I love the differences that each season brings.
In the winter a sort of hush seems to descend, as the world gets a little quieter, a little more private. Home calls in a whisper and it's a season for cups of tea and toast and board games and cuddling cats.
In spring, lighter mornings make waking up easier. Fresh greens and yellows pepper the landscape. All seems fresh and new.
In the summer all seems bright and busy and the water and the green spaces call my name. It's the season of late, hot nights sharing a bottle of wine in the garden, of ice lollies instead of dinner, of fast, quick meals that don't involve much actual cooking, and of frozen margaritas at sunset.
And then, there's autumn. The season of wholesome, hearty, comforting food. Of rich bologneses cooked low and slow. Roast dinners. Apple crumble, apple pie, apple cake, apple everything. And all those gorgeous autumnal side dishes - roasted pumpkin; butternut squash; and last but never least, the mighty potato.
Baked, roasted, boiled or mashed, potatoes are very much enjoyed in this household. I like them, but Matthew? Matthew loves them. So needless to say they are a foodstuff which feature on our table often.
That being the case, when I was invited along to an event last month by a brand who said they could make instant mash that tasted just like the real thing...my interest was well and truly piqued. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, when instant potato products tasted a little like dusty cardboard, so I was intrigued to see if a better product was now available.
To put it mildly....yes.
Idahoan potatoes are flipping delicious! At the event they were turned into a whole range of dishes, and we had to tell the difference between Idahoan potato products and fresh potatoes - which proved to be very tricky indeed.
The meals were all created and made by the lovely Billy and Jack, who had us all guessing which dish might be Idahoan, and which might contain fresh potatoes. It also remains the only time I can think of where I've had potatoes in a pudding...
After the event I was sent home with a range of the products to try out (available in all good supermarkets, potato fans) and they've really been a tasty addition to our meals. As we both can work long hours weekday suppers are often leftovers from the weekend, and it's wonderful to have mash which takes minutes to go alongside a slice of pie or some stew.
When time allows at weekends I've also tried out the dauphinoise and gratin, both of which are yummy (below is the gratin alongside my friendly BBQ pulled chicken (which contains no chicken, hence the 'friendly')).
Disclaimer: I was kindly invited to this event last month by Idahoan. All thoughts and opinions and general enthusiasm for tasty autumnal fare, my own.