Reader, I have a Fresh Week confession.
So far, Fresh Week has been pretty easy for me because the meals - our main meals, at least, have come from the freezer. My own 'ready meals' if you will. 'Fresh' because I made them from scratch, but not perhaps within the spirit of Fresh Week because the effort was all last week - or even last month. On the other hand, if you are a busy working parent, I firmly believe that the freezer is your friend if you want to cook more from scratch, so perhaps it is within the spirit of the challenge after all - I leave it to you to decide and leave you with the thought that this, if anything, would be my top tip of the week: cook in bulk and freeze.
Last week, I made a vat of aubergine & red pepper pasta sauce and froze it in portions. Easy then, yesterday, to cook up some pasta, stir the defrosted sauce through, grate some cheese on top and whack it under the grill. Home cooked food. No stress.
This evening, then, more of a challenge. Fish fingers. made from scratch. And chips. And a play date to cater for.
Now I appreciate that I work from home which makes it slightly easier for me to get ahead, but even so, this is so easy that provided you have all the ingredients in, you can get the meal on the table in an hour. I managed it this evening including skinning the fish.
Homemade Fishfingers & Chips
(served 1 adult and 3 kids)
3 large (baking sized) potatoes
2 large fillets of firm white fish, skinned
1 large egg
oatmeal & polenta
First, put the oven on to heat as high as it will go. Put a pan of water on to boil.
Peel the potatoes and slice into chip sizes. When the water is boiling, tip in the chips and cook for 5 minutes, then drain and leave to steam for a few minutes. Put a baking sheet with a tablespoon or two of rapeseed or olive oil on it into the oven to heat up. After about 5 minutes, when the oven is at temperature, carefully remove the baking sheet and tip the chips on to it, shaking them round so they are covered in the hot oil. Put the chips in the oven.
Get your fish ready. You need 3 side plates set up, one with plain flour on it, the next with the egg beaten on it and finally the polenta & oatmeal mixed together.
I apologise now for the measurement fail, but I just do this by eye. And it doesn't have to be polenta & oatmeal. it can be breadcrumbs, semolina works, or even crushed cornflakes (but not for Fresh Week).
Cut your fish into appropriate pieces, then dip in the flour first, then the egg and finally cover with the crumbs, and place on another greaseproof paper covered baking sheet. Repeat with all the fish.
Now, you need to judge this a bit carefully, but the fish takes about 15 minutes (turned half way through) and the chips take about 35-40 minutes, so check the chips every so often, give them a shake and a turn over with a spatula, and when they are starting to look reasonably cooked, as if they don't need a huge amount more time, drizzle a little oil over the fish and put the fingers in to cook, turning after 6-7 minutes.
When the fish is cooked and golden, the chips should also be cooked.
Serve with whatever you like. We had carrot sticks, roasted beetroot and salad. You can also include ketchup. I leave it up to you whether you make your own or not...