Recipes that are delicious and that always work!

You know these recipes are delicious because if I didn't think that they were fabulous . . . I wouldn't be showing them to you. You can also be sure that these recipes work for the same reason! The rest is simply a matter of taste.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Fish and Chips for a Friday Treat!

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There is nothing more appealing than a delicious plate of fish and chips and as good as the ones taste that you can get at the seaside and at our fish and chips place that we like in Chester . . .  nothing beats the Beer Battered Cod and Twice Fried Chips that you can make at home.  A bit of a fiddle yes . . .  but as a once in a blue moon treat, well worth the bother!

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That crisp batter is so light and crispy and those chips  . . .  sigh  . . . I like to keep the skin on my potatoes for even extra flavour and texture, but you can certainly peel it all off.  It's your choice.  I like to have ketchup and Tartar Sauce with mine, and I make my own tartar sauce.  You must give it a go.  It tastes so much better than any ready made sauce!

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You might think of Fish and Chips as being quintessentially British, but surprisingly this favourite British dish dates back to the seventeenth century when Jewish immigrants from Spain and Portugal peddled battered fish cooked in huge cauldrons of hot oil as a street snack!  So, it's really a part and parcel of the melting pot that is the modern Britain of today!

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Fish has always been plentiful in the coastal areas of these beautiful Islands, and with the advent of trains in the mid nineteenth century, the North Sea profided plenty of delicious fish which could be easily transported to the inland city markets.  Tasty and nutritious battered fish provided a delicious relief from the monotony of the diets of many city folks and it wasn't long before demand ushered in the advent of new shops all over the UK, offering crisp battered fish . . .  adding chips to the menu as well, making for a tasty and substantial supper.

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   Wrapped together in newspaper also helped to keep the costs down.  To this day you will find Fish and Chip shops all over the UK providing this delicious dish to appreciative customers.   Although with the shortage of sustainable fresh Cod and the expense, other type of fish are gaining in popularity.  I do hope you will give this version a go at home.  It is a bit of trouble, but more than worth the effort taken for a once in a blue moon treat.

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 *Beer Battered Cod with Tartar Sauce*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe

This is my homemade version of battered fish.  With it's crisp and flavourful beer batter, you are in for a real treat if you try this!

1 stalk celery, finely chopped
2 TBS finely chopped cornichons
1 TBS prepared horseradish
2 TBS coarsely chopped flat leaf parsley
½ tsp dry mustard
6 TBS good quality mayonnaise
1 tsp lemon juice
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Oil for frying
1 cup flour
1 egg, beaten
1 cup beer (I use the non-alcohol version)
2 pounds of fish fillets (Cod, Haddock or Hake)(cut into 1 ½ by 3 inch pieces)

Mix all the ingredients for the tartar sauce in a bowl until well combined and set aside.

Heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Cover a cookie sheet with paper towels and top with a wire rack.

Heat about 3" of oil to approximately 180*C/365*F in a medium sized pot.

Meanwhile, mix flour with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisk in egg. Slowly add the beer while whisking. Dip fish pieces in the batter and place on plate or the wire rack you will be using to drain the fried fish. I usually double dip in the batter if I have some left over once the batter dries on the awaiting fish.

Place fish pieces, two at a time in the oil. Cook until the fish is done and the crust is lightly golden, about 4 minutes for 3/4-inch thick fillets. Remove fish with tongs and put on rack to drain. Sprinkle salt over the hot fish and put on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Repeat in batches with the remaining fish. Serve with the tartar sauce and homemade chips.

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*Perfect Chips*
There are two things you need for perfect chips. One a really good potato.  You want a nice floury one, such as a Maris Piper.  You cannot make good chips with new potatoes.  Old ones are best.  Second you want to start with pure hard fat or dripping, preferably an animal fat.  Third . . . patience.   Good chips require several cookings. The first is a quick poaching in lightly salted water.  .  Let them cool and then fry for about five minutes just until cooked through, then a final fry in hotter fat to brown and finish cooking.  See . . . patience.

200g floury potatoes per person (a scant half pound)
(use potatoes that are good for mashing)
a good solid fat to half fill your pan when melted
a frying thermometer

Peel your potatoes and cut them into chips.  Rinse them well in cold running water and drain well.  Put the cut potatoes into a pot of lightly salted cold water.  Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a slow simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, or just until they give slightly with the prodding of a sharp knife.  Drain well and then dry them on kitchen paper towelling.  Allow to cool completely and then place into the fridge until well chilled.

When you are ready to fry your chips heat your fat to 120*C/250*F.  Add the chips in batches, without crowding the pan.   Blanch in the fat for 5 minutes, just until cooked through.   Remove, pat dry and drain on paper toweling.  Once you have blanched all the chips raise the temperature of the fat to 160*C/320*F.  Fry the chips again until crisp and golden brown.  Drain well, season with some salt and serve immediately.

Note:  I sometimes will make my own oven chips to go with this, rather than frying chips. I just take some baking potatoes, washing and cutting them into thick wedges. I toss the wedges with some olive oil and salt and pepper and roast them in a very hot oven for about 30 minutes until they are crispy and browned all over. You can keep them warm while you are frying the fish


  1. I bet you make the best..I never make if ever we go out.. that's what I order;)

  2. Thanks Monique! I always order it too, but a lot of the time am disappointed. There are very few places that really make great ones! xx


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