Sunday, March 30, 2008

Polly's A Cod & Chips Wife

A long long time ago I received a tip from someone, I'm not sure who, about the Advanced Marketing Institute - Headline Analyzer. All you have to do is put in your proposed headline into the box and they will give you an idea as to the effectiveness of it all, ie is it likely to grab any attention? Try it; it's fun!

My latest title has less to do with AMI and more to do with the fact that it was my birthday a few days ago and that in celebration of it my eldest son BB presented me with a lovely Cod weather vane, made from wood. Strange; I know, but it is in fact startlingly attractive (in it's own way) and takes pride of place on top of my computer screen.

The title of the post originated from a slightly daft discussion which took place that evening; while doing mundane chores such as washing up the dishes and making the dinner; a family event in our household. It had been suggested that seeing as the cod in question has so much character; maybe BB could make some chips out of wood to serve it with...

If this wasn't bad enough, the conversation got sillier and sillier, turning from bad to worse; it was also suggested that it might be served up on a bed of wood chips, not sawdust, garnished with a wooden potato!

I know, we're a sad lot around here; but I really do like Cod The Weather Vane. My only regret is that he can't really be used to determine the weather cycles; being made of white deal and teak laminated plywood, he wouldn't stand up to the rain. Despite this I am thinking of having him varnished to bring out the grain even more.

Meanwhile, I'm going to let you into a little secret. Chips/french fries/pommes frites - whatever you call them are a matter of trial and error depending on the time of the year. However, there are one or two tips on how you might improve their standing on the family dinner plate.

Potato Chips

  1. use a nice floury old or main crop potato if possible, like rooster or golden wonder.
  2. when you have cut your chips, with or without skin, ridges, etc immerse them in cold water for at least five minutes before use.
  3. heat up your oil, lard or dripping according to the instructions on whichever kitchen appliance you use; if it's a good old fashioned stove top chip pan wait until the oil is blue, ie there is a slight haze - not smoke over the pan.
  4. while attending to the above; remove the chipped potatoes from the water and place on a clean tea towel, gather the four corners together and give the bundle a jolly good shake to remove as much of the water as possible.
  5. when the oil/dripping/lard has reached the right temperature, test it by dropping a single chip into the pan. If it rises and begins to fizz straight away, you can then add the rest of your chips to the pan.
  6. Allow to cook for between five and ten minutes; depending on the variety of potato used.
  7. Some will cook quickly, but will resist all efforts to produce a golden brown colour. In this instance, raise the basket from the oil and 'park' it on the side of the basket for a few minutes; allowing the temperature of the oil to rise once more and re-immerse the basket of chips for a further two/three minutes.
  8. Raise basket from oil. Shake contents over pan to remove excess droplets of oil and then empty the contents onto a sheet of kitchen towel to remove any further excess oil.
  9. Serve and enjoy!
Remember that early crop or new potatoes do not usually make nice chips. For the summer months it's probably advisable to try something different or to use frozen chips using the above steps excluding steps 2 & 4!

Bon Apetit!

Polly Peirce

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