MY BOYS are still too young to make a Father’s Day meal for me, so until they’re a little older, I’ll be the one cooking a special meal for my own dad.
Mind you, our eldest boys are always keen to lend a helping hand in the kitchen, so I’m sure there will be a lot of fun – and mess – to look forward to.
If you’re planning to make dinner for dad, you can’t beat homemade fish and chips. And they don’t have to be as unhealthy as some might think.
The key is to get your hands on some fresh fish from your local fishmonger. I like to use haddock or pollock, but most white fish will work well too. Great fish is crisp on the outside and soft and moist in the middle, but getting the perfect batter can be hard to master. I’d recommend you try out the recipe before Father’s Day, so you’ve had time to get it just right.
Good batter should be light and crispy and that means getting a little air into it. You can do this by adding baking powder or yeast. The batter can also be made with a carbonated liquid like sparkling water or beer – that’s why beer batter works so well, because it allows the air into the mixture to give you a wonderful texture. If you’re using yeast, it’s a good idea to rest the batter for a couple of hours so it has time to get to work. Once you’ve prepared the batter, you only need to dip the fish in it at the last moment before you fry it. You’ll get the right crispness that way.
To really impress with your fish and chips, serve them with some delicious sides. For me, that means a chunky, homemade tartar sauce and some bright, fresh, crushed peas.
This year, we’ll be following our fish and chips with another dish that has a little hint of beer. I got the idea from a kid’s favourite – an ice-cream float. This is my adult version, which I know my dad will enjoy. I like to use Sanda Black IPA as it works really well in a dessert dish. It has lovely hints of gooseberry and a sweet, fruity flavour with just a hint of roasted malt and coffee. We’ll be making a different version for the kids to enjoy too, so they feel just like the grown-ups.
My father Ron has been hugely instrumental in our business, and indeed in helping out as the perfect grandfather to our four boys, so we’re looking forward to treating him. A businessman for many years, I rely heavily on him and his wealth of experience. I have inherited my ambitiousness from my father, as well as my work ethic, and I hope our young boys learn that as they grow up too.
Whatever you’re planning this Father’s Day, a home-cooked meal is a great treat and a perfect way to spoil him.
Haddock and chips with tartar sauce and crushed peas
4 haddock fillets
6-8 large potatoes
300ml mayonnaise (no lemon)
salt to taste
1 knob of butter
1 dash of double cream
Sift the flour into a large bowl with the yeast and a pinch of salt. Whisk in the beer to give a thick batter, adding a little extra if the mixture seems too thick. It should be the consistency of very thick double cream and coat the back of a wooden spoon. Coat two of the fillets with batter, place them in a deep fat fryer and cook at 180C/Gas Mark 4 for 4 to 6 minutes until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan, drain and sit them on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. Keep warm in the oven while you cook the remaining fillets.
For the chips, peel the potatoes and cut into the size you prefer. Wash them in cold water, drain and pat dry. Put them into the fryer at 160C/Gas Mark 3 for 8-10 minutes until soft but still pale. Lift them out and leave to cool slightly on greaseproof paper before re-frying at 180C/Gas Mark 4.
For the tartar sauce, dice the shallots, gherkins, parsley and dill. Mix with the capers and mayonnaise and season with lemon juice and salt.
Cook the peas in boiling water until tender – about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to the pan. Add butter and cream and roughly blitz with a blender.
500ml (can or bottle) stout
2 scoops luxury vanilla or chocolate ice-cream
chocolate syrup (optional)
Place the ice-cream in a half pint glass. Pour the stout over the ice-cream until it floats to the top of the glass. Drizzle with chocolate syrup if desired. Serve.