Sunday, 28 August 2011

One Potato Two Potato

England gets a bad rap for its food.  But this isn't true.  Throughout this blog I will feature some fantastic English cuisine - I'm not promising "pretty, piled up on your plate in tower form" food but the stuff will taste gooood!  The food is here is very much traditional, simple, filling and comforting.  Over the years, I have had to replace many of my favorite comfort foods.  I think I took for granted what was available in Canada and this has resulted in a few friends and family members having to leave room in their suitcase to bring me a few of my favorites - Skor Chippits, Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup, KRAFT DINNER!! (Though I really only ever have that now for nostalgia sake)  Slowly I have found items to replace my loves and adopted new ones.

One of my not so new faves is the jacket potato.  I love any potato product really - mainly because I can put Ketchup on it.  Yes, and I'm not ashamed to say it, I looooove Ketchup.  I don't put it on everything, nothing you wouldn't ordinarily put ketchup on, mainly anything made with potato.  So before moving to England the only thing I had ever had on a BAKED potato back home was sour cream and chives, maybe some bacon bits.  I even did a little research to see if maybe I had lived in a baked potato bubble back home and the most daring filling I found was salsa, or if you really live on the edge - a mix of sour cream and salsa.  The jacket potato here is a meal plan staple and more than just a side dish.  There are so many different fillings that it can appeal to anyone.  And - its cheap as chips ;)  Super easy too.  Wrap your spud in foil and bake in the oven for 1-2 hours at about 200°C or 425°F.  Once its baked I cut it cross ways and push down on the corners to fluff it out but I have since read that there are many ways to slice a baked potato so as long as its sliced, it'll do.  The important part is the filling!  I happened upon my favorite filling by accident.  I was attending a conference (I know that sounds all businessy but it wasn't, it was a Girl Guide Leader conference - see I can't be businessy, I call it businessy!) and I was a bit shy (I know, hard to believe!) so I just ordered whatever the person in front of me did with an "I'll have what she's having".  I watched the woman behind the counter put a jacket potato on the plate and begin to load it with tuna mayo, baked beans (a staple in our house - and it's gotta be Heinz!), and finally some grated cheese.  I know what you're thinking because I thought it too "there's fish, fish on my potato" but it was DE-lish!  And so on Friday, when after a long day, I didn't feel like cooking this is what I rustled up. 

Best bit - The beans count as a vegetable so I have all the food groups in there!  You could add a side salad to fancy it up a bit and get a green leafy veg in there too.  I'm all about a balanced diet!

The possibilities are endless...
beans and cheese
any type of cheese including cream cheese or cottage cheese
tuna mayo and red onion
prawn and seafood sauce
chili, spaghetti sauce or curry (perfect use of leftovers)
egg mayo
ham, cheese and pineapple
sauteed mushrooms
chicken, pesto and melted cheese
chicken and bacon mixed with mayo
And the list goes on and on.

And it looks like the Jacket Potato is already making its way across the pond...

If JP's are already a part of your meal plan, what's your fave filling? Or what's the strangest topping you've heard of?  How about a filling that didn't sound to appetising but once you tried it you were hooked?  If you haven't already had a JP, which one are you going to try?

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