So let me set one thing straight: I’m definitely not on some kind of health kick, as in eating clean and all that hoo-ha. However lately I’m on this…how shall I put it?…try-many-new-things…thingamabob. I’m sorry, but my vocab skills are out the door today. Please bear with me just a tad longer. This little gem of a recipe is worth the wait.
I have spent my morning and afternoon roaming around Guildford, taking in the place. I walked around the centre, recorded some sights, bought myself a healthy lunch and made my way up to the Castle. I took my small camera with me to take a few video snippets.
I’m trying to teach myself how to vlog. I shouldn’t have said that. My SLR didn’t come with me today. I really wasn’t in the mood to carry heavy stuff in my backpack anyway. These days I have given up on handbags: nothing fits in them anymore. They are currently also packed in a plastic box ready to be shipped. (People, if you’re not into nostalgia, then please just skip this part. Thankfully there’s a recipe in here somewhere!) I was prepared to walk into town, knowing that I would enjoy the stroll. I arrived there around 9 am, feeling sticky to the core, because with Ellie Goulding singing in my ear for the last ten minutes or so, I almost ran the last leg. I should have listened to Clannad instead. Weather like this, (I’m subconsciously bracing myself for Malta here) is good for sipping a cold drink under an umbrella, with some food, of course.
This is what I’m planning to have for lunch today. Sometimes I am really really good! I love salad and I don’t even need a complicated dressing to make me happy. Some extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of half a lemon is fine by me. Once in a while I like to add a little bacon for some saltiness and a little treat with mushrooms and an egg to keep me going. It’s fresh and speedy – just what I need during very busy days…Yum. You need lettuce, one chopped fresh tomato, one boiled egg, a couple of mushrooms fried gently with a little bacon and pepper and a dressing of extra virgin and lemon. For one.
I think that comfort food does not necessarily mean fatty food. Fish cakes are packed with good energy without the heaviness of any meat. Not that I don’t like meat patties once in a while, but these are a great alternative, and can be eaten in summer and also during the dreary winter months. I love them and hope you do too. This recipe makes around 14 100g cakes. However you can make them as small as you like for parties and picnics. Here’s what you need:
- 750g potatoes (cooked, mashed with 15g butter and cooled)
- 550g white fish (I used pollock)
- 200g breadcrumbs
- ¼ teaspoon chilli powder
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 egg for binding
- Place some flour in a small bowl. Mix all the ingredients well in a large bowl.
- Flour your hands to avoid extra stickiness and using a ½ cup measure if you have one (or measure 100g per patty) spoon the measured mixture into your hands to form one fish cake. Then dip this into the flour to coat.
- Pat each cake to remove the excess flour, place on a plate or flat dish and repeat until all the mixture is used up. Cover the fish cakes with cling film and place in the fridge for around 30 minutes to help them cool and firm up. This will help them remain whole in the frying pan and in the oven after that.
- At this stage you can preheat the oven to 170ºC. Place about a tablespoon of oil and a small knob of butter into a shallow pan and fry the cooled fish cakes on both sides, giving them around 5 to 6 minutes per side. Put them into a lined baking dish and finish them in the oven for 15 minutes, or until they turn golden brown on top.
Serve with a green salad and some Halloumi cheese, but my favourite way to eat this is in between some fresh wholemeal bread with a light spread of mayo!
A couple of months ago I completed my Nigella recipe book collection by purchasing How to be a Domestic Goddess. When flipping through the pages I found two cakes I wanted to try immediately – two lemon cakes found on pages 12 and 13. I made them both to see which one we liked the most. I will announce the winner a little later.
Here’s the recipe for her Lemon-Syrup Loaf Cake. The only thing I left out is the salt. I try to avoid salt as much as possible. Many chefs tell you that salt brings out flavour. I totally get this but when I first tried adding salt to sweet lemon recipes the taste was too strong for me. I will give the recipe as is in Nigella’s book – salt and all. But that is totally optional. I like to call this cake Gill’s Favourite Lemon Cake, in honour of my friend Gill 🙂
For the cake you need:
- 125g unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- zest of a lemon
- 175g self-raising flour
- pinch of salt (optional)
- 4 tablespoons milk
For the syrup:
- around 4 tablespoons lemon juice
- 100g icing sugar
Equipment: 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin (or similar), properly greased and lined
Preheat your oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. When you line your tin with baking paper make sure it comes up to around 1cm or a bit more to the sides (see photo). This will make unmoulding much easier.
In a large bowl whisk together the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and lemon zest and beat well. Fold in the flour and salt (you can leave the salt out), and add the milk. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and place it in the oven. In the meantime prepare the syrup (see method below). Bake for around 45 minutes, or until golden and check with a skewer or knife to make sure it’s done.
Prepare the syrup by placing the lemon juice and icing sugar in a small pot over the heat and stir gently until the sugar dissolves. Puncture tiny holes with a cake tester or skewer in the cake and pour the syrup over the cake while it is still in the tin. Make sure the middle part absorbes as much liquid as the sides.
When the cake is completely cold, lift it out from the tin. If the cake is still warm it might crumble.
This cake is so easy and so yummy that it will become a regular treat – you’ll see! Check out the next post for the second recipe.