FISH & QUIPS!
My oldest sun was in England for a school exchange some years ago. And he told us that the family who hosted him never cooked. They bought their food at restaurants or ordered a delivery, preferably Indian or Chinese. In one of my magazines, an English one, I read that an American-English couple bought a house in England and renovated it. They hired two French workers to lay the wood flooring shipped from an old French challet. After a few days the workers quit their job. The couple offered them more loan but they refused. The reason why they went back to France after a few days was THE FOOD. They explained to the couple that they can't survive in England, that they will starve there. - That's not a joke, it really happens. So I'm asking myself is English food a joke?
- (Oh I'm wrong as a young girl I often cooked English curry - an, I think, Indian inspired dish - with "tons" of curry powder, a kind of stew. Made either with fish or meat and served with banana slices. The recipe was from my English school book and very easy to make.)
I always wondered about how somebody can season "Fischstäbchen" and pommes frites with vinegar. And never tried this dish. But since that day I cooked a Swabian delicacy Linsen, Spätzle und Saitenwürstle whilst we had some friends of our children at our home and they ate with us. I changed my mind. They are all not Swabians. The Spätzle itself were already pretty exotic for some of them. But adding raspberry vinegar to the lentils was something they don't even wanted to try. I don't know if there is an English proverb for this, in Germany I would say this was a kind of "What the peasant doesn't know he won't eat".
Okay, fish dishes are often served with some kind of mayonnaise and this sauce contains vinegar or lemon juice - nothing unusual!
And lately I discovered a recipe for Kedgeree, an English dish with rice and smoked fish which I have to try.
English food seems not to be a joke.
And by the way have you ever heard about those ridicioulous German dishes: Pfälzer Saumagen, Schweinshaxe, Saure Kutteln, Kalbsbrie, Ochsenmaulsalat, Labskaus (which reffers to the English lobscause), Blutwurst, ... . I think I will never ever try them, for me, they're just a joke. Even if I know that our beloved lentils, spaetzle and sausages could be something strange to others as well.
With this thoughts and in the circumstance that fish and
for about 5 persons to check out if English food is something funny or serious. And we had a lot of fun eating this seriously "non-joke" dish.
Ingredients for the mango-yoghurt-mayonnaise:
200 gmango flesh (this is approximately 1 large ripe mango)
1 tspchili flakes
½lemon, the juice of it
7 Tbspmayonnaise made with
½ tspmustard powder
1pinch fresh ground black pepper corns
80 mlvirgin olive oil, cold pressed
1½ Tswhite wine vinegar
Season the mangoes with lime juice and chili flakes and purée them.
Cook them in a saucepan over low heat for about 2 minutes. Let cool.
Prepare the mayonnaise.
and the mango purée. Season with salt. Refrigerate.
Ingredients for the tomato-avocado-salad:
1lime, juice of it
fresh ground black pepper corns
4 Tbspolive oil
(It'll be a good idea to add some baby spinach leaves)
Open the avocados, peel and slice them. Drizzle the lime juice over the slices. Cut the tomatoes in two pieces. Season them with salt and pepper and drizzle the oil over them. Set aside.
Ingredients for the "chips"-potato wedges:
(As you can see here I've made some a couple of weeks before, but honestly we liked my own variation much more.)
1 kgwaxy potatoes with a smooth, nice skin, washed and cooked (Mine were Charlotte, but it's pretty difficult to get other potatoes than those American Russet [Burbanks] and sweat potatoes in Singapore.)
1lemon, the zests or the grinded peel/rind of it
fresh ground black pepper
60 gmcorn grit
100 ggoose fat if your using a frying pan alternatevely
1lvegetable oil or rice bran oil if your using a wok like I did *
Cut the potatoes in wedges, removing any dark spots. Season them and cover them with the corn grit. Fry them in hot oil until browned and crispy. With a slotted spoon lay them on a kitchen or tempura paper.
Ingredients for the fish sticks:
800 gfish fillet with a firm flesh (I used 600 g salmon fillet and 200 g lion snapper loin)
1 tspblack pepper corns
¾ tspturmeric powder
½ tspginger powder
2 tspcayenne pepper or chilipowder
4 tspcoriander seeds
2 1/8tsp cumin
¾ tspfennel seeds
2pieces of a star anis
- ground the spices together to a powder in a mortar with a pestil and sieve them. Instead of this spice mixture you can season the fish with 3 tablespoons ready made curry powder/masala, but I prefer my own spice mixture besides that I love that smell in the kitchen. Btw masala means any spice (mixture) and only the Englishmen introduced these Indian spice mixtures as curry because they are mostly used in those dishes.
2large eggs, whisked
130 gbread crumbs, preferably panko
200 gvegetable oil or rice bran oil for frying *
Remove the skin from the fillets. Cut them in 2 cm stripes, season them and cover them first with egg then with bread crumbs.
Heat the oil in a pan and fry the fish stripes until golden brown. With a slotted spoon lay them on a kitchen or tempura paper.
* I fried the potatoe wedges and the fish in the same oil in several batches. (One liter of rice bran oil heated over high heat in a wok.)
Serve fish and potatoes in tempura paper with a dollop of mango-mayonnaise together with the avocado salad - and don't forget the newspaper! If you want to let adjust everbody himself the sourness of the mayonnaise with additional vinegar and serve a salt shaker (like my rabbit) aside. For us it was sour and salty enough.
- I think you can agree with me "English" food is not a joke it could be delicious. And every nation has some dishes you prefer and you dislike. And it is the way you prepare the dishes that makes the difference. In every cuisine around the wourld there are so many influences from other cultures. And many dishes are a mixture or at least a variation of one you can find in another country. Pizza/flatbread/naan/...for example is common around the wourld. And stews/Eintöpfe are cooked almost everywhere especially where they have cold seasons.