This Korean fried chicken shows fried food doesn’t have to be unhealthy

Table of Contents Korean Fried ChickenCorn DogsMiracle Overnight White Loaf Two new cookbooks this week,…

Two new cookbooks this week, one arrived on my desk by snail mail which I love.

I still greatly enjoy the excitement of opening my post and there it was, provocatively entitled Hot Fat.

The other, more whimsically named Breadsong, was written by father and daughter duo Kitty and Al Tait.

Breadsong

On our recent UK adventure, I detoured over 100 miles to buy this book at source…and to get it signed by the indomitable Kitty…

It’s the story of the Orange Bakery in Watlington, reputedly England’s smallest town with a market building dating to the 15th century.

Watlington has a famous history that goes right back to the 6th century, but this sleepy little town is more well-known nowadays for the tiny Orange Bakery on the High Street.

If you arrive before 10.30 a.m. you will most likely see a queue snaking up along the street.

Arrive as we did by 11.10 am, and you would be lucky to find anything to buy. We were fortunate to get one croissant, one cinnamon bun and half a loaf of porridge bread and delicious they were.

I accidentally came across the Orange Bakery on Instagram, loved the bread but was also intrigued by the story of this 14-year-old, red-haired baker. A bit of backstory – Kitty was bouncing with the joys of life until she became totally overwhelmed with anxiety and depression. She gradually withdrew from the world – every parent’s worst nightmare.

One thing led to another and after a few whirlwind months, Kitty and her Dad opened the tiny Orange bakery which among other things helped to feed the local community during the pandemic.

Breadsong is an enchanting book, a cross between a cookbook that celebrates the magic of baking and a brave, intimate, courageous memoir which for me was ‘unputdownable’.

I quote – ‘‘If you told me at 14, when I couldn’t even get out of bed with depression and anxiety that 3 years later, I would have written a book, I would never have believed you. But here it is –the story of the Orange Bakery. How I went from bed to bread and how my dad went from being a teacher to a baker. You reading it means everything to me’’ Kitty Tait.

Bread making worked its magic and for us, it was a joy to meet Kitty and her Dad and their whole joyful team whom Watlington has taken to their hearts. I have invited them to come to Ballymaloe Cookery School to teach a bread class in the future so I will keep you posted.

This is the very best kind of book to get an enthusiastic amateur started because Kitty and Al learned from scratch, gradually honing and perfecting their bread making skills by constantly testing and retesting the recipes.
They also take the mystery out of making your very own sourdough starter and share the magic of bread making…

Breadsong is published by Bloomsbury Publishing
www.bloomsbury.com

Hot Fat

The other book Hot Fat is the second in a series of small books from Ireland’s newest publisher, 9 Bean Row Books.

This one is co-written by Russell Alford and Patrick Hanlon (fried-food aficionados) aka The GastroGays.

They are absolutely obsessed with anything that can be put in a deep fryer or a pot of dripping and aren’t we all…It’s a fantastic little book but in the words of Oscar Wilde‘ Everything in moderation including moderation’.

It sounds counterintuitive considering the devastating impact we know that too much greasy fried food has on our health and waistlines. But fried food doesn’t have to be greasy or unhealthy. So much better to cook your own hand-cut potato chips in top quality oil or fat than opt for the easy alternative… A couple of potatoes will also make a ton of delicious crisps at a fraction of the cost…

Russell and Patrick answer all the pertinent questions regarding types of frying fats, changing the oil, how to get the crispiest crust, best batter…

How about Ginger beer onion rings, black pudding scotch eggs, fish fillet burgers and a brilliant version of Ireland No. 1 favourite takeaway, the Spice bag. It’s all there and donuts and deep-fried ice cream and much, much more besides in this deliciously irreverent but deadly serious little book that packs quite a punch. I love the funky design and Nicky Hooper’s illustrations also…

Hot Fat is published by Blasta Books

www.blastabooks.com

Korean Fried Chicken

What makes Korean Fried Chicken different? A couple of things: crucially, a blend of flours and starches and it’s double-fried, the combination of which results in a shatteringly crisp coating that is then smothered in a fiery, punchy, sticky, crimson-col

Preparation Time

5 hours 0 mins

Total Time

5 hours 40 mins

Ingredients

  • For the chicken:

  • 6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

  • 300ml (10fl oz) buttermilk

  • 2 teaspoons gochugaru or paprika

  • sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying

  • For the coating:

  • 60g (scant 2 1/2oz) plain flour

  • 60g (scant 2 1/2oz) rice flour

  • 60g (scant 2 1/2oz) potato starch or cornflour

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • For the sauce:

  • 4 tbsp rice wine vinegar or Shaoxing rice wine

  • 2 tbsp gochujang

  • 2 tbsp sriracha

  • 2 tbsp tomato ketchup

  • 2 tbsp caster sugar

  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp aekjeot or nam pla fish sauce

  • 1 tbsp gochugaru

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1 tbsp butter

  • For the garnish:

  • sesame seeds

  • spring onions, sliced into thin lengths or at an angle

  • thinly sliced or chopped fresh red or green chilli

Method

  1. Cut each chicken thigh into two or three pieces to make bite-sized chunks and season with salt.

  2. Whisk the buttermilk and gochugaru or paprika together in a large bowl or baking dish.

  3. Submerge all the chicken in the buttermilk, cover and marinate in the fridge for a good 4-6 hours (leaving it overnight is fine too).

  4. When it’s time to cook, remove the buttermilk-brined chicken from the fridge about 30 minutes before frying.

  5. Heat the oil in your deep-fryer to 150˚C/300˚F. Combine all the coating ingredients in one bowl. If you’ve run out of baking powder, use 60g (scant 2 1/2oz) self-raising flour instead of the plain flour.

  6. Working quickly and without shaking off too much of the buttermilk, dredge the chicken pieces in the flour mix, ensuring a generous and even coating. Working in batches, add each piece directly into the fryer and cook for about 5 minutes, until cooked through and light golden.

  7. Remove from the fryer and set aside on a wire rack set over a baking tray lined with kitchen paper while you cook the rest of the chicken. When all the pieces have had their first fry and have been drained, crank up the temperature of the oil to 190˚C/375˚F.

  8. Meanwhile, put all the sauce ingredients in a saucepan set over a medium heat and bring to the boil, then drop down to the lowest heat setting and give it a stir every so often just to keep it warm and pourable.

  9. Fry all the chicken for a second time for 90 seconds to 2 minutes, until it looks incredibly crisp and has darkened in colour. Depending on the size of your fryer basket, you may need to do this in two batches.

  10. Place the chicken into a large heatproof bowl and pour over all the sauce, tossing to coat each piece. The chicken will soak up the sauce but still retain its crispness.

  11. Plate up with a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds, sliced spring onions and fresh chilli on top. Alternatively, serve in a steamed bao or as a burger. Kimchi or some sharp pickles are the ideal supporting side act or you can go all out on the whole banchan experience of a table laden with small side dishes.
    From Hot Fat (Blasta Books)

Corn Dogs

A fairground favourite in the States, the corn dog consists of a hot dog speared on a stick, dipped in a thick cornmeal batter and fried until golden with a signature fluffy interior beneath its crisp jacket.

Corn Dogs

Preparation Time

50 mins

Total Time

1 hours 5 mins

Ingredients

  • sunflower or vegetable oil, for deep-frying

  • 120g (scant 4 1/2oz) fine cornmeal

  • 80g (3 1/4oz) plain flour

  • 1 large egg

  • 175ml (6fl oz) buttermilk

  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp caster sugar

  • 1/4 tsp paprika

  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional)

  • 1/4 tsp baking soda

  • 6-8 large skinny frankfurter-style sausages and 6-8 skewers

  • a small dish of cornflour (cornstarch), to coat

  • To serve:

  • ketchup

  • yellow mustard

Method

  1. Heat the oil in your deep-fryer to 180˚C/350˚F.

  2. Prepare your batter by adding the cornmeal, flour, egg, buttermilk, salt, sugar, paprika, white pepper, garlic powder (if using) and baking soda into a mixing bowl and whisking vigorously to combine, then transfer to a tall glass, measuring jug or NutriBullet beaker, any of which provide the height that enables enviably easy dippage to completely coat the dogs.

  3. Pat the dogs dry on kitchen paper. If making small corn dogs, cut each one in half to make two, but if making large ones, just keep them whole. Skewer each one with a wooden or bamboo skewer three-quarters of the way up through the centre, taking care not to veer off and tear through the side.

  4. Put the cornflour in a wide, shallow dish or tray, then dredge each of the sausages through it, coating completely and shaking off any excess – this helps the cornmeal batter to stick. Set aside on a plate, ready for dipping.

  5. When ready to dip and coat, holding the wooden skewer, submerge each sausage head-first into the batter, twisting gently to coax the batter to stick, then gently and slowly twisting as you pull the skewer up and out of the glass or jug to reveal a completely coated corn dog.

  6. Working quickly, gently lower the battered corn dog head first into the hot oil (rather than into the fryer basket, which should already be submerged), hovering the top in the oil for a little bit to get it accustomed and then lowering it in. At this point, give the submerged basket a rigorous shake to ensure the corn dog doesn’t stick to the bottom.

  7. Repeat this process as you fry in batches of two to four, depending on the size of your fryer, for 3-4 minutes in total. About two-thirds of the way through the cooking time, you may want to use tongs to turn the corn dogs gently to ensure they colour evenly.

  8. When the corn dogs are an even golden colour, you’ll know they’re done, so lift them out one by one or together in the basket, drip-draining any excess oil. Allow to further drain and cool on a wire rack set over a baking tray lined with kitchen paper as you continue with the next ones.

  9. Enjoy immediately with ketchup and yellow mustard, your choice of condiments or just as is.

Miracle Overnight White Loaf

All you need to make a loaf twice as fast as anything on the supermarket shelf, with a crunchy crust and pillowy crumb, is a casserole dish with a lid and an oven that can get up to 230˚C/450˚F/Gas Mark 8.

Miracle Overnight White Loaf

Preparation Time

13 hours 40 mins

Cooking Time

1 hours 55 mins

Total Time

15 hours 35 mins

Ingredients

  • 500g (18oz) strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting

  • 10g (scant 1/2oz) fine sea salt

  • 3g (scant 1/8oz) instant dried yeast (1 teaspoon or slightly less than half a 7g (1/4oz) sachet)

  • 330ml (11 1/4fl oz) lukewarm water

Method

  1. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt and yeast. Stir everything together using either a sturdy spoon or your hands. Bit by bit, gently mix in the lukewarm water until a shaggy dough forms. We call this the Scooby dough in homage to Scooby-Doo.

  2. Place a damp tea towel over the rim of the bowl and leave in a cosy (draught-free) place to prove for 12-16 hours, overnight is best. Time transforms your scrappy, dull dough into a bubbly, live creature of its own.

  3. Once your dough has risen and is bubbling away, tip it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Remember, it’s alive, so the greater respect you show the dough with gently handling, the more it will reward you and the better your loaf will come out. Gently shape the dough into a ball (a well-floured plastic dough scraper really helps here), making sure there is a light coating of flour all over.

  4. Place the shaped dough on a sheet of parchment paper, cover with a damp tea towel and set aside in a warm, cosy place to rest for 1 hour.

  5. Halfway through the resting time, preheat the oven to 230˚C/450˚F/Gas Mark 8 (or as high as it will go). Put a large cast-iron casserole dish with a lid and a heatproof handle into the hot oven for 30 minutes to heat up.

  6. Once the casserole dish is good and hot, carefully take it out of the oven and lift off the lid. Uncover the dough and using the parchment paper, lift and then lower the dough into the heated casserole dish. Using a sharp knife, razor blade or scissors; score the top of the dough with slashes in any pattern you like – one long slash, a cross, a square or even a smiley face.

  7. Pour a couple of tablespoons of water inside the casserole around the dough, replace the lid and put the dish back in the hot oven. Bake for 30 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid to reveal your magnificent loaf and then continue to bake uncovered for a further 10 minutes to get a nice, golden crust or 15 minutes if you like your loaf a bit darker.

  8. Place the loaf on a wire rack and leave to cool for at least 30 minutes. This is the hardest part, but it’s also the most important as the bread keeps cooking after you take it out of the oven.

HOT TIPS


Ballymaloe Favourites at Ballymaloe Cookery School on Wednesday, 14th September.

Ballymaloe Country House and Restaurant has been welcoming guests from all over the world since 1964. Serving fresh, seasonal food from the farm, gardens and local area following Myrtle Allen’s philosophy.

The menu has evolved throughout the years, but even so, there are many classic Ballymaloe dishes that just continue to be favourites – simply too good to forget.

We have chosen a selection of signature dishes from the 60 years of Ballymaloe House menus for you to enjoy cooking at home.


For more information, see



www.cookingisfun.ie

Pam’s Plant and Sweet Treats at Midleton Farmers’ Market Community Stall

Pamela Black, one of our senior tutors here at the Ballymaloe Cookery School will be selling plants and sweet treats next Saturday, 18th June via the Community Stall at Midleton Farmers’ Market from 9am – 1pm. All funds raised will go to the Irish Hospice Foundation. Please pop by if you are visiting the market.

Cork Summer Show

Cork Summer Show is a two-day festival of farming, food and fun returns this year on the 18th and 19th June 2022.

In addition to the food stalls, there are traditional baking and jam making competitions. This year, a yeast and polish style bread has been added along with the traditional soda bread class which is hugely popular. They also have three food classes just for kids (under 16-years of age): Rocky Road, Queen Cakes and My Healthy Lunch Box.

For more information, see www.corksummershow.com

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