Beer-battered Fish & Chips

Beer- battered “Fish & Chips.’

I like cooking, so, it’s no wonder that after so many years, cooking has fallen solidly in my department, but I sometimes baulk at the prospect of , yet again, get the potatoes out of the garage ( the garage is our second freezer) open the kitchen drawer, rummage for the peeler, and proceed to peel them. I remember well my mother doing that daily for a huge family, year in year out. We were all big fans of the potato with nice gravy. My mother’s gravy was so nice; we could almost have lived of that alone. I never make gravy. I don’t know why. It probably, like everything else now, dates back to childhood. Dr Kleinkind will probably deduce I am clearly suffering from a dysfunctional childhood. That will be $ 820. – , secretary will write you a receipt.

Today, I sighed, within earshot of Helvi. She knows me so well. She asked; don’t feel like cooking today, dear? Ah, I don’t know, I mumbled back, looking down at the carpet, picking up imaginary dog hairs in a somewhat desultory manner. Helvi kept me in suspense. Ah well, she said, I felt the same with making the bed and doing the washing. It gets so boring. She knows all the aspects of our fencing towards a known and pre-determined outcome.

I hold the key; let’s celebrate our life and I’ll take you out for lunch, I said. Between 12 and 15 the Bowral Pub has a special lunch, I am starving, I quickly add. Oh, I am not hungry yet, she quick as a flash, I had my chick pea soup for breakfast. Helvi makes a fine and hearty soup from chicken stock with lots of vegetables including all sorts of peas ensuring both of us are in prime form and within very good and flush running condition. I am not a breakfast soup person but H is. My fried black-pudding is probably a good dietary breakfast match.

Ah well, that’s a pity. I really felt like taking you out, perhaps have a plate of the beer battered fish & chips with crispy salad and a slice of lemon; I believe the John Dory is on this week, I stated casually. How do you know, she asked while emptying the laundry basket on the floor? I just happened to see the blackboard outside this morning when we walked past, I lied. Did the reader notice I said ‘I really felt’? The lunch has moved in the past tense now. Did Helvi sense a retraction of the promise?

No, she persisted; why don’t you have some of my soup for lunch? Micro-wave it but put a lid on, those chick peas do pop a lot, she added for extra impact and stoic Nordic determination.
I changed tack; as she sorted the washing from the floor, I started peeling the potatoes, hinting at the usual prospect of a jam or cheese sandwich for lunch and spuds for dinner.

I now put on my best position, en garde with raised gleaming foil and raised sabre; Helvi dear, you look very nice this morning; those jeans make you look very slim and lithe, I parried. (I did not say lithe but it reads nicely). Her riposte was sweet and to the point of no return.

Ok then, let’s wait an hour to get really hungry. The Bowral pub is open till 3pm. You keep peeling and I’ll load the washing machine. Ok dear, fair enough. Nice day today. Yes it is. Frost this morning too, the cyclamens were frozen up. Yes, but they don’t mind, in Persia they flower in snow. Really, do they now? Yes, really. Have you seen my glasses? Yes, they’re on your forehead. I have done the potatoes. Oh, that’s nice dear, put on your jacket. Where is it? It is where you left it this morning after the walk. Try and remember things.

Yes, let’s go, the John Dory is beckoning.

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16 Responses to “Beer-battered Fish & Chips”

  1. kaytisweetlandrasmussen83 Says:

    You’ve hit one of my favorite things in the world—beer battered fish and chips. When I go to London one of the first places we head for is a pub at Paddington Station. That and a good English beer. Perfect. Funny post Gerard. I loved it. I look forward to seeing your name in my inbox, I know it will be an Oosterman Treat for sure!


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      It was lovely and we had a schooner of beer with it as well. Don’t they have beer battered Fish and Chips in your neck of the woods?
      You are pretty good with word order as well and am also looking forward to your quirky tales of dogs and domesticity. Say hello to Dr Advice.


  2. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Very slick! nice cunning Gerard, I like it! I do wish you’d stop writing about Fish and Chips though, it’s so cruel for those of us 1,000’s of miles away from the nearest chippie.

    I do like the sound of Helvi’s soup. I’ve been weaning Irishman slowly but surely onto pulses. It’s taken 4 years but he’s now eating them on a thrice weekly basis without gagging, whinging or pretending he’s not hungry which is his old trick 😀


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We look forward to nice ayam goreng or nasi rames as you must be to Fish and Chips. You look after Irishman with plenty of pulses. Good for the bowels although, from memory, our visits to Indonesia never lacked intestinal bouts of a rapidly percolating nature.


  3. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Oh me, Oh my. what a post and what a great exchange of words berween you and Mrs, O. The fish and chips sound so good with a beer but alas I can not drink that either. But hey I am alive and thankful that I have food to eat no matter that I can not eat or drink what I would like.

    Life is good though as I like, to say. Great post, Gerard. Loved reading this.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      So sorry you cannot eat or drink what you like. Hope it is not too seriously impinging on your life. Here is a piece of music that you might like. The artist named Yothy Yindi passed away some weeks ago.The man in the white shirt is Yothy and this was his last performance, he was very sick. The music is called ‘treaty’.


      • petspeopleandlife Says:

        Wow, a very talented man and such a shame to have died at 56 years of age. The natives of your country are/were trearted like the American Indians. A shameful crime of the white men to dispose and relegate the natives to literally nothing. Thank you for giving me the link.I went over to You Tube to watch a couple of his videos .

        No, I am okay with what I eat. I am hungry re: B complex. Good stuff. 🙂 I am glad to be alive and improving- bit by bit.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Glad to hear that. It was sad for Yothu to pass away so young.


  4. Andrew Says:

    Domestic bliss encasulated. What more could a man want than lunchtime chish and fips. We do actually have a chip restaurant in Sai Kung. It is called Campden Town but we have never been there. Mrs. Ha needs her daily rice and choi sum. Not beer and chips. You clearly ought to negotiate for the UN, Gerard, complete with your foil and sabre. After all, there’s no foil like an old foil.


  5. roughseasinthemed Says:

    I come from a fish and chip family. By which I mean my grandparents ran the bus station fish and chip cafe at one point (they also ran a pub but that’s not relevant for this post).

    My mother made stellar fish and chips. She would slave over the stove dishing up endless pieces of fish and chips (not sure how she managed to cook them both simultaneously) for me and my dad, and when we had stuffed ourselves to oblivion, she would finally get the chance to sit down and eat the odd piece. Mushy peas and bread and butter were de rigeur too.

    I’ve never had beer batter. Can’t say I fancy the idea either. Or John Dory. Only best haddock for us.

    All that is in the past however, being vegetarian now, so I totally empathise with H’s chick pea soup. Soup is good for breakfast. I hate conventional breakfasts, although it is normally brunch by the time I get around to eating.

    In Spain, we live on legumes. If there’s any casserole left over from the day before, it invariably turns up for brunch. The other good soup to have for breakfast/brunch is gazpacho. What I like about them is that they don’t sit heavily on the stomach. Unlike a ghastly fry. I can say with hand on heart I have never eaten black puddiing. Looks and sounds ghastly.

    I am puzzled by those potatoes. Apart from the fact they have skins on, they look very golden. In fact orange. Are they sweet potatoes? My chips don’t look like that. *Must post photo of chips at some point*.

    I don’t use a peeler any more. On moving to Spain I watched my neighbours dexterously wielding a knife and peeling potatoes far faster. I do make gravy though, as did my mother. Her gravy was as good as her fish and chips. My MiL’s gravy was abysmal. So was my godmother’s. Gravy is an art you may wish to cultivate.


  6. gerard oosterman Says:

    Yes, fish and chips are often an addiction. The beer batter in the pub we go to does the same with the chips, hence their golden orange patina. ( The picture is not mine)
    Helvi makes the best gravy, in fact she makes the best gravy according to my grandkids. It is a combo of chopped garlic with rosemary and anchovies fried in very hot blue smoking top notch olive oil. She adds mustard, red wine and some honey and salt to taste. A bit of corn flower and boiling water.
    One of my grandsons climbed on the table to dip left over bread into the remnants of the gravy. I suppose that’s as good a compliment one could get.
    You are right, Helvi makes a killer of a chick pea soup with chicken stock and lots of other peas, chopped tomatoes and dill.
    I am not sure for breakfast though.
    I think I might make pancakes ( with buttermilk) tomorrow for breakfast with golden syrup. Squeeze some lemon juice while still piping hot and bring them to H.
    She is not too keen on the smell of fried Black-pudding first thing in the morning.


  7. Office Diva Says:

    Mr. G.O. Wonderful post that speaks a little bit about fish, a little bit about chips, but mostly about the deep and abiding affection between you and the lovely Helvi, who takes such good care of you even though you have us feeling for you as if you were Cinderella with a potato peeler. You have cleverly demonstrated the way you two know each other so well, and the ways in which you entice the other to your brilliant dining plans.
    Very enjoyable, as always. Happy weekend to you.


  8. gerard oosterman Says:

    And a happy weekend to you as well. Is it true one should n/ever (n/ever say n/ever) start a sentence with ‘And’? No wonder the Booker prize has eluded me.


  9. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    Lovely post, made me chuckle throughout. Particularly like the ‘secretary will write you a receipt.’ which made me read on so I got to enjoy all the rest.


  10. Patti Kuche Says:

    What a lovely tale of domestic bliss with a touch of romanticism! Nothing like a hot fat chip straight from the deep fat fryer via a recently peeled potato, not to mention fresh battered fish, with beer. Lucky you!


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