The Food Gatherer's Note: The baked potato is perfect fodder for a bonfire night or Halloween gathering. Now in my book, there are jacket potatoes and then there are jacket potatoes.... When the skin is thick, crispy and a little bit chewy and the centre, soft and fluffy this can be one of the greatest culinary pleasures.   You may have your own ideas on creating the perfect baked spud, but here's what I would suggest.... oh and if you have a great tpping idea, let us know in the comments below!  Emma :) 


Leave the microwave alone!

The microwave certainly has its place in the kitchen, but not when baking a potato!  Secondly, do not wrap your potato in foil, it's pointless unless the potato is being cooked directly in hot coals.

Go for a large non waxy, floury variety of British potato, such as a King Edward or Maris Piper

Preheat your oven to 180C. Wash your potato then gently pat with a kitchen towel and rub sea salt into the damp skin with your hands.

Prick the potato with a fork in several places all over, to avoid exploding spuds!

Place your potato in the oven, straight onto the shelf, to let the air circulate around it as it cooks. Bake for approx 2 hours (a bit less if the spud is smaller). The skin should be dark and crispy - stick a fork into the potato it should be soft in the middle. 

Leave the potato to sit on a very low heat if necessary until you are ready to eat.

It has to be proper butter ...

Mark a cross on the top scoring into the flesh, with the point of a knife and squeeze and pinch each end to open the potato. Use proper butter , not a spread of any description. Place a knob of butter on top and push into the flesh of the potato with the back of a fork.  

To top it off... 

Cheese -  to melt or not to melt?   Personally I like the contrast of cold cheese against the warm buttery potato, but a jacket potato is a personal thing!  For melted cheese on your potato iOgleshield Cheese works brilliantly mixed with a good cheddar. It's similar to a raclette so oozes beautifully..  

I like to add a very small amount of wholegrain mustard to the butter inside the potato before the cheese.  Then. grate your cheeses on top of the baked potato, add a twist of black pepper and place the cheese piled potato under the grill for a few minutes until bubbling and golden.