Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Vinegar – Home Cooked Fish and Chips and strawberries

Who doesn’t use vinegar in their kitchen and in cooking?

I use vinegar for many things and there are many different vinegars available to buy…When I was shopping last week for vinegar at my local shop I was looking at the few different types they had …all white vinegar or rice vinegar as it is a very local shop and typically Thai so if I want Balsamic vinegar or Apple cider vinegar then I have to find a shop which imports these or buy them on-line.

Most of the labels here are in Thai with a few English words on some labels so the words artificial vinegar stood out like a sore thumb and most of you know me by now and needless to say I bypassed that one… But it set me thinking…Dangerous I know ha-ha

This is what I discovered:-

“Artificial vinegar” is acetic acid that is made by a chemical process.

“Natural vinegar” is acetic acid that is made in a biological process using the Acetobacter aceti bacteria. If the “natural vinegar” is distilled, it is very difficult to tell the difference between it and the “artificial vinegar.”

No great shakes then it seems but suspicious Annie here believes…Not much…lol. So I will not be buying it…

When I was a child, and much has changed in the culinary world since then, all my mother used and probably still does was Sarsons Malt Vinegar, but I will say that anything else on a portion of good English Fish and chips is sacrilege of the highest order.

Home Cooked Fish and Chips.

I do miss Fish & Chips and it’s not something we ate often when in the UK but as we haven’t had it for at least 6 years;……..well I lie… we have had it but you can’t get a lovely piece of Cod or Skate here so it’s not the same.

So I give you Fish & Chips….UK style with peas.

Ingredients for 4 servings.

800gm potatoes scrubbed and cut into chips or peeled and cut into chips.

Olive oil to cook and to coat. I more often than not also add some fresh rosemary sprigs.

For the Fish:

• 650 gm approx of your favourite fish. Cut into 4.
• 50gm flour plus 1 tsp
• 50gm corn flour
• 1 egg white
• 125ml ice cold sparkling water
• 600ml oil for frying
• Lemon wedges for garnish.

Let’s Cook!

Cut your chips and parboil. Drain, shake lightly and I put a tea towel over the pan to absorb the steam.

Heat your oven to 220 fan/ 200, gas mark7

Put baking tin with Olive oil in the oven and heat for 8-10 mins.

Meanwhile, put the chips into a bowl and coat with some more olive oil using your hands to turn and coat the potatoes. At this point add Rosemary or Sage if using.

When the oil is hot add the chips in a single layer. Bake 10 mins and turn, bake 5 mins and turn, repeat this process until the chips are nice and crispy. Drain on kitchen paper.

Fish…Pat the fillets dry with a paper towel. Put 1 tsp flour on a plate and coat the fish with the flour.

Heat your oil to 200c.

Meanwhile, mix the flour, corn flour, salt and pepper. whisk the egg white. Pour the sparkling water into the flours whisking all the time. Lastly, add the egg white still whisking but being careful not to whisk out all the bubbles…Bubbles make nice light, crispy batter. A balloon whisk is good to use to keep the bubbles. You want a bubbly batter, not a smooth batter.

Dip your floured fillets into the batter. Dip and drain and with a slotted spoon and carefully put into the hot oil. Fry 2 fillets at a time making sure you get your oil back up to the required heat or you will have soggy batter.

The heat must stay a constant 200c.

Fry for 5-6 minutes, turn fish and cook until the batter is crisp and golden, drain and repeat with your other 2 fillets.

  • Serve on plates with the chips and peas.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges.
  • Serve with mayo or my favourite tartar (caper) sauce and of course malt vinegar for your chips.


Now you can cook with many different vinegars and I think everyone has their favourites…What is yours???

White vinegar I use for pickling generally mixed with apple cider vinegar but for actual cooking white vinegar doesn’t impart flavour a nice wine vinegar or apple vinegar gives you the acid that lifts a dish plus depending on what was used in the making of the vinegar some extra flavours as well.

Choose cooking vinegars with lots of colours, lots of flavours and also ideally with no sulphates or added colours…keep it natural. The best way is to know your producer, know how they make the vinegar and where they source the alcohol from…

What food tastes nicer with vinegar???

• Salad dressings
• Tangy vinegar coleslaw
• Sea Salt and kale chips
• Apple cider vinegar Beef Jerky
• Strawberries and asparagus with balsamic vinegar
• Green beans with walnuts and balsamic

Green beans with walnuts are a family favourite here and balsamic vinegar just lifts it to a new level.

I just cook some walnuts with a little oil in the oven for about 5 mins while my green beans are cooking.

I then lightly brown a few cloves of chopped garlic and once the beans are drained I just add the garlic and walnuts, season with a little sea salt and drizzle with some balsamic vinegar.

Lovely and quick to do and you can make one portion or 6 portions it just lifts those beans to a new level.

More Vinegars.. and Strawberries

I tend to use rice vinegar, apple cider vinegar, white distilled vinegar, and balsamic I know you can get red and white wine vinegars and also champagne vinegar which I would love to try maybe one day…

In the meantime … Shrubs…Have you heard of them… They are fruit or vegetable vinegars… I hadn’t until about 2 years ago and one of my friends makes quite a lot of these and they are very nice…

This is her recipe which she gifted to me and I must say I was very pleased to receive with a sample…Hic

Strawberries are at the height of their season here and are very nice..I love the small ones as they have a much nicer taste than the larger strawberries.


• The zest from 2 organic lemons
• 1 cup of sugar
• 2 cups of strawberries hulled and quarter if big I use very small ones.
• 30 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
• 1 cup of naturally brewed apple cider vinegar…I use Cornwall’s brewed in Australia

Let’s Cook! ( Brew)

Remove the peel from the lemons, making sure you get none of the white pith…I have a lovely little zester which just takes the peel in lovely strips. Place the peel in a medium bowl and cover with the sugar.

Press the peel firmly into the sugar for about five minutes, using a pestle, muddling stick or large wooden spoon.

Cover the mixture with plastic wrap and set aside for at least one hour until the sugar looks damp and slightly yellow from the lemon oil.

Then remove the peel from the sugar into a smaller bowl removing as much of the sugar as you can keep to one side.

Add the strawberries and the black pepper to the sugar and stir to combine.

Cover and put in the fridge, leave for about 2 hours the mixture should then be quite juicy so remove from the fridge and muddle the strawberries to extract more of their juice.

Pour the vinegar into the bowl containing the reserved lemon peel gently stir to remove the remainder of the sugar and then remove the zest and discard. Pour the vinegar over the strawberries and stir to combine.

Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for 2 days.

After 2 days strain the mixture through a fine sieve lined with cheese cloth or muslin, squeeze the fruit gently through the cloth to extract all the juice and then discard the fruit mix.

Transfer your liquid into a sterilised bottle with a close fitting lid and store in the fridge for 1 week.

Before serving shake the bottle and pour 2 tbsp or more to taste into a glass and top up with ice and sparkling mineral water and just because you can… a little dash or two of vodka or gin.

I will also mention that the shrub will keep in the fridge for about 6 months… Mine don’t!

Thank you for reading this post and if you have some lovely recipes using vinegar then please share with us…

Until next week and being Easter this weekend I hope you are all preparing your Hot cross buns I know I am going to be making some …No Easter Eggs in this house the closest I get is a hot cross bun…

Find the other Food Column Posts here:

I shall be looking at vinegar in a whole new light after Carol’s post.. and please let us know your tips and hints about using or making vinegar.

About Carol Taylor

Enjoying life in The Land Of Smiles I am having so much fun researching, finding new, authentic recipes both Thai and International to share with you. New recipes gleaned from those who I have met on my travels or are just passing through and stopped for a while. I hope you enjoy them.

I love shopping at the local markets, finding fresh, natural ingredients, new strange fruits and vegetables ones I have never seen or cooked with. I am generally the only European person and attract much attention and I love to try what I am offered and when I smile and say Aroy or Saab as it is here in the north I am met with much smiling.

Some of my recipes may not be in line with traditional ingredients and methods of cooking but are recipes I know and have become to love and maybe if you dare to try you will too. You will always get more than just a recipe from me as I love to research and find out what other properties the ingredients I use have to improve our health and wellbeing.

Exciting for me hence the title of my blog, Retired No One Told Me! I am having a wonderful ride and don’t want to get off, so if you wish to follow me on my adventures, then welcome! I hope you enjoy the ride also and if it encourages you to take a step into the unknown or untried, you know you want to…….Then, I will be happy!

Carol is a contributor to the Phuket Island Writers Anthology:

Connect to Carol

New additional Blog:


If you have missed previous posts in the Cook from Scratch series you can find them here:

Looking forward to your comments and it would be great if you could hit a few share buttons..thanks Sally

38 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Vinegar – Home Cooked Fish and Chips and strawberries

  1. Carol have you tried Basa (River Cobbler) for fish and chips. It is a white fish from the river systems in SE Asia and is used a lot now in the UK like cod?

    Liked by 2 people

    • In a word, Paul…No!…I have never heard of it. I am now going to speak to my friend Mr Google and see what I can find out. Thank you, Paul I love hearing about something new… It may be called something here…Laters 🙂 xx

      Liked by 2 people

      • Ahhhh yes found it…Called pangasius or panga here it used to be nice and that is the fish used in my photo…but it is now highly farmed here and gel-like not nice at all so I no longer use it…It is a product of aggressive farming which is such a shame as unfarmed it was a nice fish. But thank you, Paul 🙂 xx

        Liked by 2 people

    • I have done some reading after your advice Carol and they recommend that American cat fish is a much more eco alternative now that we have almost destroyed the cod stocks! from what I remember from a long time ago in Florida cat fish tastes quite nice

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Carol Taylor’s Food Column – Vinegar – The Militant Negro™

  3. Pingback: Carol’s Food: Vinegar. Home Cooked Fish/Chips.  Strawberries. – The Militant Negro™

  4. I hadn’t heard of shrub before – sounds delicious. I imagine it would be good with Prosecco. My granny used to put black pepper on strawberries and sugar on her tomatoes. As a child I thought this was weird – still not sure about sweet tomatoes but I like pepper on strawberries with a few drops of balsamic vinegar.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Orienthailiving and Retired No One Told Me… A weekly update…Fruit shrubs,Mon Ton and Mulberry Crumble. | Retired? No one told me!

  6. Pingback: Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up – Johnny Mathis, Fish & Chips with Coffee, Cafe and Bookstore Spring Showcase and Boxing Cats. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

I would be delighted to receive your feedback (by commenting, you agree to Wordpress collecting your name, email address and URL) Thanks Sally

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.