Friday, 20 January 2012

Fry-day and a giveaway

I think my biggest food discovery over the last couple of years has been the digital thermometer. It's so amazing. It takes so much guess-work out of cooking - the jam setting point, the perfectly cooked piece of meat, the optimum milk temperature for making cheese. And of course, achieving the magic 180C for deep-frying to the perfect, greaseless crispness.

This has resulted in a lot more fried food! Not that I am complaining. It has been thoroughly delicious and it hasn't happened more than once a week! It's just nice to have an extra technique under my belt for the days when deep-frying is the right thing to do.

Leaf, the Indolent Cook, was the source of this utterly perfect salt and pepper tofu. Crisp and spicy outside, gently custardy in the middle. It sat happily next to some pork belly cooked in yellow bean paste and some egg fried rice.

I think salt and pepper tofu is a very good way in to beancurd, if you are one of the doubters!

One of the curses of my existence (warning: middle class problems ahead) is the KFC at the end of the street. It attracts a Rougher Element who throw rubbish over our fence and make a lot of noise. I also think the food is pretty horrible. So I am very glad that my new frying skillz mean that when I have the fried chicken urge I have no temptation to patronise them.

This example of my fried chicken prowess was particularly brilliant. It really was. The chicken was just thoroughly dredged in flour seasoned with salt, pepper, paprika and thyme. The chips were twice cooked (I can't be bothered with the triple-cooked thing) and the pickle spears were rolled in egg before being dredged with the seasoned flour. A spicy vinegar slaw finished the plate.

I've also had a crack at homemade fish and chips. While I love our local chippy, they are a bit vague when you ask them questions about the sustainability of the fish they source. Being able to use day-boat caught Cornish whiting for my fish and chips, in a very light beer batter, is pretty exciting for me. Chunky chips, onion rings (soaked in milk, then dipped in the beer batter), tomato salad and home made tartare sauce made the fish a feast.

Now, the giveaway. On Monday, Paul and I are participating in a blogger cook-off, in association with Bordeaux Wines. On Monday we will have two hours to make a main course to be matched with a Bordeaux wine using our main challenge ingredient and other surprise ingredients. It's going to be a lot of fun! Our main ingredient is salmon.

I have four Wines of Bordeaux goody bags to give away, which include a tote bag, a very effective bottle-opener (I have one, it's awesome) and lots of really useful maps etc for planning your next French wine-tasting holiday. To win one of these goody bags, please leave a comment telling me what your favourite salmon dish is (UK readers only please) by Monday night, 23rd January, (2200 GMT) and I will select four random entrants to receive a goody bag.


Blonde said...

Pa Blonde makes a mean salmon kulebyaka - salmon with dill, rice, mushrooms and boiled eggs in puff pastry. Utterly delicious, and we wolfed it down on Christmas Eve with relish.

That said, you can't beat a really good slab of simply smoked salmon. Yum.

Swedish Mike said...

I'm totally with you when it comes to the digital thermometer. I know that I always talk about freestyling cooking but everyone should have a digital thermometer, or three, in their kitchen.

I use my ones for baking, roasting, smoking and should hopefully soon be using them for jam and marmalade making.

As for the deep fried food - I just love it. You posting this have made me realise that is has been ages since I last made one of my favourite deep-fried dishes.

Battered monkfish that is deep fried and then served with a homemade salsa in soft tacos. Hits the spot every time for me.

Thanks for making me remember this dish! :)

// Mike

David Albon said...

I absolutely love this walnut crusted salmon recipe!

However I am also partial to simple smoked salmon on toast for breakfast with lemon, pepper and cream cheese.

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Yay, thanks for trying my tofu recipe! And your fried chicken does look brilliant. Enjoy the cook-off!

Foodycat said...

Blonde - kulebyaka is a great idea! Thanks!

Mike - those tacos sound great! You are right too, I haven't made a fish taco in ages!

David - that salmon looks lovely! Hot-smoked salmon is doable in 2 hours too.

Leaf - it was SO good!

kat said...

I envy your deep frying skills there! Fired pickles are a favorite thing around here. Good luck at the cooking contest!

Kavey said...

I love salmon!

In all honesty, what I really adore is really good salmon sashimi - nothing but the salmon unadultered by other ingredients, or even by heat!

And I love cured salmons too, one can introduce so many flavours there. I want to try and make my own this year, that's on my list.

I also love salmon that's been coated in a few delicious herbs or spices, then seared on all sides, but leaving the inside raw. Served with a light Asian-inspired dressing, it's just so good. Peter Gordon did a dish like this at a blogger event I went to, was super smashing.

Of course, grilled fresh salmon fillets also good, with maybe a lemony beurre blanc? Mmm!

Jude said...

My favourite salmon rescipe is pretty boring but very tasty. It's a spicy kedgeree. Sometimes I use fresh salmon instead of smoked just to ring the changes.

Suelle said...

Your fried fish looks really good!

My favourite salmon dish is coulibiac(kulebyaka) too, although salmon en croute with a spinach and fresh ginger stuffing is pretty good.

Foodycat said...

Kat - thanks! I've heard of fried pickles before, but never tried them, so I was really happy with how they turned out and the taste!

Kavey - Oh yes, salmon sashimi is wonderful! I love all your ideas!

Jude - that kedgeree looks excellent. I usually make Jamie Oliver's version.

Suelle - fresh ginger stuffing? That sounds very interesting!

~~louise~~ said...

I keep saying I'm going to get a digital thermometer and I don't. Perhaps because I don't know which one to get. Will research:)

Everything looks fabulous, Foodycat. I am especially taken by the tofu dish. I adore it and am always looking for new recipes. I've bookmarked that link!

Fabulous Give-away. I will tweet it to my UK friends on twitter.

Thank you so much for sharing...Good Luck at the contest & Have FUN!!!

Baking Addict said...

Good luck with your blogger cook-off! I love eating salmon and it would be hard to pick a favourite dish but I think it would have to be grilled with pesto - nice and simple!

Jan said...

Great recipes you have here - I love your KFC chicken!
Digital thermometers are the way to go!
My favourite salmon dish is salmon baked in foil with bell peppers and sweet soy sauce - yum!

Ps: Good luck everyone in the wine comp!

GrapeVine said...

I love fish pie made with salmon. Mind you it's lovely just poached with some hollandaise and Jersey Royals, but fish pie is much more suited to this time of year.

Foodycat said...

Louise - thanks for tweeting about it!

Baking Addict - oh yes, salmon and pesto is so good together!

Jan - that sounds really tasty!

Grape vine - I love fish pie but for me it has to have a combination of fish in it!

Heather @ said...

That sounds like a blast- good luck to you! And I had to chuckle at "middle class problems". I have so many... I do love a good piece of fried chicken. But that salt and pepper tofu and the pork belly are what have my mouth watering in full force. YUM!

C said...

Love the sound of all of those dishes! I can't remember when I last had deep fried food though - I'm too much of a wuss to have pans of boiling oil, and too cheapskate to do the sensible thing and buy a deep frier!

Good Luck with your cook off, hope it goes well! I'm not a massive salmon eater, but I think either teriyaki style or Bill Granger has a recipe for caramel salmon that I'd love to try out.

Barbara said...

Wish I could enter! :( Oh well...
Must tell you how HOT your background is today. Such fun.
Your KFC chicken looks wonderful!

Simona said...

Have fun! It sounds like a neat adventure. We'll read a full report, I hope.

Velva said...

I have tried many times to perfect fried chicken. I have been using a regular fryer and I don't think the temp is constant . Needless to say, it is not been perfected. Perhaps a regular fry pan with a thermometer would do the trick-Thanks.


tasteofbeirut said...

Nice! I need to get a decent thermometer here in Beirut; can't live without these nifty gadgets! Love the sound of your fried chicken , I too would hate to have a restaurant chain of that sort in my neck of the woods!

The Hankerer said...

My favourite thing is to cure salmon. Beautiful & looks much more impressive than it is :)

Foodycat said...

Heather - the tofu and pork belly was a fantastic meal. Great flavour and texture contrasts.

C - I hadn't thought of caramel salmon! Great idea.

Barbara - sorry! The postage is just too expensive to send the goodybags overseas.

Simona - I'll charge up my camera and do a full report!

Velva - I'm very happy with a deep saucepan and a thermometer.

Joumana - it really is awful. They throw bones into the gutter and it attracts foxes.

The Hankerer - I've hot-smoked salmon but never cured it! I will try it!

Deb in Hawaii said...

Everything looks amazing but I may be in love with that salt-and-pepper tofu. ;-)


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