I have a few staple lunch time meals that I end up having most days. It’s usually either a cheese salad sandwich of some sort with a snack, soup with a roll, a salad or the classic jacket potato with beans and cheese. Soup or a spud tends to be my cold day lunch with salads and sandwiches being more of an all rounder/summer lunch.
Being the impatient student that I was (and still am), I used to ‘bake‘ jacket potatoes in the microwave for 4 minutes on either side and be done with it. Usually this meant that the spud had a very uncooked texture with lumpy bits that I tended to overlook.
Now that I am a strong, independent renter with tonnes of time on my hand from my lack of lectures I took a stab at doing spuds the correct way. Baking them in the oven! This as well as a few twists along the way that I thought I would share with you. Because of course, you need to know how to spruce up your spud!
First off, you’ll need to pick out your very own favourite chosen spud/jacket potato from your collection and give it a quick wash and scrub over under some running water.
You’re then going to want to place your budding spud onto a lined oven tray. I use greaseproof paper because i’m definitely not just lazy and it stops the spud from sticking to the tray. I then prove i’m even lazier by dousing the spud with sunflower oil (or fry-light for a syn free option to slimming world-ers!) to stop EVEN MORE sticking (but also to crisp up the skin of course).
Next I crack out the big guns. This is where the ‘sprucing‘ really goes down you see. HERBS! It sounds so simple?! So easy?! Too good to be true?! Honestly, a few sprinkles of italian herb mix and garlic granules go a long way for me. Also, if you ever have the option to get a built-in herb and spice rack, go for it. This thing is amazing and brings so much more flavour to our bog standard student meals.
Then you end up with a perfectly seasoned spud ready for it’s baking …
Then it’s into the oven at ~220 degrees (428F) for the first 30 minutes and then down to ~180 degrees (356F) for another
year hour. Or you can miss the timings like I clearly did based on my oven clock… To be honest, if you’re getting hungry by 45 minutes you can opt for a less fluffy potato. It wont hurt. During all of this waiting you can waste away your life over a mid-morning coffee trying to get your uni work to actually work or just aimlessly stare at black screens like I do.
Finally you can open up that oven to get smacked in the face by a heat wave so that your glasses fog up and you can’t see anything. In all seriousness, be careful not to burn yourself if you wear glasses…
You’ll want to transfer the tray onto a heatproof mat and then jab it with a fork and quickly transfer the fluffy potato to a plate to be severed for optimum topping placement. I opted for some light mayonnaise (2 syns per tbsp) paired with EVEN MORE herbs and some paprika for good measure! I had run out of baked beans so this is what I go for in times of need…
Then you can relax with your favourite YouTube show or blog and indulge in the luxury that is the spruced up spud.
Plus look at this minimal cleaning afterwards? A student’s dream!
Don’t worry if you don’t get it right first time. Baking a spruced spud takes years of mastery and fine tuning with your oven… Happy sprucing!