Tag Archives: perfect

A perfect day

I had the most wonderful day yesterday.  The sun had returned, our kittens were let loose on the world (well, the garden anyway), doors and windows to the house were consequently flung wide open, allowing a gentle Summer breeze to drift through our house for the first time in weeks, and my brother was visiting the island for the first time in 6 years.  It was as if the planets had re-aligned and all good things were heading my way.

We went out to dinner as a big family group last night and sat by the restaurant window, allowing us to watch the sun sinking into the sea way beyond the lighthouse.  On the way home there was a big fireworks display going on above the town and as we drove along the bay I got a free view of it all.

I think I must have done something good in a former life, to now live the life that I do and in such a beautiful place.

I have to tell you, we don’t have any motorways here, just one section of dual carriageway on the outskirts of town on which the speed limit is 40 m.p.h.  As we headed towards town, nearing 10 o’clock at night, we spotted a man on a bicycle – no lights – riding the wrong way on the other side of the dual carriageway (with cars heading towards him).  I suspect his day may not have worked out as well as mine in the end.

0109, Corbiere 1

The Lighthouse – not last night when the sea was almost calm, but on a crisp day in May.

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Roast Potatoes, like Mum used to make

Mmmmm....For me, roast potatoes can either make or break a good Sunday roast.  We’re coming up to the time of year when every other household will be preparing a roast turkey so I thought it a good time to share the recipe for perfect roast potatoes, especially as these can be partially prepared ahead of time and frozen, if that suits you better.

Perfect Roast Potatoes

Ingredients:

Your chosen quantity of ‘floury’ potatoes (King Edward, Desiree, Romano or Cara) – thinly peeled and cut to about the size of large chicken eggs/ duck eggs.  Leave any small ones whole.  As a guide to quantity, about 2kg or 4lb 8oz serves 8 people

Goose or duck fat in absolute preference.  Sunflower oil will suffice if all else fails (but trust me, they just won’t taste anywhere near as good)!

Sea salt 

You will also need a roasting tin with a solid base – one that is big enough to take the potatoes in a single layer, a pan for boiling the potatoes that has a lid and either kitchen tongs or a long handled slotted spoon

Preparation time less than 30 minutes / Cooking time 30 minutes to 1 hour

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Oven temp: 200C   /   400F   / Gas Mark 6

1. First you need to ‘par-boil’ the potatoes:  Put the potatoes in a pan and pour over boiling water from a kettle, just to cover.  Add a little salt and cook them in the gently boiling water for 7 – 8 minutes.  Take them off the heat when they start to yield when you poke them with a fork – but they shouldn’t be cooked right through. 

2. Drain.  You now need to roughen up the outside of the tatties (this helps to give them that wonderful crunchy, crispy exterior).  Put a lid on your pan of drained potatoes and holding it down with something like a tea towel to protect your hands, jiggle the pan around – up and down, side to side – so that when you take the lid off you’ll see that the outer surface of the potatoes is roughened.

3. Pre-heat the goose/duck fat in a separate roasting tin – you’re going to want about half a centimetre or a quarter of an inch of liquid fat in the tin.  The fat needs to be sizzling hot.  Carefully add the potatoes (so that you’re not splashing boiling hot fat everywhere!) and either baste them or turn them to cover them in fat.  I find metal kitchen tongs very useful for this but a long-handled spoon would also work well.

4. Put your tray of potatoes in the oven and cook for the last 45 minutes or so of your joint’s roasting/resting time.

5. Drain well and keep in a warm oven, uncovered, and in a single layer (not piled up) until needed.

Season with sea salt before serving.

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The recipes I share here are either my own or ones that I have tried and that have worked for me.  Last year I came across instructions for freezing partially cooked roast potatoes which as yet I have not tried.  However, according to others it works well and, given the time of year it’s definitely worth including here.  So …

Roast potatoes (for freezing)

Work the above recipe up to the end of step 2 then let the potatoes cool.  Line two baking trays or sheets with greaseproof paper.  Arrange the potatoes on the trays, making sure that none of them are touching each other, and place the trays in the freezer.  Once frozen you can save freezer space by tipping the potatoes into freezer bags.  They can be kept like this for up to a month.

To use:  Oven on at 200C / 400F / Gas mark 6.  Pre-heat some goose fat in a roasting tin (as above) for 4-5 minutes.  Add the frozen potatoes. Cook for 30 minutes, turn the potatoes and cook for a further 30 – 40 minutes, until golden. Season with sea salt. 

***Bear in mind that if you are adding a frozen food to an oven where you are already roasting items, it will make the temperature drop slightly.  Be prepared to adjust roasting times slightly***

If anyone uses, or has used this frozen tatty recipe, please let me know how you got on!

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