x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Marco Pierre White: the ultimate British lazy day food

There are times to be healthy and times to relax. Guess which fits with fish and chips.

Fish and chips are as big a tourist attraction in the UK as Buckingham Palace. I can't imagine anyone coming to visit Blighty and leaving without trying our national dish.

Of course in my day you got your fish and chips doused in salt and malt vinegar and wrapped in newspaper, which kept them toasty warm. Nowadays they come in plain (hygienic) paper, but I think there is still a touch of romance about this most traditional of dishes. You can imagine eating fish and chips on a windy day by the sea in some northern coastal town, the hot food warming you up, or in front of a roaring fire in an intimate little country pub.

There used to be a chippie in every small town in England. You can normally smell them before you can see them. The waft of that boiling oil, used and reused over days, seeped down the street. The chippie served mainly traditional dishes like scampi and chips, haddock and chips, cod and chips, maybe the odd sausage. Now you get all sorts of influences from all over the world such as kebabs, onion bhajis and spring rolls. And don't forget that great Scottish invention, deep-fried Mars Bars.

I can hear you groaning over your breakfast cereal. Don't despair. Fish and chips can be an incredibly healthy dish. OK, you probably have to remove some of the chips, but if you also remove the batter you end up with what is essentially a piece of steamed fish. And what could be healthier than that?

The recipe here, though, teaches you how to make cod in batter. And I sincerely hope you eat the batter as well. There are times to be healthy and there are times to just relax. And eating such a dish as fish and chips is a time to relax.

If you don't know how to cook mushy peas and chips you can invest in some frozen chips and peas. Make sure the chips are not those skinny little French things though. And don't forget the ketchup, and maybe some tartar sauce. Get stuck in!