Amanda Cable for the Daily Mail
Creamy mashed potato with oodles of melted butter is the ultimate winter comfort food. Yet the elbow grease needed to get all the lumps out reduces many of us to a pulp, too.
Luckily, there’s now an array of gadgets promising to deliver easy-peasy perfect mash — within just 20 seconds in one case. But do they live up to the hype? AMANDA CABLE tries them out on King Edward spuds…
PERFECT FOR PIES
Oxo Good Grips Potato Ricer, £19.99, lakeland.co.uk
Worth the extra effort: Oxo Good Grips Potato ricer – Mary Berry swears by this method of mashing potatoes
WHAT YOU GET: Potato ricers mash spuds through a process of extrusion, forcing the spuds through tiny holes no bigger than a grain of rice, thus eliminating all lumps. They’re like giant garlic crushers that push down on the potatoes and force them through small holes.
You simply cube the potatoes, boil them, and push them into the main body of the ricer. Mary Berry swears by this method of mashing, and uses her grandmother’s original ricer to make the mash to top her famous fish pie every Christmas Eve.
EASE: Frustratingly, there’s not much space inside this Oxo ricer, so the potatoes have to be done four cubes at a time, which is time-consuming. But boy, are the results spectacular! Fresh ‘worms’ of fluffy potato accumulate in the bowl, with all lumps eliminated.
The process dries the potato perfectly, and the mash is so light that you’ve no need to add cream, milk or butter. These are the only potatoes my children — Britain’s fiercest food critics — eat without butter (and without complaint!). Placed on a pie, the mash fluffs beautifully, with golden crusted tips.
MASH TIME: Five minutes.
VERDICT: Really worth the extra effort — no wonder Mary Berry loves her mash this way!
Magimix Mash and Food Puree Kit, £49.99, magimix-spares.co.uk
Perfectly pureed: The Megamix Mash and Food Puree Kit produces restaurant-quality mash
WHAT YOU GET: You need a Magimix food processor — and a degree in engineering to tackle all the add-ons here. It took me longer to work out how to put on the mashing attachment than it did to peel and boil the potatoes.
You clip the attachment (which looks like a steamer with white rotor blades) inside the bowl of your Magimix, add the lid with the feed tube, then put your chopped and boiled potatoes down the tube. Flick the ‘pulse’ button on the main machine, and the mash process begins. You have to keep pushing potatoes down the tube, or the machine will try to chop air.
The potato drops into the main Magimix bowl, ready to serve. It’s smoother than any other mash we made, and is delicious. When I serve it up at teatime alongside fish fingers, my children can’t believe I’ve created something so perfect.
EASE: Feeding the potatoes into the machine is simple but time-consuming. The major downside is clearing up afterwards. Instead of a masher and saucepan to put in the sink, you’ve got a lid, the puree attachment and main Magimix bowl.
MASH TIME: Four minutes.
VERDICT: Perfect pureed potato that could be served at any restaurant. But be prepared for a mountain of washing up!
Breville Pick Mix Hand Blender, £24.99, currys.com
WHAT YOU GET: A pretty hand blender — available in three colours — which mashes potato, chops vegetables, purees soup, makes smoothies and even crushes ice. It’s a hand-held blender, similar to the Masha (see top right) but with twin steel blades at the end that turn, chop and whip your potatoes.
EASE: Put boiled, chopped potatoes into a bowl then press the blender down on them. It mashes in ‘pulses’ (for a few seconds at a time). You need to chop your potatoes small, otherwise this machine struggles. And don’t make the mistake I did and lift the blender up as it goes around. I managed to decorate myself, the Aga and the dog with mashed potato.
MASH TIME: Three minutes.
VERDICT: I’d use this pretty machine for other things. The mash was lumpy in parts and waxy in others where I’d mashed it unevenly.
Pretty lumpy: The Breville blender, left, leaves you with waxy and lumpy potatoes, while the super-speedy Masha from Lakeland is easy to use and produces delicious mash
Masha, £34.99, lakeland.co.uk
WHAT YOU GET: A hand-held column blender available in white and lime-green, which claims to mash potatoes in just 20 seconds.
The rotor blades at the bottom whip the potato around then push it out through the plastic perforated holes.
Perfect mash: Amanda Cable tests out one of the life-changing kitchen gadgets
The maker says this process keeps the starch in potatoes intact, so the mash stays lovely and light.
Apparently, if starch is ‘ruptured’ by overblending or overcooking, it releases amylose, which gives mash a glue-like texture.
EASE: You simply hold this gadget over your cubed, boiled potatoes, switch it on and push down, like you would a mini road drill. In a matter of seconds the potato is mashed. Afterwards, you remove the rotor blade and put it in the dishwasher, alongside the Masha head.
The first time I use it, I over-mash by holding it down for too long. The result is rather sticky potato. But the second attempt, which takes just 19 seconds, is perfect.
Better still, when the results are put on a cottage pie and baked in an oven, they puff up magnificently, creating a very professional-looking dish.
MASH TIME: 19 seconds.
RATING: Super-speedy and delicious mash. I’m definitely keeping hold of this one!
Kenwood kMix Triblade hand blender, from £59.97, johnlewis.com
WHAT YOU GET: A hand-held blender with a beautiful retro design and several colours to choose from. You just hold it over the cubed, boiled potatoes, and the two rotating blades will churn and mash. The 700-watt motor is powerful, so be careful not to over-blend — my first attempt looked more like the contents of a concrete mixer.
A button at the top gives a choice of five speeds, but it’s definitely best to go slow with this machine.
EASE: Simple to use. It doesn’t fluff the potatoes as much as the Masha (above) — but is so pretty it would win any kitchen beauty pageant. A shame to put it in a drawer!
MASH TIME: Three minutes.
VERDICT: Best-looking blender I tried, but the mash was a tad disappointing.
Good looking: The Kenwood kMix Triblade hand blender, left, was the best-looking blender that Amanda tried. While she said the Black + Blum Spudski, right, is the perfect way to get your man to mash
Black + Blum Spudski, £10, amazon.co.uk
WHAT YOU GET: A hand-masher that looks like a mini ski pole. This tall gadget has a rubber handle and a small masher head. You push the potato down and it moves out and away from the stem to help prevent it sticking to the masher.
EASE: After all these years of trying to persuade my ski-loving husband to mash some potato, this is the answer to my dreams!
He happily mashes away with this. And all our dinner-party guests want a go, too, thanks to the fun take on a ski pole.
The masher also doesn’t get as clogged as other manual ones I’ve used in the past. However, the round head crushes only one potato at a time.
MASH TIME: Four minutes.
VERDICT: The perfect way to get your man to mash!
PUT THE BOOT IN
Boot Print Potato Masher, £13.99, therandomshop.co.uk
Good for a laugh: The novelty Boot Print Potato Masher, above, is not for serious mashing, says Amanda
WHAT YOU GET: A hand-masher shaped like a boot print. Mash your potato then stamp the imprint of the boot on top for a quirky touch.
EASE: After years of trying to force my children to eat mash, I’ve found the answer. Use this masher to smash the potatoes as normal, then give each serving a hefty footprint on top. They absolutely love it.
It isn’t the most effective way to mash potatoes, though, because the shape leaves lumps clinging to the sides of the bowl. However, it’s easy to wash — just pop it in the dishwasher.
MASH TIME: Four minutes.
VERDICT: Good for a laugh — but not for serious mashing.
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