Friday, 26 February 2010

How to fry fish properly and why

The case for home-fried fish
Fried fish is like soup. It has to be home-made to be yummy. No matter how premium the brand, it never tastes delicious. Because I am essentially lazy, I have tried many brands but they all taste eh even sluiced down with ketchup. I don’t like to eat anything that isn’t yum yum delicious. Is that terrible to admit?
Admittedly, it makes your house smell of fish. So open the windows for twenty minutes and get over yourself. And you have to actually make a trip to the fish shop to buy the fresh fish and talk to strange men about what you want but it is so worth it, I promise. Also I think if we eat less fish, but we do it proud when we do eat it, it’s better for the environment.
How to fry fish properly
My mom showed me how to do this. She also showed me how to get what you want in a fish shop, (which is basically don’t be shy, ask for what you want and tip them afterwards).
Frying fish properly starts with a trip to the fish-mongers. In London, I ask for haddock or cod fillets, whatever looks fresher. There’s lots of pointing at this stage.
I ask the lovely Roy (or any of the scoundrels at Stoller’s) to cut up the fish into portions, to take the skin off and to debone it. I also ask them to cut off the flap (but keep it, obviously). The flap is the thin bit on the side of the fillet. So that when I fry it, each piece is all the same thickness.
So far, so normal. Now the secrets. After you’ve washed each piece, dry it thoroughly with paper towel . Heat up about two sideways finger widths of sunflower oil in a frying pan. The oil has to get very hot. Make a bowl of beaten egg and a bowl of flour. Dip the fish into the flour first and then into the egg and then into the frying pan.
Cook each side depending on thickness of the fish piece. I cook each side until it is golden brown which is about ten minutes a side. So basically, very hot oil, enough oil and dry fish before it goes in the flour. (Also flour before egg). Sprinkle with salt. Put on kitchen towel after frying. Serve with cut up lemon.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Eating more vegetables and less meat

Slow cooked Broccoli

Three heads of broccoli – in pieces.
Two red chillies or chilli flakes (I take out the seeds from the fresh chillies and I scrub my hands afterwards)
Six generous tablespoons olive oil
Eight sun-dried tomatoes cut up
Some olives halved and pitted
Three cloves of garlic sliced
250 ml red wine (or wine mixed with water)

Put it all in a big pot (oil first) and cook on gentle heat for 50 minutes with the lid on.
Serve with rice. This is what we’re having for supper tonight with the left over soup from yesterday.

A tip that Jana from Slovakia told me: the big thick white stem of the broccoli is the yummiest part. Peel it and cut into slices and leave around the kitchen in a bowl like carrot sticks. Yum yum yum delicious.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

leek and potato soup

Six leeks
Two onions
2.5 litres boiling water
500gm potatoes
125 gm butter
600 ml crème fraiche

Slice leeks, onions and potatoes very thinly. Melt butter in pot. Add sliced leeks and onions.
Cook till soft not brown. Add water and sliced potatoes. Cook for thirty minutes. Blitz. Add crème
fraiche and salt and blitz again.

Yes, it is a lot of crème fraiche. Yes, you deserve to eat good food that tastes good. Allow me a small rant. Diet bread. Diet soda. Diet yogurt. Diet food. Only fat-in-the-head people eat this kind of food (you know who you are). Just eat normal. A slice of real delicious bread with real delicious butter, for example, but only one slice, not the whole loaf.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

This is the real reason I made bread today.

It’s not because I’m worthy but because I’m lazy. It’s raining outside and I’ve just straightened my hair and I don’t want to get my hair wet going to the shops and I’ve got teenagers to feed and we’ve run out of bread. Then I remembered my brother’s ex-girlfriend (who came from Denmark) had given me this recipe:
Ida’s bread
20 grams melted butter
Half a litre of liquid at body temperature made up of water/milk/yogurt
25 grams fresh yeast
Half a tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
200 grams sunflower seeds
100 grams crushed walnuts
700 grams flour 1:5 brown to white.

Mix the butter, liquid and yeast. Stir in the salt and honey. Leave for five minutes.
Mix together with all the dry ingredients.
Leave to rise one hour at least though two hours would be even better. Knead it on a floured surface. Shape into two loaves and put on a greased tray. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes at 200 degrees.
(That was the recipe as I wrote it down. In real life, I used dry yeast, not fresh. I only had white flour not brown and I had poppy seeds, linseeds and pumpkin seeds so I used two tablespoons of each of those instead of the walnuts that I didn’t have. Luckily I had sunflower seeds. I had to add lots more flour. I didn’t have yogurt either so I used crème fraiche)
I also baked potatoes, fried onions, grated cheese and made hummus for supper. (Turns out we didn’t have baked beans either)
Tin of chickpeas, two cloves of garlic, third a jar of tahini, olive oil, salt and paprika. Blitz.