Taste Scene

Michael Devlin

Fry and stop me

You know what’s a bad idea? Going off crisps for Lent and then watching that show on Channel 5 on Sunday night, Britain’s Favourite Crisps. In terms of bad ideas, that was up there with Eve handing Adam that apple.

Don’t worry, dear reader, don’t worry…  I somehow managed to hold fast with my iron-like will of personal fortitude and, what is more, that lone packet of Monster Munch Flamin’ Hot in the cupboard remains intact, as is my Lenten pledge. I might avoid hell yet.

Apart from tempting me like some televised emissary from Lucifer, the show didn’t get any better with its results. I also somehow managed to stop myself ringing Ofcom to complain that Monster Munch weren’t even in the top three! 


And the form didn’t get any better when Tayto Onion Rings weren’t even in the chart and then – AND THEN – Walkers was unveiled as number one.

Of course, lists like these you have to take with a pinch of salt (or in this case, MSG). Britain’s favourite crisp is effectively, England’s favourite crisp – much like that whole hanlin over Brexit. You might have heard about it. 

Genuinely, I feel sorry for anyone who thinks Walkers crisps are the best crisps on the market. As anyone with tastebuds knows, Keogh’s Mature Cheddar and Cheese are the best crisps on the market and probably in the world. End of.

You’d think by the chat of me that I’m gonna give you a recipe for crisps this week. You must have been looking at the pic opposite going, “Those are the rarest crisps I’ve ever seen.”

Don’t worry, dear reader, don’t worry… I still have your voracious appetites in mind and my rant on random crisp polls is now over. Thank God, says you.

The Devlin household awoke to calamity on Sunday morning. The news quickly broke that there were no frozen hash browns left for the weekly Devlin Fry Up. I somehow managed to calm the weans down and only with the promise of home-made HBs, did we stave off mass hysteria.

With hindsight, knocking up a fry and making hash browns from scratch was more than a bit of a mission. Ever grated a raw spud and not wrecked the kitchen in the process? Me neither. 


However, the resulting hash browns also proved well worth the effort and they were even good cold some hours later with a sprinkling of sea salt and a glass of icy milk (I ate the last one, the gobr that I am). They were actually so good, they probably shouldn’t be included amid all the other fry up paraphernalia. A stack of three of these bad boys with a brace of poached eggs and I’ll be your friend forever.

Forget the Walkers crisp debacle, this’ll cheer you up.


• 2 large spuds (I used Roosters)

• 1 small onion

• 1 egg

• 1 tbsp of plain flour

• lots for seasoning

• oil for frying


Ideally you’ll have someone make these for you (which is also the case for maximum fry enjoyment). So here are the instructions to read out to them.

Start by peeling and then grating the spuds into a bowl. That done, rinse the gratings under the cold tap to wash out some of the starch. Next dump all the spuds into a clean tea towel and squeeze away as much of the juice and water as you can. That’ll help tighten the aul biceps.

Add the dried spuds to a large mixing bowl and to that add the finely chopped onion and mix through. Dump in the flour and mix through, dump in the egg and mix through and finally give it a liberal sprinkling of sea salt and white pepper and again, mix through.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil to a medium high and when hot take a heaped tablespoon of the mixture and add to the pan. Let it sit for 30 seconds and then flatten down with the back of a spatula or the ‘Flippy Thing’ as it’s called our house. The best plan here is to cook one hash brown first so that you can gauge the correct temperature and time. Depending on thickness, they’ll take between three and five minutes on either side, but keep an eye and turn them from time to time in case they get too brown.

Repeat your frying until all of the mixture is used up. It almost goes without saying that you can keep the HBs warm in a low oven until you’ve gone through all of the mixture. All that’s left then of course, is the preparation of the rest of the fry up and the subsequent devourment.

Is devourment a word? If it isn’t, it should be.

Actually, I just Googled it. ‘Devourment’ is the name of a death metal band in Dallas, Texas.


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