Spiced up Beer battered Fish n Chips

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Walking down the street laden with books in a huge rucksack hanging off our shoulders on a Friday afternoon, on our way back from School, we used to queue up at the Chippie to get a portion of chips for our walking home snack in the cold. The Chippie were always prepared to serve up large portions of chips to a whole load of kids who stopped by every Friday afternoon so it usually didn’t take too long to get the chips, in a large open cone made out of newspaper and white paper.

We would sprinkle generous amounts of salt and pepper onto our cones, before drenching it with Malt vinegar. The moment the malt vinegar hits those chips, the magic happened. It actually used to make my mouth water in anticipation of eating those hot chips but I had to get a drizzle of ketchup and brown sauce on to these chips first. I remember walking down the street eating out of these cones that we shared between friends sometimes, in the winter drizzle on most Friday evenings. Unfortunately, that was long time ago…….. now, living in Alberta I just had to try to recreate that same taste.

This all started by our trip to try out the British Chippy that’s recently opened up near our house. It’s a tad bit expensive for a portion of cod and chips but the fish was fabulous. The chips were hand cut but a little cold when they were served, so they lost the attraction. But they started this little yearning to make some proper fish and chips.

BEER BATTERED COD 

I bought the largest packet of thick cod fillets that I could find. I sliced them into smaller fillets to make frying a little easier, patted them dry and sprinkled them with salt and pepper.

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It was super cold outside as it had been a Snowtember day in Alberta, so it was the perfect Friday to start battering up some fish and chips. Every time I looked outside, I was convinced we were going to really enjoy these.

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For the batter, I used some self raising flour mixed with some Beer. Unfortunately, we only had some dark German Beer in the house, which is my husband’s favourite, so the batter turned out a little on the brown side.

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The consistency for the batter was slightly thinner and smoother than the pancake batter. I used about 1.5 cups of self raising flour mixed in with 1.25 bottles of beer to get this consistency. It was a little too thick when I used just one bottle of Beer.

Unfortunately, the boys created a lot of hullabaloo that evening as they were having a bowling night at our local Bowling alley that evening and having a bunch of pre-teens in the house was quite rowdy. In all this, I didn’t get a chance to take a photograph of the beer battered Fish that I fried.

One thing I would like to add though is that when I fried this fish in the deep fryer where the chips were being fried, it didn’t come out as crispy. But when I was shallow frying it using about 1 inch of oil in a pan, they came out fantastically crisped up and stayed crunchy, with no soggy bits anywhere.

Then, I created the spicy battered Fish……well, I couldn’t resist.

SPICY BATTERED FISH

This was also an amazingly easy batter made using water and self raising flour, but this time I added some salt, black pepper, red chilli powder,  Chicken curry masala and some turmeric as the colour was too white for me after the brown coloured ones I made with the Beer.

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It wasn’t hugely spicy but it turned out lightly spiced and full of flavour. This batter was also crisp when shallow fried in an inch of oil in a pan as opposed to deep frying.

The chips were all double fried. I used Russet potatoes and deep fried them until they started floating on the top. Took them out of the oil and let them cool down. Heat up the oil again and fry these for the second time on slightly higher heat and until they are crispy and golden in colour.

 

 

Buttermilk Banana Bread with Walnuts and Chocolate Chips

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Super moist Buttermilk Banana bread with crunchy walnuts and bits of chocolate chips is a huge hit in our house. Its the last day before Schools start tomorrow, so there had to be something special in the lunchbox for the first day back at School. A slice of this Banana bread is perfect in the lunch box and even for breakfast with a nice cold glass of milk.

I found the recipe for this Banana bread in a magazine a while back, but the cutting I saved didn’t have the name of the magazine on it, so I can’t give them credit for this. i have tweaked the recipe a little by adding some chocolate chips and some banana essence in it. This particular cake was made by my 10 year old son, so all the credit goes to him for baking such a wonderful cake.

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BUTTERMILK BANANA BREAD WITH WALNUTS AND CHOCOLATE CHIPS

2 Soft ripe Bananas, mashed (1 cup)
2 large Eggs
1 3/4 cup All purpose flour
1/4 cup Chocolate chips (I used half white, half milk chocolate chips)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tsp Banana Extract
1/2 cup melted Butter
1 cup Walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp Buttermilk

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Preheat oven to 350F and grease a Bread loaf pan. I used cooking spray and then lightly sprinkled some plain flour on top to give it the extra barrier.

In one bowl combine all the dry ingredients, but save the chocolate chips and walnuts to be added later. Mix well.

In another bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in 1/2 cup of dry ingredients at a time into the wet mixture. When the batter is nearly ready, add 1/2 the chocolate chips and 1/2 of the walnuts into the batter. Reserve the other half for sprinkling on top of the bread.

Pour into the pre-greased and floured bread loaf pan and sprinkle the reserved walnuts and chocolate chips on top. Bake in the centre of the preheated oven at 350F for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Let it cool, if you can, before slicing.


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Coronation Chicken – Spiced up!

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As a teenager, I used to love the Coronation Chicken sandwiches from Marks and Spencer. Now that there are no M&S here in Alberta, I need to resort to making them at home whenever the craving strikes. This version is not the traditional version, but is my own twist on the traditional Coronation Chicken, made the way I like it.

The crunchy walnuts, the sweet juicy grapes, the fresh aromatic herbs, the spicy creamy sauce that encompasses the chicken make this traditional Sandwich filling one of my all time favourites. Add a bowl of Basmati rice and it’s an amazing dish on its own!

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CORONATION CHICKEN
2 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
1/2 cup red onions, finely chopped
1/2 bunch of fresh Coriander/Cilantro, finely chopped
1/2 cup roasted walnuts, chopped
1 tbsp Curry Powder
1 tsp Garlic powder
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper (adjust if you don’t like it too spicy)
Salt and black pepper
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
3 tbsp heavy whipping cream (believe me, its worth it!)
A little squirt of Sriracha sauce (completely optional, its only to make it spicier)
1 cup dark grapes, halved
2 tbsp olive

Season the chicken with salt and pepper, drizzle a little oil and wrap it in foil to make a little parcel that can be baked in the oven. Preheat oven to 400F and bake the chicken in the oven for about 20 minutes or until the chicken has cooked through. Remove from the foil packet and allow the chicken to cool to room temperature. The reason I bake the chicken wrapped in foil is to make sure the chicken doesn’t get crispy when roasted or baked. I like the chicken to be soft, juicy and succulent instead of dry and crispy.

In a small pan, heat some oil and saute the onions until they have softened a little, but not brown them. Remove them from heat and let them cool down on some kitchen paper, which also helps to drain out any excess oil from the onions, until ready to use.

Taking a large mixing bowl, Combine the spices and the mayonnaise, yogurt and cream really well. Combine all the ingredients except for the grapes and the walnuts which are to be added in the end, just before serving.

This Sandwich filling can be made a day in advance and just before serving, add the walnuts and the fresh grapes. I ate mine with a bowl of rice, for a change and it was surprisingly delicious!