Recipes from food stylist Nicolas Ghirlando: Fish fingers to Friday nights.

Fritter the days away

Now I’m an adult (at least physically and legally) I can choose to eat cold, soggy cheeseburgers and limp fries for breakfast in a bowling alley on a Saturday morning if I like. I didn’t really like, but seeing as the 12 children we were taking out for Noah and Maya’s birthday party were demolishing an early lunch, I thought it only polite to go down with the ship and tuck in myself.

And the other night, exhausted from a full day of more birthday activities and lunch with grandparents, as the mature grown-ups we are, we decided to eat crisps for supper. I’m still thirsty now. Although in my defence, I did make houmous and gucamole from scratch to dip them into (ooh, get me). So the level of gastronomy around these parts hasn’t been outstanding recently.

I made a frankly quite strange Thai green curry the other night; I put too many bananas in the banana bread I made, turning it into hot banana purée cake which was a mistake I won’t be repeating, even though it repeated on us for a while; the chicken, mushroom and natural yoghurt rice dish I made on Saturday was as if a 1980s robot was in charge of the cooking. Everything has been done in a hurry or in desperation. Apart from the kebabs we had, but then it isn’t that tricky to cover cubes of chicken in spices and oil, stick them on a skewer with red onion and courgette cubes and char them on the grill, even if you can barely see straight.

The stand out dish for me this week was these hot and quick sweetcorn fritters. I used some of the green curry paste I had left over in the mix and we dipped them in Sriracha rather than the more traditional sweet chilli sauce, which I would have preferred. But having run out of it a while ago, and developing a hate-up against it, haven’t replaced. It has been over-used. Rather like tinned sweetcorn, which to me is over-used if you open it.

The two  legitimate uses I can think of for it are as a pencil pot and for making these fritters. I really am struggling to think of another that isn’t disgusting. I suppose sweetcorn relish is fairly acceptable in a burger occasionally if you have a gun pointed at your head and have no choice. Even then I’d possibly rather watch mixed doubles tennis, that’s how much I dislike it.

We keep a couple of tins in the cupboard for emergency use with the children (to throw at them when they won’t get into bed). But even they find it a little sweet and sickly. Not even the addition of butter, which normally makes everything better, really improves it. So that leaves the big guns: deep-frying. The answer to all our problems.

This makes a good plateful, and as PT Barnum once said (or perhaps it was Walt Disney) “Wenn’s am schönsten ist, soll man gehen.”

Ingredients
1 tin of sweetcorn
1 egg
2tbsp plain flour
1tbsp cornflour
1/2tsp baking powder
1 spring onion
1tbsp Thai green curry paste (if you have any)
1 chopped red birdseye chilli
A splash of water to make a thick batter
A handful of fresh curly parsley leaves, shredded

Rapeseed oil or groundnut oil to deep fry
Salt, limes, red onion, cucumber, parsley or coriander and Sriracha or sweet chilli sauce to serve

Method
Blitz together all the ingredients (apart from the oil and the serving extras) until you have a fairly thick and creamy batter. Try not to blitz the corn too much, half puréed and half whole is ideal.
Heat the oil in a deep-fat fryer or heavy saucepan (about half way up if you’re doing it in a pan) to 180c and drop a tablespoon full of the batter at a time into the hot oil. Cook in batches, don’t overcrowd the pan. It won’t be pleasant, more like a sloppy mess.
Cook until golden, flipping in the oil once.
Drain on kitchen paper and continue until you’ve used all the mixture.
Serve sprinkled with the extras, a good squeeze of lime juice is essential. I like mine with a lot of chilli heat too, but that’s up to you of course.

2 Responses to “Fritter the days away”

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