Friday, April 22, 2011

Oven Chips (French Fries)

  1. Take 2 lbs of potatoes and wash and peel them. 
  2. Slice and then cut again into chip shapes. 
  3. Place in a colander and rinse under cold, running water. 
  4. Dry inside a clean dish towel. 
  5. Place in a bowl or container with oil and shake them around so that they all get a coating. 
  6. Put them on to an ovenproof baking tray in a hot oven  (200C/400F/gas mark 6) and 
  7. Cook for 30 - 35 mins, turning occasionally to brown them evenly.
  8. Place on a serving dish and serve.
  9. Enjoy!

Jacket Potatoes

  1. Choose some even sized potatoes, allowing approx 8oz per portion. 
  2. Scrub your potatoes without peeling (obviously).
  3. Place on a baking tray  on top of some salt in a hot oven. 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 for about an hour. 
  4. You know they are ready because they are soft to squeeze. If still hard, leave for a bit longer. They can take up to an hour and half to cook. 
  5. When ready, remove from oven and place on a serving plate.
  6. Split them open and add a topping of your choice. 
  7. Butter is gorgeous on a baked jacket potato.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How to Make Duchess Potatoes

Now why anyone would want to go to the bother of making Duchess potatoes, I'll never know! Duchess potatoes are basically just mashed potatoes put through a piping bag so that they make pretty little raised mounds which are then slightly browned in the oven to crisp them up. I reckon some cook invented Duchess potatoes (for some Duchess no doubt) in the Middle ages or some other time in history when there was nothing else to eat bar potatoes!

  • Anyway you will want to take your cooked potatoes and mash them. It is a good idea to put them through a special potato ricer and this really smooths all the lumps out.
  • Then add 1 egg yolk for every pound of potatoes you are cooking, and beat in well with a wooden spoon to make a really smooth paste. 
  • Mix in a little margarine or butter. 
  • Then scoop the mixture into a piping bag with a 1 inch sized nozzle. 
  • Then squeeze the bag so that some of the mixture comes out on to a greased baking tray. I imagine this takes a bit of practice to perfect. I wouldn't know, I have never owned a piping bag. Too footery for my kitchen. 
  • Anyway, you want those little mounds to be about 2" high. Fill the tray with as many as you can make, and stick in a hot oven for a few minutes just to harden the edges a little, so that you can add some beaten egg without it all collapsing. 
  • Return to oven and bake until it is lightly browned.

How to Make Microwave Potato Snacks

  • Take one raw potato and peel it under running water. 
  • Dry in cloth. 
  • Thinly slice it using a knife or a potato peeler if you don't feel you can slice it really thinly. 
  • Spray a little oil on to a microwaveable plate.
  •  If you don't have an oil sprayer, add some oil and swirl it around so that the whole plate has a coating. 
  • Lay your potato slices singly on the plate and dust with spices off your preference, or even just salt. 
  • Place in microwave and cook on full power for about 3 minutes.
  • I found that 2 and half minutes does it - it depends on the strength of power of your microwave.

Remove, drain on kitchen paper and eat immediately.

You can dip the potato slices in vinegar and add salt before microwaving for salt and vinegar crisps.

Or for something completely different, use chilli powder or any other seasonings you have in the cupboard.

How to Make French Fries

  • Peel and wash potatoes. 
  • Slice lengthways, then turn and slice them into chip shapes. 
  • You can make them as fat or as thin as you want but which ever way you cut them, make sure they are all of a similar size, else some will be ready before the others.
  • Once they are cut into shape, place in a colander and rinse well under a running tap to remove all the starch. 
  • Dry well in a cloth. This is important. Wet chips will make the hot fat or oil splatter all over the place. 
  • Heat your oil until it is hot enough for a single chip to start bubbling the moment you put it in the hot fat. 
  • Then put all your prepared chips in and fry until golden brown.
  • If you are running a commercial kitchen or serving a dinner party, you can simply put your chips into fry for a few minutes, then remove from pan and leave to drain on kitchen paper placed on a baking tray. 
  • Later when the chips are required, put them back into the hot fat to brown. Drain and serve.
If you prefer crinkle cut French fries, you can simply cut the potatoes with a fluted knife

How to Roast Potatoes

You want to set the oven 220C.

  • Select potatoes of roughly the same size, else cut them to the same size after peeling and rinsing them. 
  • If you have cut any, rinse the cut ends and dry well in a cloth.
  •  Meanwhile heat some fat up on a baking or roasting tray in the oven.
  •  Add the potatoes, and scoop the hot fat over them. 
  • Add salt to the potatoes. 
  • Turn after half an hour or whenever you remember. 
  • After about an hour they should be evenly brown all over.
  •  Remove from oven and drain on kitchen paper.
Now if you're anything me and a bit of a scatterbrain, you probably only remembered that you wanted to make roast potatoes as you are peeling your vegetables, half an hour away from dinner time.

In this case
  • Boil your evenly sized potatoes in a pot of salted water, and when they are ready, drain well and leave over low heat to dry out. 
  • Meanwhile heat up the oil in a deep fat fryer and when hot, odd your potatoes one by one and fry until golden brown.
  • Drain well on kitchen paper before serving.
Alternatively, if you have the time, par-boil your potatoes. This means boil them for a few minutes to heat then through thoroughly and start the cooking process. Then drain and add to hot oil on a baking tray in the oven and cook as normal. This will slightly shorten the roasting time which is normally an hour.

How to Boil Potatoes

  • Peel and wash potatoes. 
  • Cut them into even-sized pieces, allowing 3 or 4 per portion. 
  • Wash any cut ends to remove starch. 
  • Place in a pot. 
  • Add enough cold water to cover potatoes, and a teaspoon of salt. 
  • Bring to boil. 
  • Cover the with saucepan lid and reduce heat to simmer. 
  • Check after 20 minutes and if you slice a knife through them easily, they are ready. 
  • If not, leave for a few minutes more. 
  • Drain well, and serve.


So you thought the humble potato make a nice accompaniment to a meal. Maybe you usually boil or roast potatoes, or occasionally turn them into chips. But there is so much more you can do with a potato. Read on to see.
Coming soon.