About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Monday, October 23, 2006
Saturday Night In
I had a case of the munchies Saturday night. My wife D had a chosen a movie to watch, the latest version of The Pink Panther, which is really not my cup of tea as I'm not a huge fan of physical slapstick. In reality my munchies were more a way of escaping the movie, so off to the kitchen I went. We had microwave popcorn, but that would be too fast, whatever I made would need to absorb time. Glancing at a bag of potatoes, a sudden inspiration hit, what about homemade potato crisps? I've never made them before, but that was no impediment, I've cooked plenty of chips, potato crisps couldn't be that hard, could they?

Well peeling spuds is not all that hard, but slicing the potatoes to the requisite thinness would be a special challenge and even though my knives are razor sharp, it is extremely difficult to cut wafer thin slices of anything uniformly. Unless you have a mandoline of course. Ours is a Zyliss and wicked sharp it is. I used the thinnest platen, o.75 mm from memory and in no time had reduced two large potatoes to a pile of crisp like slices.

It's worth noting here the best type of spud to use for chips of any kind. Potatoes can be loosely defined as either waxy or white. Waxy potatoes are yellowish and moister than white, holding together well, making them the best type for boiling or steaming - the best potato salads are made from waxy potatoes. White potatoes on the other hand are drier and their cells tend to separate when cooked, especially when boiled, making them ideal for mashing and because they are drier, white potatoes are great for roasting and perfect for chips. The potatoes we had to hand were the ubiquitous Sebagoes, probably the most common potato in Australia, but any potatoes from the Russet group would be good too.

I placed all the sliced potatoes in a colander and rinsed them with cold water, a very important step in chip making, ridding the cut or sliced potatoes of excess starch that causes the chips to stick together. After draining and drying, I slipped the slices into the very hot oil. The pot wasn't smoking, but I'm guessing it was around 190 c (375 f) and I kept the gas turned up to flat out throughout the cooking, unlike when making chips when I double fry, first at a cooler temperature to cook the chips but not brown them, they are then removed while still pale to cool down, then a hotter fry to brown and crisp them.

Moving the slices around to prevent sticking is very important in the early part of the frying, then it's just a matter of letting the slices dry right out and brown to a burnished crisp colour, which took a surprisingly long time even at the high heat I was using, but once the colour change became apparent, they browned very quickly. They were then removed and drained on absorbent paper, a little salt added - okay, they were crisps - a lot of salt and served.

The verdict? Well, they were a lot like Kettle chips, thicker than the usual crisp, but they had an unmistakable homemade quality of flavour, whereby the taste of the potato was apparent. Very moorish and dare I say, sophisticated. Would I do it again? Probably, though not soon, but at a cost of about 50 c for the potatoes, it was way cheaper than buying a bag of chips of the same quantity. Next time I would also go upmarket with the salt, using at the very least Maldon flakes or maybe go the whole hog and try one of those grey salts everyone raves about.
  posted at 8:46 am

At 5:07 pm, Blogger Ange said...

Sounds absolutely delish, home made is always better in my book - though I havent seen a recipe for home made tim tams as yet!

At 12:00 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ange, if I ever found a recipe for Tim Tams I think I would burn it, I don't need more calories, even the very tasty ones!

At 9:38 am, Blogger Ange said...

You're obviously not pregnant! I can say no to nothing evil at the moment

At 5:25 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi ange, you've got me there!


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