Ever found yourself drooling over the kid’s menu in a restaurant and having no interest in the grown-up main courses? Don’t worry–you’re not alone. While there’s nothing wrong with digging into a plate of fish fingers and chips, there are lots of ways to upgrade your favourite foods and recreate your childhood staples that mum used to make. And you can get all of the ingredients delivered to your home, next day, for free with Iceland!
So why not surprise her this Mother’s Day and recreate your childhood favourites with a twist? Here are a few ideas to help you upgrade those guilty pleasures and show them off to your mum.
Upgraded eggs and soldiers
You can’t go wrong with classic eggs and soldiers, but there are lots of different ways to upgrade it and make it a little fancier.
We suggest starting with large free-range eggs. The larger your eggs, the more soldiers you can dip into the egg yolk. A good-quality egg is a great start to improve your eggs and soldiers, but you should also consider trying different kinds of toast.
A thick toastie bread is usually a good choice for eggs and soldiers. Since it’s nice and thick, you get a nice crunch with the toast and it’s usually large enough to spread something over it such as butter.
The toast itself can be upgraded too. You could sprinkle some herbs on it or even consider using garlic slices instead of typical bread. For a little upgrade to your regular bread, you could rub a piece of garlic over the bread to add a lovely flavour to it. Sprinkle some chives or herbs and you’ll have a fragrant and delicious piece of toast to dip into your eggs.
Fancy chicken nuggets
Chicken nuggets are hardly considered fancy, but there are actually a lot of great ways to upgrade them and make them a little more interesting.
Making your own chicken nuggets means deep-frying. For this, we suggest using high-quality breadcrumbs. If possible, pick up Japanese panko breadcrumbs for a deeper crunch.
For the chicken itself, it’s actually quite hard to find ground chicken to replicate chicken nuggets. However, there’s a much better option that can create juicy chicken nuggets with lots of interesting textures; use chicken thighs! Dark meat holds a lot of juice and is absolutely delicious when cooked like a chicken nugget. You can go a step further by marinating the chicken beforehand to add more flavour.
Gourmet chicken noodle soup
Chicken noodle soup is a fantastic staple for when we’re feeling a bit under the weather. However, you don’t need to rely on those packet noodle soups where you mix water. Sure they’re convenient, but here are a few ways to step it up a bit.
First, use different noodles! Instant chicken noodle soup usually uses very small pieces of pasta. You can change this and use instant noodles to give your soup a bit more texture. Alternatively, you could use a small pasta shape such as fusilli or penne.
Perhaps the biggest way to upgrade your soup is to make your own stock. It’s tempting to just throw in a stock cube and call it a day, but if you have some time, you can easily make your own stock by chopping up and boiling an entire chicken. You can extract all of the flavoursfrom the meat and bones, and you can shred the chicken afterwards to use it in the soup. You should also add aromatics such as celery, onion and carrots to make the stock more flavourful.
Improved cheese on toast
There are loads of different ways to upgrade your regular cheese on toast. While most people love a bit of cheddar on top of a buttered piece of bread, you can spice it up with some very simple ingredients.
Start with a thick piece of bread! Try out a thick-sliced tiger bloomer if you want to fit more cheese on a single slice. Next, you can add a variety of different cheeses instead of just sticking to one. Mixing cheddar and mozzarella can offer great results. Parmigiano Reggiano can also add a deeper cheese flavour that removes the need for salt. Grated cheese is usually best since it’s convenient, but you can also get a large block of cheese and grate it yourself.
A quick way to make it more indulgent is to actually combine some cheese, mustard, and mayonnaise then spread it on the slice of bread above the layer of butter. Then, layer your cheese over and bake as usual. This adds a delicious moist layer above the toasted bread that introduces another texture to make it a joy to eat.
Classy fish fingers and chips
Lastly, we can’t forget a childhood favourite; fish fingers and chips. You could just replace this with fancy fish and chips, but we’d like to stick to the “fingers”. So here’s how to can upgrade it:
Start with some cod fillets. Cut these up into finger sizes and then dip them in batter before coating them in breadcrumbs and frying. If you’re feeling a little fancy, you can also do this with salmon. As long as it’s not a lean fish, you can deep fry it and always get some good results.
Next, we’d suggest a tartare sauce to add a bit of tartness to your fish fingers. Alternatively, you could just stick with the good old lemon wedge, but any sauce will do here. Tartare sauce just looks a little fancier thanks to all of the extra ingredients.
And what about the chips? If you have time, we suggest double-frying to add a crispy layer to your chips. Always cut your chips thick so that you get plenty of potato in each bite. For potato choice, we suggest a starchy potato that is soft and dry such as Maris Piper. This is perfect for making great chips and can be bought in bulk for a really affordable price.