Welcome! Welcome back to another instalment in the Ruth-attempts-not-to-burn-down-the-kitchen series! There hasn’t been one of these in a while, but I made a breakthrough in the student cooking department: a tasty meal with minimal cost, effort, and washing up: what more could you want? Sit back and relax as I take you through this particular ingenuity.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given before I went to university was by the youth worker at my previous church. She told me to invest in a George Foreman grill which I indeed used extensively in my first year (you know, back when I was in student halls and had a kitchen I can actually move in). That grill has seen many, many toasties which got me through my laziest days of my first year and basically saved me from starvation. Today I venture beyond the obvious choice of toastie-making and tried to cook potatoes on this multi-purpose grill.
- 2 medium potatoes (more if you’re extremely hungry)
- olive oil (or equivalent, doesn’t matter too much what you use)
- seasonings: I used salt, cracked black pepper, and paprika
- Medium George Foreman grill (or equivalent); I’m not sure if a sandwich maker is equivalent enough but it’s worth a try. You (probably) won’t get food poisoning from potatoes…
- Knife? Chopping board? They go without saying, right?
- Lunchbox or plastic food bag
- Basically about 10p per portion, plus whatever you want to eat chips with. I had smoked mackerel which my parents bought me when I went home for Easter (cheating, I know. But if I really wanted to factor that in it’ll be about 85p)
- Slice the potatoes into french-fry-ish sizes. You could go bigger if you want, but I didn’t want to risk raw potatoes that were charcoal on the outside
- Preheat the grill at this point. Mine doesn’t take ages to heat up but if you know yours take longer, you might want to start this step earlier.
- Dump them into the lunchbox or food bag (food bag = less washing up which is fab on lazy days when it’s worth the guilt trip about environmental friendliness)
- Slosh a little olive oil on the potatoes (just enough to coat) and season to taste
- Seal the lunchbox/bag and shake vigorously
- Pile the potatoes onto the grill and close the lid.
- Wait 10 minutes or so before checking the potatoes. For me, this was a good time to wash up the mountain of dishes that were chilling next to the sink.
- Check the potatoes and turn them over. This bit requires more dexterity than I can manage so I just dump them back into the lunchbox and shake them about a bit before piling them back on the grill.
- Do more washing up. Give it another 5-10, I just lift the lid every so often to check when they’re starting to colour nicely.
- Sample a chip to check that it’s soft on the inside (don’t burn your tongue) and dish up.
- I warmed up my smoked mackerel on the same grill for another few minutes, but this bit depends on what you’re eating your chips with.
‘Tis quick, easy, and cheap. My holy trinity of cooking.
- Cost: 5/5 (especially if your parents buy you half the ingredients)
- Ease: 4/5
- Time: 4/5
- Taste: 4/5
If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear in the comments!