I was ill recently and spent much of that time lying on the sofa watching James Martin’s Home Comforts. He has a deep fat fryer built into his kitchen. One day, my friends, one day. For now though, I have a standalone one, bought by the press of a laptop button from the comfort of the sick sofa. I haven’t, however, felt like using it until today.
My friends Mark n Phil came round this afternoon for tea. Somehow we got onto food and the deep fat fryer came up. As is usually the case with Phil – when there are things to be unpacked, he’s all over it. While I would (and do) leave things in boxes for years, he was up and and tearing at the THREE boxes the deep fat fryer arrived in. It has been left boxed since it arrived partly because I equate it with being unhealthy and partly because I’ve been too terrified to use it. Visions of damp tea towels being called into use, etc.
We soon whipped ourselves into a food frenzy with the thought of fish and chips, scotch eggs, chicken kiev, tempura, bhajis, samosas… and the pair soon scooted off in search of a fish and chip shop. I have since been researching the best way to make chips that isn’t going to involve Heston Blumenthal extremes.
This is what I’m doing.
- The chips. I’m triple cooking them. First I’m boiling the chipped potatoes for 7 minutes. Then I’m going to put them in a colander and leave them to dry and cool.
- I’m going to make the batter for the fish. I have a salmon fillet and some king prawns. The batter I’m going with is one I’ve done before – self raising flour, a sprinkle of baking powder, and fizzy water. I read through this article on how to make the perfect battered fish first. I’m going with 100g flour, just under a teaspoon of baking powder and 170ml of fizzy water.
The plan is to cook the chips first at 130 degrees for 8-10 minutes. Then put them on kitchen roll to drain and cool.
Then I’ll cook the fish at 180 degrees, for 5 minutes, then put in the oven to keep warm.
Then I’ll put the chips back in at 180 and cook for another 5 minutes.
Well, really very good for a first go. The salmon did stick to the bottom of the basket so I lost a bit of batter there – probably no bad thing. I put the prawns in at the same time. I would perhaps add them a minute later next time. The batter was good – light and crispy. Can you season batter? It seems that you can. I’d do that next time. The chips were great but didn’t quite hit the levels of perfection of those that for example I have to order every time I visit Gordon Ramsay’s Bread Street Kitchen however they were still very good. I guess with any new piece of kit, you need to keep trying. Next time I’d boil the chips longer, dry longer, and do the final fry at a slightly lower heat as in my machine at 180 they were very dark brown a few minutes before the recommended frying time.
The only down side is that the house now smells of cooking oil which is not pleasant.
Mmm rating: mm mm mm
Cost per person: £5 – though this will depend largely on the fish you use
Calories: No idea but if you’re eating like this I’m going to assume you’re not really counting today
What to listen to while cooking: Something not too distracting. Candy Perfume Girl by Madonna. Link will open in Spotify
What to watch while eating: Season 3 of House of Cards. What do you MEAN you haven’t watched the other two yet?!