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January, 2012

  1. Lime and Coriander Fishcakes

    January 31, 2012 by Lisa

    These fishcakes use cod, but could just as easily be made with any sort of fish. My daughter wasn’t keen on my last batch of salmon fishcakes, so will probably stick with white fish from now on.

    Serve with horseradish mayonnaise and Chili Jeli. Makes about 10 fishcakes.


    • 2 cod fillets
    • 2 cups mashed potato
    • 1 large carrot, cubed
    • 2 shallots, chopped
    • vegetable oil for frying
    • 1 cup chopped fresh coriander
    • 1 lime and its zest
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup white wine
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • 4 slices bread, crumbed (or 2 cups oatmeal for a crunchy, gluten-free alternative)
    • salt and pepper to taste

    Horseradish mayonnaise

    • 1 large heaped tsp horseradish
    • 6 large heaped tsp mayonnaise
    • 1/4 cup chopped coriander
    • 1 tablespoon lime juice
    • Freshly ground pepper to taste

    If you’re not using leftover mash, make the mash and cool. Crumb the bread in a blender until finely ground.

    In a skillet, fry the shallot until soft and transparent. Add the cod fillets, carrot, milk and white wine and bring to a low boil over medium heat. Cover and simmer until the fish flakes easily with a fork. The carrots won’t be cooked, so remove the fish to a plate, flake and let cool and continue to simmer until the carrots are tender. Drain off the liquid.

    Using a fork, gently combine the fish, mash, coriander, carrots, shallots, lime juice and zest and add salt and pepper to taste. Chill for 45 minutes to an hour.

    Form the chilled mixture into patties, dip in egg and then coat with bread crumbs or oatmeal and fry in a centimeter or two of medium hot oil until golden brown (3-4 minutes each side). Serve on a bed of rocket or baby leaf lettuces with the Chili Jeli and Horseradish Mayonnaise.



  2. Chili Jeli

    January 24, 2012 by Lisa

    This is a delicious and spicy (obviously) jam that makes a great gift. Amazing with a bit of brie or camembert on toast or a biscuit or in a sandwich with cold meats. Use hotter chilis or increase the proportion of hot chilis to make a spicier jam.

    The chilis are so low in pectin, that a little help in the form of liquid pectin helps it set. It you are a jam expert and think you don’t need the pectin, leave it out, although I found that I had to re-boil the jam to get it to set before I started adding it as a matter of course.


    • 150 g long fresh red romano peppers, deseeded and cut into pieces.
    • 150 g hot chili peppers, deseeded and cut into pieces
    • 1 kg jam sugar
    • 600 ml apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon pectin
    • 10 x 130ml sealable jars


    Sterilize the jars and leave to cool. I put them in a pan of water, filling each jar 3/4 with water and placing the lids on top, then bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes.

    Place the cut-up chilies in a blender and pulse until they’re finely chopped.

    Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a large pan over a low heat. Use a pan larger than you think you’ll need as it easily boil over and you need it to boil vigourously if you have any hopes of the jam setting.

    Scrape the chili-pepper mixture out of the blender and add it to the pan of dissolved sugar. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it to boil. A jam thermometer is highly recommended as it needs to reach 105C (221F) and then boil additionally for 10 minutes. You can check to see if it’s set using the frozen saucer method: place 4 or 5 saucers in the freezer at the beginning of your jam making session; check for a set by dropping a bit of jam onto the frozen saucer and push it around with your finger. If it gels, it’s probably going to set properly.

    Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool for 45 minutes or so. Skim off any foam, pour into your jars and seal tightly. It may take several hours or overnight for the jam to set.

  3. Panfried Salmon with Samphire and Beurre Blanc

    January 22, 2012 by Lisa

    Samphire grows abundantly around the salt marshes of the eastern English coast. In the late summer, it’s not uncommon to see householders offering bunches of samphire for free or on the honour system on the roadsides. It looks much like what we called “iceplant” in California, though much smaller, is quite salty and tastes like the seaside. Samphire can be eaten fresh, boiled or steamed.

    This is a very sophisticated meal that is perfectly set off by the samphire, but your heart will not thank you for it!


    • 2 salmon fillets without skins
    • 2 handfuls of fresh samphire
    • Boiled baby new potatoes, lightly crushed

    For the Beurre Blanc:

    • 1 cup (235ml) dry white wine
    • 1/2 cup (120ml) white wine vinegar
    • 1 shallot chopped finely
    • 1/2 cube (that’s a UK cube or 125 grams/4.5 oz) of unsalted butter, cold and cubed
    • White peppercorns
    • Salt and fresh ground pepper

    The method for making the beurre blanc is via Jamie Oliver and is dead clever. It means that the sauce can be made slightly in advance.

    Add the wine, wine vinegar, peppercorns and chopped shallots to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced to about 3 tablespoons.

    Fill a thermos flask with boiling water to warm it, pour it out, and then sieve the wine mixture into the flask. Add the cold butter cubes, close the flask and shake it vigorously until your can’t hear sloshing anymore. If, when time to serve it’s too thick, add a scant amount of boiling water and shake to loosen it up.

    Pan fry the salmon fillets and place on top of crushed baby new potatoes.

    Wash the samphire thoroughly in cold water and remove any dried stems. Steam for a couple of minutes then place it on top of the salmon fillets. Pour the beurre blanc over the lot of it.

    After dinner, go for a run to loosen up those arteries.

  4. American Pancakes

    January 16, 2012 by Lisa

    Being American, I’ve been making pancakes in the American style since I was allowed near a stove, but using English flour and baking powder to make them here in the UK has always been a slight disappointment. Here’s a very good version that makes enough for 3 people, or two fairly hungry people. About 12 pancakes.


    • 140g self-raising flour
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp salt
    • 2 tbsp caster sugar
    • 150ml milk
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp melted butter or vegetable oil

    Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and caster sugar in a large bowl. Mix the milk, egg and melted butter or oil in a seperate bowl.

    Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and beat until you have a smoothish batter.

    Heat a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and add a knob of butter or oil. Pour in a ladle full of batter. When the top of the pancake begins to bubble, flip it over and cook until both sides are golden brown.