Saturday, 22 September 2012

The Garden of Westhill - 24

It is almost time for harvest festival!

I have just finished digging up the potatoes and am letting them dry out for a few hours on the patio before grading them and storing them in sacks. They should last until Christmas.

I am a great potato fan, and like them in almost any form. The larger potatoes will be baked - I love jacket potatoes.

Could there possibly be anyone in the wide world who doesn't drool at the thought of jacket potatoes with really crisp, crunchy skins and fluffy, floury insides with something lovely melted into them?

I'm not speaking of the insipid microwave versions of convenience fame, but the hallowed, reverenced beauty of the real thing. Life is too short, and therefore we need to savour every moment by spoiling ourselves with what is best and not some pale imitation that fails to satisfy. If you ever feel like treating yourself and want something supremely soothing and comforting that costs almost nothing (forget chocolate bars and the like), just bake yourself the biggest potato you can lay your hands on, then cut it in half and, as you do, listen carefully to the inviting crackle and crunch of the skin as the knife goes in.

Next, with a fork, fluff the floury insides, then add a generous amount of butter and watch it melt and disappear into the clouds of fluffiness. Add rock salt and crushed black pepper, then eat and savour it alone in all its humble, simple glory.

The secret of perfect jacket potatoes like the one described above is not to hurry them – give them up to 2 hours to get the really crunchy skin, learn to use the time when you're out, so they can be ready when you come home, or go and do something else and forget about them till they're ready. (Delia Smith)

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