I wasn't kidding yesterday morning when I said that fish and chips were one of my absolute favourite dishes. When I first came to the UK, nine years ago now, that was one of the top things on my list of things to eat. After having eaten quasi "English" fish and chips in Canadian restaurants my whole lifetime, I really wanted to experience the real thing.
I was here, visiting for three weeks, and it was not until the last week of my visit that I was able to do so. I can remember it was bucketing down rain (how typically English and NORTHERN English) and Todd rode to the shop on his bicycle to pick them up, as he didn't have a car back them. I was so excited as I waited back at the flat . . . finally I was going to be eating the meal of my dreams. They would all be so jealous back home!
He arrived home at the flat with a filmsy blue plastic bag filled with plain newspaper (no print allowed anymore, I'm afraid) stogged full of beautiful hand cut and fried chips and two gorgeous big battered filets of Cod, so big that they hung off the sides of our plates. Oh, they smelled so good . . . and the taste . . . well, it was everything I had dreamt of, and more.
Back then you could get a cone of chips (a little styrofoam cone shaped cup) for about 60p and a portion, which was enough to feed two people more than amply, was £1. A lovely HUGE piece of cod cost £2 and so we could get ourselves fish and chips of a Friday night for a fiver, which wasn't bad. The only hard part was waiting in the queue at the local chippies which always went around the corner of a Friday evening!
Nowadays the same meal would cost you in access of 12 to 15 pounds and I have to say it . . . the fish and chips down here in the South just cannot compare to the ones up North, at least thus far in my experience. If anyone knows any different then let me know!
Anyways, after all that talk about fish and chips yesterday morning, and, even though we'd had fish for dinner the night before, my taste buds were tingling for some lovely battered fish, and what can you do when that happens, I ask?
Why . . . you must have what you must have!!
And we did. I made my own though, coz, well . . . it's better than the fish in the chippies down here . . . and alot cheaper too. (No fried chips this time though. I only had new potatoes in the house and they make rotten chips)
*Beer Battered Fish*
This is the best battered fish you could ever want to eat. Light and crisp and the fish is beautifully flakey inside. Make sure your oil is hot before you start frying the fish. Also make sure your fish is well coated with flour before you dip it into the batter. If you follow these two rules you will be rewarded with delicious crisp battered fish, perfectly moist on the inside.
4 cod or haddock fish fillets
(I like the thick ones myself)
6 ounces flour
1 tsp baking soda
8 ounces of beer
the juice of half a lemon
salt to taste
Flour for dredging the fish in
Oil for frying
Malt Vinegar, Lemon Slices, tartar sauce
Place about an inch and a half of sunflower oil into a deep skillet. Heat over medium high heat until hot. A cube of bread should brown in the hot oil in about 10 seconds. While the oil is heating get the fish ready.
Place the flour, soda and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in the beer and lemon juice to make a thick batter. Set aside.
Season your fish pieces with a bit of salt and then dredge completely in the flour, shaking off any excess. Dip into the batter and then carefully tease it into the hot oil. Cook for about 4 to 5 minutes perside, until nicely browned and crispy. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon to drain on some kitchen paper. Serve immediately with some chips if desired, and salt and vinegar. Lemon Slices and tartar sauce are optional!