no regrets: the perfect roast potatoes – go for it!

Perfect roast potatoes! Oh yes! Hello! Something new for the next few entries – you may remember we put a call out for folks to either submit a recipe or a blog story? Well – you came through in droves. I’m furious, I was expecting a couple of entries and then I wouldn’t need to put out.

Oh come on, we all know I’d put out for anything. I’m the third Tyne Tunnel. Anyway, speaking of windsock-arses, it’s over to Frederick East for his competition entry. He gets two tickets for this – story AND a recipe? I promise it’s not just because I want him in me.

“But, enough about me, I hope this hasn’t been boring for you.”

This is my recipe for PERFECT roast potatoes. PERFECT must always be written in capitals because they are PERFECT and anything less is underselling them and a hate crime.

Apparently every fucker and his arthritic dog has their own method for roasties and I’ve read them all and spent 4 years perfecting my own. Most people learn from their Mum/Dad/Creepy uncle but sadly the only recipes passed down in my family are for wine and painkiller cocktails. Whilst these cocktails are deliciously numbing I could never get them crispy or to go with gravy.

I didn’t start working on these until my early 30s because my ex, for all his flaws (and clammy, bony hands) was a wonderful cook. Sadly our relationship wasn’t to go the long term because he apparently had a problem with other men’s penises being inside me, the little prude. I struck it lucky again when I met my current partner/first husband when I had another good cook. EXCEPT FOR ROAST DINNERS. Now when you shack up with a bloke from Lancashire who cries gravy when you bitch about his dead mother, you expect him to be able to knock out a decent roast. But no, his spuds are flaccid, his meat dry and his stuffing completely underwhelming. (fnar)

So I set about cooking roast after roast until I mastered PERFECT Roast Potatoes. Follow my instructions to the very letter and you will soon be basking in crispy carby Nirvana. Deviate from this plan and then you are only hurting yourself.

Do your research on this, if you’re doing a roast and want to keep it on your plan as much as possible, then this is where to spend your syns. A Sunday dinner without decent roast spuds is like sex without having to change the sheets and get a few stitches after. Not fucking worth it.

James here: don’t bollocks around ‘making do’ on Slimming World with a few scratty potatoes. We’re moving this into our no regrets section because honestly, it’s so much better to have something good once and a while than endless bouncy pale tatties. Listen to the man!

Let’s get straight to it, then.

perfect roast potatoes

perfect roast potatoes

no regrets: Frederick East's perfect roast potatoes




Yield lots of potatoes

Put the oven on, sit back and read - then cook these beauties and live like a Queen! From your favourite Queen, after Paul and James: Paul II.


  • Maris Piper potatoes - Two medium sized potatoes per person.  (These are the best. If you use other spuds they will not be PERFECT and I hate you for not listening to me)
  • vegetable oil - about a third of a bottle (not goose fat, not sunflower oil, basic bitch vegetable oil)
  • salt
  • a roasting tin with shallow sides (too deep and they won't crisp)


  • get someone else to peel the spuds for you - this is a ball ache and boring

  • always cut the spuds on the diagonal, more surface area means more crispy magic. If it's a big potato, cut it into 3. You want them all to be roughly the same size, it doesn't matter if you have the odd small one as it turns into a delicious crispy lump, but don't have anything freakishly big cos it will take longer to cook and cock up the rest of them

  • pop the spuds in a pan of cold water, make sure they're all covered and salt the water liberally. I don't know what the salt does but I've never met a food that doesn't taste better salted

  • preheat your oven to the hottest temperature it will go. Pop down Co Op and put an extra quid on the leccy. It's worth it

  • put a lid on the pan, bring to a boil then set a timer for five minutes. Run back into the kitchen when the pan boils over and extinguishes the flame from the hob. Take three deep breaths of the gas filling your kitchen and embrace the cheap high before relighting the flame

  • drain the spuds and put back into the dry pan. (No spit this time, breathe deep and you can do it) Lid back on and give two or 3 vigorous shakes. Fluff up your edges but don't trash the spuds. Put the lid back on at this point and let them steam in their own warmth as you go onto the next step - this step takes about an hour

  • fill you roasting tin so there is about a CM of oil covering it, turn the oven down to 200° (That's fan, not sure what it is if you're living in the 50s and don't have a fan oven) put your roasting tin of oil on the top shelf for ten mins

  • this is the stage you have to be quick at. Tin out of the oven and get your spuds in. You don't want to over crowd the pan, give each one a couple of CM to breathe on all sides. As quick as you can all spuds in, be careful with the lid of your saucepan dripping water into your oil as you take it off as it will spit, you will shit yourself and you will ruin your kitchen floor

  • have a big spoon to hand and baste each spud with a liberal slather of oil

  • whack the tray back in the oven and forget about it for 20 mins

  • after 20 mins get the tray out and turn each spud, give it another baste and back in for another 20mins

  • now you need to use your own judgement, if they look done, dinner time! If you think they could do with one last turn, do it and baste again but they shouldn't need more than ten minutes

  • as soon as they're out of the oven, get them straight into a serving bowl or onto plates. DO NOT leave them sat in the oil any longer than absolutely necessary, it will undo all your hardwork and you'll hate yourself


  • looking for a good roasting tin? Buy a set from Amazon - we're not just recommending them because we get a few pennies from each sale, but also in the hope you might buy our book while you're on there

Courses no regrets

Cuisine sunday dinner

James back now. Come on, how good do they look? I’m a firm believer in a little of what you fancy does you good, and although I personally don’t have the level of restraint not to push my face into a pan of hot oil and eat them all straight away, like that wee lassie from Spooks so many moons ago, perhaps you do. Maybe they can be part of a SW diet, maybe not.

However, if you’re looking for more no regrets stuff we’ve done or other recipes, here’s a random few:



swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti

This swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti is the mutts-bloody-nuts, I don’t mind telling you. Someone might need to slide you along the kitchen floor like a snail after your dinner – it’s that tasty. Easy to make. But, like the big pricktease that I am, I’m going to make you wait for a moment whilst I waffle on about my usual flim-flam.

See, I was going to talk about the whole pushchair v wheelchair legal case last week when it was y’know, relevant. Have you heard of it? Let me summarise. A chap took FirstGroup to the Supreme Court on the grounds of discrimination after he was unable to board a bus due to the disabled space being occupied by a pushchair. Frankly, I’d like to take bus companies to court based on the fact that I’ve never alighted from a bus without the smell of foist, BO and stale fags soaked into every fibre of my clothing, but that’s by the by. The ruling means that drivers have to do more to help accommodate disabled folk. Good.

Why am I mentioning it? Because I’m astounded that it even had to go to court. Surely good, common decency tells you that you move your pushchair and baby out of the way so that someone who has fuck-all choice as to where they sit can actually travel? Is that not blindingly bloody obvious? And yet when I read online discussion forums about the story they were awash with people saying ‘you can’t wake a sleeping baby’ and ‘it’s not fair expecting a parent to move, they might be tired’! What the hell is all that about, is the baby made from aged nitroglycerine? I know that every baby is special to their parents but the Earth span before the baby and it’ll sure as hell continue afterwards. Perhaps if the pushchair wasn’t the size and build of a Russian Army tank you’d have less of an issue. Buy a smaller pushchair. Put the baby in a sling. Carry it in a papoose. Stuff him safely overhead in the overhead locker bins but be careful as contents may have shifted during transit. If you choose to wheel around a pushchair bigger than Paul’s smart car then be prepared to fold it away if you need to.

Before I get people complaining, just to be clear, if the child has difficulties or it’s a special needs wheelchair then of-bloody-course they should stay on.

There were cries of ‘if disabled people want to be treated equally, why should we make exceptions for them’, which makes me steam at the ears. We’re not talking about laying on a special bus full of blowjobs and cocaine, we’re talking about letting someone ride public transport exactly like everyone else. That’s not an ‘exception’, that’s bloody right! I’d hazard a strong guess that the absolute majority of wheelchair users use their wheelchairs because they have to, not because they fancied being eye-level with everyone’s arses for the day. It’s not like it’s a fairground ride, for goodness sake.

You see it with mother and baby parking spaces too. I can see the merit in them – I absolutely can – but I’ve seen several times over people trying to justify parking in disabled spots because the mother and baby spots were full. Why? If your child is disabled, absolutely fair enough, but if not, park in a normal bay away from other cars and crack on. People managed to get out of cars before without much difficulty. My mother used to haul me and my sister out of our battered old Ford Escort with one hand, the other hand being preoccupied with lighting a Lambert and Butler or smacking our arses for fighting / shouting / breathing noisily. Didn’t do me any harm, and she managed to do it without leaving the car next to her looking like it had been used for a drag race. My arse cheeks did, but that’s beside the point.

I understand the point about ‘not wanting to walk with children across a car park’ but haway, it’s a two minute trundle across Tesco car park – you’re not walking the Hindu Kush. Keep your children smartly to your side and you’ll find it a breeze.

Ah, what do I know, I don’t have children. If I did they’d be raised like Jane and Michael Banks from Mary Poppins and they’d say spit-spot all the time and smoke pipes. And, let me tell you this – if I had them in a pushchair and someone in a wheelchair came aboard the bus, I’d cheerfully strap my children in their pram to the back of the bus and let them ride like the Beverley Hillbillies. It’s just time people stopped being so precious.

Bah. Right, if you feel the need to send me angry words, don’t worry, you needn’t rush to do so.

Oh and as an aside, hasn’t The Archers been delicious recently? Hearing Rob fall apart has been wonderful! Let’s get to the recipe though, eh? I was inspired to make this from something gorgeous that I put in my mouth in Switzerland. He was a potato farmer called Luca and he smelled of Gruyere. Boom boom. This makes one giant rosti which will serve four – I put a quarter on a plate with some sausages and sauerkraut. You know what the best part about this rosti is? It uses butter! Proper butter. Yeah, it adds syns, but not much at all! Plus it’s so easy. Even you could do it! You will need to plan ahead though because step one of this recipe involves doing something the night before!

swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti

to make a swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti you will need:

  • 900g of good floury potatoes, like Maris Piper
  • salt and pepper
  • 25g of reduced fat butter (7 syns)
  • 120g of Gruyere cheese (or cheddar or whatever you like) (4 x HEA) (this serves four, see)
  • a bunch of chives, chopped finely
  • two teaspoons of olive oil (4 syns)

You’ll also need a good pan, about nine inches. If you find nine inches a bit of a struggle, you can use a slightly smaller pan, and just tell people it’s nine inches. It will need to be ovenproof, mind.

to make a swiss potato and gooey cheese rosti you should:

  • this is the key bit – boil your unpeeled whole potatoes for ten minutes in boiling water and then leave to cool overnight until they’re absolutely cold and dry
  • coarsely grate your potatoes – peel them first if you like, but I didn’t bother – I just grated them with the peel on. Now, grating potato is a ballache but we used our Magimix and were done in less than a minute – and look, it’s so pretty!
  • mix the grated potato with a good few crunches of salt and pepper – I really went overboard with the pepper as I don’t think you can have too much, and add the chopped chives for good measure
  • heat your pan on a medium heat with one teaspoon of oil – I use a little wee pastry brush to make sure the whole pan is coated in the oil
  • add half the potatoes and press them down with a spatula, making sure it’s pressed down tight and right to the edges
  • take half of the butter and cut it into tiny slivers, poking these slivers down the sides of the rosti around the pan – leave the rosti to cook for about 5 minutes or so until nice and golden underneath
  • spread the cheese over the top of the rosti, keeping about an inch away from the edges, then cover with the rest of the potato – think of it like making a cheese sandwich – press everything down
  • now the tricky part – how to turn the rosti. You might want to get someone to help you if you’re a clumsy fucker like me but it’s actually not too hard
  • get a flat plate and place it over the top of the frying pan and then quickly flip the pan and plate over, so you’re left with the rosti now the cooked-side up on the plate
  • add the rest of the oil into the pan and gently, oh god so gently, slide the rosti back into the heated pan
  • repeat the butter trick with the rest of the butter and cook for five minutes or so until golden whilst you preheat the oven to 190 degrees
  • transfer the pan into the oven and cook for about fifteen minutes just to finish off the colour then, once it has cooked, take it out and cut into quarters
  • serve with whatever you like – buttery, cheesy rosti goodness awaits!

Now see, I know I’ll get people not trying this because it uses syns, but it’s not many and it’s bloody worth it. You could use frylight, but then you could just eat the foam out of your cushions too. Get it made!

Looking for more inspiration? Click the buttons and get buttering your muffin!

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