Tag Archives: Food and Drink

Jackson Pollock and Chips … (Beer Battered Fish and Chips Recipe)

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

As much as I’m keen on homegrown organic goodness, I’m not keen on eating goldfish. I’ve never tried goldfish I might add, and once again happy to be proven wrong.

(All goldfish recipes should be sent to the usual address: info@tomdowson.com.)

So for this piece it’s more a post on sustainability rather than unattainability.

Now we all know that ‘fish and chips’ constitutes all that that is good in this country.
Essentially … humble ingredients of good stock! But the boney truth of depleted fish stocks can leave a rather bitter taste in ones mouth, therefore in the interest of the Gadus genus at large I decided upon the much hyped pollock instead.

(A quick google search reveals that Jackson Pollock is still more talked about than his aquatic counterpart. I’d love to think this ironic but it’s not really is it!?)

I scrapped a Fish and Chips recipe hunt and reverted back to basics with a simple beer batter for the pollock, twice cooked maris piper chips and served the tag-team with a deliciously creamy, yet tart, tartar. All washed down with a pseudo-posh bottle of Cava in true Friday night style.

Beer Battered Fish and Chips with Homemade Tartar Sauce

Ingredients (more than enough for 2 as a main):

For the fish:
2 x 200g pollock fillets, boned but with the skin left on
200g self-raising flour plus extra for dusting
250ml of cold English beer (I used Bombardier)
pinch of smoked paprika
freshly ground salt and pepper

For the chips:
5-6 medium sized maris piper potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chips
Maldon sea-salt or rock-salt

oil (sunflower or vegetable) for deep-frying

To serve:
salt and malt vinegar
homemade tartar sauce (recipe below)
newspaper
artistic license

Additional serving suggestions:
bread and butter
tomato ketchup
mushy peas

Method:
2/3 fill a large, high sided, heavy based pan with the oil and place over a high heat.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the beer and self-rasing flour into a batter with the consistency of thick double cream, making sure there are no lumps. Place the batter mix in the fridge.

Rinse the chips and throughly in cold water and dry on a kitchen towel. Toss the dried chips in a few pinches of salt.

When the oil has reached a sufficient temperature (a cube of bread should brown and crisp in approximately 5-7 seconds) add the chips to the pan and cook for 6-8 minutes or until soft but still pale in colour. Using a slotted spoon, remove the chips and place on absorbed kitchen roll.

Remove the batter mix from the fridge.
Sift the reserved flour, season with freshly ground salt and pepper and add the pinch of smoked paprika. Turn the pollock fillets in the seasoned flour to thoroughly coat.

When the oil has once again reached the desired temperature, dip the pollock fillets in the batter mix and ensure there’s an even coating. Carefully place the fillets into the hot oil and cook until the batter crisps and turns a deep golden colour. Once cooked, remove the fillets and place on a wire wrack to rest.

Increase the heat on the oil and return the par-cooked chips to the pan. Once golden and crisp, remove the chips and immediately shovel onto yesterdays news.

Sprinkle liberally with salt and malt vinegar and top with the fish fillets. Ladle lashings of tartar sauce on the side and destroy while hot.

Provenance, Perseverance and Preserves … (Wild Strawberry and Raspberry Jam Recipe)

The Food Flunky Blog is now hosted here (thefoodflunky.com) click here to see the new site and read all your favourite posts!! Tom aka The Food Flunky

Now I’m going to end up sounding like a broken record on the topic of food sourcing but alas I’m a born again forager, and proud of it!

So my bank holiday Sunday recently departed was spent picking my little heart out at Secretts Garden Centre in Milford, Surrey. Granted it was battery-farmed foraging and the first locally based pick your own I stumbled upon but boy did it deliver. And as a result of the bumper harvest, I now have arguably the most unique collection of receptacles dedicated to housing the spoils of my visit.

This is by no means a macho brag list but here are the fruits and vegetables of my (and the bewer’s) labour:

1.5kg Raspberries
1.4kg Blackcurrant
1.2kg Strawberries
0.4kg Blackberries
1kg Courgettes (plus flowers)
1 handful Puffball Mushrooms

I will talk about the courgettes with their alien like qualities and the mushrooms later, but for now I’ll suffice in talking about the jam.

I tracked down, both on and offline recipes, as per usual however, my mum came through with the goods, reiterating the fundamentals of many of the methods sourced. The bewer and I tested various combos (minus the inclusion of courgettes and mushrooms) and quantities but the method and recipe outlined below seemed to be the most consistent and requires no elaborate equipment.

It literally works with all the fruit we gathered. Being a non-puritan preserver, personally I think the combined fruits work best.

So here it is …

Equipment:

2 very large heavy based pots
3 – 4 saucers (left to chill in the freezer)
Ladel
Funnel
As many jars with lids as you can lay your jammy mitts on, steeped in boiling water for 20 minutes (don’t touch the inners of the jars and lids to avoid contamination)

Ingredients (this recipe makes enough for about 2kg of jam or approximately 4 regular sized jars):

1kg of washed ripe mixed berries (I’d personally recommend combining strawberries and raspberries in equal quantities. Chop the strawberries if large and always ensure the fruit is devoid of insects, rot etc)
100g caster sugar
30g jam sugar (sugar with pectin)
Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

Place the pan over a medium heat and pour in the 100g of caster sugar. Heat until the sugar begins to dissolve on the base of the pan. Stir frequently to avoid the sugar burning on the base.

After about 5 minutes add the mixed berries to the pan and stir quickly to ensure all are evenly coated with the granulated syrup that’s formed in the pan. Turn the heat up and stir for a few times until the berries begin to release their juice.

Once the berries begin swimming in their own juice, give it one last stir and add a lid to the pan. The berries should now begin to boil rapidly.

After approximately 5-10 minutes, remove the lid and add the lemon juice and jam sugar. Boil for another 5-10 minutes until the berries are almost completely broken down (Don’t bother skimming the surface to remove the foam … it’s way too laborious and for me, achieves nothing).

Now remove one of the saucers from the freezer and using a teaspoon, carefully place a small dollop on the centre of the saucer. Return the saucer to the freezer.

After 2 minutes check the “jam” on the saucer to see if it is at all set (the surface of the jam should wrinkle slightly when pushed with your finger). If so remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool for 30 minutes. If not repeat the last step every 5 minutes until the desired consistency is reached.

Once you have your jam, begin filling every last receptacle with your spoils CAREFULLY!

Seal the jars with the lids and add to another large pan filled with cold water. For additional sterilisation, place the pan on a high heat and boil rapidly for about 20 minute.

Leave to cool completely, adorn the jars with any Lakeland Plastics labels and lumberjack shirt material you wish, store in a cool dark place and mention your homemade jam in polite company at every given opportunity.