So, here we are, bang in the middle of the middle of summer.
A wonderful, magical time of the year it has to be said - full of all kinds of treats and Fun.Things in general.
It’s that time of the year where you are more likely to find yourself sitting on some sea harbor wall, than say in the winter months.
And as you sit there you might well be dangling your feet off the edge, enjoying watching the boats go here and there and the light sparking on the water.
And, as you sit there with not a care in the world, you might also just happen to be munching on one of life’s true pleasures… a bag of fish and chips.
…that is unless of course you are sitting on a harbor wall that’s not somewhere in the British Isles.
“Fish and chips” wrapped in a newspaper in the South of France anyone?
You could also be 100 miles away from the ocean… or, you erm, don’t eat fish… or, you quite like fish but you are a little worried after seeing that documentary all about micro-plastic in the ocean… or… you’re okay with fish, but you’re off carbs and trying to leave out everything that has ‘potato’ in it’s name out of your menu.
FUN can still be had!!
Step aside dear readers and make way for the star of this months blog - a dish I’ve decided to name, ‘Neither fish, nor chips’. :-)
Now, if it’s ’neither’ fish nor chips, then… erm, what exactly is it? And why even bother to mention them if it’s neither?
Well… the thing is - it might be ‘neither’… but it’s also a tiny tiny bit of ’both’.
More importantly, it gives you the same kind of ‘almost’ fun experience as the REAL THING - without it, of course, being real.
Am I making sense here…? yes…?…no?…lost in linguistics anyone??
So… I digress…
Into the bargain, you’ll be learning a really cool way to make tofu taste - well - you know, less like tofu.
Which is, in the end of the day, a very useful skill to have.
Cos, yes! This dish is made with tofu ( that’s your fish)… and celeriac (the knobbly ugly rooty thing you find in your supermarket) for your chips!
After seasoning and deep frying your tofu in a delicious crispy batter and oven baking your celeriac cut into finger chip size… you’ll be one step closer to the real thing.
Add a squeeze of your favorite ketchup, sweet chilli sauce - or for the real hard core, a splash of malt vinegar and of course a shake of sea salt… sit on something where your feet can at least dangle down… and… that’s it!
You’ll be instantly whisked away to that harbor wall, the sweet smell of ocean and endless summer days.
Once you’ve prepared your tofu, it’s pretty simple to throw together and for the real authentic thing - find yourself a few sheets of newspaper to wrap it in.. OR, serve in a little basket… think fun, think non-serious… and you’ve got the idea.
Now... about preparing your tofu. There’s a lot of information about this in the web and the person I find does it the best and also in the most funny way possible is the Easy Vegan . Not only is he hilarious, but his method for tofu works. Check out his you tube channel or blog. If you are tired of evangelical health gurus, he's your antidote!
Now... about your tofu, you’re going to have to work a day in advance, but… it will only take a few minutes of your time. The rest is all in the waiting.
So…. are you ready for ‘neither this, nor that?
Well, let’s get cooking!
INGREDIENTS (suitable for 2)
- half a celeriac cut into chip sized pieces
- a block of tofu cut and pre-squashed, frozen, drained and seasoned (see below)
- soya sauce
- tablespoon of cornflour
- deep frying oil
- sparkling water
- baking powder
- your choice of sauce
1 - PREPARING YOUR TOFU
- take your block of tofu
- lay it on a tea towel then wrap around
- put 4 heavy cooking books on top
- put something else that’s heavy on top of that (cast iron pot, marble pestal and mortar - that kind of thing)
- leave for 2 hours and go and do something nice
- after 2 hours, remove tofu which should now be a little more squashed and a little less watery
- cut tofu into triangle shapes
- put in a container and freeze over night
- next day - defrost and again, drain any excess water via the same squashing method.
(1 hour only needed this time)
2 - MOVING ONTO THE CHIPS (AND THE FISH…)
- put your oven on at 200 degrees C
- cut your celeriac into chip size pieces
- drizzle with oil
- spread out on a baking sheet
- sprinkle with sea salt and a crunch of black pepper
- paint your ‘fish’ with a squeeze of lemon juice, a dash of soya sauce and some salt
- sprinkle with a tiny amount of sieved corn flour
- brush very lightly with a little oil and also spread out on the same baking sheet.
bake your tofu ‘fish’ for 15 mins then remove
bake your chips for 45 mins
3 - while those guys are cooking, make your batter
- whisk together a 1/4 cup of flour, a 1/4 cup of corn flour, 100 ml of cold sparkling water, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder and pinch of salt
- remove your tofu from the oven and let it cool a little
- prepare a hot pot of oil ( I have a little pot for this which is much easier and uses less oil)
- its ready when you drop in a little of the batter and it sizzles
- dip each ‘fish’ into the batter
- cook individually
- drain on kitchen paper
- repeat until you've got a pile of lovely-dovely battered ‘fishies’.
Pop into the oven for the last 5 mins of your celeriac chip cooking time just to crisp em up... then… serve with a selection of sauces.
It’s a mad idea I agree… but… it works!
Give it a try…oh yes... and… the same tofu method minus the battering and deep frying is perfect for making a ‘chicken substitute’ for all kinds of curry dishes. Think Thai green or Indian spicy. Just bake it for half an hour in total instead of 15 mins then add it to your dish.
So... that's it folks!
I'm off to pretend I'm at the seaside... :-)
Enjoy and until next time,