It is grim outside in Northern England. It’s cold enough to rise your heating bill but not cold enough to call a day off work and the incessant rain has become a permanent, hazy, feature across the rolling landscape. So I wanted to find something to cook that would warm my insides and bring a smile back to this Food Adventurer’s face.
This meal was inspired by a recipe from Food Network with a few Northern Munkee tweaks. If you want to follow the recipe yourself I’ve included a link below because I’m just going to walk you through the alterations I made, why I made them and why it brightened up my Sunday afternoon!
Twice-Baked Festive Potatoes
The first tweak I made to the already good Food Network recipe was the oil. I believe there’s nothing better than British rapeseed oil for baking potatoes. I used a brilliant product from Borderfields which is grown and pressed in Scotland. I haven’t had a bad rapeseed oil but I find this one much less earthy and has a much smoother taste to others.
My next tweak was pre-bake. There are two things you need to do to make a good baked potato in my opinion: 1) make a slit with a sharp knife all the way around about 1/2 centimetre thick so you know when it’s cooked 2) season that skin! I seasoned my potato skins with rainbow black pepper, lemon, thyme and plenty of bay salt. This makes sure that you get a really crispy and flavoursome skin.
I also altered the meat in this recipe firstly, because my wife doesn’t eat pork, and secondly, because we still had some left over turkey and as a Yorkshireman: I cannot waste! So it sliced my leftover turkey thinly and fried it in rapeseed oil for a couple of minutes on either side to crisp the edges slightly.
Finally, I changed the cheese. I went for a mild cheddar from Great British Cheese which I picked up from the Foodies Festival in Harrogate. This is a perfect cheese for melting and you know it’s just writing when it starts to bubble and brown!
Et voila! Tweaks done!
The delivery on this dish was superb. The crispy, flavour-rich shells encased a beautifully smooth and creamy filling with an indulgently gooey cheesy lid! The crunch from the onions and crispy turkey was sufficient to excite the mouth with a variance of textures and the flavours worked really well together. If I was doing it again I might opt for a lighter, more crumbly cheese such as a Feta or a Wensleydale and I might also add some balsamic vinegar to serve to cut through the fat of the cheese. Otherwise I was pretty chuffed with that one!
This was a fantastic winter warmer and it even allowed me to have a couple of games of FIFA whilst the baking was being done. I can highly recommend that you try it yourself, with or without the Northern Munkee tweaks!