A new weekly beer + food column to support the launch of CAMRA’s new podcast, Pubs. Pints. People. You can tune in each week on Apple Podcast or Spotify or simply visit https://audioboom.com/channels/5020734

by Susan Nowak

This self-isolating is a doddle. In our household, it’s the norm. I’m in my eyrie on the top floor; my husband is two floors down glued to his laptop. Today I witness a small sea drama unfolding below where three blokes on paddleboards have escaped their wives and are having a Man Chat. The Harbourmaster’s boat races out all guns blazing to give them a Good Talking To for failing to self-distance. Still, back to the kitchen. I know my place.

The charming lady at CAMRA HQ asked if I’d like to do a podcast. What’s one of them? I reach for my quill…

Clearly a spot of comfort food is needed. None of your fancy stuff, don’t you know there’s a war on? Though for our stay-at-home wedding anniversary I did create a deconstructed (see, on trend) trifle from a bit of left over Xmas cake, drop of barley wine, banana and cold custard. I’m confident CAMRA members can at least lay their hands on a couple of spuds and onions and a bottle of ale. I used Proper Job from Cornish brewer St Austell – a real joy of a beer, pale gold, hoppy and spritzy, perfect for crisp batter.

Collops in Beer Batter

175g self-raising flour, pinch of salt, 1 level dessertspoon turmeric powder – optional but turns the batter sunshine yellow – approx half a pint of hoppy golden ale, 2-3 medium sized potatoes, peeled, 2 medium onions, peeled, vegetable oil for deep frying.

Mix flour with salt and turmeric then stir in beer a little at a time to produce a coating batter. Slice potatoes and onions fairly thin. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying – not too hot, it shouldn’t be smoking. Sandwich an onion slice between two potato slices, spear on a carving fork or thin sharp knife and coat well with batter. Still on the fork, lower into the hot oil, and after a few seconds carefully push it off with a metal spatula. Cook 3-4 at a time for around 15 minutes, turning over after 10 minutes, until tender, crisp and golden; drain on kitchen paper. Great with mushy peas and cider vinegar!

If you prefer, you could just batter single slices of potato and onion; use for cod fillet if you fancy fish ‘n’ chips; or batter apple slices/banana chunks, cook then sprinkle with cinnamon powder for a yum pud.

Cheers – and bon appétit.

Susan Nowak, pictures by Fran Nowak

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