Whenever I go to visit my dad in Manchester, I always make a point of going to the local chip shop. It has fantastic memories for me because when me and my three younger brothers were little boys, the Big Meal Of The Week was Friday – when our mum didn’t do the cooking and we could feast on Holland’s Meat Pies, chips, mushy peas and curry sauce from the chippy.
Partly this was because our mum was such an appalling cook. She’s boiled cabbage until it was a watery soup and even heated up beans until they became bullets.
So Friday was a blessed relief from the nightly ordeal of negotiating the Old Lady’s culinary abominations.
To be fair, she did have four boys and three jobs to keep her occupied, so rustling up a Delia or a Fanny wasn’t her top priority.
Anyway, when I go back home, the chippy is where I head. Sometimes this is because my dad has forgotten that I’m visiting so also forgets to buy any food (well, he is 75). But mainly it’s because of the memories it brings back.
But here’s the rub: it invariably disappoints, even after a skinful of beer. The chips are so heavy with fat they are almost impossible to swallow; the pies are nothing like I remember them to be; the peas are as sloppy as a swamp; and the curry sauce tastes like it’s had a kilo of raw flour added to it.
So what’s a housedad to do? Why, make my own, of course.
This recipe for chicken, chips, mushy peas and curry sauce is really a compilation of my greatest hits: Japanese panko-breaded chicken goujons, thrive-cooked chips and divine katsu curry sauce. Click on the highlighted links for the recipes. The mushy peas are just petit pois, bashed up with a masher and a little butter.
I served this to my wife in midweek with a little trepidation. She’s become rather fond of something more adventurous when she gets home from work. Spoilt, see. But she declared this sensational: one of the best things I’ve ever cooked.
Presumably because, even though we live in the south, she is, like me, a northerner.
Here are the steps, in pictures. For the detailed recipes, click on the links above.