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‘Starters and Light Bites’ Category

  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. Tuna Tataki

    April 1, 2008 by Lisa

    Tuna Tataki is simply fresh tuna seared lightly and sliced thinly. I like it with spicy ponzu sauce: light soy, lime juice, rice vinegar, dashi, 7 spices powder and a bit of tabasco for some extra spiciness.

  4. Sticky Chicken Wings

    July 9, 2005 by Lisa

    You know those times when you make a sauce and kind of change it everytime? Trying new combinations, quantities, whatever? Sometimes it works better than other times. This was a nice simple version of sticky sweet and spicy chicken wings that I now use exclusively.


    • 1/4 cup ketchup
    • 3-4 tablespoons clear honey
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 tablespoon Worchester sauce
    • Tabasco – some amount

    Cook over a low heat for 5 – 10 minutes.

    Oven cook the wings at 225C in a bit of olive oil until browned, turning once. Drain the oil and dump the wings into a bowl and cover with the sauce, stirring to coat them completely. Cook in the oven another 20 to 30 minutes.

  5. Pico de Gallo / Guacamole

    January 2, 2005 by Lisa

    Two simple fresh garnishs for all sorts of Mexican dishes.

    Pico de Gallo:

    • 2 or 3 chopped ripe tomatoes
    • 1/2 diced red or white onion
    • 1 or 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
    • handful of chopped fresh cilantro
    • a few splashes of tabasco or a chopped red chili pepper to taste
    • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

    Combine all ingredients and refrigerate at least an hour.


    Same as above, but stir in two mashed avocados and the juice of half a lime (prevents avocados from going brown – for a while, at least).

  6. Ceviche

    January 1, 2005 by Lisa

    This Mexican style salad/side dish is a surprise to everyone who tries it. The fish is not cooked in the traditional way, but in lime juice which gives it a cooked texture and appearance and for all I know, fulfills the qualification of “cooking”. Serves 4 to 6.


    • 250-300g fresh white fish. I used halibut, but sea bass, snapper, plaice or just about anything will work.
    • 250g cooked prawns and/or tiny bay scallops
    • Enough lime juice to cover the fish. Since limes are not so juicy, you may supplement with lemon juice if you get bored trying to squeeze enough from a lime.
    • 1/2 a large onion
    • 1 small jalepeno pepper (or 5 or 6 slices of the pickled variety we get in the uk) or one or two fresh red chili pepper
    • 2 medium tomatoes
    • 10-20 pitted green or black olives
    • 2 or 3 large spoons full capers
    • 1/4 – 1/2 spoon cumin powder
    • 1/4 – 1/2 spoon dried oregano
    • handful fresh coriander
    • 60 ml (1/4 cup) olive oil


    Remove the skin and slice the white fish into thin strips. Place in a glass bowl and cover completely with the lime juice. If you’re using uncooked scallops or prawns, put them in the bowl as well, otherwise, hold off until later. Cover and place in the refridgerator until the fish looks “cooked” – in other words opaque and flaky. This should only take a half an hour to an hour depending on the thickness of the fish or the size of the prawns/scallops.

    Meanwhile, finely chop the onion, pepper, tomatoes and olives.

    When the fish is ready drain off the lemon juice and add the chopped vegetables and the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cover and return to the fridge for another hour or two. Some recipes suggest 24 to 48 hours, but I prefer the more subtle flavour when left not quite as long. On the other hand, my lunch of ceviche and avocado 48 hours later was quite fab.

    You could add all manner of things as well, like artichoke hearts, chopped avocado or black olives.