Written by Camilla King

Food

I Make the Best… Roast potatoes

After a snap poll of Standard Issue staffers, we came to the conclusion everyone has a signature dish they’re willing to brag about. Meet Camilla King. The queen of roasties.

roast potatoes
Name: Camilla King

I Make the Best… Roast potatoes

Fuller dish description: Lovely fluffy, soft potato, encased in a crispy outer shell of joy. Posh chips isn’t it, really?

When did you first make it? My first roast dinner was made at the tender age of 11. My mum was sick, but it was a Sunday, and therefore a roast needed to be cooked. I’ve been making roasts ever since, but perhaps the most memorable was when I invited 20 friends round for a pre-Christmas dinner, to a flat that could barely accommodate three of us.

I prepped my veg in advance, and chucked them in the freezer. A sensible person might have thought to freeze them on a tray, flat. Not me. Come party day, I had bags of frozen potatoes and assorted vegetables, all frozen into enormous solid blocks, which couldn’t be crowbarred apart, and certainly wouldn’t fit in the ancient oven. I did manage to cook everything eventually, but vowed never to cook a roast under pressure again.

When did you realise it was the best? (and who has certified it as such?) It’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve really perfected my roasties and developed a completely foolproof recipe, so I’d say around 2014 was the time.

My husband ate an entire dish of them and declared them the best he’s ever had. In fact (and I’m a bit worried I’m going to get into trouble for this), he says they’re even better than the roast potatoes his mum makes. High praise indeed, as my mother-in-law’s roast dinners are pretty legendary.

How often do you make it? Every few months. Bit of a faff, roast dinners, aren’t they?

Have you ever tasted anyone else’s version of this, which had you worried? Well, I don’t like to brag, but, not really – they are seriously good. Although there’s a pub near me called The Great Exhibition. They do a good roast, lots of root vegetables, nice crispy potatoes. Can’t beat a roasted root vegetable.

Is this the only thing you make well? I really enjoy cooking and baking, especially when I don’t have kids hanging off my ankles so I can actually zone out and get on with it.

I can knock out a decent pavlova with lemon curd cream filling. Or a curry – I’ve got an excellent recipe for curry which uses up leftover roast potatoes, if there are any…

Ingredients

Floury white potatoes – King Edward and Maris Piper both do the job well, but anything that says it can be roasted on the bag will work. Do not attempt this with baking or salad potatoes!
A lemon (not essential)
Rapeseed oil (this is the magic ingredient, none of your fancy goose fat needed, thank you)
Salt and pepper

Method

Pre-heat oven to 200°C for a fan oven, gas mark 6.

1. Peel and chop the potatoes – don’t leave the pieces too big because there’s nothing sadder than a giant lump of greasy unloved potato lurking on the side of your plate. Smaller pieces allow for better oil absorption; now is not the time to worry about your arteries.

2. Pop them in a saucepan, cover with cold water, add a sprinkle of salt if you like and bring to the boil. If you’re feeling fancy you can chuck a lemon in whole with the potatoes, which adds a nice subtle flavour. If you’re doing a chicken roast, once the potatoes are cooked you can stab the lemon and shove it down the chicken’s neck/up its bum, depending on your preferences.

3. Leave the potatoes on the boil for about five minutes but not too much longer. You don’t want to cook them all the way through, just enough that the edges are starting to look a little frayed.

unroasted potatoes
4. Drain the potatoes well. Return them to the saucepan, pop a lid on and give them a bit of a shake. This gets the potatoes nice and fluffy; essential for maximum crispiness.

5. Plop the potatoes into a roasting dish, one big enough so that they can lie flat. Coat them liberally with rapeseed oil – don’t be shy with it. Mix them around a bit so that the oil is soaked up. Season really well with salt and pepper.

6. Put into the hot oven and leave them to cook for about 45-50 minutes until nice and crispy. You can turn them over gently if you wish about halfway through cooking. They need time, so don’t rush them.

finished roasting
7. Don’t garnish with herbs like I did in the photos – it looks a bit crap. Just eat the delicious roast potatoes with some gravy. Nice.

Find out what our other contributors make best of all here.

@millking2301

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Written by Camilla King

Freelancer in the arts. Unwilling expert on Batman, dinosaurs and poo (there are children) and running widow of @UpDownRunner. Lover of music, cake and lady stuff. @millking2301