Easy Oven Baked Whole Potatoes

“Not everyone can be a truffle. Most of us are potatoes. And a potato is a very good thing to be.” 
~ Massimo Bottura

I love baked potatoes. They go well as a side dish for barbeques and salads, but you can also load them up with toppings and have them as a meal on their own.

The potatoes are quick to prepare but need around an hour to cook. It’s well worth it. The end result is a chewy crispy crust and a fluffy steaming interior, ready for a dab of butter and some chopped herbs or whatever else is your pleasure.

They’re also delicious cold and chopped into a salad.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large potato per person
  • olive oil
  • salt

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to hot – about 200 degrees celcius or 400 degrees fahrenheit
  2. Line a baking tray with foil.
  3. Cut out any blemishes from the potatoes, wash with water and pat dry with a cloth or paper towel.
  4. Prick the potatoes several times with a fork or skewer. This helps steam escape.
  5. Rub the potatoes all over with olive oil. Place on the tray and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Place in the oven and cook an hour minutes, turning once or twice during that time. Check doneness with a fork or skewer. It should be tender inside. Bigger potatoes may take longer to cook through.
  7. Eat with gusto!

Great toppings for your baked potatoes:

Tip: If you use cheese as a topping consider popping filled potatoes under a hot grill or back into the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese!

  • Sour cream, butter or yoghurt and some chopped fresh herbs
  • Guacamole and salsa
  • Cooked bacon, cheese and chives
  • Baked beans, a fried egg and some cheddar cheese
  • Pizza sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese
  • Basil, fetta cheese, red onion and sliced black olives
  • Leftovers smothered in cheese
  • Ham, tomato and cheese
  • Bean salad and dressing
  • Hummus, sliced red onion and some rocket (arugula)
  • Baba ganoush, a dollop of yoghurt and some fresh mint

Five Dishes to Cook for a Fabulous Easter Feast

Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love. ” 
~
Craig Claiborne

If you’re looking for inspiration for a tasty and easy meal to share with your family this Easter I have some simple suggestions for you.

There’s a creamy Celery Soup for starters, followed by Slow Cooked Leg of Lamb with a Ruby Grapefruit and Asparagus Salad and Hasselback Potatoes, and Hot Cross Bun Bread and Butter Pudding for dessert.

If you’re vegetarian or vegan I’ve added some tips and twists in for you too.

Then all you need are a few drinks, some family or friends, some music and some relaxation time. Easy!

Just click on the link to access each recipe.

Soup: Cream of Celery Soup Recipe This is a super-healthy and totally delicious soup that is also useful for boosting your immune system and warding off colds and flu bugs. It makes a lovely first course and is gluten-free and can easily be made as a vegan dish.

Note: If you couldn’t be bothered with a big meal or you’ve eaten too many Easter Eggs why not have some cheese, crackers and fruit as your first or last course and pair that with this soup. Make sure you have some good bread to go with the soup – you’ll find it tasty and satisfying.

Salad: Ruby Grapefruit and Asparagus Salad

This is a scrumptious and very pretty salad and the acidity of the grapefruit goes well with the richness of the lamb roast.

Vegetarian? Throw in some extra avocado and feta cheese, double the size of the salad and forget about the lamb roast. Make sure you have some yummy bread as an accompaniment. A good rye bread or grainy sourdough is a great choice for this salad.

Vegan? See tips for vegetarians and omit the feta cheese.

Carb:Hasselback Potatoes? Opera House Potatoes? Best Ever Baked Potato Recipe!

This potato recipe is a favourite in our household and I will often make them for special occasions or when friends come to visit (which is often for us because we are blessed with good friends and good neighbours). They are crunchy on the outside, soft in the middle, and you won’t be able to stop at just one!

Main: Slow Roasted Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Herbs and Red Wine

Easter and Lamb Roasts go hand in hand. This is a simple recipe – it takes little effort and the results are always a show-stopper. It’s a moist, flavour-filled, melt-in-your-mouth dish that is easy for beginner cooks. It’s almost impossible to stuff up. But you do need five hours of cooking time, and fifteen minutes prep, as well as fifteen minutes to rest the roast after it has cooked. Totally worth the wait though!!!

Note: Sorry, vegetarians and vegans. If meat is not your thing I have no substitute for this one.

Dessert: Hot Cross Bun Bread And Butter Pudding

This pudding is made several times over the Easter period in our house, as it’s so simple and easy for feeding guests and we don’t seem to tire of it either! It’s a silky smooth bread pudding with a lightly spiced sweet custard – heavenly!

If you manage to have any as left-overs it is great eating cold as well. (We have been known to eat the leftovers with a big mug of tea or freshly brewed coffee as breakfast when we have had a late night at Bluesfest.)

Note: Choose gluten-free buns or bread it needed. You can also use your favourite type of non-dairy milk, a butter substitute, and if you need to be egg-free replace the eggs with one cup of applesauce.

I encourage you to give these recipes a try.  Hopefully some of them will become an Easter Tradition in your household too.

Much love to you, ♥ Nicole xx

Hasselback Potatoes? Opera House Potatoes? Best Ever Baked Potato Recipe!

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“Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about God while one is peeling potatoes. Zen spirituality is just to peel the potatoes.”
~ Alan Watts

 

When I was little my grandmother used to cook these potatoes when we visited for Sunday Roast, only she didn’t call them Hasselback potatoes. Marga called them Opera House Potatoes, because according to her they looked like miniature Sydney Opera Houses. But hey, it was the seventies, and we were a culturally proud nation! It wasn’t until my mid thirties that I found out these potatoes were also known by another name…

I love these easy baked potatoes. They have a delightfully crispy outside, but the inside of the potato is soft and creamy. On Christmas Day I thought I had cooked enough for an army, and we only ended up with two as leftovers for Boxing Day. That’s how good they are!

Here’s what you need to do to make them yourself:

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes suitable for roasting (check here for good roasting varieties) I like washed varieties that I can leave the skin on, because it’s easier and tastier. Favourites include Desiree, Nicola and Golden Delight, or Pink Eye when I can get them.
  • Olive Oil (or your fat of choice)
  • Salt

How do you work out how many potatoes to cook? I would decide on an amount per person, and then bake extra. Seriously. The worst that can happen is that you’ll have leftovers, and that’s actually a happy situation as they are delicious cold too.

Method:

Preheat your oven to moderate (170 degree celcius fan-forced or 180 degree oven – 350 degrees fahrenheit).

Wash your potatoes and pat dry. Peel if they need peeling.

Cut the potatoes in half lengthways. Place cut side on a paper towel or clean kitchen towel to absorb any moisture.

Using a sharp knife cut a series of slits in the potato, being careful not to cut all the way through. Leave about an uncut centimetre at the bottom of every potato to hold the potato together.

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Rub each potato well with olive oil and place onto a baking tray. I like to use a piece of baking paper to line my trays because it makes cleaning up easier.

Sprinkle with a little salt.

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Bake for one hour or until crispy on the outside and soft and well-cooked on the inside.

Serve with just about anything!

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Variations: You can happily sprinkle cheese, herbs or bacon on top of these spuds before baking, or when serving.

Here’s the finished product.

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