Tag Archives: french fries

Roasted Vegetables 101 – Learn how to do this right every time!!!

I made this big sheet pan of roasted vegetables the other night simply because I had not enough of any one thing to make a complete side dish. However, when I threw everything into one big bowl and tossed with some olive oil, salt and pepper it transformed into a robust feast for a crowd!

A visually

A visually mouth-watering dish! (roasted red potatoes, crimini mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and baby carrots)

I am posted this to demonstrate what you can do with  odds and ends and how you can feed a crowd without too much effort. Roasting vegetables bring out their sweetness and imparts great depth of flavor. You can roast most any vegetable.

roast cherry tomatoes (and hot peppers if you choose to use them)

roasted cherry tomatoes and hot peppers

All of these accompaniments can be used in a myriad of different ways. Sometimes (like the other night in the top photograph) I simply serve alongside the protein (which can be anything: chops, chicken or fish!) or I add it to pasta which makes a lightning fast dinner.


Green beans are fabulous when roasted!

 The only thing you have to be careful about is to select vegetables that have roughly the same cooking times. In other words: don’t roast zucchini with potatoes or you will end up with zucchini mush! AND size matters: always cut your vegetables approximately the same size or some will cook faster than others!

As are asparagus!

As are asparagus!

Now that we are hurdling towards colder weather, my oven will be busy roasting up all sorts of vegetables to bolster the flavor of our evening meals, not to mention keeping my kitchen toasty warm!


You will need:

choose up to three or four of the list below:

2 to 3 tbs olive oil to coat (use more oil for porous veggies such as mushrooms and less for roots veggies)

Salt and pepper for seasoning (start with a teaspoon or more of salt and several grinds of pepper – this bit is very personal so if you like more seasoning add according to your taste  – or less for that matter)

4 medium potatoes – large dice (no need to peel – just washed and dried)

1 large sweet potato or yam – peeled and large dice

1 lb baby carrots

12 oz to 1 lb cherry tomatoes (any color!)

1/2 lb (more if you like) mushrooms – quartered (any kind you like or have on hand)

3 parsnips – sliced into 1 inch pieces and quartered (or halved depending on the size)

1/2 lb green beans – left whole

Below are other veggies with different cooking time instructions!


Preheat oven to 450*

1 – While oven is preheating, prepare all of your selected veggies and place in a very large bowl or container. Add the oil and mix it through the vegetables until everything is coated. Add your seasonings and mix it in.

Roast Veggies

Roast Veggies

 2 – Place vegetables on large baking sheet in an even single layer without “crowding the pan! Place in the oven. Cook for about 18 minutes before removing. Wait for about 30 seconds before turning (waiting gives the vegetables time to release a little moisture and thereby makes them easy to toss). Return to oven for 12 minutes and then check for doneness by tasting. Remove if ready or return for another few minutes checking often.

I served in a large warmed bowl

I served in a large warmed bowl

 A nice (and easy) way to serve these is in a large warm serving bowl with a big spoon, or of course you can serve onto the plates right from the sheet pan (or toss straight into the dish you are making).

prep asparagus

Asparagus roasting time: about 25 minutes, turning after 15 or so minutes.

roast  set aside

 I roast cherry tomatoes very often on their own. I use them on grilled sandwiches (cold or hot), omelets and toss them into pasta dishes. They roast quickly on their own – about 10 – 12 minutes total, turning halfway through the cooking time.

sweet potatoes done

sweet potatoes fries are delicious – recipe HERE

French Fries..

Simply the best French Fries. Hand cut, toss in olive oil, season with salt and pepper (definitely salt, and maybe pepper) and cook for 18 minutes, turn and cook for another 12 before checking for doneness.

saute onions

Pearl onions are great roasted – especially alongside root veggies such as potatoes, carrots and parsnips – they cook in the same time frame as root vegetables.

add spices, then cauliflower

Cauliflower is also fantastic when roasted – will post my favorite roasted cauliflower recipe soon!

Fry Zucchini & squash

Zucchini & squash are best roasted in halves

roast eggplant

Eggplant can be roasted in rounds or cubes (recipe for cubes HERE)

Delicious roasted vegetables..

Delicious roasted vegetables..

Do You Want Curry Chips With That? (with your Baked Curried Cod that is!) Serves 4-6

The other day a very old friend tracked me down via this blog, and since then we have exchanged a couple of emails. The kind of “old friend” I am talking about is the one you are forever bound to because you were in the same place at the same time during those precious formative years; the years where you were beginning to become the person you ultimately became (for lack of a more evolved explanation).

Curried Chips: the reason for this post!

Curried Chips: the reason for this post!

I met Maria when we were thirteen and we were thrown together, for better or for worse, until we were grown women of eighteen (supposedly anyway!), and, except for a few occasions when we happen to bump into each other, and keeping up a little through mutual friends, we had never really kept in touch. I didn’t see this as a  failure on either of our parts. It was just life, and our school friendship was complete in and of itself, unchanged by the years in between and the cheery hello I received from her last week.

The River Barrow (10 minutes from our house)

The River Barrow (10 minutes from our house)

Of course the way in which friendships like this one are rekindled  is to connect over the events that our lives revolved around at that time; the place we lived, the people we knew, the food we ate etc. And so when we emailed, we both started off with “remember when?” comments.

Maria’s “remember when” was about running over to get batter burgers at lunchtime! What’s a batter burger you may well ask? Basically, the Fish & Chip shop was the only place to have something quick to eat in the 1970’s through the 80’s, and was (and still is) synonymous with the last stop on the way home from a drunken night on the town. It was thought to be a good hangover cure, or at least make it more bearable.

Crispy battered cod

Crispy battered cod from The Saltee Chipper in County Wexford

  ‘The Chipper”, as any one of these places was generally referred to, was by and large run by first generation Italians in Ireland, and they had accomplished the art of frying fish, meat and potatoes (the staples in Ireland back then), in a small vat of bubbling oil to crisp perfection. There is nothing quite like a meal of battered cod and chips (french fries) with a good soaking of vinegar. It can be such a deeply satisfying dish when eaten at exactly the right moment. The batter burger sounds awful, a beef patty dipped in dough batter and deep-fried to a golden puffiness – yep, that does sound awful, but I assure you I must have liked it at one point in my life. Battered sausages were also a popular item but I never had the nerve to try one. They looked like long blistered…well they looked pretty disgusting to me!

Approacing Christ's Church Cathedral

Dublin is a great place for Fish and Chips

Being reminded of foods like batter burgers made me think about the food from the Chipper that I really enjoyed. I still make Fish and Chips today (plenty of examples of this on my blog) but the memory of Curried Chips was what I became fixated on. In Ireland chips came with everything. It was simply unacceptable to serve a meal without a potato on the plate in one form or another. The Chinese restaurants that opened up were soon to learn that serving chips on the same plate as the chicken curry and rice gleaned more hungry Bar-goers and so it became common to eat chips accidentally soaked in curry sauce.

a peak at the view

County Laois

I am really just coming to my own logical conclusion that the flavor of  the curry sauce on the chips was so popular it became a frequent request at the Chip Shop, and slowly but surely Curried Chips became a popular item on the menu. So much so, that along with the obligatory question, “salt and vinegar?” after your chips were hot out of the oil and in a neat little rectangular bag, you were asked if you wanted curry sauce too. It was either poured into the bag or given on the side. As messy as it was to eat, I preferred it spilling out of the bag!

Curried Chips with Cod Fish

My Version of Curried Chips with Cod Fish

The logic continued to follow that I would have to make Curried Chips myself to capture some of that nostalgia. When my son took his first bite he declared, “hey, these are like the curried chips in Ireland”

Enough said!


For the Curry Sauce:

4 tbs unsalted butter

3 to 4 cups chicken or veggie broth OR 1 good quality bouillon cube and water (which is what I usually do for this. I use Rapunzel brand cubes: really great)

1 1/2 to 2 tbs mild or medium heat madras curry powder

1 tsp sea-salt

freshly ground black pepper


1 – Put sauce pan on medium/low heat and add the butter. When it has melted, add the curry powder and sir until incorporated. Add the flour and repeat process. If using a bouillon cube, crumble it in, and stir well.

melt butter, add curry powder

melt butter, add curry powder

2 – Next add the liquids 1 cup at a time while mixing with a whisk. Cook sauce (stirring all the while) until thickened and flour and spices have cooked into the liquid, (about 10 minutes or so). Taste and adjust for salt and pepper according to your likeness. Cover and set aside.

Cook for a little

Cook for a little

*If you feel your sauce could be thinner, add more stock or water until the desired consistency is reached.*

add liquid, salt adn pepper

Add liquid, salt and pepper

Serve with whatever you like; in this case, chips or french fries (depending on which continent you grew up on!)

serve with fries

serve with fries (either on the side like this, or smothering the chips completely in sauce!)

Recipe for Chips (Fries):

4 large potatoes (not huge, just large!)

3 tbs olive oil,

1 tsp sea-salt

generous grinding of black pepper


Preheat oven 475*

1 – Wash and dry the potatoes and cut lengthways into thick slices (3/5″, 1cm) and put in large bowl. 2 – Add the salt & pepper and the olive oil to bowl and mix well with hands until potatoes are well coated. When oven is hot take your big baking sheet and add 2 tbs oil to pan and place in lower 3rd of oven.

from potato, to slices, to fries!

From potato, to slices, to fries!

2 – Add the salt & pepper and the olive oil to bowl and mix well with hands until potatoes are well coated. When oven is hot take your big baking sheet and add 2 tbs oil to pan and place in lower 3rd of oven. Let pan warm for about 4 or so minutes. Take pan out (it will give off a bluish smoke, don’t be alarmed) and immediately pour potatoes onto pan (should sizzle).

Mix in a bowl with rest of ingredients

Mix in a bowl with rest of ingredients (I added a few sprigs of rosemary that I discovered lurking in the back of the veggie drawer)

3 –  Arrange evenly in a single layer and place in oven for 20 minutes. Take out, let pan cool for about 30 seconds to 1 minute and then turn fries with a spatula (or egg flip/turner?). They should release easily….if not, put back in oven for another 2 minutes and try again. Turn and place back in oven for a further 8 to 10 minutes (peak after 8). Take out, give them a minute to release themselves and get ready to serve or keep warm as the case may be.

great fries

Great fries

Recipe for Baked Curried Cod:

1 1/2 to 2 lbs fresh cod fillets (use 2 lbs if cooking for six), cut into 4 to 6 oz pieces

1 tsp mild curry powder

sprigs of fresh thyme (about 2 dozen)

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2 tbs unsalted butter

sea-salt and black pepper for seasoning fish


Preheat oven to 400*

1 – Wash and dry fish. Season fish with sea-salt and pepper and curry powder. Rub a baking sheet with the olive oil and toss the thyme sprigs in the bottom in the even layer. Place the fish on top of the thyme.

*If some of your fish is thick and some thin (the tail end), all you have to do is fold the thin pieces in two to thicken them out and to assure they cook around the same time as your thicker pieces*

Arrange fish on baking tray with other ingredients

Arrange fish on baking tray with other ingredients

2 – Place a pat of butter on each fish piece and bake in preheated oven for about 12 minutes. Take it our of the oven and cover with foil until ready to serve.

et voila!

et voila!

Serve this with whatever you like: if serving alone, add some lemon wedges. This is also great with egg noodles, rice and a sautéed green.

As you can see, I served the fish with curry sauce adn chips - delish!

As you can see, I served the fish with curry sauce and chips – quite delish!