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28 May 2021

Let us introduce you to your new favourite
way to serve up mashed potato.
Words & Photo Kristina Jensen

Some years ago, when visiting a friend
and her incredible library of books on
all manner of topics, I came across a small quaint cookbook called Scottish Country
Recipes by Johanna Mathie (2001). I was delighted to discover that Scottish people,
like me, have a bit of a thing for mashed potato dishes. Many of them use leftovers (which you could call one of my absolute favourite ‘food hobbies’) and they also have crazy sounding names. Rumbledethumps is one such dish
and I love introducing people to it just so
I can say its name and watch the reaction
on their faces!
But wait, it doesn’t stop there. There are
more fantastic linguistic terms associated
with Scottish mashed potatoes. An old version of rumbledethumps recommends mashing your vegetables in a ‘boyne’ (a big, flat shallow tub or bowl) with a ‘beetle’ (a very heavy mallet). Lacking both a beetle and a boyne, I decided
a good old-fashioned potato masher would have to suffice.
Some folks will know this dish by other names, such as colcannon (Irish) or bubble
and squeak (English). However, I think the
one thing that sets rumbledethumps apart
from these is that it is baked with lashings
of cheese on top.
Proper rumbledethumps usually has cabbage in it, but I prefer the green leafy stuff out of
my own garden much better. I will openly
admit that adding the greens is my own
sneaky way of getting vegetable matter into
my children, who fortunately, like me, also
love mashed potato and will put up with a
bit of greenery in the food so long as there
is plenty of cheese to go with it. So, before
you toss that tall silver beet plant onto the compost heap, assess the potential for a
round of rumbledethumps – it’s a great dish
for those end-of-the-season greens that are going to seed in your vege patch.

This is a bit of a new ‘green’ take on the traditional whiter version of rumbledethumps. It can be served as a vegetable dish accompanying a main or
on its own. If I’m feeling ‘rumbledethumpy’,
I make enough mashed veges the night before so that I have some left over to make this dish the following day.
This year, I have the added delight of using my very own homegrown potatoes to make this dish and the purple skins of ‘Kōwiniwini’ make their own magic by creating texture and colour. However, you can also use mashed parsnip, pumpkin, swede or kūmara too.
Ingredients (Serves 4–6)
200g kale, cavolo nero, spinach and/or silver beet – roughly 15–17 large leaves
½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp white pepper
– add more according to taste
2–3 spring onions, chopped finely
750g/3–4 medium-sized potatoes, boiled and mashed with butter, milk, salt and pepper in the usual way
1 cup grated cheese (tasty)
1 tbsp parsley, freshly chopped
Steam the greens for five minutes, drain them and squeeze some of the water out of them when they’ve cooled down a bit. Bunch them up on a chopping board and chop into thin strips.
Mix all the vegetables together with ¾ of the cheese, season with salt and white pepper and place in a well-buttered medium-sized ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top, followed by the parsley.
Bake at 200°C for 30–40 minutes until golden brown.

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