Cheers! Time to Celebrate

August 18, 2021 | Cooking

The traditional Bank Holiday is the last Monday in August. Great Britain and Canada have celebrated this day for over two hundred years. It is a public holiday that gives everyone the day off work, but it also signifies the end of summer and the last weekend before school starts. The Brits make the most of the long weekend by travelling to their caravans (campers), visiting family and friends, or hosting parties in their gardens (backyards). No matter what they choose to do, this menu will pop up sometime during the three-day weekend.

Fish & Chips
Mushy Peas
Tartar Sauce
British Beer – Bass Ale, Foster’s Lager, Carling Black Label

2 lbs. (1kg) fresh cod
2 tbsp. (30ml) salt

Cut fish into serving pieces, but not too small. Pour a small amount of water into a large bowl. Stir in salt until it dissolves. Add fish. Set bowl in fridge for about 3 hours.

1 cup (100g) flour
1 egg yolk
5 tbsp. (75ml) beer, not Lite
6 tbsp. (90ml) milk
5 tbsp. (75ml) water
2 egg whites

Pour flour into a large bowl. Make a well in the center then add egg yolk and beer. Stir until well mixed. Combine milk and water. Gradually pour blend into batter and stir until smooth.

Allow batter to rest for 30 minutes on your counter away from sun and heat.

Beat egg whites until they form unwavering peaks. Gently fold them into batter.

1 large baking potato per person
Vegetable oil for deep-frying

No need to peel potatoes unless you have an aversion to the skin. Slice potatoes in half lengthwise and then into strips ½ inch (1.25cm) wide and thick. Drop them in a bowl of cold water. Set in fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 250° F (120°C).

Line a cookie sheet or roasting pan with paper towels.

Heat oil on medium-high until a chunk of white bread fries quickly to a golden brown.

Drain potatoes and pat dry. Carefully drop slices into oil by handfuls. Fry until potatoes are crisp and light brown. Removed cooked potatoes to the lined pan. Sprinkle with salt. Set pan in oven to keep warm while you prepare the fish

Cooking the Fish
Pat fish dry. Drop 2 or 3 pieces into batter. Be sure to coat fish well. Plunge pieces into hot oil. Fry 4 – 5 minutes or until golden brown. Turn pieces with a spoon to stop them from sticking together and to cook all around. This is tricky because the fish wants to float and isn’t happy to turn over so you can fry the other side. Remove pieces as they cook to the pan with the chips.

To serve, heap fish in the center of a large heated platter. Arrange chips around them.

Traditionally fish and chips are served sprinkled with malt vinegar and salt. It’s best to let people make that choice themselves. My family prefers tartar sauce.

Tartar Sauce
1 cup (100g) real mayonnaise, no imitations
2 small garlic cloves, chopped fine
2 tbsp. (30ml) onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp. (30ml) sweet relish
¼ tsp. (1.25ml) freshly ground pepper

Mix ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust to your preference.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Stores well in the fridge for 3 weeks.

Mushy Peas
The Brits use marrowfat peas for this classic recipe. Finding them in the US is not easy so I adjusted the recipe to peas that are available in my area. The taste is still good so be sure to give them a try. Leftovers freeze well.

2 cups (200g) frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup (60ml) water
1½ tbsp. (21g) butter
2 tsp. (10ml) lemon juice
¼ tsp. (1.25ml) dried sage
2 pinches sugar
Freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine peas, water, and butter in a saucepan. Simmer 10 minutes or until peas are soft. Remove pan from heat and smash peas, coarsely, with a potato masher. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve.

May you spend all the days of your life filled with friends, laughter, and seated around a well laden table!


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