Thursday, 4 June 2015

FISH FINGER SANDWICH


Recently I gave my children fish finger sandwiches for dinner and felt a slight tinge of guilt for not giving them something 'proper'.  The problem was, they were quite delicious and I found myself craving one for myself.  A definite guilty pleasure.

It got me to thinking though, perhaps I could compensate for my lapse as a good mother by creating the perfect fish finger sandwich from scratch rather than a frozen packet, I even made the tartar sauce and some accompanying mushy peas.  It worked and by golly it was heavenly, guilt gone and I am a good mother again.

I used Hake, not the traditional choice but this lesser used fish is just as good as cod and to get that customary orange crumb I've dry fried some chorizo then whizzed it with the bread to make the bread crumbs.  There is enough oil in the chorizo to then just bake them in the oven - simples!

350g Hake Fillet
Flour for dusting
1 Egg Beaten
50g Chorizo
50g Bread for Crumbs

First make your bread crumbs.  Cut the chorizo into slices then each slice in half.  Dry fry them in a pan and allow to cool a little.  Put your bread in a processor along with the chorizo and whizz them into crumbs.  The chorizo will excrete a lovely orange tainted oil into the pan, stir the crumbs into this till combined.

Wash and pat dry the fish in some kitchen roll then cut them into fingers.  Dust each one in flour then dip in the egg.  Now coat the fish finger in the bread crumbs.

Place them on a baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes at 180C. Serve in buttered slices of crusty bread such as Pain de Campagne with tartar sauce and mushy peas on the side.


Tartar Sauce                                                                                         
4 tbsp Mayonnaise                                                                    
1 tbsp Capers Chopped                                        
2 tbsp Tiny Gherkins Chopped                            
1 Shallot Chopped                                              
Lemon Juice to taste
S+P                            

Chop everything finely and mix it all together.  I have to admit that capers are on my very short list of foods I can't bring myself to eat so I didn't put them in and I could tell it wasn't quite right.  So if you don't have the same aversion, keep em in.              


Mushy Peas                                                           
250g Frozen Peas                                                  
1 tbsp Sour Cream                                                 
1 tsp Mint Sauce                                                   
S+P

Boil the peas in hot water, drain and whizz them in a processor with the remaining ingredients.  I didn't process them too much so there was some texture and not baby food



Sunday, 26 April 2015

BLUEBERRY & ALMOND SCONES


I'm feeling very self righteous at the moment. This is down to me cleaning out my freezer. It has resulted in three things.  A gleaming freezer, a bizarre dinner combination and these little beauties.  Buried at the back was a packet of blueberries so I added some almonds and put this recipe together. They are so soft and moist and the blueberries give the effect of having the jam already in the scone.

Blueberry Scones 
300g Self Raising Flour 
70g Sugar 
160g Butter 
150ml Milk 
1/4 tsp Almond Extract 
40g Flaked Almonds 
150g Blueberries
Milk to Glaze

80g Icing Sugar
1/4 tsp Almond Extract
Water to mix


It's just as you would expect with scones, rub the butter into the flour then add the sugar.  Pour in the milk and almond extract and mix till it comes together as a soft dough, I find a knife the best thing for this.  Finally stir through the flaked almonds and blueberries, reserve a few almonds to scatter on the top.

Now lightly flour your surface and bring the dough together by very gently kneading it and forming it into a ball.  Pat it down evenly so you have roughly an 8" scone then divide it into 8 slices.  You may find it helps to flour the knife to get good clean cuts.

Place each scone onto a baking sheet lined with parchment, brush with a little milk and sprinkle on the remaining almonds.  Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200C fan.

Whilst they cook mix the drizzle icing.  Mix the icing sugar with the almond extract and a little water till you get a thick but runny consistency.  Once the scones have cooked, drizzle on the icing and leave to cool....if you can.....just a little!




Sunday, 19 April 2015

CHILLI CHEESE CORNBREAD


So I decided I wanted to make cornbread and once I started I couldn't stop.  I really went to town with this one and we've been eating corn bread with everything.

I started with a plain cornbread that went well with soup and was a good excuse to use my cast iron cornbread pan, the fact that it gives you the cutest little ears of corn makes means everyone can't resist them.


Next came mini corn dogs, my children loved these and they were so quick to make. I oiled a mini muffin tray, poured in some of the cornbread batter then divided frankfurter sausages into 8 pieces and popped them in the middle.  Bake for 10-12 minutes till golden.


I then moved on to adding some extras to boost the flavour and to be honest it became a meal in itself, perfect for picnics and packed lunches. I added cheese, sweetcorn, chilli, coriander and onions and next time I think I'll also throw in some chorizo. Butter an oven proof dish and bake for 20-25 minutes.

The final dish in this cornbread fest is chilli with a cornbread top, if you try this use half the quantity of ingredients.  Make your chilli, pour the batter on top and bake for 20-25 minutes and serve immediately.

The hardest part of this recipe is finding the cornmeal.  I got it in an international food store but if you can't find it, use polenta instead.  It will be a little courser but does the job just as well.

Basic Cornbread

250g Cornmeal
120g Plain Flour
30g Sugar
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp White Pepper
65g Butter melted
2 x 284ml Buttermilk
2 Eggs

Added Extras
60g Chedder grated
200g Sweetcorn
3 Spring Onions chopped
1 tsp Chilli Paste
Small Bunch Fresh Coriander chopped

Grated Parmesan to finish

To make the basic cornbread, mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.  In a jug whisk the wet ingredients together then combine the two.  Fold everything together till you have a thick batter with no dry lumps.  If you're adding the extra ingredients stir them through now.

Pour everything into a buttered baking dish,  and cook at 200C fan for 20-25 minutes till firm to touch and golden brown.  Leave it in the dish to cool then cut into portions.