Tempura batter

I had a rather traumatic trip to the dentist this morning and I'm feeling very sorry for myself. My dentist is very handsome, you see, and so some time before Christmas I let him and his bedside manner talk me into fixing my wonky teeth, at vast expense, with a sort of clear brace called Invisalign.

I had forgotten all about it until the dentist's receptionist called me last week to make an appointment to come in for a fitting. Not only did my dentist SAND OFF some bits of my tooth (I tried to stay calm during this but I confess I broke out into a light sweat) to 'make room' for the movement of my other teeth, he also stuck on, using fcking glue, (in my mouth: glue in my mouth) some tooth-coloured 'buttons' so help the braces, two clear, hateful gum-shield-type things that snap on over your teeth, top and bottom, grip onto my teeth.

I have to take the braces out to eat, which involves sticking both hands most of the way into my mouth and unpicking them off my molars and then yanking them off the front. Then after I've eaten I have to brush my teeth and put the stupid things back on, which means pushing and pushing and pushing them on my teeth until suddenly they snap on, quite loudly and surprise me.

They are absolutely horrible and squeeze my teeth together, giving me a headache and they make me drool and I can't speak properly. And I've got to wear them for a year. So as you can imagine, I'm feeling a bit down and distracted.

But since Giles tweeted this blog I've got 67 followers! And the Lord knows that you all need entertaining so I thought I'd pick myself up from the living room floor, where I was groaning and drooling and clutching at my mouth slurring sloppily "Why? Why did I let him take advantage of me?"

And if you want to put on a show in your kitchen, you could do worse than deep-frying a lot of stuff in tempura batter. Tempura is different from a normal batter, usually made with egg, flour and milk, in that it uses water rather than milk and you make it very cold. The coldness of it means - I read this somewhere - that it doesn't absorb as much oil while it's cooking and so stays light and fluffy rather than soggy.

So, for a good four or five ladlefuls of batter you will need:

3oz plain flour and 1tbsp cornflour, sifted together

1 egg

about 150ml chilled sparkling water (if you want it extra bubbly, just plain old chilled tap water if not)

To keep the batter nice and cold, fill one bowl with about ten cubes of ice and then fit another mixing bowl over the top, to make a sort of ice bath. Crack the egg into the top mixing bowl and beat. Then pour in about 100ml of the sparkling water and then add the two flours. Mix it round to combine but not until smooth - lumpy is good.

Use the batter immediately. Pat dry whatever you're deep-frying on some kitchen paper, dabble in the batter and then fry for about 1-2 mins or until it's golden, then remove to a wad of kitchen paper.

My deep-friend bananas didn't puff up into massive clouds of batter, as I was expecting, but I'm still very pleased with them. Next time I'll be doing courgettes and in the meantime, I'll mostly be drooling.

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