Fish & Chips

We popped down to Nunhead today to check out a few shops we’ve only just learned about to see what’s on offer:

  • Bambuni Deli 
    • Lots of hard-to-find spices and other ingredients, specifically masa harina (the stuff you make corn tortillas from) which I used to have to order online
    • Also a great range of pâtés, cheeses, craft beers, and a dangerous range of pastries!
  • Soper’s Fishmongers
    • Another place to get frozen clams!
    • Will have to get some whole squid from here in the future
    • We got ourselves some huge haddock fillets, which is of course the basis of this fish & chips dinner
  • Ayres Bakery
    • A proper bakery, without needing to be all trendy and artisan
    • Picked up some local dark rye flour to treat my rye sourdough with
    • Also picked up some jam donuts :)

We decided in the pub that we’d actually deep-fry our fish for a change. I assumed my first task when getting home would be looking up a good batter recipe, but I then decided I wanted a chip butty, so I’m making an emergency load of bread first.

The Sodo starter was refreshed yesterday, so I’m nicking 150g of it from the fridge to make a loaf: in an actual loaf tin for a change!

A quick check on what flours I had available revealed some potato flour that’s best before this month, so I’m going with that: 180g of strong white plus 70g of the potato flour get autolyzed with 150g of skimmed milk.

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This gets 150g of Sodo starter added, plus 1 tsp of salt, the mixer kneads then a bit of rising/stretching/folding before proofing in the fridge overnight.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESI’m using my new lava rocks to create some steam in the oven. They’ll heat up for an hour and have ice cubes put on them when the loaf goes in.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAs it’s only a small loaf, and I don’t want it too crusty I’m going to cook for 25 minutes covered, then 10 minutes uncovered with the oven down to 200C fan.

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Yeah I’m pretty happy with that!

Now it’s a pretty small loaf, and it’s not going to fit many chips inside if cut the traditional way, so I’m going to cut it lengthways to maximise by chip butty size.

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The chips themselves will actually be oven cooked wedges. This isn’t for any health reasons, it’s just that as we’re going to fry the fish and trying to manage two pots of hot oil and timing everything to be ready at the same time would be a nightmare. So we’ll wash potatoes, chop them up with the skin on, brush with oil, season with piri piri seasoning, then cook for 30-35 minutes, giving them a turn half way through.

Onto deep frying fish – this is new to us. We’ve alway gone down the healthy baked versions previously, so we’re turning to the ever-reliable Felicity Cloake and her ‘cook the perfect’ recipe in The Grawdian.

Well I say the ever-reliable… I do have a complaint about the recipe: it has stealth ingredients! By this I mean that the method casually mentions adding 1/2 tsp of salt, which isn’t listed in the ingredients list. This is annoying as when I’m making the recipe I like to go through the ingredients list to check I’ve not forgotten anything, but if ingredients aren’t listed they might get forgotten and not noticed as they’re not listed.

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We’re also making a tartar sauce. We’ve done this before from scratch, but making mayonnaise takes bloody ages, so we’re cheating and using shop bought mayo, but still following the same ‘perfect’ recipe.

Things get even less homemade when it comes to the mushy peas: we’re just opening a tin! We are however doctoring them to make Soph’s signature coriander-spiced mushy peas (ie adding a tsp of ground coriander and mixing it in :).

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So… time to plate up!

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So… the wedges were slightly under…. but if you chose the thin ones and put them in the bread for a butty is was great! Tartar sauce was nicely tangy, and the peas nicely spicy. But the star of the show was the fish: it was flaky and perfectly just cooked, and the batter was big and crispy: perfect!

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