By David Cohlmeyer

Makes 4 to 6 servings

This is extraordinary comfort food. Leftovers can be chilled, shaped into patties, and fried for savoury pancakes. Or they can be thinned with stock to use as the base for any number of wonderful creamy soups.

5 medium russet (baking) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

1 celeriac (celery root) bulb, peeled and cut into chunks

4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup water

3/4 cup cream or milk, warmed

sea salt, to taste

freshly ground white pepper, to taste

Toss the celeriac with a little salty water or vinegar to keep the flesh from browning. Place the potatoes, celeriac, garlic, bay leaf and water into a medium saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer, uncovered, until the potato and celeriac are starting to fall apart, about 20 minutes. Add more water if it fully evaporates before the vegetables are done. (Most of the water should evaporate.)

Pull out the bay leaf. Mash the vegetables with a potato masher or electric beater. (Do not use a blender or food processor, which make it gluey.) Beat in the cream and the salt and pepper, to taste. Carefully reheat over a double boiler to serve.