Wednesday 30 July 2014

Fish and chips - a variation...

For 6 months of the year or sometime a little more, we have home grown potatoes. I have noticed that they are much denser than shop bought potatoes, jacket potatoes take 8 or 9 minutes to cook rather than 6 in the microwave.

They also make fantastic chips! Now, I know some people are wary, with perhaps good reason of deep frying food, both from the health side of things but also from the danger that a chip pan can present if not used correctly.

However, I always:

- watch the chip pan like a hawk during the warm up phase
- dry the potato chips thoroughly - water is not a good idea in a hot chip pan - it will spit and fizz
- test with a chip every so often to see whether the fat is hot enough - it is ready as soon as a chip put in starts fizzling straighaway
- toss the chips regularly to ensure even cooking and that they do not stick together or burn.
- keep watching to ensure safety, and turn the cooker down to lowest heat near the end or even off if using electric, the heat from the hob will keep the oil hot enough to cook with.
- remove the pan from the hot ring and ensure the cooker is switched off at the wall before serving.

If the pan does get too hot, it will start smoking. If this happens switch off immediately and remove the pan carefully from the heat. Allow to cool for a few minutes and then resume on a lower heat.

There is usually enough residual heat if using an electric hob after the chips are done to fry some courgettes and/or onions while you serve the chips and fish.

The fish is usually white fish, often cod or haddock, but ling, hake, coley, or pollock is suitable depending on taste, budget and how you regard the stock of fish in the ocean - cod and haddock being more over fished than the others.

The fish is coated in egg and done in breadcrumbs, in this case gluten free ones, in the microwave (if you are lucky enough to keep chickens on your plot then even the egg can be "local"!). The whole dish is served with baked beans though peas, mushy peas etc can be substituted. The advantage of using baken beans is that they can be quickly popped on a plan on top of the dish used to cook the fish in the microwave - as I said you don't want to be distracted from watching the chip pan.

Best carrots ever!

Some while ago I mentioned that we were growing carrots in a tyre stack.

The tyres came from a local tyre and exhaust place, as they have to pay to have them disposed of, they are grateful to anyone that can take them away for free!

The advantages of growing them in this stack are that they can have a very deep layer of soil and compost to grow into and that they are high enough up to be out of the way of carrot flies, who probably aren't able to get through rubber anyway!

So, some were picked for Sunday lunch.....

As you can see they are of considerable length! They are also completely whole and have no tell tale black marks from carrot fly infestation.

Sunday lunch also included the beetroot, peas, broad beans, runner beans and potatoes and a courgette, all from the allotment!

Friday 18 July 2014

Summer harvest

Plenty of vegetables and fruit to harvest now, makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it!

An awful lot of blackcurrants (with more to come!)
Some raspberries (I think going away during their most productive time meant that the yield was down. Also I think some of the bushes are getting a bit tired.)

More broad beans, peppers from the pots in the house

And lots of onions!

Now the sun's out and things are warming up,  the sweetcorn and the courgettes are doing well