During the 1977 heatwave, Dad, Jean, Paula, Grandad and I piled into Dad’s Ford Cortina and headed to Butlin’s Holiday Camp in Clacton-on-sea. Peeling ourselves out of the car like pilchards, we made our way straight to the swimming pool.
Keen to show off both my brand new yellow bathing costume and my new swimming skills, I positioned myself at the water’s edge. Curling my toes over the side of the pool, outstretching my arms above my head, I propelled myself with my bended knees into the water.
I felt an almighty crack on the top of my head; I had only dived into the shallow end! I came up feeling concussed and my eyes spinning. Lifting my head out of the water, I saw Grandad’s shoulder’s shaking violently, trying to control his fit of laughter. Dad rushed over, mouth tight, concealing a grin. Then everyone fell about laughing. Suffice to say, I insisted we went to the beach every day.
Try this recipe for my Posh Fish and Chips, it is amazing. It is the beer which gives the batter a fluffy, light texture and the chips are just as good as those from the chippy.
1kg (2lb 3oz) potatoes, cut into chips 1.5cm long * 2 ltrs (4pints) vegetable oil * 4 cod loin pieces * 115g (4oz) plain flour plus 30g (1oz) to dust * 55g (2oz) cornflour * ½ tsp sea salt * 220ml (7 floz) pale beer or lager * salt & vinegar, to serve
Make the thrice-cooked posh chips. Pour the oil into a large, heavy-bottomed pan (4.5 litres/1 gallon). Rinse the potatoes in water and lay on kitchen towel and pat thoroughly dry. Heat the oil to about 90°C/194°F. In batches, blanche the chips until they are soft in the middle, but not brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and spread out on a large baking tray. When ready to second-fry, pre-heat the oven to 140°C/275°F/Gas 1. Heat the oil to 160°C/320°F and cook in batches for 3-5 minutes until nicely golden brown. Place on a large baking tray and put in the oven to remain warm and crisp. Click here for Steak with Peppercorn Sauce recipe.
Make the posh fish in batter. Pat the cod dry with kitchen towel. Mix the flours and salt in a bowl. Pour the beer into another bowl and then add in the flour. Poke the flour into the beer with a wooden spoon, but don’t mix too much. Heat the vegetable oil to 160°C/320°F. Put the 30g (1oz) of flour onto a plate. Dip the cod into the batter then onto the flour on the plate. Lower gently into the hot oil. Repeat immediately with the second piece of cod. Fry for 6-7 minutes until a light brown (depends on the thickness of your fish). Remove from the oil and place on a baking tray lined with kitchen towel. Repeat with the second batch of fish. Season with salt and vinegar. Serve. Click here for Mushy Peas recipe.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.