05 Dec // heartbreak pie's greatest hits: perfect roast potatoes!

I had this afternoon what I might describe as a minor meltdown, in that I nearly felt so overwhelmed I could cry. I had had a very productive day, but still had so much to do, and even though I feel like I'm nearly on top of it all, there's still always so much more to do! However. I saw one of those inspirational quotes on instagram, that said something cheesy like 'if you get tired remember to rest, not to quit' and so I took a deep breath and told myself to dig deep and ploughed on through. The funny thing is all the stuff I'm overwhelmed about is really great stuff! I just need to remember, as always, to chill the F out. 

And so, I have been cooking myself glorious meals for one, and the last couple of nights at least summer actually feels like it's here and so eating dinner on the back deck has been a delight. Last night I had a sudden and overwhelming craving for potatoes, to go along with the wagyu steak I'd been sent. I don't actually cook potatoes that often, but it was great to be reminded that I could still roast them like a champ. I threw some asparagus into the pan while the steak was resting (I overcooked it, you win some you lose some) and blitzed up some chimichurri, following to the letter this recipe by Al Brown. It was absolutely and utterly delicious. The potatoes! Honestly, I was emotional (as documented, as usual, on instagram). They were so golden and crisp, yet soft and fluffy in the middle, and I very much regretted only cooking enough for one, as I happily would have wolfed down twice the amount and not have been the slightest bit sorry.

I remembered this recipe was another one from the HBP archives, circa 2011, so I've given it a tweak, and this Monday in December it is my festive gift to you. You could try serving them with a smoked paprika, sour cream, fresh mint, and lemon gettup, or sprinkle them with feta and fresh oregano, or you could chuck a few black olives and cherry tomatoes into the pan for the last ten minutes of roasting, if you were feeling fancy. Go forth and roast. And don't forget to breathe.  


Perfect roast potatoes

My trick to perfect roast potatoes is three-fold.

  1. Bring to the boil before roasting. 
  2. Preheat the oil.
  3. Fluff them!

Here's the method:

Heat a generous drizzle of cooking oil (or duck fat if you're feeling game?!) in an oven tray, in a 220C oven.

Scrub then chop your potatoes (into chips, or halves, or however you fancy) and put in a pot. I always use agria potatoes. Cover with cold water and a little salt.

Bring to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the element and drain out the water. Keep the potatoes in the pot and put back onto the element for a few seconds, then shake the pot, with the lid on. I use a tea towel to hold the lid on. This is something Jamie Oliver calls fluffing. It dries them out, and helps with achieving the crispy-outer-soft-inner required of a perfectly roasted potato. Do this a few times - put on the element, remove and shake. Take your hot oil tray out of the oven, and carefully pour the potatoes (and any chunks that have broken away) into the tray. Season well with salt.

Roast for a good 30 minutes, but up to 40 or 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature, and make sure the potatoes go golden and crisp.