Tuesday, April 26, 2011

God Save the Queen!

‘Ello!  Please read all of this blog aloud to yourself with your best British accent.  Please know I am writing it with my best;)  So, I think we all know that the Royal Wedding is right around the corner.  And yes, I have Royal Wedding fever.  I come by it honestly….my mom always had a thing for the royals, and my grandma even proudly displayed her Charles and Di wedding memorabilia.  Seriously, she had a Charles and Di tin (maybe a cookie tin?) on her end table until she moved out a few years ago.  I like to think that she still has it on display in her nursing home.
I think all girls are brought up with the knowledge that being a princess is the very best you can do.  It really must be a girl thing because I know my husband does not want to be a Prince;)  It is even more magical when you realize that Kate is a commoner!  She isn’t a Royal from another country, or even a cousin (ew).  Like Frankie from “The Middle” said…”She starts the day as a commoner, and ends it as a Princess.”  Kate gets to marry a real life Prince!
So if you didn’t get it from reading above….yes, I will be watching the wedding.  There isn’t much I will stay up for, or get up early for….but this might be it.  I can’t wait to see the spectacle of it all….and the weird hats. 
I planned a special Brit meal just for the occasion.  As you may or may not know….William and Kate are serving champagne and apps….a couple after my own heart!  They must share my love of apps!  I, however, elected to go another direction.  I made Fish and Chips and a yummy dessert called a “Fool”.  We will get to the meaning of that later.
FYI-I wanted to make Spotted Dick for obvious reasons….then I read what was in it.  No thanks.
I think that Fish and Chips screams English.  It must be British because we sure as heck don’t call French fries “chips”.  That is like calling a cookie a “biscuit”;)  Fish and chip shops started in Great Britain in the late 1800’s.  They flourished during WW2, as fish and potatoes were never rationed.  Anyhoo, I will show you how I made the Fish and Chips, along with homemade tartar sauce (very American) and coleslaw.

For the fish, I used tilapia…because it was on sale.  Cod would normally be used here.  I made a beer batter using Buckbean Orange Blossom beer.  Buckbean is a local brewery, and their beer is fantastic.  I chose the Orange Blossom beer because it gives the batter a super subtle orange flavor that is so yummy.  I also used flour, Old Bay, baking powder and salt & pepper.
This fish is going to get a triple dip, so this is a messy process.  But it is so worth it.  A triple dip gives the fish the best crunchy coating you could imagine.  I started by setting up a “dip station”.  I put plain flour in a shallow dish, and in the other dish, I mixed the remaining flour, the beer, baking powder, Old Bay and some salt & pepper.  I whisked this mixture until all of the clumps were gone.
The fish needs to be thoroughly dried before it gets dipped.  This will help the flour stick.

After I cut my fish into smaller pieces and dried it, I placed it in the flour.  The first flour coating is just to give the batter something to stick too.  I do a light coating of flour…too much will make your coating gummy.

From the flour, the fish goes into the batter. Then, I put it back into the flour for another light coating….triple dip!
I fried my fish in vegetable oil, but peanut oil is another good choice.  This is a “deep fry” so you need a big pot and several inches of oil.  I heated my oil to about 350 degrees.  You can test the oil by putting a wooden skewer into it when you think it is ready.  If the oil bubbles up all around it, it’s ready.
The fish will fry about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.  I salted mine as soon as I took them out.  I drained my fish on a cooling rack.
I served my fish with tartar sauce, which is very American.  The Brits would use malt vinegar, but since nobody in my house likes that…..I didn’t use it.  For my tartar sauce, I used mayo, capers, sweet gherkin pickles, red onion and lime juice.
I stirred together the mayo, chopped pickles, drained capers and lime juice.  Then, I grated in some red onion.  I wanted the flavor of onion, but not big chunks.  A micro-plain grater will give you little pieces of onion, and some of the juice….which gives great flavor.  I chilled this while the fish cooked.  Homemade tartar sauce is so delicious….way better then the bottled stuff.
I also served coleslaw with my fish.  I used 3 colors of shredded cabbage, mayo, apple cider vinegar, sugar, pepper and celery salt.  I love celery salt in coleslaw.  It gives it a really distinctive taste….people will ask you what it is;)
I mixed together my sauce, which was all of the ingredients I mentioned above….except for the cabbage.  I poured it over and chilled the coleslaw for a bit before serving.  A proper British side dish for fish and chips is “mushy peas”.  Yeah, not a chance.

If you are wondering about the “chips”, I used store bought French fries.  I bought a bag of frozen steak fries and followed the package directions.  Yes, I could have made my own…especially since I already had oil heated…..but let’s be honest….I was already putting enough effort into the fish.  The fries took a back seat.
OMG-this fish was so good!  I served it in newspaper like a proper “chippy” would do.  We loved it…... even Chris, AKA Mr. Fish Hater.  I would like to think the William and Kate would too.  I know Harry would….especially if I served it with the extra Buckbean;)
Smashing!  Brilliant!  Other random British sayings!
My dessert was the real showstopper, I think.  A “Fool” is an English dessert made with pureed fruit and whipped cream.  I don’t think that the origins of the name of this dessert have ever been figured out.  I pretend it is called that because it is so easy that even a fool can make it…but that might be offensive.  To whom?  Fools, I guess….But it is super easy.  And it looks super fancy;)
I used heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, lemon curd, raspberries and Donsuemor Lemon Zest Madelines.  I chose lemon curd as opposed to pureed fruit because I feel like lemon curd is very British.  They like to use it at tea-time!  It is the almost the consistency of lemon pudding, and it is amazing. 
My lemon curd was a bit too thick, so I thinned mine out by placing it in a small sauce pan and heating it a bit.  You can also add a smidge of water to thin it out.  Since I didn’t want to add hot curd to my whipped cream, I chilled mine down to room temperature after I thinned it out.
I whipped my cream with a teaspoon of vanilla.  Then I whipped my hair bak and forth like Willow Smith......Once it came to soft peaks, I added a bit of powdered sugar to sweeten it up.  Then, I beat it to the consistency I wanted.

I very carefully folded the curd into the whipped cream.  “Folding” will keep the whipped cream from losing its “poof”.  You fold by scraping the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, and folding mixture A over mixture B…..very carefully.  Then, you give the bowl a turn and fold again.  You keep going until the 2 are incorporated, but the fluff is still there.  Oh yea, I reserved about 2 tablespoons of the curd for later;)

I layered the fool into champagne glasses with raspberries.  I used my champagne glasses to be extra fancy.  It’s a wedding, right?  I topped the glass with the extra curd, more raspberries and a Madeline.
Maybe this dessert is called a “fool” because it fools people into thinking you worked super hard on it, when it really was crazy easy??  William and Kate are serving fruit cake that has been soaking in booze for weeks.  I want that about as much as I want Spotted Dick.  I think my “Fool” fit the bill because it looks fancy, and was delicious.  Anything eaten out of a champagne glass is fancy, right?

So let’s say “I do” to getting together next week and discuss the wedding, Ok? (See what I did there?;) I hope that part of the discussion will be about how much you loved the fish and chips you made….and the Lemon Raspberry Fool you munched on during the reception;)  And yes, I will be wearing a tiara and only speaking in a British accent as I watch the wedding…..

Cheerio!  God Save the Queen!

Beer Battered Fish
1 and ½ pounds firm whitefish, such as tilapia or cod-cut into smaller pieces and dried with a towel
2 cups flour
12 ounces Buckbean Orange Blossom beer
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying

Preheat oil in a large Dutch oven to about 350 degrees.
Fill a shallow bowl with 1 cup flour.  In another shallow bowl, whisk remaining cup flour, baking powder, Old Bay and beer until lumps are gone.
Dip fish pieces in plain flour, then batter, then plain flour again.  Always shake off excess.
Drop fish into the hot oil and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes per side, or until golden brown.  Fry in batches so that temperature of oil doesn’t go down too much.  Remove from oil and place on cooling rack.  Salt to taste.

Tartar Sauce
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup capers, drained
½ cup pickles, drained and chopped
1 tablespoon onion, grated
1 tablespoon lime juice

Mix all together, chill until ready to serve

14 ounce coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage)
1 cup mayonnaise
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons celery salt
Pepper to taste

Place cabbage in a bowl.  Mix all other ingredients together in a separate bowl until thoroughly combined.  Pour over cabbage, using only what you need.  Chill and serve.

Lemon Raspberry Fool
½ pint heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons powdered sugar
6 ounces lemon curd
1 pint raspberries
Donsuemor Lemon Zest Madelines

Heat curd in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Curd will become pourable.  Chill to room temperature. 
Whip cream and vanilla until soft peaks form.  Add sugar and continue beating until desired consistency is reached.
Fold thinned curd into whipped cream, reserving 2 tablespoons for later.  Layer curd/cream mixture with raspberries, topping with reserved curd, raspberries, and a Madeline.  Chill till ready to serve

1 comment:

  1. This post made me literally LOL!!!!!!!!! Especially the part about whipping your hair back & forth like Willow Smith. I will try your fish recipe cuz it sounds AMAZING!