Blue cheese potato chips

You will not be able to resist these from the “Food 52” website.

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Serves 4 to 6

1 cup blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 bag sturdy potato chips, like Kettel Chips or Cape Cod
Chives,chopped finely to sprinkle over as you are serving
Black pepper

Turn your oven on to Broil.
Heat cream, milk, and blue cheese in a saucepan over low heat until the blue cheese just dissolves.
Spread the potato chips out on a lipped sheet pan — line it with a sheet of parchment paper or a silpat to help with cleanup later.
Pour the cheese mixture over the potato chips, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and broil in the oven until the sauce is bubbly and bronzed in parts. Sprinkle with the chopped chives,
Serve alongside napkins

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Chicken with potatoes, prunes and pomegranate molasses

Again, here is another gem from Yotam Ottolenghi with a stunning mixture of flavors.
It is SO easy that you just throw everything into a bowl, mix well together then throw into a large baking/roasting dish. Bingo!
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Serves 4 to 6

8 whole chicken legs (each with a drumstick and thigh attached, about 4 1/2 lbs in all)
16 medium fingerling or baby Yukon potatoes, peeled
3 large onions, peeled and quartered
5 oz pitted prunes
3 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1/2 cup soy sauce
6 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp maple syrup
5 oz sweet mango chutney
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 tbsp oregano sprigs, plus a few picked for garnish

Heat the oven to 400 F
Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, then tip it all into a large ovenproof roasting or baking dish.
Cover with a lid or thick foil and bake for 40 minutes.
Lower the heat to 350 F, remove the foil and cook for 1 1/2 more hours, stirring every now and then. If it starts to burn a bit, replace the foil or lid.

When the time is up, remove the dish from the oven, stir once more, cover and set aside for at least 15 minutes to rest and allow the flavors to mingle. Garnish with a few oregano leaves and serve with a sharp green salad and some good bread to mop up the lovely juices

Simple roast chicken traybake with spiced potatoes and olives

I love roasted tray bakes, they are easy to make and are so versatile. Here is another version, and the flavors are beautifully intense.

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Serves 4
1 bay leaf, crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 lb fingerling potatoes, halved
1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 whole chicken legs (leg and thigh attached) about 3lbs
1/2 cup fresh flat leaf parsley leaves with stems
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest

* You will need a small spice mill, like a coffee grinder. It’s worth buying a second one and devoting it to grinding spices.

Preheat the oven to 450 F
Pulse the bay leaf, fennel seeds and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes in a spice mill until finely ground.
Toss the halved potatoes, olives, 2 tbsp oil and half of the spice mixture in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Place the chicken mixture on a rimmed baking sheet and rub with remaining 2 tbsp oil; season with salt and pepper and rub with the remaining spice mixture.
Arrange potato mixture around the chicken. Roast until the potatoes are fork-tender, chicken is cooked through, and the skin is crisp, 35 – 45 minutes.
Serve chicken and potato mixture topped with parsley, lemon zest and more red pepper flakes, if desired.
Spoon the pan juices around and serve.

Baby potatoes baked in a piquant Asian sauce


We ate at an old establishment in Pasadena the other day called “The Raymond” I wouldn’t rush out to eat there again, but I did like the way they did their potatoes. The idea was great, but it needed the Tastetickler Treatment with more of an “in your face” flavor!

Serves 2
1/2lb baby Yukon potatoes, or even the smaller Pee Wee ones, left unpeeled
3 to 4 tbsp olive oil
salt to taste
1 tsp (or more if you like garlic) finely chopped garlic
1/2 to 1 tsp fresh red chilli, chopped fine
A pinch of sugar
3 tbsp or more soy sauce
1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp toasted white sesame seeds
6 scallions, green and white parts sliced on the diagonal, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Parboil the potatoes in salted boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and tip them into a shallow roasting dish and set aside.
In a medium pan, put in some more olive oil and fry the garlic and chilli for 30 seconds over medium heat.
Add a little salt, sugar, the soy sauce, chilli sauce and tomato ketchup, constantly stirring. Pour this mixture over the potatoes, stirring and coating everything, then add the toasted sesame seeds. Roast for about 15 to 20 minutes, checking after 15 minutes.
When cooked and toasty, remove and garnish them with the scallions, a few more sesame seeds and serve


Ultimate roast potatoes

You will never need another recipe after making these!  A polenta crust and cooking in duck fat ensures the roast potatoes are perfectly crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside

Serves 6
4lbs  potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold
8 tbsp duck fat
5 tbsp polenta grains

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Parboil the potatoes in salted water for about 10 minutes or until slightly tender when tested with a knife.
Drain well, return to the pan and cover with the lid.
Shake the  pan fairly vigorously to roughen the outsides of the potatoes.
Spoon the duck fat into a large roasting tin and place in the oven for 5 minutes or until the fat is hot and melted.
Sprinkle the polenta over the potatoes and toss to coat (this will make them extra crispy). Carefully tip the polenta-coated potatoes into the roasting tin and turn gently to coat in the hot duck fat.
Roast for about 45 minutes, or until crisp and golden brown.





French potato, bacon and Reblochon Tart (Tartiflette)

This is like having a big earthy, creamy, comforting hug. Something we ALL need occasionally, so treat yourself!
Roblochon cheese is a soft washed-rind cheese from the French Alps. You can get it in good cheese stores, or online and occasionally even really good supermarkets have it, but if you really HAVE to substitute it, then try an Epoisse or a Chaumes.

Serves 6 to 8

3 tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz slab bacon, cut into 1” strips about 1/2” thick
1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 lbs yukon gold or waxy potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
kosher salt and ground pepper
1 lb reblochon cheese, sliced 1/4” think

Heat the oven to 375 F
Grease an oval 2 1/2 qt casserole dish with 2 tbsp butter.
Heat the remaining butter and the bacon in a 12”skillet over medium heat.
Cook until the bacon is slightly crispy, 10 to 12 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain.
Add the onion and cook until slightly caramelized, 7 to 10 minutes.
Add the wine and bring to the boil.
Reduce the heat to medium, cook until reduced by half, about 3 minutes.
Stir in the potatoes, salt and pepper and cook until just tender, 8 to 10 minutes.
Spread half the potato mixture evenly in the prepared dish and top with half each of the reserved bacon and the cheese.
Repeat with the remaining potato mixture, bacon and cheese and bake until the top is browned and the filling is bubbling, about 30 minutes.

A "one pot meal"- Baked bacon wrapped sausages with sweet potato and fennel

A gem from the BBC Good Food website, and all thrown together in one baking dish.
How easy is this to do when you get home from work!

Serves 4

1lb sweet potatoes, roughly chopped into medium sized chunks
1 bulb fennel, chopped into 1/4 inch slices
3 large garlic cloves
1 tsp celery seeds
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
8 good quality sausages of your choice
8 thick rashers of bacon
1 tbsp plain flour (or GF flour)
4 fl oz apple juice
2 fl oz dry white wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 sprigs fresh thyme or fennel fronds if you can find them

Preheat the oven to 400 F

Place the sweet potato and fennel in a large roasting tin with the garlic, celery seeds and brown sugar.
Drizzle over the olive oil and give everything a good muddle so all the vegetables are coated and seasoned well.

Wrap each sausage in a rasher of bacon so it looks mummified and then nestle them in with the vegetables.
Roast the whole lot in the oven for about 25 minutes

Lightly sprinkle over the flour and jiggle the tin until it’s disappeared and has been incorporated among the vegetables.
Pour over the apple juice, white wine and balsamic vinegar, add the herbs, then continue to roast for a further 20 minutes until everything is cooked through and the sauce is thickened.
Check for seasoning and serve immediately

Chicken, sausage and whatever you have in the fridge traybake.

This is the most simple, stunning dish you can have in your repertoire. You can throw it together in minutes and let it roast and caramelize for about 45 minutes and your whole meal is on one roasting dish.

All you need is a very large bowl, at least 16” diameter (great to have anyway) and a large shallow baking tray, minimum 16” x 12” x 1”

The other day I was working and we only had 1 hour before needing to be downtown for a concert.
I took out my large bowl and started to throw stuff into it, tossed it all in olive oil and fresh herbs, some salt and pepper and spices and threw it all onto the baking tray, tossed it in the oven and 45 minutes later, we had a really stunning meal.

You can vary the meat and vegetables according to what you have in your imagination/fridge

Serves 4

Preheat the oven to 350 F

1 lb organic boneless, skinless chicken thigh, each cut into 3 chunks (Don’t use breast, as it gets too dry)
1lb of sausage you like, chorizo, Sweet Italian, Spicy Italian, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 large onions, red or white, cut into 1 inch chunks
As many cloves of garlic as you want, peeled, and half of them crushed and half of them left whole
A yellow, red and/or orange pepper, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 lb cherry tomatoes, some halved, the others left whole
3 zucchini, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 eggplant, cut into 1 inch chunks
8 oz baby crimini mushrooms,
8 oz Brussel sprouts, halved
1/2 butternut squash, or 2 cups in 1” cubes
Very small potatoes, or cut up ones, as they need to cook till tender

Throw all this into the large bowl and toss together with;

1 tsp paprika, sweet, hot or smoked, depending on your preference
2 good handfuls fresh basil, torn
A good amount of Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp dried oregano, or any other herb you fancy
Some dried chile, if you like a kick
Liberally glug in some really good olive oil, at least 1/4 cup

Mix it all together well so everything is well coated and then tip everything out onto the large roasting tray. Shake till it’s evenly distributed, then put into the oven until it’s starting to get browned and beginning to singe at the edges.
Remove from the oven, taste and re-season.

* Some crumbled feta or blue cheese can also go over everything in the last 15 minutes of cooking

You will start playing around with the flavors and ingredients, trying different combinations, vegetarian, more meat, less vegetables….  The worlds your oyster on this dish!


Spanish style chicken traybake

Another one of those great throw-everything-in-a-roasting-dish  recipes! This time, from the Hairy Bikers recipe book.

Serves 4

1 large onion, cut into 8 pieces
1 large red onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 green pepper, deseeded and cut into strips (optional)
1lb small potatoes, quartered lengthways
8 whole large cloves of garlic, unpeeled
8 medium tomatoes, quartered
8 oz chorizo, preferably picante, skin removed
8 large boneless skinless chicken thighs
1 heaped tsp sweet or smoked paprika
1 tbsp dried oregano
Good olive oil
Ground black pepper and sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Put the onions, potatoes, peppers, garlic and tomatoes in a large roasting tin and season with sea salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper then sprinkle lightly with olive oil
Toss everything together lightly and roast for 20 to 25 minutes

While the vegetables are cooking, skin the chorizo and cut the meat into thin slices. Set aside

Put the chicken thighs on a board and carefully slash each one 2 or 3 times with a knife. Season all over with salt and pepper and rub into the chicken.

Mix the paprika and oregano together and set aside

After 20 minutes or so, take the roasting tin out of the oven, scatter the chorizo over the vegetables and turn everything a couple of times.

Place the chicken on top of the vegetables and chorizo and sprinkle with the paprika and oregano.
Season with a little salt and black pepper, sprinkle the chicken pieces with a little olive oil and return to the oven for 40 to 50 minutes until the chicken is cooked.

There are so many variations to this recipe and you certainly don’t have to stick to the quantities of this recipe. Use you imagination!

Baked potato skins mac and cheese

Utterly decadent, rich and satisfying for the whole family. All it needs is a green salad.
This comes from a fellow food blogger called “A Spicy Perspective”

Serves 8

24 oz baby potatoes
2 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1 lb elbow macaroni
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flour
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup sour cream
1 1/3 lbs shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
10 oz cream cheese, divided
12 oz bacon, fried and crumbled, divided
1 cup chopped green onions, divided
Cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450 F.
Place the potatoes on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tbsp of oil.
Salt and pepper liberally and shake the pan a little to coat them with oil. Roast for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Then set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, cook the macaroni in a large pot of salted water, according to the package instructions.
Drain and set aside in a colander.

Using the same pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat. Once melted, whisk in the flour and cook the roux (butter-flour) for 1 minutes.
Then whisk in the milk and add the sour cream and 8 oz cream cheese. Bring to a simmer and whisk until the mixture is thick and smooth

Add 1lb shredded cheddar and whisk until smooth. Then add a dash or two of cayenne pepper and salt and pepper to taste.

Pour the cooked macaroni, 2/3 crumbled bacon and 2/3 cup green onions into the cheese sauce. Stir to coat.

Pour the macaroni into a deep 9 by 13 inch baking dish and set aside.

For the potato skins recipe;
Preheat the oven to broil. Cut each potato in half lengthwise. carefully scoop out most of the flesh, leaving just a little potato attached to the skin. Reserve the crumbled potato flesh.

Brush the potato skins with oil. With the remaining 2 oz of cream cheese, place a scant 1/2 tsp dollop of cream cheese in each potato skin.

Sprinkle the crumbled potato over the mac and cheese then arrange the potato skins over the top.
Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 lb shredded cheese over the potato skins and add pepper to taste.

For creamy mac and cheese;  place the dish in the oven under the broiler for 2 to3 minutes, watch carefully though. You want the cheese to melt and the tops to toast, but not burn

For a more traditional firm dish; turn the oven to 400 F and bake for 20 mins until the tops are golden.

Once out of the oven, sprinkle the remaining green onions and bacon over the top and serve warm.