I always peel my potatoes, boil and simmer for 10 minutes in salted water before straining and returning to the sauepan and with the lid on, give them a shake to roughen the edges. Before transferring to an oiled tray I’ve already heated in a hot oven, 450°F/230°C/Gas Mark 8. The vegetable or sunflower oil should just cover the base of the tray. Be careful not to splash the hot oil when adding the potatoes and turn them with a spoon to cover all edges with oil.
The length of time roasting depends on the size of your potatoes, the smaller the cut the quicker they’ll cook. If the potatoes are small then just halve them but if large then cut into quarters and oven cook between 30 minutes and an hour on the top shelf. Keep checking on them and turn at least once. If the edges start to burn too quickly cover with foil. The longer they can stay in the oven, the fluffier the insides will be. What’s handy to know is, if you misjudge the timing and the potatoes are ready too soon, they keep best if you remove them from the oven and cover with foil to keep them warm as roat potatoes retain their heat the longest and because of this they can also be the first item served onto the plates.
Honey roast parsnips are unusual because their sweetness is a delicious taste amongst the savouries and they’re simple to do. Cut in strips, lengthways. Parsnips soften very quickly so they don’t need parboiling like potatoes. They still go into preheated oil but only for 20 minutes and keep checking they don’t burn. Half way through cooking is when you turn the parsnips in their tray and drizzel runny honey over them but be careful not to drown them! As with potatoes, if they are done too soon, cover with foil and move to a lower oven shelf or the oven floor.
For boiled or steamed vegetables like broccoli, carrots, beans, sweetcorn and peas, to prevent them over-cooking on the hob, strain them when they’re still slighty crunchy and pop into an oveproof dish, put a knob of butter on top, cover and place on the floor of the oven. This keeps them warm without going soggy or drying out.
Lastly one tip a lot of people do anyway without thinking, is heating the plates. It keeps the served food hotter and tastier for longer.
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