Wednesday 31 March 2021


I have reached the stage of lockdown cooking boredom where I will forgo a takeaway and instead try to re-create an even better version at home. 

Case in point are the outstandingly crispy fish and chips with my take on peas on the side I made at the weekend. I spent considerable time researching how to make the most perfect batter and it turns out the secret is rice flour and ice cold ale! 

Trust me, the fish was good and crispy as you are going to get (only improvement would of course have been having it by the sea). I don't actually have a cooking thermometer so heating up the oil was a little bit improvised, basically I waited until it looked hot enough, then dropped a little potato into the oil to see if it fizzed up, but definitely manageable.

One tip though: make sure to use a relatively large pot for your oil to prevent any hot oil overspill once you add what you want deep fried. Let's just say I didn't and had rather oily kitchen to clean up after...

I hate minted peas so instead roasted peas with a good nob of butter in the oven alongside some smashed garlic and OH MY DAYS why have I never eaten peas like this before, really elevating the taste of the humble pea here. 

And of course no proper fish and chips offering is completed without a good tartare sauce, more of an assembly than cooking job, packed full of herbs, cornichons and capers, and a wonderful tangy and creamy final element that to dunk your chips and fish in. 

Quite possibly the best fish and chips I have ever had were it not for the fact I had them at my dining room table, not a pebbly, windy British beach, but for the time being it as quite the fine dinner with a side of day dreaming of future seaside adventures.

Serves 2



  • 1 cup / 220g mayonnaise (Note 1)
  • 1 tbsp gherkin/cornichon, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp capers, drained and finely chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp lemon juice, fresh
  • 1/2 tsp white sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Place ingredients in a bowl and mix to combine.
  • Adjust salt to taste



  • Small bag of frozen peas, slightly thawed
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 5 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • Preheat the oven to 190 degrees.
  • Put the peas on a baking tray
  • Add the garlic cloves and dot the butter around 
  • Roast for 20 minutes, tossing once between cooking. Remove from the oven, toss once more and then serve immediately.



  • 4 potatoes peeled and sliced into chips 
  • 750ml sunflower oil for deep frying 
  • Salt to taste

  • Boil the potatoes in salted water for 10 minutes or until they just start to soften. 
  • Drain and allow to dry on a wire rack for 10-30 minutes. 
  • Heat a large pot of vegetable/canola oil until hot. 
  • Carefully add the potatoes in batches and fry until golden brown and crisp. 
  • Drain with a slotted spoon and place back onto the wire rack. 
  • Keep the chips in a warm oven while you fry the fish.



  • 2 large haddock fillets

  • ¼ cup rice flour 

  • ¾ cup plain/all purpose flour
  • ¼ cup rice flour (makes it super crispy, Note 2)
  • 1¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup very cold ale

  • Use the same sunflower oil as for your chis


  • Dry fillets well, especially if using thawed frozen fish because it will leech water while defrosting. This is key to crispy fish, so don’t shortcut this! 
  • Start heating oil – Heat oil to 190°C/375° or there abouts. 
  • Hot oil is key to ensure the fish doesn’t end up soggy and greasy. 
  • Use a large, heavy-based pot for safety purposes, for even heating of oil and better heat retention. 
  • Dust fish with rice flour, shaking off excess. 
  • This is an additional crispiness insurance policy, which will soak up any residual moisture on the flesh of the fish. 
  •  Just before cooking, whisk together the flour, rice flour, baking powder and salt. 
  • Add very cold beer into the batter and whisk just until incorporated evenly into the flour. 
  • Do not over-mix, do not worry about flour lumps.
  • It should be a fairly thin batter but fully coat the back of a spoon.
  • If too thick, add beer 1 tsp at a time.
  • Dunk a piece of fish in the batter, the let the excess drip off very briefly. 
  • Carefully lower into oil, dropping it in away from you, one piece at a time. 
  • Don't crowd the pot; fry in batches. 
  • Fry for 3 minutes, flipping after about 2 minutes, until deep golden.
  • Drain on paper towels. Repeat with remaining fish. 
  • Serve hot! 

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