Potato, baked

Here are two potatoes.  I am assuming it’s probably likely you’ve seen a potato before.  It’s also hard to get perspective on these two particular potatoes .  Trust me when I say they’re quite large.  Get yourself some.  Stick the oven on hot; if you’re in the UK that’ll be about Gas Mark 7/8 and if you’re in Oz about 200C or more, and if you’re in America, sorry, I don’t do Farenheit.

I should at this point mention that I’ve not had a lot to do with baked potatoes in my life.  Weren’t really a part of my growing up, maybe it’s an Australia thing, but they’re bloody popular here in England.  Rather awfully, it appears though the most popular combination toppings are things like tuna and sweetcorn and mayonnaise, or baked beans and cheese.  No such culinary offences shall be commited today, oh no.

Stab those potatoes.  Stab them like you wanted to that guy who was your first boss when you were worked to the bone in the salad bar restaurant, aged 17.  If you don’t have such handy, ancient grudges then just lightly prick the things all over.  Don’t go mad, though, a general few on each side is fine.

Wash.  Running water is a marvel, isn’t it?

Sprinkle with salt.  Only this kind of salt will do.  No other salt will suffice.  If you don’t use this salt, you will fail.

As you’ll have inevitably spilled some salt, despite the fact you’re not superstitious you’ll find yourself throwing some salt over your left shoulder with your right hand.

I am a bit superstitious though.  Totally without  basis but hey, I toss salt regularly.

Stick the potatoes in the oven, directly onto the shelf.

Look!  Some potatoes on the shelf in the oven!  Interestingly I am just now noticing the feral state of my oven.  I have decided I don’t care.  It’s shit.  It doesn’t deserve cleaning.

Bout 30 minutes in you’ll notice the skin getting a bit different.  Bit puffy, bit older looking.  The burnt bits on the bottom of the oven look a bit burnt-er, too.  How nice.

Keep cooking.  basically it’ll take anywhere from 60-80 minutes, on average, as always depending on your oven.  At about 60 minutes I have to cradle the potatoes in alfoil, to keep them from getting all burnt.  You may not have to.  Prod them with the skewer and when they’re cooked the skewer will go through nicely.

If you’re like me and love a good skewer prod, your cooked potatoes will look something like the above, accentuated with skewer holes.

Cute.

Stick the potato on a plate.

I read somewhere about the ‘karate chop’ technique of cracking open your potato.  See above.  This is not the result you’re after.

Tonight we’re having the leftover sausage roll mince.  I bought too much mince.  Or maybe I didn’t buy enough pastry.  One of those things, anyway, has left me with leftover sausage roll mince.  I dry fry it in a pan, chopping away till the mince bits are tiny, adding some chilli flakes and cumin, a bit more salt, and cooking and stirring till it pops like popcorn and looks a bit like the above.  It’s good, trust me.

We stuck the mince on the potato with the leftover creme fraiche, some cheddar and, for me, some parsley.  I can’t get enough parsley.  It looked quite nice at this stage, even to me who is not a big baked potato fan.

Course it wasn’t in edible form when it looked all nice.  I had a bit of a go at it, managed to get to the above stage, and was much happier with the outcome.  Ate it.  Was quite nice.  Felt full for about 4 hours afterwards which I suppose is good value considering the whole thing cost about £1.50 per person.  How dull.

This is the dog sulking on the sofa over a bit of leftover potato skin.  She was not offered any pork mince and was unhappy about it.  I don’t know why we let her eat this on the sofa.  It was bad parenting.

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