Thursday, 28 August 2014

Fish & Chips home style without a deep fat fryer...

Fish and chips is definitely do-able without a deep fat fryer. Yes, proper crunchy fluffy chips. Triple fried no less.  And lovely crunchy panko crumbed fish. But it is the chips that are the thing isn't it?

I did these in a wok. I blanched the chips in water first, let them drain thoroughly, then popped them in a wok just a third full of rape seed oil (lower burn point than olive oil, which I prefer for shallow frying) on one of the medium burners.

In go the nicely dry potatoes, and I turned them over and over until they were nicely cooked through though they weren't browning very quickly. Then I slid the wok onto the front fast burner (I am not really a fan of modern 4 burner gas cookers - I don't need that titchy little burner at the front, give me another fast one!! ) and let the oil heat up further.

Keep the chips moving until you can hear them rustling as you turn them around.

Look! Crunchy chips!! 

No fat fryer and not a lot of oil to boot.  Mayo and tomato ketchup and I am happy.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Put your dinner on a plate......!

I love cooking, but I'm not always in the mood to cook dinner.  Sometimes, all you want to do is slice a couple of things open a packet or two and put it on a plate. 

Oh, wait a minute....I hardboiled the eggs.

Which is cooking of course..

Smoked Haddock and parsley sauce... mmmmm fishy

Last time I had smoked haddock for breakfast, this piece we had it for dinner.  The Other Half likes his unadulterated, so he has it just poached in water with a little butter on top, but I like good old-fashioned parsley sauce with mine.

My parsley sauce is a straightforward bechamel or white sauce, equal parts - maybe an ounce or so for two people - of butter and flour melted together, and then whisk in  milk  - add a good cupful and whisk thoroughly as it comes to a boil to avoid any lumps, then you can thin the until the sauce to the thickness you like. Let it simmer very gently for a good few minutes to cook out the flour, and then season with salt, pepper and chopped parsley. My top tip - add a good squeeze of lemon juice to the sauce along with the parsley to liven up the flavour. This is a brilliant sauce for slices of gammon too btw.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Red Flannel Hash... so pretty in pink

We have had a LOT of salads recently, and I got a pash on for something more autumnal.  A wander round the fridge presented me with beetroots, potatoes, celery, a rather manky half an onion, a pack of chopped pancetta and some eggs. The freezer finished it off with a pack of back bacon.  A Red Flannel hash was beckoning.

Whilst the bacon thawed out (with the help of the microwave - 20 mins on 10% power ) I popped the beets into the pressure cooker with half a pint of water. Brought to high pressure, cooked for 15 mins and then allowed to depressurise naturally - peel the beets while hot then allow to cool slightly and chop into half-inch cubes..

The potatoes meanwhile were chopped into half-inch cubes and boiled until tender, then drained and allowed to cool slightly.  The onion and celery were chopped mighty small and fried with the pancetta in a little olive oil then put into a large bowl to cool.

So now for assembly... the cubed potatoes and beetroot go into the bowl with the oniony mixture, and plentiful salt and pepper.  Heat 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and a splash of garlic oil in a frying pan, and tip in the hash mixture.  Fry, turning over frequently, until it is nicely browned. 

Whilst the hash is cooking - probably a good 15 mins to get it nicely brown - fry a couple of eggs how you like them. I have mine turned over, Bob prefers his unturned and - to me at any rate - snotty on the top (ugh...) and grill some back bacon.

Decant the hash into a serving dish and put the eggs and bacon on top, then sprinkle with chopped parsley if you are in the mood for cheffing it up a bit.  Eat with horseradish cream on the side.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fish for Friday - smoked haddock and grilled sole

Fish on a Friday. Such a tradition when I was little, we always had fish on a Friday, and never, ever on a Monday as my mum said that it was always stale on a Monday.

Well, I can't vouch for the spanking freshness of the fish we had this Friday, as both came from the cheaps counter. But they were very reasonably priced, and still tasted exceptionally good.

Breakfast was a low-carb delight. Smoked haddock simply poached in water, with lots of butter and black pepper. Followed by a large bowl of chopped summer fruit topped with Total Greek Yoghurt.

Dinner was the total luxury of Dover Sole. Far too expensive for my budget at a normal price, these were marked right down to £2.50 each.

People don't buy whole fish it would seem, these just needed skinning  before grilling. Skinning is really easy once you know how - the trick is to slit the skin across the tail on each side, then, working each side it turn,  ease the BLUNT side of a pointed knife under the skin along the side edges to loosen the skin there, use a teatowel to help grip the skin just above the tail, rip the skins up to the head from the tail and cut the head off with the skin.

Oil the fish on both sides and salt and pepper generously. Under a hot grill, baste them with butter frequently and cook for approximately 4 minutes on each side. Sole doesn't flake like cod and haddock, but if you can ease a fillet back from the middle you want to see the bones opaque in the middle when it is cooked through.  Don't overcook it, you will lose the succulence of this prince of fishes.

We ate these quite simply with boiled new potato slices in butter, and a green crunchy salad dressed with Crush Foods lemon dressing, perfect for the flavour of the sole without masking it at all.

 Fish should be eaten more often -  Meatless Monday must be joined by Fishy Friday!!

Friday, 1 August 2014

Pancetta lunch followed by pancetta dinner....

I found a pack of pancetta in the fridge whilst I was looking for bacon to have with avocado for a lunch time sandwich. It was ....ok... not anywhere as meaty and good as bacon, but it looked very pretty on the plate.

So now I had half a pack of pancetta that really did need using up. 

Today's roast chicken therefore became pancetta roast chicken. I took the skin off the thighs and wrapped each thigh in 3 strips of pancetta, and roasted for just under an hour until really crispy.  Roast potatoes for the same period of time, alongside the chicken.  Cut small and roasted with oregano flowers.