Category Archives: fish

>Thornbridge Italia


Thornbridge’s Italia was a beer that I’d been waiting for with particular interest; I’m a big fan of Lager – when done right, good Lager can be so good. But we don’t get a lot of that good stuff over here. Italia (4.8%abv) is the result of a collaboration with Maurizio Folli of Birrificio Italiano; properly lagered, and is loaded with Hallertau Northern Brewer, Perle and Spalter Select hops.

But is it any good? I bought this the same weekend as Sharp’s Monsieur Rock, but held off drinking them both in the same session – I feared they would be too alike. I was quite wrong – Italia is unashamedly Lager; Uber-Pale, good carbonation, and meant to be served chilled. There’s the malty, biscuity backbone that I was hoping for; a creamy, malted-milk heart. On top of that there’s Lime and Lemon, and I actually thought the Lime-zest nose got more intense as the pint wore on. It’s citrus all the way, but not too sweet. I liked it a lot, but I don’t think I could drink a lot of it – it’s not a session beer; the flavours are too big. But that’s not a bad thing.

In fact, it formed part of a very enjoyable meal – chunks of Coley, dredged in flour, paprika and pepper, deep fried until golden and served with a Garlic and Lime mayo. Perfect finger-food, and accompanied by a great, sharp, citrussy beer. Hang on – Lager. Watch out for it on keg at various pubs around the country.

>Fish And Derks


Ok – not something I do often – but this is pretty much non-beer related post. This story in The Sun yesterday really brought a smile to my face, however, so I thought I would share. Plus, I know that all of you who read and comment on TGS are foodies as well as…well, beeries. People of taste, basically…

Anyway, the gist of it is that some boffins have surmised that the humble dish of Fish and Chips is keeping regional language dialects alive. Mundane? No, I don’t think so, and neither do the boffins at Leeds University and The British Library, who are all in hand-wringing agreement.

I know there’s a lot of regional differences in how we all dispatch an order of Fish and Chips, but I didn’t know there was this many. I’ve had plenty of arguments with mates (non-Yorkshire-born mates, I might add) who argue that ‘Scraps are weird‘ or that a Breadcake is, in fact, a Barm (or possibly even a Stottie). This article is pure pub banter, as we argue over whose term is best – or even who does the best. Again; mundane? Well, that’s what passionate people do.

Anyway, Fish and Chips does link in with beer. Although personally I prefer a cup of tea with mine when at home, Fish and Chips is usually the first on any self-respecting Gastropubs’ menu – the epitome of hearty fare, sitting alongside such chalkboard staples as Pie or Sausages and Mash – although usually encased in a beer batter, of course. It’s comfort food – and not a dish to be taken lightly, as I found out when I managed to bend the ear of Peter Scott of Bretts in Headingley.
Not only did the man make us some of the finest Fish and Derks (see what I did there) I’d tasted in a while, he took me round the kitchen and explained his secrets – from what fish to use and where from, to the exact temperature of the fat used to fry the fish. This lively man was happy to talk fish and chips all night, and a great night it was.

Oh – and before you ask – I do refer to Fish and Chips as ‘Fish and Derks’ – although not when ordering. I’ve never called them ‘Nerks’ . It’s just a bit of eye contact and a firm exclamation of ‘Once’ or ‘Twice’ to be heard over the din of the fryers. Mushy Peas? Optional, for me. I do, however, find it hard to believe that only 27% of ‘Londoners’ have tried a chip butty. Really? I think some ‘Londoners’ are keeping up appearances there – surely?

>A Good Weekend

>Yeah, in general. A Good Weekend. Firstly, Leeds United finally won a game and – more importantly – kept a clean sheet away at Brighton. Cue a collective bout of fist-pumping (oo-er!) and fratboy style high-fives in the household.
As if that wasn’t enough, we’d decided to treat ourselves to a Tapas supper at our Mediterranean joint of choice, Dos Amigos. And it didn’t disappoint – although it never does. Deep-fried whitebait dunked in pungent Aioli, Salt-Cod Croqetas, Bread getting soggier by the second due the amount of crushed tomato and garlic smeared on top, a luscious ragu of slow-cooked, rosemary-tinted pork belly, prawns in a chili sauce…the dishes just kept coming. /all washed down with a few pints of draught Cruzcampo, a lager I never tire of. The Best tapas in Leeds, and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
Waking up this morning with that still in mind, I slung a bottle of Otter Bright in the fridge to chill to obscene levels (something I wouldn’t ordinarily do) whilst I whipped up a spanish-inspired fish stew.
In a pan went one tin of plum tomatoes, which I simmered down with a pinch of salt, some chili flakes, a massive splash of olive oil, a pinch of sugar and a squirt of tomato puree. Next, a small fillet of Cod (any firm white fish will do: I’ve made this with Monkfish and got good results) was chopped and added to the sauce to cook. In a separate pan I then lightly sauteed some sliced chorizo sausage – just enough to leach out that lovely, saffrony pork fat – then dumped the whole pan into the stew along with a handful of chopped, pitted black olives. Simmer all together for five minutes and serve in a suitably rustic bowl with warm bread and Tabasco to taste.

The Otter Bright chilled down well, and added an inoffensive fruity coolness to the rich, hot stew. and what do you know – as we were eating, the sun came out. Lovely.
Dos Amigos
68/70 Abbey Road, Kirkstall,
Leeds, LS5 3JG. Telephone: 01484 720338

I did try to take some pictures of the food at Amigo’s but for those who don’t know it, it’s very dark and very cosy. I didn’t feel like taking a flash to ruin the atmos for the sake of the blog. You’ll just have to go to find out what it’s like!

>Tikka-Spiced Fish…Caught Cheating

Although the mere fact that you, dear reader, are reading TGS tells me you have a healthy interest in cooking from scratch – there comes along, every once in a while, a ready-made sauce or stock or similar that surprises you and reassures that if ‘cheating’ is needed, then at least it can be done well.
As part of a christmas hamper, I ended up with a jar of Cottage Delight’s Tikka Masala sauce; and it provided a great solution for a busy afternoon. As you will see, some prep is still needed in the recipe that I ended up throwing together, but the need for major legwork was certainly taken away by using the sauce.
Apologies to John – This will be my last fish-based post for a while, i promise!)

Tikka-Spiced Fish (Serves Two)

You will need

1 Large Fillet of Whitby Cod
1 Pepper, chopped
1 Onion, sliced
1/2lb of Cherry Toms
1 medium Courgette, sliced
1 Jar of Cottage Delight Tikka Masala Sauce
Rub –
1tsb of grated ginger
3 large cloves garlic, mashed
2 tsps veg or corn Oil
2 tsps Tomato Puree
pinch of fenugreek
pinch of garam or gujarati masala
large pinch of chilli flakes (to your liking)
1 pinch of Panch Phoran (onion seeds, fennel seeds, mustard seeds)

Preheat the oven to 180c.
1. First, make the rub. combine all ingredients above in a ramekin and you’ll end up with a pungent paste. smear this on your fish, and leave to marinate slightly while:
2. You gently saute the veg in a large pan. Use Olive Oil for this, and season with black pepper once golden. Don’t use salt – it’ll dry out the toms and courgette.
3. In a a large dish, place your soft, golden veg and lie your marinated fish on top.
4. Simply pour the sauce over the top, and bake for about 30-40 minutes.

As you can see, despite a long ingredients list, its not that complicated. The end result tastes great; creamy and tomatoey with a zingy kick beneath the surface. All you’re doing really is pre-cooking and pre-marinating the fish to give a little extra flavour, and finishing in the oven. We served this with home-made flatbreads, but obviously rice or naan would be perfect also.
As for beer, instead of opting for an eastern beer I chose Bitburger – although not one of my favourite tipples, I wanted a clean, dry pils to counter the heat but with a little more body-and it certainly did the trick.

So there you go. A cheat’s success. It’s certainly made me realise that there are some great products out there that certainly warrant a position in your storecupboard.

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