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FeelGood Cook-Along: Family fish and chips for 4 for £16

We know that food is one of those topics that makes the nation feel good. And cooking it on a FeelGood budget? That’s even better! So we’ve teamed up with professional chef Dan to show you how to recreate your favourite restaurant eats at home. Grab your pots and pans and get ready to cook

This is my take on the nation’s undisputed heavyweight champion of takeaway dinners: fish and chips. We might debate our preference for cod or haddock, but we all agree on the perfect crispy batter, soft flaky fish and chunky fluffy chips. I serve mine with homemade tartare sauce and traditional chip shop style mushy peas. 

It was tradition in my family to have Fish & Chips on a Friday from the local shop. Dad would drive there to pick them up and get them back to us as soon as possible, still piping hot. At the moment, that might not be so easy, but that shouldn’t deprive us of our comforts!

When frying at home always take extra precautions.  If you’re using a chip pan on the stove, be careful not to overfill it. (This is how I cook them at home but if you have a deep fat fryer obviously you can use this.) Always fry in batches and don’t overfill the fryer. This is both for safety and to stop things sticking together and cooking properly.

This recipe will feed a family of four for £16, but can easily be adapted for more or less people!

Ready to get started? Follow along with the video or the recipe below:

Method

Preparation

  1. Make the tartare sauce. Simply mix together the ingredients in a bowl and put into smaller bowl to serve. Cover and put aside.
  2. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunky chips. Cover with water and put aside.
  3. Make the batter by whisking together the ingredients in a bowl. Add the flour last, a little at a time, until you have a nice silky smooth, slightly thick batter that will coat the back of a spoon. Cover and put aside.
  4. Take your fish and place in a dish. Cover with the milk. This will get rid of any excess fishy smell and revitalize the fish to give it a fresh out the sea feeling. Put aside.

The mushy peas

  • Place the peas, bicarb and water in a pan and bring to the boil. As the water heats up the bicarb will react and begin to foam. When this starts happening, turn the heat down as low as it will go and start to skim off the foam with a spoon into a bowl. Keep the foam.
  • That will continue for a few minutes. Just keep skimming off the foam and eventually it will calm down and you’ll be able to see the peas in a rolling boil. Adjust the heat if necessary. The foam you skimmed off will also have calmed down and mostly turned back into liquid. Using a spoon to hold back the foam, pour the liquid back into the pot.
  • Continue to cook on a low heat, stirring regularly until all the peas have broken down and you are left with a smooth thick pea soup. Cover and put aside.

Cook the chips

  • Heat your oil in a suitable pan. I use a cast iron pot for even heat distribution. Only half fill the pot with oil and heat at a high/medium heat. If you have a thermometer, you’re aiming for 160C for the first fry.
  • Drain your chips properly and pat dry with kitchen roll.
  • When the oil is up to temperature, test by placing in one chip. If it begins to bubble straight away your oil is ready. Use a wire chip basket, or spider basket, to place your chips in the fryer safely. Fry in batches and don’t overfill the pot.
  • This first fry or blanching will take about 10 minutes. Give the chips a stir every few minutes so they don’t stick to the pot. When they are a light golden colour, take out and place in a bowl lined with kitchen roll. Leave a few minutes between each batch to allow the oil to get back up to temperature.
  • Once the blanching process is complete, turn the heat up a tiny fraction to 170C and give it a minute or two to get up to temperature. If you’re cooking for 3 plus people and doing multiple batches, now is a good time to turn on the oven to around 100C so you can pop the chips on a tray to keep warm whilst you finish the rest. 
  • Now we place the first batch of blanched chips into the pot again. Cook for 5 minutes or until they’re a golden brown in colour and have begun to go crispy. Place on a tray and pop in the oven, remembering to allow the oil a minute’s recovery time before cooking the next batch.

Cook the fish

  1. Once the chips are cooked and in the oven, keeping warm, retrieve your batter and your fish. Place some flour in a bowl. Dip the fillets one at a time into your flour, coating the fish. Shake off the excess and repeat in the batter, making sure the fish is covered. Place in the oil carefully. I recommend taking out the wire basket for this.
  2. I can fit 2 fish at a time in my pot without the fish sticking to one another so fry in batches. If you can only fit one in at a time then so be it. Cook for 6-7 minutes, flip over halfway through using some tongs, until they’re a lovely golden colour and the batter has gone crispy. 
  3. Place the cooked fish onto the trays in the oven with the chips while you cook the subsequent batches of fish.
  4. When the final batch of fish is cooked be sure to turn off the heat to the oil pot and take the chips and first batch of fish straight out of the oven. You don’t want them to go soggy.
  5. Warm through the peas on a low heat, stirring in the butter, salt and pepper, retrieve tartare sauce and serve!

Serve with a slice of lemon or lime, tomato ketchup and a beer!