This week we welcome Guest Blogger and finalist in the Best MAD Food Blog Awards, Relentless Laundry, a beautifully written, often hilarious and honest account of family life. Add to the mix a regular dose of recipes with unusual titles (we love the perfectly named ‘Quichey Pie Thing’) and it is a blog which keeps us going back for more.
Let’s hear from Jessica:
“Like many people, I associate Brabantia with kitchen bins; sleek, stainless steel cylinders, which gobble up all my kitchen waste, while still managing to look cool and chic. So initially I was somewhat confused when I learnt that a bin company was sponsoring the Best Food category of the MAD Blog Awards. But then it dawned on me: of course! “MAD” = Mum And Dad = parenting blogs = food blogs aimed at families. And seeing as most food parents make for their offspring ends up in the bin, it makes sense for Brabantia to be involved, no?
And then I checked out its website, and discovered – admittedly, somewhat to my astonishment – that Brabantia has actually come a long way from just bins: as well as laundry- and bathroom-ware, it’s awash with the most amazing kitchen and food gadgets. For a happy hour as I hopped from one page to the next, I was transported to a world where kitchens are clean and glamourous and full of sleek lines and functional – but beautiful – stainless steel, where everything matches, and serves its own purposes (not gathered, tattily, in the corner, like – ahem – in some kitchens I could mention…).
Although as you’re reading this on the Brabantia website, you hardly need me to tell you about how great all the stuff is.
So imagine my delight when the lovely Aime sent me a few things to try out! Into my more-shock-than-chic kitchen I welcomed a beautiful cake stand. the dinkiest digital kitchen scales you’ve ever seen, some linen, and – my favourite – a FANTASTIC mixing bowl.
My remit was simple: just incorporate these items into my everyday cooking, and share a favourite family recipe with y’all.
Alas, an everyday baker I am not, and so the cake stand and scales wouldn’t be used more than once or twice a week (to see how they fared, come see them in action on my blog). The mixing bowl however… I’m afraid that if they want it back, the good folk at Brabantia will have to prise it from my cold, dead hands. I LOVE it. I’ve used it at least three times a day, for everything from mixing eggs to quick liquid measuring (the inside is etched with ml measurements). Over the past two days alone it has produced: spicy carrot salad; omelettes; mashed potatoes; pancakes; fruit salad; shortcrust pastry and sticky honey salmon marinade. (It has also been used, successfully, as a pirate hat and a car-garage, activities which I am NOT encouraging. That bowl is MINE, kids – hands off…)
And then these. The easiest, yummiest fish-cakes imaginable.
Three quick notes:
We’re never without a cooked potato of some sort in our house; if I’m cooking potatoes, I always make double (or triple) the quantity, at very little added bother to myself, because the ease of reaching into the fridge and making a meal from a bowl of cooked potatoes cannot be overstated. This recipe calls for cold mashed potatoes, but don’t fret if you don’t have any to hand; just pop some cut-up chunks of peeled potatoes into a pot of boiling water and leave to boil until tender (10-15 mins) then drain and leave to cool while you prepare the other ingredients. It’s a small added hassle, but definitely worth it.
The recipe also requires cooked fish. I almost always use a tin of skinless boneless salmon – a staple on my shopping list. A tin of tuna will also work, as will any left-over cooked fish you have lurking about (not lurking about for too long, mind you) or a fillet from a vacuum-pack of smoked fish (mackerel or trout are the most common; I used some smoked trout here).
Finally, I like to keep these simple if I’m serving them to the kids (as here). For more grown-up tastes, the cakes will absorb anything you fancy: mustard, garlic, horseradish, capers, chopped chilli, zest of a lemon, shell-fish… Use the following as a guide only, and get creative (or just clear out your fridge…)”
You need: for 4 large cakes:
- A large serving of cold mashed potato (see note above)
- A portion of cooked fish, de-boned, and cut into small pieces
- A dollop of something white and creamy – mayo, crème fraiche, whipped cream, yoghurt – whatever you have to hand.
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- Anything green you fancy, cut up small and cooked. (This is optional, but I like to sneak some veggies into the kids’ food whenever possible. I used 3 cubes of frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, here, but cooked courgette, mashed peas, or finely chopped cooked broccoli all work well too)
- Mix the potato and the fish in a large bowl until well combined, then add the creamy white stuff (as a general rule I use crème fraiche whenever possible (and frankly, usually more than just one dollop…), as I find that it just makes my life better…)
- Squeeze in the lemon juice, then stir through the green stuff and mix well
- Taste, and add more lemon juice / white stuff and salt and pepper to suit your taste
- Pick up a handful of the mix, and pat into a small cake shape. Repeat with the remainder of the mix – from one tin of salmon and one large serving of potato, you’ll easily get four cakes
- Heat a generous glug of oil in a frying pan, and when hot add the fish-cakes
- Leave over a medium-high heat for 3 minutes or so, by which stage the cakes should be browned and crispy on the bottom. Flip over and cook for a further 2 minutes or so on the other side
- Serve, as plain or as fanc-ified as you like, safe in the knowledge that the bin won’t be getting fed tonight…