My parents have been officially introduced the world of the food blogger and in particular the joys(?) of food photography. I have struggled with finding the best spot to take photos at Mum and Dad’s but have settled on the floor near the back door for now, much to my Dad’s horror. He is certain that one of the dogs is going to come up and eat his dinner. He has also been a bit grumbly about having to wait for his dinner while it gets photographed.
Quite a few photographers make the food well before their meal time to get good light and then reheat at meal time. But I don’t want this food blog to take away the pleasure of eating lovely fresh food so I tend to snap just before I eat. It means the food might not be quite piping hot but it hasn’t been reheated and I am not wasting any food. That is not to say I never reheat and some dishes like this lamb keema taste better the next day when the flavours have been allowed to develop in the fridge or freezer.
A very long time ago I was a catering officer in the Air Force. Not that I did any cooking – that was left to the chefs. I just sort of managed the various messes I was responsible for and as a fairly junior officer a lot of that just meant listening to and taking advice from the senior non-commissioned officers. The head chef had spent time working at a base the Air Force had in Malaysia and while over there he had learnt to make some amazing curries and Tuesday was always curry day in the Officers Mess. Working in the Mess meant we got free food and samplings – possibly the start of my weight gain J But my favourite day was always Wednesday as there was always leftover curry for the staff to eat. It was amazing what that extra day did to the flavours.
Mum’s potato hash doesn’t really improve with age though growing up my Mum used to cook the mince the night before. Mum has always tried to feed the family healthy food and the mince that used to be available in the last 70s and 80s in Australia was not exactly the 5 star mince you now get at the supermarket. So Mum used to cook the mince the night before and then let it cool and skim off all the fat. Nowadays she normally buys the leaner mince at the supermarket but this is still a trick you can use if you are being extra careful with your money.
It is not a fancy dish but it was one of the few ways Mum could get me to eat carrots growing up – I never was and still aren’t a huge carrot fan. You will see in the photos nice chunks of potato and carrots but as a child Mum used to make my dish in to a mush with a fork, conveniently preventing me from picking out my carrot and that is still the way I like to eat it today. At the table everyone adds their own sauce to spice up the flavour. I personally love a bit of soy sauce or maggie seasoning with mine (we aren’t going to talk about MSG) but Mum and Dad nearly always have HP sauce with theirs.
In case you haven’t heard of it HP sauce is one of the first brown sauces (and may be the very first) but the story on wikipedia I love best about HP is that they had a factory that was bisected by a motorway so they built a pipeline to carry the vinegar. I don’t know why but the idea of driving under a pipeline of vinegar just amuses me no end.
This is not a gourmet meal with different explosions of flavour but it is simple comfort food at its best and I always know I am home when I eat it. And even better, it is low calorie – about 320 per serve and a one pot meal.
- 250g beef mince
- 450g potato, peeled and cut into large chunks - about 1.5 inches
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 Oxo cubes (beef stock cubes that make about 500ml)
- A sauce you like eg HP, soy, tomato
- Pop the mince and carrots in a medium sized pot.
- Cover the mince and carrots with water and add the salt
- Cook on the stove for at least 40 minutes on a medium heat
- After the 40 minutes is up, turn of the heat and let the mince and carrots go cold and remove any fat that comes to the top of the pot.
- Add the potatoes and oxo cubes to the pot and bring to the boil.
- Turn down so the pot is simmering and cook for 25 minutes until the potatoes are done.
- Check the potatoes are cooked by spearing one with a fork. The fork should go in fairly easily.
- Serve in a bowl and add desired sauce. I mash mine up at this stage.