(Smoked Mackerel) Fishcakes

Mr Elbi and I are daily shoppers. In my short (20 min) walk home from work I pass no fewer than four supermarkets and there are another six or seven in reach with a five minute diversion. Therefore, we rarely shop for a whole week at time and usually decided what we are going to eat while in the supermarket. However, there are days when shopping loses its appeal and a good stock cupboard/leftovers recipe is very useful.

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In the case of today’s evening meal, we had some leftover smoked mackerel and potatoes from meals earlier in the week. This is a great idea for using up leftover fish and/or potatoes and can be done with any fish you have to hand. The advantage of using smoked mackerel is that is affordable, strong flavoured so a little goes a long way and it is an oily fish which means that it is very healthy. These are a great way to introduce fish into a diet even when cooking for people who don’t normally enjoy fish e.g. kids or stubborn boyfriends.

INGREDIENTS (makes 6 patties which seerves 3 for a main course)

400g cold mashed potato

140g smoked mackerel – flaked

4 spring onions – finely sliced

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 tsp grated root ginger

small bunch of fresh coriander chopped

juice of half a lime

1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)

salt and pepper

sunflower oil for frying

1. Ensure that the potato is cold and not to lumpy. I usually like my mash lumpy but not for fishcakes.

2. Combine the fish and onions and then mix together incorporating the ginger, coriander, lime juice and chilli flakes if you are using them.20140702_161721

3. Stir the dijon mustard through the mash and season to taste with salt and pepper

4. Combine the fish mixture with the potato and stir well.

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The advantage of using smoked mackerel is that eveything is cooked at this pont and can be tasted to make sure that the flavours are balanced. There are a lot of strong flavours in these fishcakes and sometimes they need to be adjusted. In this batch I added a little more lime juice at this stage.

5. Shape the mixture into 6 patties

6. Heat 1 tbsp sunflower oil in a frying pan over a medium/high heat and fry the patties for 4 minutes on each side.

Serve with veggies and salad depending on your appetite. Like everything else in our house, these are served with chilli sauce and in the case of this particular meal, sweet chilli sauce is the preferred option.

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OPTIONAL: If you prefer your fishcakes with breadcrumbs, you can dip each patty into egg and then breadcrumbs before frying. I personally prefer them without and this has the added advantage of keeping them gluten free.

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Pork in Black Bean Sauce

Chinese food is something of a mystery to me. I have always enjoyed eating it in restaurants, even more so since discovering the Mayflower in Bristol. (Best chinese food I have ever come across and well worth a visit if you’re in the area.) Anyway, like I said chinese food is a mystery to me, Not the eating of it but more cooking it. I do frequent a chinese supermarket to buy soy sauce, prawn crackers, chilli sauces, green tea and assorted pre-made frozen chinese starters (sping rolls dumplings etc.).

However, I would love to be able to make more chinese food so when I came across some fermented, salted black beans at the chinese supermarket, I decided to give black bean sauce a go from scratch. I googled black bean sauce for some hints and came acoss this recipe. My version was slightly difference. The sauce was the same but I wasn’t sure how to mash such a small quantity of black beans so instead I just chopped them very finely. I then marinated pork strips in this for about an hour.

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When it was time to cook, I seasoned a wok with sesame oil and seared the marinated pork strips. I then added a sliced onion, a couple of handfuls of shredded red cabbage, a handful of sliced mixed peppers and some green beans to the wok and mixed through. I then added a couple of tablespoons of ginger wine to the pan and covered to give the vegetables time to steam slightly. While the vegetable were still firm, I added all the black bean sauce the pork had been marinating in and on a gentle heat reduced it sown to a dark sticky sauce. Served with noodles, this made a great meal for midweek – no long preparation steps and the actual cooking only took 20 minutes (would have been less if I had remembered to boil the water for the noodles. This recipe is definately a good simple start for anyone interested in cooking their chinese restaurant favourites at home.

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I think the choice of vegetables makes it look vibrant and awesome!!