Perfect baked potatoes

First, you will need the right variety of potato: Red Duke of York, Desiree, Wilja and Arran Victory are intended for the job. Otherwise, supermarkets sell potatoes intended for baking although I don’t like mine so large. One the size of a medium cooking apple suits me. Next, I don’t microwave them. Actually, I don’t microwave anything. The Aga is perfect, but an ordinary oven on medium is fine. I slash them once across their middle, then paint them with olive oil and throw on a few pinches of Maldon salt. This means that the skins will crisp up nicely.

Put them in the middle of the oven on a baking tray until they’re squashy when pinched anything from 45 minutes, depending on the size. Putting a skewer through them speeds up the process. There is nothing more delicious than a baked potato served on its own with a chunk of cold butter, perhaps with cold roast beef or ham. The only other way I have them is with cheese. Once they’re cooked, cut them in half, scoop out the flesh when it’s still hot and mix it with a dessertspoon of butter and a tablespoon of mature Cheddar or Gruyère for each potato.Put the mixture back into the skins. Place back in the oven until the cheesy mixture browns and oozes. Do not eat baked potatoes with tuna, tinned sweetcorn or any other abomination.