Wednesday, 27 April 2016


The art to producing the most delicious roast potatoes was back in the days when I didn’t have a problem with middle age spread – sigh! So if you are not there yet, please go right ahead, make and enjoy! If you are not sure about your oil temperature, use an oil thermometer or if you don’t have a thermometer or an electric deep-fryer, test the the oil temperature by dropping a cube of bread in it: bread turns golden brown in 25-30 seconds at 160°C, in 20 seconds at 170°C, in 15 seconds at 180°C and in 10 seconds at 190°C. Do not allow temperature to drop below 160 C ( 320 F) and do not overcrowd your pan or your temperature will drop, giving you a soggy result. Oil must be a little over 180 C to compensate for drop in temperature when adding your potatoes.

Hillary Biller’s Step-By-Step Cookbook

Before par-cooking potatoes and to make them extra crispy, run the tins of a fork down the length of the peeled potatoes, creating an indented uniform striped look all around. Prick potatoes very well with fork all around, without breaking or chipping them. See picture.
You may forego par-cooking the potatoes and after scraping and pricking them all over just gently plop them (after wrapping them to dry in tea-towel), straight into pre-heated oil.
Before roasting your (par-cooked potatoes) you may lightly dust them with a little sifted cake flour, gently patting it in, before roasting.
Potatoes, peeled (enough to serve per person)
sunflower oil or wholsum fat (lard if available) for roasting
Peel potatoes and drop into enough (unsalted) cold water to cover. If they are very big, halve them lengthwise. Bring unsalted water to the boil. When boiling, add in your potatoes and boil for 5-10 minutes (just to par-cook them). They must still be hard just beneath the surface. Drain.
If you are going to pot roast them on stove top: Preheat enough oil (to come halfway up sides of potatoes) in chip pan to 180 C (350 F),moderate heat, roasting and pricking gently while rotating them with tins of fork until crisp.
If you are going to oven roast them: Pour 3 cm (1 1/2 in) oil into a metal roasting pan, and preheat in oven at 200 C (400 F /gas 6) for 15 minutes.
Place potatoes in hot oil, reduce oven temperature to 190 C (356 F). Roast the potatoes, uncovered for 45-60 minutes, turning every now and then whilst pricking them all over with fork to crisp them up. Remove, once nice and crispy and drain on absorbent paper (May use a colander, rack or sieve if out of paper) before serving.
For The Crispiest Fried Potato Chips:

Hillary Biller’s Step-By-Step Cookbook

Peel potatoes and add to cold unsalted water to prevent discolouration. Cut them into chips, placing back into water. Remove chips from water and place in tea-towel, enclosing them, gently rub to dry. Do not allow exposure to air or chips will discolour. Preheat oil to come halfway up sides of chip pan and when temperature reaches 190 – 200 C ( 374 – 392 F) add your chips to the basket and lower them into the hot oil. Follow method above for Roast Potatoes. Serve and Enjoy!
Know you potatoes (South Africa):
Some pockets have a mixture of potatoes which explains why some potatoes chipped or roasted turn mushy, while others boiled for mashing turn glassy and impossible to cream.
To avoid being dissapointed, I shall describe and illustrate the three cultivars (See below for illustration).
Up-to-Date: Round, tending to be oval, with prominent, medium/shallow eyes; suitable for mashing or baking; will turn mushy if chipped and fried.
Vanderplank: Pear – shaped; makes excellent chips and potato salad as they keep their shape and consistency during cooking.
BP1: Distinctly oval with round eyes; best for boiling or roasting, and holding their shape under these conditions.

From my old recipe file.

Next time you ask for a pocket of a specific variety, and the grocer complains that the pockets he receives are a mixture of all three, fish out these illustrations to ensure you choose the exact kind of spud you want – Enjoy!