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Christmas Cooking Tips from the Skibo Chefs Part One: Fiona’s Perfect Roast Potatoes

Posted: 26 November 2019

Christmas at The Carnegie Club is a very special time of year, when members from across the world come together to celebrate the season at Skibo. Guests joining us over the festive period can expect a full programme of festive fun, from the annual pantomine to a visit from Santa himself, as well as an array of seasonal delights to whet the appetite.

For those who are unable to join us this December, the club’s chefs are sharing their top tips and favourite seasonal recipes throughout the month so that you too can enjoy a taste of Skibo this Christmas.

Today, Senior Chef de Partie Fiona Murray reveals her secret to perfect roast potatoes. Originally from Bo'ness, Fiona has worked at Skibo for eleven years and describes her cooking style as “classic, uncomplicated and tasty.” With stages (internships arranged by the club) at some of the UK's top restaurants including the 2 Michelin-starred 'Le Gavroche' and 'Restaurant Andrew Fairlie', Fiona has a wealth of experience under her belt.

Fiona Murray, Senior Chef de Partie at The Carnegie Club

Fiona Murray, Senior Chef de Partie at The Carnegie Club

“Roast potatoes at Christmas are essential – it just wouldn’t be dinner without them!,” exclaims Fiona. But as anyone who has ever sat down excitedly to enjoy a festive feast and been sadly disappointed by a serving platter of roast potatoes - be they soggy, greasy or (shudder) undercooked – Fiona offers salvation.

“You need to make sure you use the right kind of potato for roasting. I opt for Maris Pipers – they give you a lovely fluffy roast but have just enough waxiness to make sure that they don’t disintegrate as you cook them.”

Choosing the right variety is only the first step, however. Thankfully, Fiona’s method is as simple as her potatoes are tasty!


Makes enough for 6-8 people


2.5kg Maris Piper potatoes
500g goose fat (or vegetable oil for vegetarians)
30g polenta
2 bulbs of garlic, cut in half
Small bunch of rosemary
Sea salt
Black pepper


  1. Peel the potatoes and cut large potatoes in half so that all potatoes are of a similar size.
  2. Place the potatoes in a saucepan of water and bring to the boil, cook for 20 minutes.
  3. Drain the potatoes and place gently onto a cooling rack.
  4. Dust the potatoes with polenta and allow to completely cool to room temperature.
  5. Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F.
  6. In a high sided roasting tin, place the goose fat or vegetable oil, garlic, and rosemary. Place in oven and leave for 15 minutes until the oil is piping hot.
  7. Remove the roasting tin from oven and carefully place the cooled potatoes in the oil mixture, making sure to coat the potatoes evenly.
  8. Place roasting tin back in oven and cook for 50 – 60 mins, turning the potatoes every 15 minutes to ensure they are evenly browned.
  9. Remove the potatoes from the roasting tin and drain off the excess oil.  
  10. Season the potatoes with sea salt and black pepper and serve!

Other Posts

Christmas Cooking Tips from the Skibo Chefs Part Two: Finn’s Festive Cranberry Sauce

In the second part of our month-long series of Christmas cooking tips from the Skibo chefs, Finn MacLeod reveals the recipe for his festive cranberry sauce.

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The story behind one of Skibo’s most beloved artworks, a marble relief in the castle’s Card Room created by sculptor Edouard Lantéri, is revealed.

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