Easy fish and chips at home
It may have started out a very British dish, but here at home, fish and chips is definitely one of our favourites – especially when it’s enjoyed with a sea view at sunset. And if it’s served in newspaper with a side of mushy peas, even better! No matter where you are this season – at home or on holiday – this easy recipe from Jamie Oliver via the Food Network will hit the spot! It takes less than 25 minutes to make and serves four people.
For the chips:
2 litres vegetable oil
950g floury potatoes, peeled and cut into large chips
For the batter:
1 cup plain flour
1 cup beer
2 egg whites, whipped to soft peaks
Salt (and pepper), to season
4 fillets (approx. 250g) fish fillets, such as cod, haddock or hake (from sustainable sources)
Pour all the vegetable oil into a deep pan or deep-fat fryer and heat to 160C. Blanch the potatoes in the oil until soft, but not coloured, about 4 minutes. Remove and drain. Mix together the flour and beer, then fold in the egg whites. Turn up the heat of the oil to about 180C. Dip the fish in the batter and fry for a few minutes with the chips until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with your choice of sides…
TIP: For a lighter, more waistline-friendly version, oven-bake your fish and chips rather. Try this flour-free fish batter from BBC Good Food that comprises egg and seasoning only – you’ll need one large egg, separated, for every 2 fish fillets… Whisk the egg yolk with lemon zest, lemon thyme, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until soft peaks form. Fold the yolk into the white, then dip the fish into the mixture and bake at 200C for 15 to 20 minutes until brown.
Home cooked meals are great (surely, we can all agree on that!), but sometimes it’s nice to treat yourself and the family to a divine dinner out … and for perfectly-seasoned and satisfying seafood, the best place to go to is Ocean Basket. It’s Joburg’s favourite seafood restaurant and they serve up wholesome fish and chips, delicious prawns and calamari, and superb sushi too! Plus, they have dishes that are undoubtedly value for money. Don’t know about you but we’re in the mood for a little OB right now! Details: www.oceanbasket.com
M is for (moreish) mushy peas!
Yes, there are more sophisticated side dishes, but we’re not about to forego the chance to tuck into mushy peas with our fish and chips! This minty version from Jamie Oliver (him, again!) is a cinch to make and tastes delish…
2 tbsp olive oil
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1 handful fresh mint, leaves picked
500g frozen peas
2 large knobs butter
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oil in a pan and add the chopped onions, mint and peas. Cover and leave for a few minutes to steam. Mash with a potato masher. You can do this with a food processor as well, just pulse it until smooth. When it’s done, add the butter and season very carefully, to taste.
Carb conscious chips
Trying to keep your carb consumption in check? These potato-free chip alternatives are a tasty substitute that go well with fish…
Crispy courgette chips
Pic and recipe via Delicious Magazine.
1½ tbsp plain flour
vegetable oil, for deep frying
2 tbsp finely grated Grana Padano cheese
Slice the courgettes into 3mm thick x 7cm long chips. Put the flour in a bowl and beat in 50ml water to make a smooth, thick batter the consistency of soured cream.
Half-fill a deep saucepan with oil. Place over a high heat until it reaches 180C (or until a cube of bread turns brown in 1 minute). Drop half the courgette chips into the batter and turn to coat. Using a fish slice, lift the courgette chips out of the batter and allow the excess to drip off.
Carefully drop the courgette pieces into the hot oil and cook for about 1 – 2 minutes, until golden.
Remove from the hot oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper. Toss with the cheese when still hot and add a good grinding of black pepper. Repeat with the remaining courgettes and serve immediately.
Skinny carrot fries
Pic and recipe via BBC Good Food
1 tbsp cornflour
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp finely chopped tarragon
a little black pepper
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut carrots into ‘fries’, about 1cm thick, and mix with cornflour and a little black pepper. Toss with vegetable oil, spread in a single layer on a baking tray lined with parchment, and bake for 40-45 mins, turning halfway. Mix a little salt with tarragon and toss through the cooked fries.
Sweet Potato Chips
Pic and recipe via the Independent
3 large sweet potatoes
¼ cup coconut oil
1-2 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp salt
1-2 tbsp spice such as smoked paprika, or chilli flakes
Cut the sweet potatoes into wedges. Put in a bowl and toss with melted coconut oil. Sprinkle with salt and spices. Place in a hot oven and bake for 20 minutes.
DIY newspaper cones
Forget plates. This summer we’re serving our fish and chips in DIY newspaper cones for a fun, laidback feel. Here’s to make your own… Cut a piece of non-stick baking paper into a 20 x 30cm rectangle. Repeat with a piece of newspaper or brown paper. Place the two on top of each other, loosely roll into a cone and seal with sticky tape. Fill the cone with fish and chips and a freshly cut lemon wedge for squeezing. Carry them out to guests on a wooden board and don’t forget to have salt, pepper, tartare sauce (for traditionalists) and serviettes handy!
Best wines to enjoy with fish and chips
When pairing wine with seafood, the general rule is the more delicate the fish, the lighter the wine. In the case of fish and chips however, when things like batter, tartare sauce and mushy peas come into play, you’d be wise to follow these tips from PlusWine (try their website for all kinds of fab food and wine advice)…
How to buy the best fish
Image via ChefSteps
Too shy to visit a fish deli because you don’t know how to tell delicious from dodgy? Read on…
Whole fresh fish
• Look for tightly adhering scales, bright, clear eyes and firm, taut flesh that springs back when you press it (note: slippery skin is fine, slimy is not!).
• The brighter the gills the fresher the fish, so aim for ones with a cherry-red hue, not brown.
• When buying white-fleshed fish such as cod and halibut, choose translucent-looking fillets with a pinkish tint. Darker fish like salmon or tuna should be vibrant in colour and have no cracks, breaks or gaps between the layers (in fact, the latter rule applies to all fish fillets!).
• Look for shiny, rock-hard frozen fish with no white freezer-burn spots, frost, or ice crystals. Ideally, you want to select packages from the back or bottom of the freezer as these have had less exposure to light.
• Make sure the packages are well-sealed and less than three months old.
Speaking of finding the best fish, if there’s one spot that you have to visit, it’s Fisherman’s Deli. They’ve been in business for a whopping 25 years, and we’re pretty sure it’s because they sell the freshest seafood, from oysters and whole fish to salmon and hake – just thinking about all the delectable dishes we could make with those is making our mouths water (seafood paella, anyone?). We’re getting ahead of ourselves here … just be sure to head over to Fisherman’s Deli the next time you’re in the mood to cook up a little seafood! Details: www.fishermansdeli.co.za
3 reasons to eat fish right now
Fish is often overlooked in favour of red meat and chicken, but it’s one of the best, nutrient-dense foods we can eat. Great for the body, great for the brain, here are three reasons to include it in your diet right now…
To reap the benefits, eat fish two to three times a week. Stick to local, sustainable varieties (see wwfsassi.co.za) and avoid or minimise those with a high mercury content such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish.
All this talk about fish (and why it’s good for you) has us craving some yummy sushi, how about you? We thought you might agree. So if you’re looking for a great spot to enjoy California Rolls, Fashion Sandwiches and Sashimi, head over to YuMe, voted the best sushi restaurant (and we totally understand why!). They’ve even got dessert sushi … how cool is that? Needless to say, we love this spot, and we’re sure you will too! Details: www.yume-sushi.co.za
NOT A FAN OF FISH AND CHIPS? Here’s a collection of new cook books with recipes to please absolutely everybody. Great gifts for foodies this Christmas.
Lacking culinary inspiration? Here are nine new, cool cookbooks to get you into the kitchen…
Our cookbook of the month … heck, the year … has to be A Year of Seasonal Dishes. This collection of recipes from Food and Home Entertaining has seasonal recipes for every month on the year. Gorgeous, glorious recipes … like potato-and-prosciutto tart; grilled aubergine with mozzarella, mint and pomegranate rubies; white bean and baby-marrow burgers with cashew mayo and a sport salad. For the more glutinous (yip, that’s us) there’s a Mile-high chocolate-brownie flapjack stack with pretzel brittle and peanut-butter sauce. Good grief! For hot summer summer, make watermelon and vodka ices, or the rose, pink pepper and Champagne slush, which is without a doubt the prettiest cocktail we’ve ever seen. Human and Rousseau, around R350
As a child, Jackie Cameron was taught to make biscuits by her grandmothers and her love of food was born. In Baking with Jackie Cameron, you’ll find a few of her grandmother’s tried and tested recipes along with those to which she has given her own twist. Baked treats range from easy-peasy lavender and jam-drop biscuits through some interesting breads and on to the most yummy savoury treats like twice-baked Gorgonzola souffle and trout quiche. And when it comes to the sweet stuff your taste buds will shout ‘hooray’. Think red wine pear puff tarts with caramel sauce; orange custard puddings and apple, pecan nut and cinnamon cake. Sigh! Penguin, R290.
Obviously Jamie needs no introduction. Super Food – Family Classics is Jamie Oliver’s collection of much-loved classic, comfort food … with a healthy, super-food twist. So there may be porridge, but it’s chocolate (yum) with Greek yoghurt and fresh seasonal fruit. There are a handful of ways to make the simple boiled egg more interesting, 18 (yes, 18!) ways with avo on rye, fab wholewheat pasta dishes and loads of fish dishes served with vitamin-loaded veggies. There are also tips for fussy eaters and heathy eating habits. Michael Joseph, R395.
Although born in the USA, Ana Patuleia Ortins learned her love of Portuguese food from her immigrant parents. In Authentic Portuguese Cooking she explores dishes not only from mainland Portugal, but also from the islands of the Azores and Madeira, with a couple of nods to Mozambique. There’s St Michael Island-style spicy beef steaks and mushroom-stuffed pork with pomegranate sauce very different veggie creations – even braised goat. There are chicken and salt cod dishes galore, yummy breads, luscious sweet treats and some amazing sauces and marinades. Page Street Publishing, R420.
FYI … you can enjoy delish Portuguese food at Adega, too! From prawns (for those of you that do love seafood) to spatchcock chicken and divine steak dishes (for those of you that don’t), they have it all … talk about a menu to please every palate! And don’t forget to save room for dessert (we highly recommend the crème caramel or the granadilla mousse … so good. Enjoy! Details: www.adegas.co.za
‘Too many cooks spoil the broth’ … but not in the case of Valentina Rice’s Recipes From Many Kitchens. The author scoured the UK to find the most talented producers making the most innovative food, who have generously shared their expertise. Among the more than 80 recipes you’ll find a decadent French breakfast menu, a Southern summer picnic), and an English tea. The recipes swing round the world via India, Germany, Italy, Spain, Mexico and various Asian countries. Can’t wait to give some of these dishes a try. Page Street Publishing, around R489.
If you enjoy food, but are a hesitant cook, salads are a good way to start. After all, it’s impossible to burn lettuce! Healthy eating enthusiast Chantal Lascaris spent 10 years or so creating new and interesting salads. Her book, All Sorts of Salads, is the delectable result. She combines fennel and radishes; watermelon and feta; figs, pancetta and Roquefort … all with delicious abandon. Using fillet steak, crayfish, pork, sashimi and chicken she covers the entire gamut of tempting edibles. She even offers a breakfast salad for heaven’s sake! And when it comes to sweet treats, how about champagne granita with fruit blinis or Christmas ice cream with nectarine purée? Oh my! The final touch is a mouth-watering selection of dressings. Struik Lifestyle, R236.
Nothing beats home cooking, but the reality is that we are often pressed for time. The collection of easy and affordable recipes in The Cookbook, compiled by Your Family, provides for all tastes … from comforting soups and stews to the best-dressed pasta, from chicken masterpieces to fish favourites. There are one-dish wonders and meals you can whip up in less than 30 minutes, perfect for busy moms on school nights! Whether you want to celebrate a special occasion or are looking for midweek dessert, you’ll find it here. Human & Rousseau, R275.
There has been plenty of controversy about the low-carb, high fat diet – aka the Banting or the Tim Noakes diet – but more and more scientific evidence supports it. However, giving up that chocolate cake is hard! In The Banting Baker – Low Carb High Fat Treats, Catherine Speedie takes care of the problem … in seriously scrumptious style. Pressing various nuts, seeds and spices into service, she dishes up pizzas, muffins, snacks, breads, cookies and cakes … think fresh lime cheesecake tart, apple and cranberry upside-down cake and zucchini, cashew and mushroom loaf. There’s also loads of useful extra info. Jacana, R280.
Packed with a huge variety of fruits and flavours, Carol Beckerman’s 500 Green & Detox Juices is the only compendium of detox recipes you’ll ever need. From filling breakfasts and summer treats to kids’ parties, and even a green apple martini, the only problem you might have is making up your mind what to choose. We fancy the orange and strawberry with cashew milk as well as the redcurrant and peach. Struik, R140.