Friday, 20 August 2010

Egg and chips anyone? Oven chips can be crisp, healthy and delicious ~

Making your own oven chips is easy and yummy.  If you can't think what to have for dinner or want comfort food, oven chips can provide the basis of a warming and satisfying meal.  It's also a healthy choice: very little oil is used and each of the very simple ingredients is of your own choosing.

Hot and tasty - my camera steamed up!

If the cooking time seems too long to wait, consider the time and expense of getting the same thing from a fast food outlet: this is likely to take as long or longer, and not be nearly as nice as what you can make yourself with this easy method.  Is pre-prepared from a plastic bag courtesy of your local supermarket's freezer any better?  Why would you bother?  You might like to read the ingredients on the packet.  When I last looked at these in our supermarket only one brand used vegetable oil.  The rest included animal fat.  I much prefer to make my own - no plastics, less processing and food miles, and I know exactly what's in them, and it's all fresh.

I like to have as much local produce in my meals as possible and this one has a good amount - free range eggs (that's a poached egg, by the way), potatoes from the garden (when in season), and steamed rocket, a favourite green vegetable which grows abundantly all year round.  Rocket is tangy, either raw or cooked, and has a delicious sharp aroma and flavour which offsets the other flavours and textures well.  You can read more about rocket in my earlier article, 'Remarkable rocket'.  My one concession to pre-prepared food in the meal pictured here was a can of baked beans, well heated, which rounded out the meal nicely.  

To make oven chips the basis of a meal for two people with moderate appetites, you will need these ingredients:
  • Potatoes - 1 kilo / 2 pounds
  • Flour, plain or standard - 2 to 3 tablespoons
  • Vegetable oil - a few tablespoons
  • Salt to taste - about half a teaspoon.
You will also need a large metal baking tray - mine is 30 by 42 cms / about 12 by 17 inches, and a hot oven.

  • Potatoes can be prepared with or without their skins depending on your preference.
  • Chop them into lengths which are not much more or much less than half an inch or 1 cm through.
  • Preheat the oven to about 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Place the chopped potatoes into a large bowl or pot, whichever is easiest, and sprinkle the flour over them.  Toss them well until flour has coated them reasonably thoroughly.
  • Pour enough oil into the baking tray to cover the bottom with a few millimetres or about an eighth of an inch of oil.  I like to preheat this in the oven for a few minutes before the next step.
  • Spread your chips in the tray. There's no need to fuss too much about evenness.
  • Bake for about twenty minutes.
  • Take them out and with a spatula or two toss the chips a bit and salt them lightly.
  • Cook for a further ten minutes or until nicely browned and smelling good.
  • You will not need to drain the chips or toss them on paper towels.
Serve and eat immediately.

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