Monday, 24 September 2012

Fish and Chips

                    A recipe for my Uncle Len

My Uncle Lennart has recently lost an obscene amount of weight, so I'm sure this particular meal will no longer be on his agenda, but I do have very fond memories of him coming to stay with us, and despite my mothers superb culinary abilities, he would still only want to eat his beloved "fish and ships"! That is no spelling error my friends, that is just what he would call them.     My uncle did not think that much to English food but had a real weakness for Fish, ships and mushy peas and good "Singer Mal" whisky (single malt whisky). I always loved my Auntie and Uncle coming to stay because I knew it meant that we would be having fish and chips at least four times a week if not daily. It seemed as though whenever I saw him he would have a paper parcel in hand. I know that he will not be eating things like this now, but if he ever wanted to treat himself for all of his hard work, I think this should be what he cooks himself. This one is for you Len!

                     For the mushy peas:
200g of dried marrow fat peas (soaked for 12-16 hours)
1/2 white onion
4 bay leaves
700ml of water
3 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp of sugar
2 tsp of salt
2 tbsp of malt vinegar
1 tbsp of butter
Allow the peas to soak overnight in a bowl of water and two of the three teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda. Once soaked, drain the water away and place the peas into a sauce pan with the 700ml of water, onion, bay leaves, sugar, salt, vinegar and the remaining teaspoon  of bicarbonate of soda. Allow to boil for 45 minutes to an hour until the peas have reduced and are thickened, once thick add the butter and stir to fully incorporate.

For the thrice cooked Chips:
1 kg Maris Piper potatoes
2 litres of vegetable oil
There is a real art to the perfect chip, I have tried various way but this is they best technique that I have found, and this is the only one I will use. I start by cutting the potatoes into very chunky chips and I boil them in heavily salted water until just knife point tender, this should take about 15-20 minutes.
Drain the potatoes and place on a baking sheet lined with kitchen paper. Place the chips into the freezer for an hour, by doing this is means that the steam from the inside of each chip cools down very quickly so that the potatoes are dry, the drier each chip is the crisper the end result will be. Take the chips out of the freezer and fry in the vegetable oil at 130 degrees for 10 minutes or until a light crust has formed. Remove from the fat and place onto kitchen paper, cool the chips in the freezer for  another hour. Fry the chips for a final time in the oil, temp 180 degrees and cook until golden brown. Place the chips onto kitchen paper to drain any excess fat away. Season well.

For the fish:
160g plain flour
200ml ice cold beer
2 tsp salt
1 tsp malt vinegar
1/4 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
2 tablespoon of plain flour
2 pieces of 350g haddock fillet

In a bowl whisk the 160g flour, beer, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt, vinegar and  bicarbonate of soda until smooth.
 Dry each piece of fish on kitchen paper and season with 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt, dust each piece of fish with a tablespoon of flour so that the batter sticks to the fish. Dip each side of the fish into the batter until it is fully coated and fry in the vegetable oil at 180 degrees c, cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown.

Tartar sauce:
5 tbsp of mayonnaise
3 tbsp of double cream
1 tsp of honey
1 large shallot finely chopped
3 tbsp of finely chopped gherkins
2 tbsp of finely chopped capers (in vinegar)
2 tbsp of chopped dill
1 tbsp of chopped chervil

I love tartar sauce but I think you either love it whole heartily or you do not care for it. If you are a tartar fanatic like myself this is the holy grail of tartar and nothing works so wonderfully with flaky white fish like a piquant tartar.
Mix all of the above ingredients in a bowl, it's that simple!

No comments: