Moonshine Mash, 17p

This recipe came around completely by accident, as so many of the best of them do. I was recovering from a throat infection and hankering for something soft and soothing, so started to make myself a pile of mashed potatoes. And then, one of my readers sent me a recipe from the New York Times for a buttery polenta topped with mushrooms. Not dissimilar to a dish I had eaten in Palomar, Soho, and greatly enjoyed, but my spuds were already boiling and I didn’t have any polenta to hand. I’m not sure I ever have done. I tried to make do with mashed potatoes, but the seed of sweet creamy corn had been planted…and so…I turfed half a can of sweetcorn into my mash and pulverised it. And oh, I’m so glad I did. This recipe should ideally serve four as a side dish or a base to a main, but, well, mine didn’t…

Serves 4, or doesn’t, at 17p each

500g potatoes, 24p (£1.90/4kg, Sainsburys Basics)
a good pinch of salt, <1p (25p/750g, Sainsburys Basics)
a generous knob of butter, 6p (£1.40/250g)
half a tin of sweetcorn, around 100g, 15p (30p/200g, Sainsburys Basics)
a pinch of pepper, <1p (Natco, £1.40/100g)
a shake of nutmeg, optional, <1p (£1/50g)
a good grind of strong cheese, 18p (£2.40/200g)

Finely slice your potatoes and toss them into a saucepan. Cover them with cold water, and a good pinch of salt, and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer on a medium-low heat, and cook for around 10 minutes, until the potatoes are very soft. You can test them by poking a sharp knife or fork into the pan – if they yield with no resistance, they’re good to go.

when the potatoes are cooked, drain the corn and toss it into the pan. Heat for another minute or two, the warmer corn will be easier to work with.

Drain the lot and tip back into the pan. Add the butter, a generous pinch of pepper, and the nutmeg if using. Mash vigorously until roughly smooth, using a fork or potato masher.

Grate in your cheese, and stir well. Serve piping hot, and generously.
To make it vegan, simply replace the cheese with a strong vegan alternative, or leave it out altogether and add a little more salt.

Best wishes,


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  1. My husband has recently developed type 2 diabetes; so he has gone on the low carb ,high fat diet recommended by Diabetes UK. Do you think you could come up with some yummy recipes that he could enjoy? I’m hoping you can , he is a fussy eater by the way! I’m hoping that you can think of something please !!!!!

    • You’d be better asking for him to be referred to a NHS dietitian for a consult (some trusts do this automatically). Also, there are a lot of sites catering to people w/ T2D and T1D, written by people with lived or learned expertise.

      With the best will in the world, Jack is not qualified to advise on a safe diet for people with diabetes.

  2. Sounds yummy. Sorry if this is a stupid questions, but presumably defrosted frozen sweet corn would as well ? -I have had a bag lounging in my freezer for months! Thanks for the recipe !! Love Jan >

  3. Nice to see you back and cooking! This sounds awesome, the name made me think it had booze in it! Luckily it doesn’t (for 17p it’d be rough) so I can have this.

  4. Sounds delicious. Vegans like me may want to add some savoury yeast flakes (nicer than they sound), soy/almond/coconut cheese or more of the nondairy spread, which I guess would replace the butter. I’m not sure if this would work (I can’t see why it wouldn’t), but it would be great if someone could say if they’ve tried this or something similar with silken tofu.

  5. Just tried this. I’m not vegan, but with veggie mince and very little more time, this is an ace cottage pie. A meal on its own or serves two with baked beans (my favourite fruit).

  6. when I was a kid, my mother would mix chopped spinach in with my mashed potatoes to get me to eat spinach. I soon found that corn was wonderful mixed with potatoes. Adding cheese can only make it better. Similar to a corn/potato soup/chowder, just less wet.

  7. Nice to see you back. I love this kind of simple comfort food. I’m still looking forward to receiving your new book, though I’ve moved house again.

  8. My girlfriend absolutely loved it. I just made a thank you dinner for us two and the moonlight mash was a great success. Thank you

  9. Hi Jack,
    This is a really scrummy recipe (as per) and you’re ‘A Girl Called Jack’ book has really helped me cook delicious food with my low budget as a university student and has been under everyday use since I bought it!
    I was just wondering when your new book is coming out? I had read it was this September and I’m so eager to get it and see what it’s like!

    Thankyou for everything you share with us!

  10. I was curious to see if this recipe would be cheaper at sainsburys using vegan alternatives and discovered that there are 9 vegan spreads sold at sainsburys, all cheaper than dairy butter. Oil is a suitable alternative too, which is also cheaper than butter. The sainsburys non-dairy cheddar is cheaper than the dairy cheese price you quoted, although I’d just omit cheese altogether. Just thought that was interesting to note and share with you and other readers who worry about affordability of vegan diets. Do you still consider yourself vegan?

  11. Great to see a post from you, Jack. You’ve been missed. You’re always inspiring and great to read.

  12. Would this work as well with frozen sweetcorn? I am only cooking for one so 4 portions is too much, and if I halve the recipe I’d be left with 3/4 of a tin of corn to use up, so frozen would work better for me.

  13. This looks yummy! Could it be improved upon(!) by making patties out of the mixture then frying to give a crispy finish? Maybe using them as an alternative to hash-browns in a cooked breakfast?

  14. Mustard is such a top addition to mash! So maybe if you can’t eat strong cheese that would work for a bit of a kick? (Just a bit of course!)

  15. I like to make something that is essentially this only without mashing the corn and adding steamed chopped cabbage to it is a tasty and cheap way to make it a bit more of a filling main dish.

  16. Just tried this and used Red Leicester cheese as it was in my fridge left over from a cheese plate. Was delish

  17. Love this! Mashed potato and sweetcorn is one of my fave combos! I like adding in nutritional yeast to my mash too for that cheesy vegan taste 🙂

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