Local Heart, Global Soul

August 3, 2013

Finding Edward Makes Our Day Complete…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer Family Kiwidutch took our visiting Singaporean friend “Velvetine” with us on a European holiday.

As per yesterday’s post she and I are staying at the Saracens Head Hotel in Great Dunmow, close to Stansted airport in the UK whilst Himself and the kids pitch the tent with a group we are meeting here.

This afternoon after lunch I had a nap whilst they went out to the campground and installed themselves, and gossiped caught up with other early arriving friends who are also there.

By early evening Velvetine is back  at the hotel and I’m rested enough to get the crutches out for a walk around town. We are on a mission…  after our earlier disappointment at the hotel restaurant today, we are on a fish and chip finding mission.

Velvetine’s fears of  freezing in the United Kingdom are allayed by the fact that the weather is hot and dry and the early evening temperature is a balmy 25 C so perfect for an evening exploring. We set out down the main street and after several blocks come across what looks like the perfect fish and chip establishment. It’s called “Edwards” and the  fish looks great.  At £4.40  per piece it’s not cheap, but the pieces are decently sized and it’s quality fish so we don’t mind the price in the least.

I’m  also keen on trying a battered hot dog and Velvetine  is interested in trying a fish cake and a pickled egg  as well as our piece of fish each so we skip getting hot chips (fries) and concentrate on the bits that we know we are really craving.  Back in our hotel room we unwrap our goodies from their paper packaging cocoons and tuck in…. hmmm these are exactly what we have been looking forward to in recent days.  Seriously yummy…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 17, 2012

Seeking and Finding Hine’s…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The eatery we have been recommended to find in Kaikoura is  “Hine’s Fish and Chips”.

My Aunt tells me that they have enjoyed the reputation of being the best fish and chips in the area for decades from both locals and visitors and that in the past  a few international food writers have featured it in their magazines and books.

Although the signs on the top of the building  and items inside still pertain to Hines’s, after talking to the man who is serving our meal I found out that the place has been under new management for a good few years now.

I cheekily ask if there is any hope of getting their fantastic and famous batter recipe for their fish, and with a grin and a laugh the man politely refuses.

It was a long shot but I figure that if you don’t ask, you will never get anything in life so even though in reality I never expected him to say  “yes”,  it was worth a try.

The man who takes our order and serves us is really friendly and I’ve already got a very good impression of the place: any restaurant that warns customers that their order may take a little extra time because they are making your meal from scratch is definitely well worth frequenting.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As usual whenever I’m reviewing  an eatery, I ask if they have a business card. Unfortunately they don’t have, and since we started at the wrong end of the shops and it took a bit of searching, I’ve added a photo that I took from a tourist brochure and added an arrow to mark roughly were Hine’s is located, should anyone who reads this ever wish to visit.

Since we are forewarned about the waiting time for our meal, Himself, the hitch-hiker guy we picked up outside Picton and who is our guest for lunch, and the kids are all busy looking around the main street whilst I sit and wait in the fish and chip shop.

We certainly weren’t disappointed with our lunch… we are (once again, we’ve been making a habit of this, this holiday) eating at an unconventional time since it’s three thirty in the afternoon (which also logically accounts for the ravenous appetites) and the fish and chips were one of the best I’ve ever tasted.

We will have no problems to return here on any future trips… Hine might not run this place any more but the quality of the product should ensure that the reputation of the place lives on.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The donations box for the local Rescue Helicopter…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

March 14, 2011

Himself and a Very Stout (‘stout’) Breakfast…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

As explained in my March 13th post, I’m taking you on a tour of Amsterdam using some of my archive photos from last summer.

Himself and I have arrived before breakfast and have parked our car further out from the centre of the city, so after a decent walk we find ourselves in the centre of Amsterdam approaching our destination with rumbling stomachs.

We passed a variety of fast food places on the way to where we are going, but none appealed in the slightest, so we resign ourselves to the idea of an extra large lunch instead of breakfast and press on.

In the Netherlands if you are travelling between the big cities it’s always a good idea to allow some time for traffic jams and even though this is a Saturday we allow extra time anyway.

This time as per Murphy’s Law extra time is not needed and since we forget that we both tend walk fast sans kids,  we  surprised ourselves by arriving  thirty-five minutes early at the Leidseplein. Breakfast is thus back on the agenda.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s a “Plein” ( a kind of “Square” that doesn’t necessarily have to be square in shape) where a bevy of cafes and restaurants line the outer perimeter and where the outside seating area is cheek by jowl crammed  together in the centre.

Himself’s eyes light up as he spies an Irish cafe/Pub  and declares happily that he’s more than in the mood for an Irish breakfast washed down with a glass of Guinness.

Naturally it’s not our normal type of breakfast fare, and had the kids been tagging along he wouldn’t have been considering drinking Stout with breakfast, but today is a day for just the two of us and once I spy fish-‘n-chips on the menu, we make ourselves comfortable and order.

The Dutch do cook fish in batter, but it doesn’t taste at all like the fish-and-chips that I know so well in New Zealand, so we have the Dutch variety only once every few years.  Usually our fish-and-chip cravings are only fixed between trips to New Zealand and the UK when I make it myself at home, so this “find” is a treat indeed.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The day is patchy, threatening rain and so a hot breakfast is welcome … my Fish and Chip’s costs Euro 12.60 and Himself’s Irish of bacon, beans, eggs, sasuages, toast and jam costs Euro 8.70.

He of course washes his down with a glass of Guinness and I wash mine down with a Cola Light.

Yum! What a treat of a  way to start the day!

We did advise as soon as possible that we had limited time for breakfast and our waitress was friendly and passed the message onto the kitchen so that we could cut waiting time to the minimum.

We also asked to settle the bill as soon as our breakfast was served, and all in all we managed both a relaxed breakfast and a quick getaway… .. both of which were appreciated. The food was good too… not quite New Zealand standard fish and chips, but ok all the same.

* So… for those of you who noticed “stout” mentioned in brackets in the title, I need to tell you that there is also a word “stout” in the Dutch language… but nothing to do with beer because it means “naughty“! So naturally, now you know, that having a Stout Guinness for Breakfast IS rather naughty!!!

Photos? Oh yes of course…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

May 9, 2010

Hanmer “Captain Mikes”: Yummy Fish ‘n Chips, hook, line and sinker…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In the heart of Hanmer Springs main street, there is a Take-a-way / Restaurant / Fish and Chip shop. The Fish and chips are a bit more expensive than most, but they have  good quality fish, cooked well.

I must say that even though we have been staying several weeks in township, we have only eaten out one time so far simply because we have had so many visitors to stay that we have done a heap of cooking for a crowd at the house.

Even though cooking is a passion, it’s still nice to have an “easy meal” that I didn’t cook, and more importantly, don’t have to do the washing up for. Our kids turned their noses up at battered fish the first time we had it in New Zealand two years ago, but during that trip, suddenly Kiwidaughter  decided not only to try a bit, but also that she liked it… and her addiction has been growing steadily ever since, so she’s been clamouring for this meal for some weeks now.

Little Mr. has come to the conclusion that  turning his nose up at fish and chips wasn’t a wise move after all after I started making it myself at home in the Netherlands and is now also firing off some energy in the restaurant in eager anticipation of good things to be served shortly.

There’s an excellent selection of fish, crab sticks, fritters, hot dogs, hamburgers etc, usual take-a-way food, but so completely different in style and taste to the Dutch equivalents.  It’s bizarre, when I lived in New Zealand I almost never fancied a hot dog with the crunchy batter, if I ate two of these a year it would be a lot…

… now that I live in The Netherlands and you can’t buy the same sort of thing here at all, I find myself thinking about  them and suddenly wanting one desperately as I make the order for this meal… LOL how stupid is that ?!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The couple who run the place are very friendly and chatty, we are having a very early dinner because we want to go to the Hot Pools later on after dinner has settled so there’s aren’t too many customers as it’s not quite “real” dinner time. We talk to them a bit about Hanmer, travel, what it’s like living abroad, and the summer weather.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

It’s nice to see a business that has a long term commitment in the town, and run by such a friendly pair.

Captain Mikes

4B Conical Hill Road

Hanmer Springs

New Zealand

++ 64 (03) 3157771

April 21, 2010

A step-by-step guide to Kiwi’s Real, Traditional Fish and Chip perfection…

Filed under: NEW ZEALAND,PORTUGAL — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

We do have Fish and Chips in The Netherlands… but it’s definitely not the same sort of Fish and Chips that I grew up with in New Zealand.

The differences run deeper than just the varying fish varieties that are caught in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere’s, the batter is completely different in both texture and taste and the end result in The Netherlands is never the wonderful crunchy batter that I love about New Zealand Fish and Chips.

The chips are usually smaller too, more what I would call Kiwi “French Fries” here in the Netherlands and what the Dutch call “Belgium Patat”  for the New Zealand ones. ( i.e. large chunky pieces of potato sliced thickly, not thinly).

I miss my Kiwi Fish and Chips to death sometimes and every now and again get a hanking to make my own.

Over the years I’ve been tweaking my recipe each time to try and get maximum crunchiness out of the batter,  to find out the best way to size the  fish pieces for easy cooking,  and the best batter mix that sticks nicely to the fish and the best cooking method to get the batter to stay on the fish (and not end up in a crispy black lump on the bottom of my fryer) .

I have a very basic arrangement for my frying: a deep pan with oil, not a fancy electric fryer, if you have an electric one then just follow the instructions that come with it for best results.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ingredients, Chips:

potatoes, peeled and sliced into thick lengths.

oil for frying

salt for seasoning

vinegar for seasoning (optional)

tomato sauce (preferably “Watties”) (optional)

Friet sauce or mayonnaise (optional)

Batter for Fish:

300 ml beer (about 2 cups)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

6 heaped tablespoons flour

1 tablespoon mild paprika powder

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

pinch salt

½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Frying the Chips: (Do these before the fish)

Pat your raw, cut chips with a clean, dry teatowel/teacloth to absorb any starch, (the teatowel/ teacloth goes into the laundry after this job)

Heat your pan of oil so that it is up to temperature for frying. (place a small piece of potato in first to test it) bubbles should form quickly around the potato and you should see the oil “boiling” around the chip, if there is no movement immediately, then the oil isn’t hot enough yet.

DO take EXTREME care when deep frying with oil, any burns will be deep and painful and NEVER leave a pan of hot oil unattended,  (unattended fat fryer’s catching alight are a major case of house fires).

Fry your potatoes, in batches until they are golden brown and almost all the way though, when they get to this stage, remove from the heat and drain on paper towels to absorb the excess fat.Continue until you have done all the chips, they will be light brown and almost completely cooked.

Set the chips aside to finish after the fish is cooked. After the fish is cooked, pop the chips back into the fryer until they are cooked through ( 1-2 minutes), drain off the excess oil onto kitchen paper towels and serve immediately with the fish.

Frying the Fish:

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(any beer will do…)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Whisk all the batter ingredients together until you have a smooth batter with no lumps.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

Cut the fish into small pieces, I cut my double fillets in half lengthwise, and then in half width-wise so that the pieces are fairly uniform in size and cook evenly. The pieces will be almost rectangular and a little longer than my index finger (and 2-3 times as wide)

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Take a piece of you fish fillet in your (clean) fingers, hold it by the thinnest end of the fish and dip it into the batter, letting about half of the excess drip off and then carefully, slide it thick end first into the hot oil.

I hang on to it VERY carefully for about 15-20 seconds with my fingers about 2-3 cm (just over an inch) away from the oil and then I gently let it drop. Do this slowly and you should not get splashed by the oil, and the fish will not stick to the bottom of the pan.

My deep fry-pan does come with a basket, and I use the basket when I’m frying the chips, but I personally prefer to remove the basket  when doing the fish and just very carefully slide the fish in. DO  make certain that there are no drips of water on your hands or the fish, if water comes in contact with the hot oil it will splatter enormously and you could get burnt.

Clearly this is  also NOT a recipe that you would consider making with any children close by.

(photograph © Kiwidutch

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I find that I can get up to four small pieces of fish into my fryer at once.  If I try more they stick together and it all gets very messy very quickly.  I let them get quite brown so that even the thickest part of the inside fish is cooked though, and then I carefully lift them out with a metal slotted spoon, putting them onto some sheets of kitchen paper to blot off any excess oil .

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The batter should be wonderfully crisp and crunchy.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have the batter pretty much as I want it now… from now on I will only be tweaking the seasonings a bit more, maybe some herbs?….  If I can make it even better, then I will post updates in the future.

Yum… Enjoy!

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