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Do you remember the days when your dinner consisted of "bits and bobs". Maybe this was a time when your mum was using up the odds and ends in the fridge, or maybe it was a time when you were a student and couldn't really cook to save yourself. But i'm sure everybody can remember at least one occasion when there meal consisted of things such as chips(usually a mixture of different varietys), onion rings, beans or spagetti hoops, and there was always that one thing that appeared...FISH FINGERS.
Not any fish fingers though, oh boy no, the only fish fingers these could be are BIRDSEYE.
I used to have fish fingers all the time, not kidding, at least two to three times a week, usually served up with chips or smiley potato faces and beans and spagetti. We used to have so many after school activites on and my mum was constantly looking for quick meals to cook. She would often buy new ones too try out such as fish cakes, or chicken burgers, but our meals always seemed to come back to centreing around the same one thing, fish fingers. I wasn't complaining however. I am a huge fan of fish fingers and I often get cravings for them (sometimes during the night- we wont go there). I find them to be very versitile and often find myself shoving a few under the grill for a little snack.
Anyway, on with my op. My mum and siblings had deserted me, and gone to Deep Sea World for the day. This meant I would have to cook myself my own tea. Now me, not being the best cook, was planning on going for something like a toastie (yes I can work the toastie maker), but me, being me, was feeling ravenous by tea time, and sadly felt a toastie wouldnt satisfy my hunger. So I dug into the freezer looking for something decent to satisfy my needs. I automatically pulled out a bag of frozen oven chips, however I couldnt find anything esle to go with them. I dug right to the very back of the freezer, and came accross what looked like a decent partner for the oven chips- Fish Fingers. PERFECT!
Surprisingly the box of Fish fingers was unopened. I examined it closer (no I don't do this on a regular basis- it was for the purpose of Ciao). It was a reasonable sized box, and felt a reasonable weight. The particular box I had discovered contained 8 fish fingers- though I am informed that you can also buy larger boxes, contained either, 10, 16, 20, 24 or 36. I was quite happy with my box of 8 however and proceeded to examine the box. It was fairly attractive. The top half of the front of the box was a deep blue colour with "_8 100% fillet fish fingers in crispy batter_" written in white writing, though the words CRISPY BATTER were written in much larger yellow writing. In the left top hand corner there was a picture of Captain Birdseye, with the words BIRDSEYE underneath. The bottom half of the box, was pretty attractive too, not too over complicated. Basically all there was, was a picture of a delicious looking golden battered fish finger on a fork, clearly showing the supposed snow white fish inside. The serving suggestion on the box is to serve them with sweetcorn, brocoli and chips.
Cooking/Looks before cooked
I opened the box and I was presented with 8 rather pale looking fish fingers, oh boy i thought, i hope these aren't going to be too soggy and tasteless. They were a reasonable size and looked quite chunky. I decided i was feeling quite hungry, so i plonked 5 of the little beauties onto my oven tray (i was assuming I could oven bake these) and then I looked at the cooking guidlines. I was right in thinking, there were various methods of cooking, I was given the choice to either-
Oven - 15 minutes at gas mark 8/230 degrees.
Fry - Quite obviously this is the most unhealthy way to cook them, and the fat content will obviously shoot up.
Grill - 15 minutes on medium heat.
Microwaved- though i wouldnt reccomend this method- as I'm sure it will just "heat up" the fish fingers and not cook till crispy (which is how i like them).
So it was decided, the oven was the only way for me. My oven chips were to be cooked at 220 degrees for 16 minutes so i shoved the chips in the oven two minutes before the fish fingers, and once I'd put in the fish fingers, I went upstairs. When I came down fifteen minutes later, the kitchen had been scented with a slight "cooking" smell. It wasn't really a fishy smell however, mostly just of an oven cooking something- which was quite pleasent to be honest. I opened the door to check if they had cooked yet, and they had, the chips were golden and crispy and the fish fingers had truly been transformed, they were now a strong orange colour, and looked golden and crispy on top. I removed them from the tray and served them up on to my plate, squirted a huge squirt of brown sauce onto my plate, and settled down with my knife and fork.
Now that the fish fingers were out of the oven, the smell was alot stronger. Although it wasnt a deep fishy smell, as I poked my nose onto my plate (not literelly), and took a great sniff, there was a subtle yet delicious smell of fish and I dont know how but i'm sure the batter around the fish fingers had a delicious and adamant smell too! So now was the time to taste- my tummy was now rumbling quite violantly now, and I wondered if the five fish fingers i'd put in would be enough to fill me up..oh well i though, theres always pudding ;-). The fingers, like i said were now a lot darker in colour, almost a deep orange colour, and the breadcrumbs around the fish looked quite positively delicious. But what about the inside of them? I dug my knife in to the first finger, it crunched through the outer coating, but then glided smoothly through the fish. Wow i was quite surprised, the fish inside actually looked like the one on the front of the packaging. It was almost snow white, and it looked flaky and delicious. I stabbed my fork into it and popped it into my mouth. They had heated up really well, and kept a decent heat for the five minutes i'd been faffing about- infact I almost burnt my mouth on my first mouthful. The first taste I was given was the breadcrumbs, they had a really crunchy texture, and tasted like that you get on breaded fish (quite obviously). After I had crunched away the breadcrumb coating I reached the fish. I had too chew my first mouthful quite quickly as the fish was extremely hot. It was definitly fish. Surprisinly it tasted of "proper fish" and it was definitly flaky. It was an extremely pleasent taste, and within no time 3 of the fingers had gone. Next I decided to experiment (I like playing with my food- and like a friend of mine, can often be found disecting it and picking it in to tiny peices before eating). So I cut a finger in half and stabbed it onto my fork, then I added an oven chip onto my fork and popped them both into my mouth together to see if the experience would be any different- and it was. The potato of the chip was almost lost and the strong flavour of the fish and the delicious texture of the breadcrumbs took over, however the potato was not all lost and it gave a delicious backing taste to the glorious mouthful. I relized then, that I had not been using my sauce I had squirted quite generously onto my plate, so with the remainder of my fish fingers, I dipped them into my HP brown sauce. This was my favourite way to eat them, the brown sauce was competition to the fish finger and they both fought to be the predominant taste. DELCIOUS. Overall i found the taste of the fish fingers absoulutly delicious, and this quite surprised me as i thought with them being "kids" food, they wouldnt perhaps live up to the Birdseye standards.
Now these are not the healthiest, but then again they are definitly not unhealthy. I am told on the packaging that a serving of 3 fish fingers provides me with 165 calories, 14g carbohydrates, and 7g of fat. Okay so the calorie content isn't too bad if you are only having 3 fish fingers, but if you are like me, you will have to remember to add on the extras, and if served with oven chips and beans for eg, the calorie content will add up and certainly sum up to a sufficant meal. The ingrediants, are stated to be Cod Fillet (64%), Batter (Water, flour, potato, starch, salt), Breadcrumbs, Paprkia extract and Sunflower Oil. So obviously anybody with wheat intolerance should steer clear! Also anybody with egg allergies should stay away.
As you may have guessed Birdseye fish fingers are available in almost all supermarkets, and probably little newsagents and shops aswell, as they are so popular. According to my research (good girl?!) I have found the prices for varoius packets.
8 Fillet fish fingers- Asda- £1.47 - Tesco- £1.47
10 Cod fillet fingers- Asda- £1.64 - Tesco- £1.64
36 Cod filler fingers- Asda- £4.99 - Tesco- £4.99
10 Haddock fingers - Asda- £1.69 - Tesco- £1.69
So, no these are not the cheapest fish fingers on the market, and you can get Supermarkets own brands for a much cheaper price- usually from about 30-70p, but in my opinion these types usually go soggy and are not as nice as Birdseyes.
Is versatility a word? Well it is now, what I mean is, there are very many ways in which to consume your fish fingers, wheather its for a quick after noon snack or as part of a main meal.
Fingers with mayo dip- Nice little snack for when you are watching TV at night, Basically cook till crispy and serve with a little pot of mayonnaise or salsa.
Fingers with chips and beans/spaghetti- Yep, can work as a main meal. Serve(like me) with oven chips and beans or spagetti hoops. Nice combination- belive me!
Fish finger sandwich/roll- don't tell me you've never tried this. Two peices of buttered WHITE bread with a layer (or 2!?) of fish fingers with a nice drizzle of HP brown sauce (red sauce-YUCK)!
Mashed- You may think this sounds disguisting, but beleive me its not. Mash up your fish fingers, mix in some brown sauce, and eat with a spoon- delicious.
Birdseye and other products
Clarence Birdseye was born in 1886 in Brooklyn, New York A taxidermist by trade, but a chef at heart, Clarence Birdseye wished his family could have fresh food all year. After observing the people of the Arctic preserving fresh fish and meat in barrels of sea water quickly frozen by the arctic temperatures, he concluded that it was the rapid freezing in the extremely low temperatures that made food retain freshness when thawed and cooked months later. Birdseye do many more products than the famous fish finger, some of these inclue
Chicken dippers - 100% chicken breast chunks
Chicken burgers - Succulent chopped chicken breast, coated in breadcrumbs. Same great taste and now they're even better as they have 10% less fat in them.
Beef grill steaks
Original beef burgers
Ready meals - including roast beef in gravy, Roast pork dinner, Roast chicken in gravy, Steak and Kidney pies, Chicken pies, chicken curry with rice and many more.
5 Sense summary
_*Sight- pale before cooked, golden and crispy after cooked
Smell- Subtle, slightly fishy
Sound- no sound.
Touch- crispy, rough breadcrumbs, smooth flaky fish
Taste- strong but not too strong fish, crumbly breadcrumbs, delicious_.
Overall, if you hadnt noticed, I was thouroughly thrilled with these and think i will be purchasing these again, they were delicious and i'm sure they will be a hit with the younger siblings, and possibly even the parents! Birdseye got it right!