Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fish 'n Chips

on august 20, 2003 i got married.  it was a beautiful day.  everything i wanted it to be.  skip and i asked my sister, her husband and their 3 year old daughter to accompany us at 11am down to city hall to witness the big event. we all jumped in a cab, did the deed then afterwards came straight back to our apartment in the west village and immediately did 2 things. we opened a bottle of proseco and rang our local "a salt & battery" to deliver fish 'n chips.  it was promptly and lovingly delivered via vespa by a lovely young man from doncaster who joined us for a toast, wished us well and collected his $25 plus tip for our wedding day lunch.  cod dipped in beer batter and fried to a golden perfection, chips (some soggy & some crunchy). pickled onions, tomato & tartar sauce. nothing makes me feel more at home than this comforting meal.  it doesn't hurt that my husband is from australia and has had his fair share wrapped in paper and brought home for friday night meal.   we both love fish 'n chips.

i fondly remember a romantic trip with my husband the first time he took me home to australia.  we drove down to the queenscliff sorrento ferry for a drive down the great ocean road to apollo bay and a stay in a motel on the water.  when we got to sorrento we had a little bit of a wait till the ferry came and my husband asked me where i would like to go for lunch.  i did not even have to think. i was at the water and i wanted....that's guessed it. fish 'n chips. and boy oh boy was that some good tucker! i will always remember that meal. the simplicity and perfection.  the flavor and the emotion.  the love and the falling in love over and over again down by the seaside. 

today when i crave fish 'n chips i stop myself.  i remind myself how i feel after i eat fish 'n chips.  not so good.  and i think about why that is.  let's diet is really clean.  i do not eat any processed, industrial foods at all. i rely on traditional foods and traditional methods of food preparation. i know why... most restaurants and fish shops fry their fish 'n chips in vegetable oil.  specifically: soya oil.  that stuff is a killer.  why do they do this? because its cheap. tragic but true.  they can make lots more money frying not so fresh (and even frozen) fish in rancid oil as opposed to what traditional fish 'n chips used to be fried in...good old fashioned beef tallow.  some shops used lamb fat - that rocks too!  for those of you who are not familiar with beef tallow, it is the rendered fat from around the kidneys of a good grass fed cow.  a stable animal fat that has been used in cooking for hundreds of years and no one my knowledge, no one ever got sick from it either.  

passing on our love of fish 'n chips to our children was a given.  how could we hold back on our passion for comfort food?  why would we want to? as a matter of fact my son henry loves chips so much that he asks me all the time if we can get them at a restaurant.  unfortunately i always say no. bad mommy? nah...i love my kids and i don't want them to get sick.  french fries are fried guessed it...vegetable oil in this silly country.  and what's more, most french fries are made from conventional idaho potatoes and if there is one thing you should always buy organic, it's potatoes.  those fat tubers do nothing but absorb everything that they are growing in - under the ground.  pesticides abound in conventionally grown potatoes.  do yourself and your family a big treat and leave those spuds alone.  also,  have you looked at the label on ketchup lately? in restaurants you will get heinz 57. one of those 57 is high fructose corn syrup. again, not something i want my kids/family to eat.  

so, what's a fish 'n chips loving mum to do? make it at home! and make it awesome delicious and cool by frying in beef tallow, using fresh fish from a local fisherman, using organic potatoes, dipping in homemade fermented ketchup and tartar sauce and creating a beautiful new batter by using sprouted flour and homemade ginger kombucha! i must say that this was the best fish 'n chips we ever ate. everyone agreed and i will definitely be making it again and again.  it takes a while and is a labor of love but hey....when we call our Family2Table isn't it always a labor of love? i know it is at mine. enjoy!


1. bring beef tallow up to temperature (325)
2. make batter using 8 - 10oz. raw kombucha added to 1 cup srouted whole wheat flour, 1 tsp. of aluminum free baking powder and a generous pinch of sea salt.
3. cut and fry chips in batches, draining on a paper towel and then adding celtic sea salt.
4. portion the fish into "bites" - we used flounder. you can also use cod, hake, scrod or sea bass.  feel free to play and use squid as well!
5. season fish with sea salt & pepper.
6. dust fish in plain sprouted flour, dip in batter and then drop carefully into tallow. allow 3 minutes per piece but watch the look of the fish. it should be golden. you might need to turn it with a spider.  please don't crowd the pot - fry in batches.
7. drain on paper towel and sprinkle with sea salt.

4 small jars of organic tomato paste 
1/2 cup pure grade B maple syrup 
1/4 cup sauerkraut juice (this ferments it)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon celtic sea salt 
2 cloves of garlic minced or pressed through a garlic press 

mix together or burr with a hand blender
let stand at room temperature 24 to 48 hours 
put in refrigerator.
will last for a month, well sealed.

let's start by making mayo - you will need a buttery, mild olive oil. i recommend chaffin family orchards - late harvest oil (order now).

1. Place 1 egg plus 2 yolks into a food processor
2. add the juice of one half lemon
3. add a generous pinch of salt
4. add 1 tsp. dijon mustard
5. add 1 TBS. fresh liquid whey
6. turn on and slowly drizzle in 1 cup of olive oil till emulsified.
7. place into a glass container and let sit out on the counter for 6 hours to ferment.
8. take out 1/4 cup of mayo and add to it 2 TBS chopped cornichon, 1 TBS chopped capers and fresh grated pepper.

dropping the fish into the tallow.

draining on paper and salting with celtic sea salt.

the final plate.

henry going in for the chips while i cook.

all this deep fried fish from 2 fillets that cost $12.25