After my Nando’s chicken success (check it out here), I thought I’d try my hand at more takeaway-style meals, but without the hefty price tag. As I’m sure I’ll find, there’s nothing much more tempting than a quick, hassle-free takeaway, especially after a hard day’s (attempted) work.
However, not only are takeaways fairly expensive, they are pretty unhealthy too (sigh). So I thought I’d make my own fish and chips – swapping the copious batter for breadcrumbs – to see if a healthier option would leave me overall more satisfied.
Ingredients to serve four:
- 4 skinless boneless cod fillets – my mum bought these from Lidl for around £4/£5 in total, however they are no longer on offer and I’m not sure how much they normally cost. The next best thing would be Sainsbury’s Boneless Cod Fillets which cost £6.60 for 2 packets (4 portions). Tesco’s fresh cod is more expensive and I wouldn’t recommend going down any frozen routes as fresh is a lot nicer and the price difference is negligible
- One egg (roughly £0.15, Tesco)
- One lemon (£0.40, Tesco)
- 3 slices of slightly stale white bread (roughly £0.20, Tesco)
- Broccoli (£0.49, Tesco)
- Bag of potatoes – I chose Maris Piper as they’re meant to be good for chips (£2, Tesco)
Apart from the fish and probably the lemon, most of the ingredients you may already have in the kitchen somewhere. And if not, bread and eggs are the type of useful foods that you should stock up on anyway (who doesn’t love boiled egg and soldiers…?)
- Start by making the breadcrumbs. The easiest way to make them is by using a food-processor, however this isn’t very student-budget friendly and I know I won’t have one in my student house either, so a grater works just as well.
- Crack an egg into a bowl and lightly whisk it. Next is the fun part: take a piece of fish, dip it into the egg, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it’s nicely covered. Then place onto a greased baking dish. To add flavour squeeze a little lemon on top, along with a sprinkle of dried parsley if you have it, and dot with a blob of butter. Repeat with all of the pieces of fish.
- Preheat the oven to gas mark 8 and scrub the potatoes with a potato brush under some running water. The good thing about potato wedges – which is what we’re going to make – is that you keep their skin on, which vastly reduces preparation time, and also makes them look more rustic. Cut the potatoes in half, and then slice each half into roughly 4 pieces, creating wedges. Allow roughly 1 medium potato per person. When they are all cut up place them in a large baking tray. Drizzle roughly a tablespoon of olive oil over them, along with salt and pepper and mix it all together with your hands – this step is a little messy. You could also add some paprika, or other spices if you fancy it. When the wedges are all covered, lay them out neatly so they are hardly touching one another. This may seem like an unnecessary step, but they do need to be separated if you want them to get crispy.
- Place the wedges on the top shelf of your oven and start the timer for roughly 35 minutes. Depending on how hot your oven is, they make take more or less time to cook. The fish will take around 20 minutes.
- After the wedges have been cooking for around 15 minutes, open the oven to check on them. They should still be fairly pale at this stage, so carefully turn each one over, so they can cook on the other side. Take the fish and place it on the next shelf down, adjusting the timer so that it says 20 minutes.
- When there are roughly 8 minutes to go, prepare the broccoli, or other vegetable of your choice. A whole broccoli is about the right amount for four people. Cut it into small florets and rinse under the tap. Start boiling a small amount of water in a saucepan with a vegetable steamer in, and when there are 5 minutes remaining, put the broccoli in, with the lid on, to steam.
- When the timer is up check on the fish and wedges in the oven. The fish should be a light golden brown, and the wedges a bit darker, so leave them in for another few minutes if necessary. If the broccoli is done – taste a little piece – serve it up first. When you’re happy with it all, serve and enjoy! I think it’s nice to serve it with the remaining lemon to squeeze onto the fish.
Total cooking time: roughly 35/40 minutes
Preparation time: roughly 15/20 minutes. The good thing about this meal is you can prepare the fish in the morning and leave it in the fridge with some cling film on until you need it in the evening. This makes the meal almost as easy as a takeaway 🙂
Price per portion: around £2.46 (if you bought the cod from Sainsbury’s)
I’m really happy with the way the meal turned out, the wedges were lovely and crispy and eating fresh fish is really good for you. I’d love to hear your feedback and thoughts in the comments!