deep fat frying

Ben’s Japanese style fried fish

Ben'sjapanesefish

Well it’s not really Ben’s recipe, it’s actually Nic Watt’s from the Saturday Kitchen at Home cookbook. This is a very good book if you fancy upping your game in the kitchen from time to time. The dishes are or all a little more complicated than your average Nigella, Nigel, Jamie or Delia recipe but still achievable for the ambitious home cook. Look out for it in your local charity shop – it’s a few years old now so it’s bound to crop up.

Image result for nic watt chef

This is Nic Watt.

This has become one of Ben’s signature starter dishes. Ben by the way (if you’re new to this blog) is my husband. He does not look like Nic (above).

The recipe involves deep frying the fish skeleton (not shown in the photo above). This sounds vile but it crisps up beautifully and tastes rather like a fishy version of pork crackling.

The dipping sauce and marinade is amazing and I guess you could use the concept for other meats like pork or chicken if you like.

We have made this with turbot instead of lemon sole and you could probably substitute any firm white fish. The deep fried skeleton however only really works with sole.

Nic Watt’s Crispy lemon sole with chilli, sesame and soy

For the marinade and dipping sauce

  • 1 teaspoon of chopped green chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped red chilli
  • 1 teaspoon of chopped fresh ginger
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of chopped garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon of Djon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon of sesame oil
  • 50ml of soy sauce
  • The juice of half a lemon
  • 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil

For the fish

  • 2 lemon sole
  • 50g-75g of potato starch (you can buy this from Holland and Barrett)

To serve

  • The zest of two lemons
  • A little coriander

Put all the ingredients for the marinade (except the oil) into a bowl and mix to combine.

Heat the vegetable oil on a high heat until it is smoking, then pour it over the other marinade ingredients and stir. It may spit a little so be careful. Put one half of the mix into little bowls for the dipping sauce and leave the rest in the bowl for the marinade.

Prepare the fish by cleaning, descaling, skinning and filleting it. Or ask your fishmonger to do this for you. Cut the filleted fish into bite size pieces and place in the marinade for 15 minutes.

For the skeleton, cut in half lengthways keeping the backbone intact on one half. Discard the half without the back bone. Dust the skeleton with potato flour and place around a small bowl placed upside down to shape.

Heat some oil in a very large saucepan to 190oC

IR GM300E Infrared Thermometer

PS.These infrared thermometers are brilliant for testing the surface temperature of oil and can be bought online for less than £20.

First place the skeleton in the heated oil for 2-3 minutes until crispy and drain on kitchen paper. Hopefully it will keep it’s bowl like shape.

Lift the sole from the marinade and coat evenly in potato starch. Shake to remove any excess flour, then drop into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes until a light golden colour. Drain on kitchen paper.

To serve, arrange the fish pieces and skeleton nicely on a serving plate, grate over some lemon zest and sprinkle over some chopped coriander (these garnishes are not shown in the photo above).

Serve the bowls of dipping sauce alongside.

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Banana fritters with coconut ice cream

bananafritters2

Cooked banana is like marmite, you either love it or hate it.

I absolutely love it (I take after my father here).

If I ever see banana fritters (AKA: Pazham Pori, Toffee banana, Glouy Tod) on a dessert menu then I just have to order them even if I’m already stuffed. We won’t talk about my gannet-like behaviour at the Golden Dragon in Shardlow where they offer banana fritters as part of their all-you-can eat Sunday buffet.

I recently I had the best banana fritters (Glouy Tod) I’ve ever eaten at ZAAP Thai in Nottingham and it made me want to try making them myself. I’ve had a go before with a simple flour and egg batter (not a great success) but the addition of coconut and sesame seeds here adds something extra special.

Now I need to forget that I’ve ever discovered this recipe or I’ll end up the size of a house.

Thai style banana fritters

Serves 2-4

  • 2 bananas cut on the diagonal into 1cm slices
  • Groundnut oil for shallow frying
  • Golden syrup to serve

For the batter

  • 3 -5 tablespoons of cornflour
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • ½ teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon of dried unsweetened coconut
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of sesame seeds (plus more for sprinkling)
  • A pinch of salt

Mix all the ingredients for the batter together in a bowl until smooth. Start with 3 tablespoons of water. At first the consistency will be slightly weird because of the cornflour (both runny and thick at the same time), you need to add just enough additional water for the mix to be smooth without the cornflour resisting being stirred (hopefully this will make sense when you do it). The original recipe uses rice flour so you can use this if you prefer.

Tip in the banana and stir gently with your hands until each piece is well covered with the batter.

Fill a frying pan with enough groundnut oil to cover the whole bottom of the pan and heat to a medium-high heat. Put each piece of battered banana into the hot pan and fry on each side until golden brown (about 3 minutes each side). You may need to do this is two batches depending on the size of your pan.

You can also deep fry them if you like. In this case they only take around 2-3 minutes. Make sure your oil is really hot though.

Lift out with a slotted spoon and drain on some kitchen towel.

Eat immediately with golden syrup drizzled over the top and coconut or vanilla ice cream on the side.

NOTE: For the coconut ice cream follow this recipe for vanilla ice cream but substitute half the double cream for coconut cream, omit the vanilla essence and add 3 tablespoons of dried unsweetened coconut before churning. Served on its own with chocolate sauce this would be like a frozen Bounty.

Things with holes – bagels and onion rings

onion rings and bagels copy

Here are two recipes for things to eat with holes in the middle. There is no other reason for putting them in the same blog post except that they’re both fun to make.

One day I’ll try making doughnuts.

Onion rings

I’ve tried several recipes for onion rings but for me this one is the simplest and the best.

Makes 1 large bowl of onion rings

  • 1 large onion
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 210ml sparkling water
  • A pinch of salt
  • Ground nut oil for frying

Peel and cut your onion into slices just under 1 cm thick (8mm). Separate into rings and discard the two tiny ones in the centre (you can save these for another use).

Measure the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the sparkling water gradually until you have a batter the consistency of double cream.

Now heat your oil. It’s best if you use a large saucepan and fill to about half way. The oil is ready for frying when a tiny drop of batter hisses immediately on entering the pan.

Put your onion rings into the batter and shake them a little to remove any excess batter before carefully dropping them into the oil. You can fry 4 or 5 at a time, or more if you’re short of time and you don’t mind if they stick together a bit.

Fry for 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Drain well on kitchen paper and sprinkle with salt (optional if you don’t like to eat too much salt) before serving.

Bagels

This is a basic recipe and I’m sure bread experts will scoff but the result is a very respectable bagel which is much nicer than the dry old ones you can buy at Tesco Express.

These make a perfect Sunday brunch with scrambled eggs and chorizo or smoked salmon and cream cheese.

  • 400g strong bread flour
  • 225ml warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of dried instant action yeast
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Seeds or salt flakes for the top

For fresh bagels in the morning start the process in the evening. Take a large mixing bowl and measure out the flour, yeast, salt and caster sugar.

Tip in the water and stir into a firm dough with your hands.

Now follow this schedule (this takes about 1 hour from start to finish, you’ll need a timer or a stop watch)

Cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes
Knead for 10 seconds
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes
Knead for 10 seconds
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes
Knead for 10 seconds
Cover with a tea towel and leave for 30 minutes

Now divide the dough into 6 equal portions and shape into balls, place on a tray, cover with a cloth and leave for another 20 minutes.

Now shape your bagels. Make a hole in the middle with the end of a wooden spoon and then stretch the dough outwards with your fingers. The hole needs to be quite large (about 4 cm) as it will close up as it cooks.

Cover a chopping board or tray with lightly oiled cling film then place the bagels on the tray and cover loosely with another piece of lightly oiled cling film. Place in the fridge to rise slowly overnight.

In the morning preheat the oven to 200oC fan.

Take a large pan and boil some water with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar added. Drop each bagel into the boiling water and poach for just 5 seconds on each side.

Place the poached bagels on an oiled baking tray, sprinkle with seeds or salt and bake for 15-20 minutes.