The Original Fakeaways

Amidst the chaos, one of the great silver linings of pandemic and lockdown, has been a renewed interest in cooking and really enjoying food. Those who usually have a manic week, the daily sad sandwich or salad at their desk and a quick something before bed in the evenings, find themselves with time to consider what they are eating, to take pleasure in the preparation and comfort in a meal made from scratch. One of the things we all missed when our beloved restaurants started to close was a good old takeaway.
Although the lucky few can still get one, there are plenty of things we might usually treat ourselves to that aren't available. And so came an influx of homemade takeaways or 'fakeaways' on social media as everyone tried to satisfy their cravings.
Many years, ago we did our own mini series on a couple of traditional favourites. Here are the original fakeaways. Something to try over the bank holiday.
 
BATTERED SAUSAGE, CHIPS & CURRY SAUCE
 
We won’t lie, we’re really, really proud of this one. Granted, a baffling amount of time was spent recreating a chip shop staple, but golly gosh it was amazing, and everyone should give it a go soon (maybe at the weekend though). The sauce really does have the essence of the stuff from the chippy, only the chippy is staffed by Heston, Nigella or similar.
In truth it’s the roasted chicken stock that takes an age to make, but we urge that you do because it’s so useful – want to replace those crumbly cubes festering in the cupboard? Make this. You only need 1/3 of stock for the recipe below, leaving you plenty with to pep up other dishes. And it really does make the curry sauce amazing – a cube, in this case, simply won’t cut it.
The tasting panel (v. serious business) widely agreed that this is the best way to cook sausages, ever – the meat is gently steamed within the batter giving it the same texture as our sausage rolls, but the crispy batter means you don’t miss the browned skin. Maybe go for a run the next day though, eh?
 
Battered sausage
 
SERVES 4
Battered Sausage
375g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
500ml cold sparkling water
4 traditional sausages
 
Curry sauce
2tbsp chicken fat (from stock) or vegetable oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1tbsp cumin
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp turmeric
330ml roasted chicken stock (see below)
½ jar GP pineapple chutney

Chips, to serve (of course!)
 
  1. First, make the curry sauce. Heat the fat in a small saucepan over a low heat and add the onion and garlic. Gently cook until soft, add the dry spices, stir well and cook for a further two minutes. Add the jellied stock and pineapple chutney and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste, and if it is too intense due to the stock, add a drop of water and simmer for a further 5 minutes.
  2. Now batter your sausages (if you’re making your own chips too, you’ll need to do the first low-temperature fry before this). Heat the deep fat fryer to 180°C. Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl and mix in the salt. Make a well in the middle and pour in the cold water, then get in there with a whisk and gently bring the whole lot together – don’t be too rough, or you’ll knock all the air out. It doesn’t have to be perfectly smooth – in fact the lumps turn into crispy bits. To fry, simply dip a sausage in the batter and coat well, and transfer to the fryer for 6-8 minutes (we could only fit two in at a time, so fry in batches and keep warm in the oven if necessary).
Serve with chips, salt and vinegar – and in paper to save on the washing up and complete the authentic chippy experience.
 
Roasted chicken stock
The GP test kitchen sees us jointing and roasting lots of birds for various things (especially at Christmas), and so we save any carcasses, veg trimmings, limp bits of celery and so on in the freezer for a big stock making session every now and then. As the veg trimmings and bones tend to be in smallish pieces, they have lots of surface area, and so roasting them before stock making makes for a really rich, savoury end result. This isn’t the kind of stock you’d use for delicate sauces or even a risotto; this is the reduced, powerful, dark, sliceable jelly you can use in the place of a stock cube for real oomph.
 
Two chicken carcasses (or same amount of bits and pieces)
3 ribs celery, chopped
2 leeks (or green trimmings from)
2 carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled
2 white onions, with skins, chopped
Bunch of parsley (or parsley stalks)
 
Heat the oven to 200°C and put everything but the parsley into a roasting tray. Roast for around 15 minutes, so that everything becomes slightly caramelised (but avoid any black bits or you’ll end up with bitter stock). Tip everything into a stockpot or large saucepan, add the parsley and fill with liquid (water, or water and leftover white wine) until comfortably submerged by 4cm. Bring to the boil and then simmer very gently for three hours, occasionally skimming foam away from the surface. Strain out the solids and discard (don’t get confused and drain the stock down the sink!), then return the stock to the pan and reduce by two thirds – you should be left with around a litre. Allow to cool, then put in the fridge to set. Once set, remove the fat and reserve for frying, keep 1/3 of the stock for the curry recipe, freeze the rest in separate pieces to add to sauces and stews as necessary.
 
DONER KEBAB
 
Oh yes, we went there. And this was actually the easiest of all the fakeaway dishes to make. It was so scarily like the shaven-elephant-leg-at-2am staple that we felt a bit weird testing it on Friday lunchtime, without several pints beforehand.
But once you’re over the context shift, it’s actually a not-so-guilty pleasure – spiced, garlicky lamb mince, slow cooked and then seared and served with salad and homemade flatbreads. Yep, we said it: the kebab is basically a health food.
This spicing will make it taste just like the stuff from a takeaway; feel free to fancy it up with fresh herbs, fennel seeds, paprika or whatever else takes your fancy.
 
Donner kebab
SERVES 8 
Kebab meat
1kg lamb mince
1 ½ tsp garlic powder
1tsp salt
½ tsp onion powder
1tbsp cumin
Plenty of black pepper
 
Cabbage and onion salad
1 small red cabbage, finely shredded
1 red onion, finely shredded
1 fennel bulb, finely shredded
2 carrots, grated
1tbsp mustard
1 lemon, juice of
½ tsp fine sea salt
Black pepper, to taste

Flat breads, pickles, chillies, lemon wedges and garlic mayo to serve
 
For the kebab meat
Heat the oven to 130°C.  Combine all ingredients in a food mixer and pulse a few times until thoroughly combined – don’t just leave the machine running or the mix will be far too sticky. Alternatively you can work the mix in a large bowl with your hands, squashing everything together to make a uniform texture. Shape the mix into a fat, little kebab shape (just like the ones you see on spits in a kebab shop, not that we’d know, of course), pressing quite firmly to keep it compact. Roll this in a large piece of cling film to further compact and shape the mix, before removing the clingfilm and wrapping tightly in tin foil. Place on a roasting tray and roast for 2 ½ hours, rotating a quarter turn every 45 minutes or so. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before carving.
 
Salad
Simply mix everything well in a bowl, and leave to stand for an hour. Taste before serving and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
To assemble, first carve the kebab meat by using a sharp knife to shave long strips off. At this point you can drop it into a hot frying pan with a little oil to brown it a little, but you don’t have to. Stuff pitta breads with kebab meat, salad and whatever pickles, chillies and sauces take your fancy, and dig in.