Category Archives: video demo

Southern (London) Fried Chicken

south london fried chicken - great food  and a favourite yummy recipe from fanny and brenda

I was feeling a little faint from my recent little bit of calorie counting and it’s at that point  I realised I was in danger of purchasing fast food.  Now most of us live near at least  one purveyor of such edibles but in south London, the choice is very wide, 24/7. This was an emergency – so I made what I thought was on balance a good decision; namely, I knew I was going to cave, but at least I thought if I made it myself, I could mitigate the harm both in terms of what I was swallowing (and who hasn’t done damage control there I ask you?) – and to my reputation in terms of being seen in curlers and Brenda’s stained bed jacket. Long story. Not a good week.

When you factor in the improved quality and taste  – not to mention the cost advantage – it’s well worth a go, particularly once you’ve done it a few times and are “set up” for it. Be warned though, you may find it so addictively good that you regularly exceed the Government’s recommended limits on consumption of “the good stuff”……..

 

INGREDIENTS

4 chicken breasts – each cut into two, 4 thighs, 4 drumsticks -  I had this number as I’d just cut up 2 chickens to use the carcass for stock. This quantity should easily feed around six people.

600ml (around a pint) of buttermilk. I couldn’t get this on the day, so I used sour cream – or could have used creme fraiche or even yoghurt, let down with a bit of water to make it a bit more liquid.

1 onion – finely diced or sliced. You could easily cheat here and use a dessertspoon or so of onion powder. In fact it would probably be better.

1 or 2 cloves garlic – crushed (or, as per the onion above, about a tsp of garlic powder)

Hot chilli sauce – like Tabasco or Encona

About 100g self raising flour – but you can get away with plain if that’s all you have – although half a tsp baking powder added in that case, would be nice.

2 medium eggs (or one extra large one)

splash of milk

good couple of big pinches of salt

around 1 1/2 litres cooking oil – veg, sunflower, peanut, canola etc – your choice.

south london fried chicken - great food  and a favourite yummy recipe from fanny and brenda

(FOR THE SEASONING/SPICE MIX)

2 tsp sea salt
2 1/2 tsp paprika (I used half in half hot- and smoked-)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme

METHOD

Ideally, if you have time and the power to predict 24 hours in advance when you will have a craving, please do feel free to “brine” your chicken pieces overnight. The acid in the dairy tenderises the meat, helps keep it juicy after frying and really works the wondrous spicy flavourings well into the chicken. Because, also, the buttermilk both provides flavour itself to your crispy coating and a means by which your spice mix can stick to the chicken pieces, it’s absolutely fine to do this stage immediately before cooking. The chicken Brenda and I used for the video, had been marinating for 2 days. It’s up to you.

south london fried chicken - great food  and a favourite yummy recipe from fanny and brenda

So, in a medium to large size bowl, pop in your chicken pieces, buttermilk, onion and garlic (slice, dice, or powder – up to you), salt and loads of hot pepper sauce – maybe a third or half a small bottle (I’d say around 50-75ml) It may seem excessive but don’t forget the vast majority will be drained off the chicken pieces. It’s messy, but massage in thoroughly with clean hands and leave while you carry out some of the next stages if you’re cooking immediately – otherwise cover with cling and refrigerate over night.

If expecting to accompany your chicken with some fries (or chips, to us Brits), now might be an idea to make them.  By the way a good tip for those is keeping them in submerged in water (even better if it’s from a just-boiled kettle) with some salt and sugar added – stops them going brown before you’re ready to fry them, draws out some of the water which makes them fry to a crispier state – and if you’ve used boiling water, pre-softens them a bit before frying. Pat dry on kitchen paper before doing so. Or just use frozen bought ones.

south london fried chicken - great food  and a favourite yummy recipe from fanny and brenda

The question of accompaniments aside, now is definitely the time to get your dish of flour ready and make your spicy seasoning mix. If you don’t mind cooking your own “fast food” and enjoy the results (at least more than the offerings from whichever vendors you have previously sourced), to streamline this stage in future, you can always make up a big batch so you have spare mix pre made.. Should last OK for up to 6 months if stored in a cool, dark place in a sealed jar.  It’s Ok to simply mix up all the seasoning ingredients as they are and voila – but I wanted to make sure that the mix ingredients could incorporate thoroughly together/with the flour and stick super-well to the chicken pieces so I put the salt (Maldon sea salt crystals are quite big), cracked pepper, oregano and thyme into my spice grinder and whizzed to a fine powder. A mortar and pestle would do this too.The paprika, cayenne and garlic are already finely ground so even if, like me, you’re wanting a nice even powdery blend, these can be used as they are.

The quantities listed above are about right for the stated amount of chicken so just put the spice mix in a bowl or small oven tray ready for use and, in another dish, beat the egg(s) with a splash of milk, a few more dashes of hot chilli sauce and a few pinches more or garlic powder.

Now put the oil on to heat up on the hob, in a big spacious pot which should ideally allow the 1 1/2 litres of oil to come up to around a third – but definitely not more than half – full. While this is heating up,take the chicken pieces out of their creamy bath and allow to drain on a wire rack. Even on a high flame, it may take up to ten minutes to get to temperature but, depending on the size of your chicken pieces, you may need to fry cooler for longer or hotter for a shorter time – this is both to avoid over-cooking the coating while under-cooking the chicken. Generally, 160C seems to provide a fairly moderate simmer, you definitely don’t want the oil smoking hot and burning everything, If no thermometer to hand, test after about 8 mins with a cube of bread which should just sizzle nicely and go golden brown in about a minute.

So, to get that finger-licking coating, first lightly sprinkle some of the seasoning mix all over the chicken pieces, then add the rest of it to the flour. Now thoroughly dredge the chicken pieces in the  (seasoned) flour, then through the egg mix and then once again back through the flour. This will give you a fabulously crispy carapace to bite through! At this point, all that remains between you and that crunchy, spicy satisfaction is to fry the chicken off. You’ve got this far so do be patient and do therefore fry in batches as there’s no way you’ll be able to fit this much into even a big (4 litre) pot – so have the oven on low (like 60C) and a tray lined with kitchen paper so you can keep the completed batches warm. Lower each piece in carefully using tongs or a slotted spoon – I reckon 3 big pieces or 4-5 smaller pieces max. When the chicken goes in, make sure the flame is turned down to medium low as any higher and it goes too fast. You’re looking for a core temperature of 75C or, in the absence of a food probe, for the juices to run clear – test cut a piece when you think it’s ready and return if there’s any pink juice which comes out. Another helpful hint is that the pieces float to the top when they’re done and the sizzling sounds of the frying has become quite quiet.

PS, As well as making fries, I steamed and buttered a corn on the cob to serve!

south london fried chicken - great food  and a favourite yummy recipe from fanny and brenda

Lemon Drizzle Cake

It is a lovely time of year for enjoying a small slice of cake with a cup of tea in the late afternoon sun. Well, some of us show some restraint. Unfortunately Fanny always helps herself to gargantuan slices and drinks our home made Plum Vodka with hers!!!

lovely tea time lemon drizzle cake by fanny and brenda

Ingredients
225g butter –  softened
225g caster sugar
4 egg plus a yolk if you’re feeling decadent
2 lemons – zest finely grated ( I recommend doing this directly into the mix at the time)
225g self-raising flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
For the drizzle topping
juice of 2 lemons
100g caster sugar

Method

.    Heat oven to 150°C fan.

.    Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add the  eggs one at a time,  mixing through after each one.

.    
Now sift in the flour -  I like to put half in first, mix, then the other half (it helps avoid flour storms…) and the baking powder –  next zest the lemon directly into the bowl, which ensures all the lemon oil (and therefore flavour) gets into the mix –  and combine well.

.    
Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with buttered greaseproof paper,  spoon in the mixture and level out the top.

.    Bake for 50-55 mins until a skewer inserted right into the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice  and the caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a crisp sweet-tangy topping.

.    
Once the cake is completely cool, turn it out of the tin, slice and serve…

lovely tea time lemon drizzle cake by fanny and brenda

Smoked salmon and asparagus creamy pasta

I thought this would be a great moment to introduce a light, but rich and tasty lunch or supper dish.

fanny ad brenda's quick to make salmon and asparagus pasta

With just a few ingredients, most of which will likely be on standby in the fridge anyway, you can prepare this from start to finish in less than 45 minutes. It’s probably only the asparagus you’ll need to pop out for – and speaking of which, this makes a change from serving  this wonderful vegetable as a starter with hollandaise or just butter.

Asides from anything else, we’re currently right in the middle of the English asparagus season so whatever you do, whether it’s part of this recipe or one of your own, do make the most of it. You can get it all year round of course, but I wouldn’t recommend it…… plus I try to do my bit in offsetting Brenda’s vast carbon footprint by avoiding out-of-season pale imitations of the real thing, flown in from Peru.

Ingredients – serves 3-4

340g butter
1 medium onion or shallot – finely diced
1 small glass vermouth/ dry white wine
150g cream cheese/creme fraiche (or mix)
juice ½ lemon
300g asparagus - each spear cut into 3
300g spirali or spaghetti
80g smoked salmon – cut into strips
Olive oil
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
3 tsp lumpfish roe/caviar (optional)
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or dill

Method
Do all your prep first, including snapping the slightly woody end off the asparagus spears. If, like me, you had some quite fat ones, I also gently peel the skin at that end but use  a light touch. The “spear” end should always be left as is. Cut each into about 3 pieces.

Melt the butter in a pan, then fry the  onion/shallot for around 5 mins until softened. Then add the wine or vermouth and and boil to reduce to by half – another few mins.

Meanwhile, pop the kettle on and get a pot ready for the pasta and once the water’s boiled, add to the pot and switch on, making sure it’s well-salted and with a good glug of olive oil. Put the pasta in to cook.

Going back to the onion pan, now stir in the crème fraîche and/or cream cheese season and stir through to get a smooth sauce the consistency of custard. Leave to simmer very gently.

When the pasta is three minutes from being cooked, add the asparagus chunks to the boiling pasta. Mine was quite thin linguine which took 6 minutes, therefore I added the veg only three mins after starting to cook it.

While the pasta and asparagus finish cooking,  squeeze in the lemon juice to the creamy wine sauce and toss through the strips of smoked salmon. The hob should now be switched off completely, with the residual heat being more than enough to warm through the salmon and only very slightly cook it.

Drain the pasta/asparagus through a colander, ensuring about 100ml of the pasta water is retained. Now tong the pasta/asparagus through the sauce, ensuring everything is gently, but thoroughly combined. Add enough pasta water to ensure it stays smooth, glossy and  loose – it’s meant to be a delicate Spring eat, plus no-one likes claggy pasta!

Serve  a few twirls onto warmed bowls garnished with a teaspoon of caviar, if using, and a sprinkle of chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley or dill.

Chilli Chocolate Crunch

chillie chocolate crunch pudding - absolutely delicious from fanny and brenda

It never fails to amaze me that someone like Brenda who as some would say, possesses the most rudimentary of culinary skills, (and others might more correctly if rather less kindly opine that despite the complete lack of any culinary skills),  has an uncanny ability to occasionally turn out something that is not only worth eating, but is downright delicious.

This particular recipe is very simple to make, yet packs a spicy and sophisticated contemporary punch that will impress any dinner guests that step over the threshold. Serve with a little pouring cream, this simple pud will be the subject of admiring conversation for years!

You will see from the appalling  video demonstration that a total lack of skill or discipline does not necessarily get in the way of a successful result so this should give anyone with no experience of cooking at all, some hope. This really is one to enjoy.

Ingredients

100g of 70% dark chocolate
4 free range egg whites
Juice of half a lemon
10g caster sugar
1/4 tsp of chili powder
200g of chocolate digestive biscuits whizzed into crumbs in the blender
25g melted butter


Method

1) Melt the chocolate in a double boiler on the hob
2) Put the biscuits in the blender and whizz until finely crumbed
3) Melt butter in a pan
4) Pour crumbs in the pan, stir into the butter and add the quarter teaspoon of chilli powder
5) Take about 5 ramekin dishes and grease up with butter
6) Cut discs out of greaseproof paper the same radius as the ramekins and place them in the bottom of the ramekins
7) Whisk the egg whites
8) Add the lemon juice to the egg whites, and whisk the combination until you have stiff peaks
9) Add the chocolate by combining and mix in well
10) Taste the mixture – if sugar is necessary add some to your taste
11) Add shallow layer of biscuit crumbs to the ramekins
12) Add chocolate mousse mixture
13) Sprinkle over the rest of the crumb mixture on the mousse mixtures and pat down
14) Place in fridge to chill for two hours
15) To serve, remove from fridge, and cut round the perimeter of each chocolate crunch in the ramekins
16) Turn upside down and they will release easily.
17) Serve with fine dusting of chilli powder, and some cream.

chillie chocolate crunch pudding - absolutely delicious from fanny and brenda

Fanny’s Fantastic Fish and Chips

Ingredients

for the mushy peas

350ml chicken stock
100g green lentils
100g frozen peas
small onion finely chopped
bay leaf
pinch of asafoetida
juice of a lime
1 green chilli finely sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint

the fish

750g cod or haddock fillets

for the marinade for the fish

thumb of fresh ginger – finely minced
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp chilli powder

for the batter

200g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
300ml lager or light beer
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

plus a few tablespoons of flour to dust the fish – plain or self raising.

1kg King Edwards pototoes or any other “good chippers”

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

METHOD

Start by getting your mushy peas on as the lentils take an hour to cook – this is perfect as it gives you time to prepare the herbs that will go into the dish shortly before it’s ready – and will also give you time to make the marinade for the fish and to actually let it marinade! And of course, deal with the crux of the whole assemblage which is the spiced batter.

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

Simply set your chicken stock to heat in a pan and add the lentils, chopped onion, bay leaf and asafoetida. Chop the herbs and squeeze the lime ready for later.

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

You can make the chips the day before (or much earlier) – and just have them in the fridge ready for their final fry. Chip the potatoes first, then par boil them (simmer for no longer than 8 minutes in well salted water) – drain and cool on a tray lined with kitchen paper or clean tea towels. Then, when cold, fry at 130°c for 8 mins or so so that they’re getting really soft but should be taking on virtually no colour. Again, turn out onto a lined tray and cool.

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

They’re now ready for their final stage which is to fry them in really hot oil (190°c) for 5 mins or until they’re sizzling and golden. These can be kept warm for the final 15 mins while the mushy peas are completed and the fish fried.

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

Turning to the marinade for the fish, simply combine the minced fresh ginger and garlic with the chilli powder and then turn the pieces of fish gently through it, cover in cling film and refrigerate while it marinates.

For the spiced batter, sift the flour and baking powder into a medium sized bowl and start to add the liquid – undoubtedly beer adds a richness and lightness but you can of course use water – or, as I mentioned in the clip on youtube, fizzy water. The first couple of tablespoons should be worked in with a fork which will start to make a paste, which, when more is added, will gradually let down in consistency until you end up with what should be a nice thick, but not gloopy, batter. When this stage is reached, you simply tip in the spice mix and whisk together till combined. Various theories exist which extol the virtues of allowing the batter to “mature” but I challenge anyone to taste the difference between fish fried in batter just made – compared to batter made an hour or more prior to use. The main thing is likely to be that any “resting” between making, and use, will give the chance for any lumps to melt away (although never hurts to give the batter a final quick whisk just ahead of coating the fish).

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

Check your lentils which should be soft after about 45 mins, at which point you can add the frozen peas to the pan.

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

Take the marinated fish from the fridge, dust in flour and then dip in the batter. Let the excess drip off for a second or two and plop deftly into the pan of oil which should be at about 190°c (happily the same as the chips’ final fry). Although I was seen putting about five or six pieces into the oil (again, the Youtube clip exists as evidence!), this was probably too many as you really need to maintain that very high temperature all the way through – and since most people’s hobs don’t have gas rings with the capacity of a Harrier on full reheat (if only! My imagination pops at what I could do to Brenda!), this will realistically mean doing two or three at a time and keeping your earlier ones warm in the oven along with the chips.

Just before serving, stir the chopped herbs and lime juice through the lentil/peas mix and season.
I’m not that keen on “twists” normally – but this is truly delightful.

fanny's fantastic fish & chips as seen on fannyandbrenda.com

Fanny and Brenda return to youtube

fanny and brenda's cocktail special starts with a marge simpson!

Fanny and Brenda are back and making videos, showing how to get the best out of food and drink. This week it’s the Marge Simpson cocktail – so-called because it alludes to Brenda’s currently blue hair, taken by advice from a stylist who was evidently having a joke. The cocktail is a wonderful violet and vodka based surprise, which Brenda wastes no time getting down her throat!

fanny and brenda's cocktail special starts with a marge simpson!

Fanny and Brenda’s Cocktail Hour

Fanny’s Scurrilous Fish Pie

Last year when we were staying with the ghastly Mrs Clam, Fanny cooked a delicious fish pie and here is the recipe with the video demo. This is fabulous comfort food and good for a supper dish with family and friends. You won’t have any leftovers!

fanny's scurrilous fish pie

INGREDIENTS – Serves 6

250g haddock

300g lightly smoked Scottish salmon

225g raw prawns – deveined

medium size (usually 200g) bag of fresh spinach

2 medium onions – peeled and cut into quarters

6 free range eggs

1 litre full cream milk

4 bay leaves

8 cloves

tspn black peppercorns

several sprigs lemon thyme

small bunch parsley

200g frozen peas

bunch of chives

1 large lemon

50ml Vermouth (white, extra dry – not that I would believe any of our gorgeous viewers would have even thought to use the sweet red one at the back of granny’s cocktail chest!)

2 heaped dstsp of flour

sea salt

fresh cracked black pepper

1.5kg potatoes

small bunch (about 4) spring onions – finely sliced, white parts and green

100ml full fat creme fraiche

200g Gruyere cheese, finely grated

METHOD

1) Start by peeling the potatoes and halving any larger ones – simmer in salted water for 25 mins until really tender. Meanwhile……

….2) Boil a full kettle of water

3) Place the haddock and salmon in a deep wide frying pan – there is no need to cut the fish in pieces or skin it. Stud the onion quarters with 2 cloves each and put these in with the fish, along with the bay leaves, parsley and lemon thyme, nestling the herbs in and amongst. Pour over the milk and sprinkle the peppercorns on. Simmer for 8 mins or so until the fish is just cooked – just translucent and flaky. Leave to cool and infuse.

4) Put the spinach in a colander and pour over the boiling water – set to one side to drain

5) Check the potatoes are done, drain and return to pan to steam dry for a few minutes then mash and add 100g butter, the creme fraiche, Gruyere (reserving about a quarter of it), spring onions and salt and pepper. If it feels too stiff, loosen slightly with a little milk but you don’t want a puree either, as this will tend to cause the mash to sink into the filling below once in situ as the crowning of this fabulous pie.

6) Melt 50g butter in a small jug by microwaving for 40 seconds and switch on the oven to 170C(fan assisted) now

fanny's scurrilous fish pie

7) if using individual pots, which I highly recommend, arrange a ring of wilted spinach around the bottom of each one, pour a little of the melted butter inside the spinach ring then crack an egg onto the buttered space inside the spinach ring.

8) Using a slotted spoon, remove the fish from the by-now fragrant cooking milk, take the skin off any pieces which have it and flake the fish fillets evenly into the pots, over the spinach/egg on the bottom. You can now arrange the prawns evenly amongst the pots, along with the peas.

fanny's scurrilous fish pie

9) In a medium size saucepan, melt 25g butter until it’s foaming then add your flour and whisk on a medium heat to make a roux – it should turn no darker than dark golden. Brown means burnt so avoid this. Then strain the cooking milk/herbs mix through a sieve directly into the roux and whisk quickly to ensure a smooth sauce. As the milk will still be hot, or at least quite warm, it should take no time to come up to the boil. Whisk most, if not all the time while continuing to boil for about 5 mins. The consistency you want is a bit thicker than double cream. Add the juice of the lemon and the vermouth, snip in the chives, season well with salt and fresh cracked black pepper and lastly whisk in the remaining 25g butter for the final, glossy touch to this delicious and satisfying but professional and nutritious pie

fanny's scurrilous fish pie

10) Now pour the sauce over the pots which should JUST submerge the ingredients you’ve already put in.

11) Spoon over the mash direct onto the mix in the pots and top with a sprinkle of the remaining Gruyere (and I cheated for even more “mmmmm” factor by further topping with a couple of teaspoons of fine, home-made breadcrumbs and a few small dots of butter)

12) Place in the oven and bake for 20 mins until there’s a golden crust and some of the sauce is bubbling artistically over the side – you might want to cover the baking sheet in tinfoil as you know my motto of “save the washing up”.

13) Serve still in their own pots to your salivating guests, with naked pride……..as nothing else is needed. Apart from a lovely glass of Chablis or citrussy Muscadet…

fanny's scurrilous fish pie

Potted Shrimps

potted shrimps recipe from fanny and brenda

We don’t often say this, largely because we think a lot of quick recipes simply aren’t up to scratch, but this one can be done in a trice and is absolutely delicious. Please see the video which shows that with five ingredients and seasoning, you can have this recipe ready to chill before serving within 15 minutes.

Ingredients

250g butter
2 bay leaves
Half a lemon
Pinch or two cayenne pepper
(about 200g) Brown shrimps (we had enough for 5 ramekins)

Method

Melt butter in pan with a pinch or two of cayenne pepper and bay leaves

Place brown shrimps in ramekins

Pat down and add butter to submerge the shrimps

Decorate with parsley leaf on each ramekin

Place in fridge to chill

Preview of our visit to Mrs Clam, Brighton’s ghastliest landlady

fanny klunge arrives at mrs clams in brighton slightly intoxicated ready to start filming fanny and brenda

Here we have the preview to our visit to Mrs Clam, the ghastliest landlady in Brighton. I had to drive to Brighton, while Fanny sat in the back being chauffeured. Trouble is she can’t stand my driving (she’s an appalling passenger), so to overcome the problem Fanny hit the bottle. This caused me concern so obviously I drove at higher speeds than would be desirable at any other time, and the faster I drove the more Fanny drank! This was a disastrous start to filming, but after we arrived (and luckily for all of us) I remained unmoved and just yelled viciously at Fanny to sober up. Fanny, lying on the floor while being eyeballed by me sinisterly was understandably, able to sober up remarkably quickly…

Christmas Cake – Part 4- the icing

fanny and brenda icing the christmas cake recipe

So we come to the ultimate episode in the making of our Christmas Cake which started back in October.

Take the cake out of its storage. The marzipan layer should be quite dry, and if you want why not brush it with a little brandy like we did!

Ingredients

3 egg whites
500g icing sugar
1 tspn of glycerine

Method

We did the icing in two parts.

Mix the egg whites with the icing sugar. The sugar is added a little at a time and keep adding until it’s all mixed in. Then whisk it up until it has stiff peaks. Stir in the glycerine.

Now put half of the mixture in a mixing bowl and cover with clingfilm. Put it in the fridge.

Now put the remaining half on the cake and work it round the top and sides with a spatula.

Try and make a neater job of it than Fanny.

Day 2: Repeat the process and leave to dry for 24 hours. Then decorate according to taste!

Please see our video because if Fanny can ice a cake you can!!