How to bake potatoes so that they're crisp on the outside and fluffy inside
The two mistakes people tend to make when cooking baked potatoes are a) to use a microwave and b) to buy absolutely gigantic potatoes that take an age to cook. People tend to use a microwave because they're cooking them for themselves but you never get as good a result.
If you’re cooking several at once they also need to be even-sized so you don’t end up with some overcooked and others undercooked - a medium to large-sized potato of about 250-300g is about right.
Preheat the oven to 200*C/400°F/Gas 6. If the potatoes are dirty give them a good scrub and dry them with kitchen towel. Prick the skin with a fork in several places to ensure the potatoes don’t burst (not necessary if you have a spike - see below). Pour a little sunflower or vegetable oil into your palms and rub it over the potatoes. This makes the skin nice and crisp.
Put the potatoes on a baking tray or in a roasting tin for about an hour, turning them half way through. Cut a cross in the centre of each baked potato as you take it out of the oven then, protecting your hands with oven gloves or a clean tea-towel squeeze the sides of the potato so it opens up at the top. This lets the steam escape and makes the potato lovely and fluffy.
* To speed up the cooking time impale the potatoes on a baked potato spike*. You can buy them in department stores, kitchen shops or those weird catalogues full of gadgets nobody really needs. Except the potato spikes, obviously
* Cooked like this potatoes are a pretty healthy meal, high in vitamin C and fibre. It's what you put on top of them that can make them unhealthy. If you're watching your weight avoid slathering them with butter and/or sour cream as well as other high-fat toppings like cheese. (Butter alone is fine - I'm not being a killjoy! ) And try to serve some kind of salad on the side.