Janine at Cake of the Week runs a monthly challenge called Baking with Spirit, that chooses one alcoholic ingredient each month and lets our imaginations run wild. The challenge only started last month and I took part with these pina colada cupcakes, containing September's ingredient of rum (OK, in my case rum flavouring). I wanted to take part in the second challenge this month and was hoping it was an ingredient I would like... or at the very least not something disgusting like creme de menthe! I'm not sure whether I was pleased or disappointed when Janine chose beer! It's cheap and easily available but I don't even drink beer, let alone cook with it!
One of the first things that sprang to mind when I thought of beer was beer-battered fish. I happened to have just bought some cod, and I love fish and chips, so I decided to give it a go, even though I've never deep fried anything and was a little bit scared!
I checked out a few different recipes on the internet and decided they were all pretty much the same. The beer I used was Guinness, which does have a strong flavour (which I hate in fact) and I thought it would probably have been better to use a lighter beer, but I had half a can of Guinness left over from another recipe... which you will read about soon! I did find recipes for beer-battered fish using Guinness on the internet so I was confident it would work.
First I measured out the flour - a cup and a half, though this ended up making way too much, but it was the right quantity for the amount of beer I had left so decided to go with it.
Pour in half a can of Guinness, add some salt and pepper and mix well to make a batter. Leave to stand for at least 15 minutes.
Coat the fish in flour then dip in the batter. It didn't look particularly appetising at this point and I really didn't know how the sludgy batter would look anything like what you get from the chip shop!
Heat some oil in a pan - a few inches deep. This is the part I was quite nervous about, as I don't have a deep fryer and have never cooked anything in this much oil before!
I carefully slid the fish into the pan and it was fantastic - it bubbled up right away and within a matter of seconds the fish had a gorgeous golden coating. It was actually quite exciting!
I also made some tartare sauce, from a spoonful of mayo, some fat-free Greek yogurt and some capers. I cheated and used chunky chips from Tesco. I have to say that I think the taste of the Guinness did come through in the batter and as I hate Guinness, that wasn't really a good thing. But the batter was light and crisp and I was pleased with the way it turned out. I doubt I would have tried making this if it weren't for the Baking with Spirit challenge, so thanks Janine!