Billy, I have tried not boiling so long, they are then undercooked, & using a timer but surely the how long do you boil a potato for is the same as the how long is a piece of string,
& believe it or not I do test them too...

................................................................................................................................
"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 10th June 2010, 12:13 am

Try couscous.

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Dandelion on 10th June 2010, 4:42 pm

I've been thinking about the potato dilemma while invigilating GCSEs today - the time when I have the same problem is when I boil them at the bottom of the steamer and forget about them. It also occurred to me that regional/soil/climate differences in the growing conditions can affect the way that potatoes cook (on the allotment we had many years ago we managed to grow waxy- type potatoes which went to mush in the pan!)
...or try couscous

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Chilli-head on 10th June 2010, 4:58 pm

How bizarre. Surely mist be a variety thing - if you can turn a waxy salad-type potato (say Anya) into mush something is wrong !

But as an aside, why not boil potatoes with their skin on ? A trick I picked up from Madhur Jaffery's book. It helps keep the vitamins in, the water out, and holds it all together. The skins can be peeled off easily by hand after they've cooled a little (If you have already have fireproof fingers through lots of electronic soldering like me, it helps ). The amount you peel off is much less that way too, and both blight spores and eyes are killed before it ends up in the compost.
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Guest on 10th June 2010, 5:14 pm

Are you up a mountain Sparkawk???!!! If not...
I agree with C-Head about cooking with skins on but...
Having experience Wood-troll cooking can I suggest you may be boiling them not simmering. Use lowest gas, lid on.
Test with a knife as it is sharp, because the potato is cooked when it is still firm.
We have potatoes over here that resist the testing and I know my family have encountered this in the UK too and the answer is to take a sample out, cut a piece off and taste it. This shows if it is acceptably cooked, which it will be despite its apparent firmness.
Also salt the water.

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Compostwoman on 10th June 2010, 7:10 pm

I suspect Zoe is right and you may be boiling them....

having said that, sone vairieties DO go to mush afap.

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Sparhawk on 10th June 2010, 7:42 pm

Hmm, thanks all, I like couscous, unfortunately the Hawklets don't but there are a couple of suggestions that I can take away & try...

Won't say which though...

................................................................................................................................
"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Dandelion on 10th June 2010, 8:52 pm

After all that, I forgot the potatoes tonight, cooked them too long and had to mash them!!

................................................................................................................................
The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Sparhawk on 10th June 2010, 9:18 pm

Dandelion wrote:After all that, I forgot the potatoes tonight, cooked them too long and had to mash them!!

Been there, done that, got lots of spare tee shirts...

................................................................................................................................
"the luxuries of civilisation satisfy only those wants which they themselves create..."
The Worst Journey In The World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard (1922)

"Fleeing from the Cylon tyranny, the last Battlestar, Galactica,
leads a ragtag, fugitive fleet, on a lonely quest—for a shining planet known as Earth."
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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Compostwoman on 11th June 2010, 12:54 am

Couscous

lots of honey, tomato and raisins...CG eats it, no worries....

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default Re: Can't Cook, Won't Cook...

Post by Guest on 11th June 2010, 6:05 pm

Yesterday's meal was a plateful of new potatoes (mangetout and broad beans on top). The new potatoes cook very quickly as their water content is very high straight out of the ground.

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