Whitebait

12 12 2010

As a child I remember being horrified by the sight of my uncle sitting there munching his way through a veritable mountain of Whitebait. It just seemed to be such carnage in order to put dinner on someones plate.

Now things have changed a little bit; I quite simply can’t get enough of them, particualrly as a light meal in a beer garden with a refreshing pint.

For those of you who are wondering what exactly Whitebait are they are immature sprats, normally Herring in the UK, the whole fish is floured or lightly battered and deep fried. Because the fish are so young and tender the entire fish can be eaten as is without needing the bones or head to be removed.

I think the best way to enjoy Whitebait is really piping hot with a good sprinkling of lemon juice and plenty of bread and butter – delicious

When you are flouring the Whitebait you can add in some light seasoning such as salt and pepper or through in some cayenne pepper and chilli powder in order to have deviled Whitebait.

There is no real special trick to cooking Whitebait and in my opinion the simplest method is the best –

Dredge the Whitebait in the seasoned white flour

Shake off the excess flour and fry in hot vegetable oil until the fish are a light golden colour – around 2 or 3 minutes

Serve immediately

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Popcorn Shrimp with Marie Rose sauce

4 12 2010

 

 Who doesn’t love the taste of sweet slightly salty shrimp with rich tangy marie roase sauce? 

Well it is even better when the shrimp are breaded in a delicious seasoned crumb and the sauce is homemade.

I taken the liberty of changing the marie rose sauce a little bit by using a 50/50 mix of Greek yoghurt and mayonnaise as I just find it to be a little bit too heavy otherwise, the tabasco is completely optional but the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce are essential to my mind.

Ingredients:

2 large eggs

500g white bread crumbs / panko

1 tbsp garlic powder

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp ground cumin

1 lb small frozen shrimp/prawns

1tbsp milk

Vegetable oil

Salt and Pepper

Method: 

Beat together the eggs and milk in a small bowl

Combine the Breadcrumbs, Garlic Powder, Chili Powder, Cayenne, Cumin, 1/2 teaspoon Salt, and 1 teaspoon Pepper in a separate bowl.

Pat the shrimp dry with kitchen towels, then season with salt and pepper. (if the shrimp are wet, the egg won’t stick to them)

Dip the shrimp into the egg  and shake off any excess.

Coat with the breadcrumb mixture.  Once all of the shrimp have been coated once repeat the process again including dipping them in the egg, this will help ensure a good even coating.

Heat the oil in a large heavy based sauce pan until a small piece of bread goes golden

Ad half of the shrimp to the oil and fry until golden brown, stirring often to prevent sticking this will probably take about 2 minutes.

Remove the fried shrimp from the oil and place on paper towels to absorb any excess oil.

Serve with the Marie Rose sauce and wedges of lemon.

Marie Rose Sauce

4 tbsp good quality tomato ketchup

2 tbsp good quality mayonnaise

2 tbsp Greek yoghurt

1/2 tbsp lemon juice

1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Dash of tabasco sauce

Mix together the mayonnaise, ketchup and yoghurt and add in the lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce, add tabasco to taste – simple 🙂





Devilled Eggs

25 11 2010

Love it or hate  it the festive season is fast approaching.

One of the biggest headaches in the run up to Christmas and New Year (I refuse to say “The Holidays”) is what foods to serve guests, particularly if you are hosting a party.

Big heavy sit down dinners are all very well and good on Christmas day itself but for more laid back occasions it is often nicer to serve a selection of delicious finger foods – not to mention easier! As such over the coming days I am going to be publishing a selection of my favourite recipes for easy and delicious party food that everyone is going to love.

Devilled Eggs are surprisingly simple to make and cost very little money, not only that you don’t need cutlery to eat them and your vegetarian guests can enjoy them too (vegans not so much)

To make 24 servings you will need the following:

12 medium or large eggs

4 tbsp mayonnaise

4tbsp dijon mustard

1 spring onion

2 tsp cayenne pepper

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Paprika

Some chives

Method:

First you need to hard boil your eggs,  when boiling eggs make sure that you take the eggs out of the fridge in advance and let them reach room temperature before adding them to the water.

Once the eggs are hard boiled and cool enough to handle you need to peel off the shell and cut the eggs in half lengthways.

Using a teaspoon remove the egg yolks and place to one side in a bowl.

Add the mayonnaise and dijon mustard to the egg yolks and mix until you have reached a smooth creamy consistency.

Very finely chop you spring onion and mix into your egg yolk mixture along with the cayenne pepper ensuring that it is well distributed throughout your mixture.

Season your mixture with salt and pepper to taste.

At this point you need to add your mixture to the egg whites; to do this you can either use a piping bag or you can fill them with a spoon.

To stop your eggs from sliding around on the plate you can place them on some fresh crisp lettuce leaves.

Using a sugar sifter sprinkle over a little of the paprika and finely chop some chives and scatter over as a garnish





Belgo Centraal

14 05 2010

I am still trying to work through my slightly incoherent notes from my recent trip back home to London, this isn’t proving to be the easiest task as a lot of my latter notes are affected by the copious amounts of beer that were being consumed.

However I did stumble across one sheet of paper on which I had simply written the word Belgos and drawn and very amateurish trappist monk getting chased by a mussel.

This childish drawing was actually surpsingly helpful as notes go, it encapsulates a lot of what Belgo is about.

Mussels, Belgium and Beer – lots of beer,  absurd amounts of beer.

Let me start at the beginning, Belgo is a chain of Belgian restaurants with several locations  throughout the capital, Centraal is on Earlham Street in Covent Garden and is just over the road from Neal’s Yard.

You walk into the restaurant at ground level and it is a little bit like entering an industrial inspired nightclub, lots of steel walk ways and warning stips lead you towards a greeter who announces your arrival and how many guests there are through a large walky talky.

If you look down and to your right you are actually over the kitchen and can see a brigade of chefs beavering away busily.

The dining area is downstairs and the first thing you notice is that all of the serving and bar staff are dressed like trappist monks…

The star of the show in terms of food has to be the moule et frites, they do several different selections of mussles however for me it has to be the classic Moule Mariniere, you can even get a 1 kilo pot of mussels for a very reasonable 12 quid!

The rest of the food is also excellent with wild boar sausages with stoemp another favourite of mine.

But of course I don’t just come here for the food, Belgo has one of if not the best beer list of more or less any restaurant in London.

Whilst they might not have my usual choice of cask ale this is one occasional where I just don’t care!

There are proper lagers, there are blonde beers, there are wheat beers, there are a range of fruit beers to die for, there are trappist beers, there are abbey beers, they even have the mighty 11.5%  Deus Brut des Flandres at a whopping £32.95 for a 75cl bottle.

It’s a little bit like dying and finding out that heaven has great beer on tap and a never ending supply of mussels.

It isn’t the worlds greatest or poshest restaurant, hell it doesnt even come close but the food is very good (reasonable too) and the beers are to die for.

If you like food and beer then visit.








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