Friday, 25 February 2011

Where have all the local Chippy's gone? My recipe for Home Made Fish and Chips with Mushy peas!

Living in London I cant remember the last time I saw a local fish and chip shop. When I was growing up we used to have fish a chips on the last Friday of every month and it was such a treat. The thought that children are now growing up without this pleasure in life makes me very sad indeed.  So firstly I am writing to find support in bringing back the local chippy, 'i'll have fish and chips, loads of salt and vinegar, oh and a saveloy while your there!!...(mouth dribbling as i'm writing!) and secondly to show you how to make it yourself. 

Any-who, as I don't have a local chippy and desperately wanted fish and chips last night i decided to make my own..... I added some chili and coriander to give it a bit of a kick but if you fancy the good old classic then just leave this out. 

Home Made Fish and Sweet Potato Chips with Mushy Peas and Tartar sauce
(feeds 4)

For the Fish:
4 Large Cod Fillets cut in half - You can use Pollock or haddock instead of cod!
Flour to coat 
Vegetable Oil for frying

For the Batter:
100g Plain Flour
pinch of Bicarb of Soda (if you don't have this don't worry it will be fine without it)
1 Egg
1/2 pint sparkling water
1/4 pint beer
1 Red Chili finely chopped
1 handful of coriander finely chopped
1 lemon juice and zest
Salt and Pepper

Whisk up the egg, add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, lemon juice and zest and season. Mix in the sparkling water and beer until you have a light, fairly runny consistency. Add the chilli and coriander. 

For the Tartar sauce:
2 Gherkins very finely chopped
4-5 Capers finely chopped
1/2 Tsp English Mustard 
3 tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Lemon juice and zest
Salt and pepper

Just mix up all the ingredients and pop in the fridge til its ready to serve.

For the Chips: 
6 Sweet Potatoes peeled and cut into thin chip shapes
Olive oli
Salt and Pepper

Add the sliced sweet potato to boiling water and boil for about 5 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cover in olive oil and season and give then a good pricking with a fork to make them fluffy. Place on a baking tray in a pre heated oven for 30 minutes. 

For the Mushy Peas: 
300g Frozen Petit Pois
Big Knob of Butter
Salt and Pepper

Boil the peas, drain and mash up as much as you can with the butter. Season. 

Bring it all together:

So firstly prepare the potatoes and place in the oven. Then make the batter and set to the side. Then make the tartar sauce and pop it in the fridge.  Once the chips are almost cooked start the cod. Put the oil in a large frying pan and heat on a medium - high heat. Lightly coat the cod in flour then pop into the batter and straight into the hot oil . Fry on each side for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown. Take out of oil and place on kitchen towel. You will probably have to do two batches. Place the cod on an oven proof plate and place in the oven to keep warm with the chips. 

Boil the peas, drain and mash. Take everything out of the oven and plate up. Pop the chips at the bottom, the cod on top and the mushy peas on top again. Serve with a slice of lemon and  a sprinkle of coriander

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Archie and Lily make the BEST SALMON DISH EVER!

I once wrote about my flat mate Archies culinary skills and the general view was that he was a typical 'standard spag bowl dish' boy cook and actually 'nothing to write home about' however my views are rapidly changing as yesterday we created THE BEST SALMON DISH EVER!!! It was quick, easy and delicious, a perfect dish which would work for a dinner party or simply a monday night in front of the tv.  

I returned home late last night after yoga and was delighted to find Archie carefully placing six generously sized salmon fillets on a baking tray. I, being the meddler that I am, decided to suggest using all the ingredients we had left over from the weekend, so on top of the salmon fillets we popped some finely chopped spring onion, red chillis, coriander stalks (save the leaves for the garnish), finely grated ginger and garlic and some soy sauce. 

Leaving that to marinate for a little while we put the rice on to boil for 15 mins. While that was cooking we placed a little sesame oil in a frying pan/wok and fry off some mange tout, baby corn and sliced red peppers, add a little soy sauce to taste. The veg takes about 5 - 7 mins until tender on a medium/low heat. 

Then we placed the Salmon under the grill for 5 mins. 

We then drained the rice and served, finally sprinkling the coriander leaves as a garnish. 

I can honestly say it is my favorite way to eat salmon at the moment!

So a quick recap on the ingredients for Grilled Salmon Asian Style

6 - 8 Salmon fillets (we are greedy and eat two each!)
6 Spring Onions finely chopped
1 Red Chili finely chopped
1 Bunch of Coriander, finely chop the stalks and keep the leaves for garnish
1 tbsp Ginger finely chopped
3 Garlic clovers finely chopped
4 tbsp Soy Sauce
400g Rice (brown or white works)
1 tbsp Sesame Oil
200g Mange Tout
200g Baby corn
2 Red Peppers sliced

Monday, 21 February 2011

My favorite food quote...

I thought it was worth sharing....



Halloumi Heaven!

After my lentil addiction last week, I went over to my friend Kathryn's for dinner - she is a vegetarian, although she eats hotdogs (she justifies it by the fact that there is no 'real' meat in them - fair enough i reckon!) and she wanted to cook me her favorite lentil dish and it was delicious, simple and fresh, a perfect friday night in with a glass of white.

The recipe happened to include one of my all time favorite cheeses, the wonderful Halloumi. Its a bit of a strange one Halloumi, if you over or under cook it it will have a rubbery texture that isn't overly pleasant, so you need to make sure you just cook it until lightly golden on both sides!

So....heres how to make Kathryn's Delicious Halloumi and Puy Lentil Salad:

200g Puys Lentils
2 pints of vegetable stock
200g Cherry Tomatoes
1 red onion finely sliced
The juice of 1 lemon
1 bunch Coriander roughly chopped
400g Halloumi

Wash the Puy lentils in cold water then place on the heat and cover with the veg stock. Boil, then reduce to simmer for 25 mins or until soft.

Chop the tomatoes in half and place in a bowl with the sliced onion, lemon juice and half the chopped coriander, mix with hands and set aside.

Cut the halloumi into strips, place in a frying pan with a little olive oil on a medium heat. The halloumi should take about 3 minutes on each side until it is golden brown.

Once the lentils are cooked, add them to the tomato salad and season. Place on a plate with the halloumi spread on top and sprinkle with the remaining coriander.

Fresh, fabulous and filling.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Pop Pop Popcorn Party.

About three months ago I bought some microwave popcorn, only to get home and discover that i didn't actually have a microwave. However this was clearly a blessing in disguise as a few months later I realised that I could just pop it, excuse the pun, in a pan and let the corn do its magic. So there I was in the kitchen, clear lid on pan, corn at the ready. Slowly the fizzing sound began and then the pop, pop, popping - well, i felt like I was five years old again and doing some kind of scientific experiment which at the end of it i got to eat a whole bowl of popcorn to my podgy little self.

There is a huge craze for what they are calling 'gourmet' popcorn at the moment, theres the skinny popcorn in Pret, where flavours range from cheese and onion to chocolate. Then theres the really posh stuff they sell at Harvey Nichols and Harrods, which I've not had the privilege to taste yet! Everyone is popping on the bandwagon!

So, after establishing my new found love for popcorn, I decided to experiment further. This has led me to find three of the best ways to eat pop corn: (just buy a bag of corn from the supermarket, its super cheap!)

1. Keep it simple. Pop the corn and add rock salt and a knob of good English Butter. HEAVEN!
2. On top of Chili Con carne -  I know this may sound bizarre but it is amazing.
3. With Chocolate Sauce. Melt half milk and half dark chocolate and then drizzle it over the warm popcorn.


Thursday, 10 February 2011

Fancy a food orgasm?

For some reason today I began to wonder about Aphrodisiacs, obviously with Valentines around the corner, couples will no doubt be looking up the best foods to entice, seduce and drizzle on their partner. However, said with a sigh and look of confusion, where is the proof that Aphrodisiacs actually work.

There is a part of your brain that is stimulated by good feelings with food, sex, being with family and friends, and comedy being the biggest of the stimulator's. So are we simply confusing delicious food with being turned on?

The reason I question this is because the other day (I hope my mum isn't reading this) I went to a rather lovely Italian restaurant with the bf, and I ordered Spaghetti Pasta with White Truffle for my starter and, on the first mouthful, I felt tingly and turned on. It was embarrassing really, I mean I had to contain the dramatic gasps and eye rolling with every mouthful.

Now, neither truffles nor spaghetti are said to be an aphrodisiac so why this orgasmic reaction?
Maybe it was because I was in a relaxed, happy mood, maybe it was the wine, who knows, but what I do know is that if you want to have a really good Valentines, head down to your local Italian and order the Spaghetti and White Truffles and let the good times roll!!!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Theres always time for lentils!

After a very frantic month of leaving the comfort of a job, setting up a new company and finding time for friends and family, oh and taking up Bikram Yoga (images of a sweaty troll like creature resides in my mind!), I have realised that there is one thing that is always constant and always makes me smile and that, of course, is good food. I always seem to manage to squeeze in cooking every night and without that I think I would go insane.

One of my favorite dishes at the moment is green lentils served with whatever I feel like at the time and the reason I love them is because they have a perfect cooking time, basically, I get back in from work, pop the lentils in some cold water and bring to the boil whilst getting changed and ready for the shower. When the water is boiling I turn it down to simmer and then get in the shower. 15 minutes later and cleaner, in my dressing gown, I chop up two red peppers, a leek, a few deseeded chillies, some thyme, tomato puree and a chicken stock cube and chuck it all in with the lentils. Cover and leave whilst drying hair and getting dressed. 20 minutes later the lentils are ready and they will be happy just sitting there for an hour or three, until your ready to eat them.

Eat them with Sausages, Lamb Cutlets, Pork Chops, Chicken Breasts, Cod fillets, Seabass, you name it, i guarantee anything will taste good with these lentils!!