Hello pan. Hello cooker. And most of all, hello Global knives! God I’ve missed cooking. What with the onerous burden of eating out, socialising, going to Cornwall for the bank holiday, I feel like I haven’t cooked, really cooked, for a good couple of weeks.
Cooking for me, is an end into itself. Sure I love eating – and eating well, that is after all what led me into the kitchen in the first place – but it’s also solitary time for me to unwind. To really lose myself in the hypnotic rhythm of slicing, stirring, chopping that is the mainstay of making any meal.
It’s something I notice more by its abscence than while I’m busy. When, like these last few weeks, events have conspired to keep me away from my utensils and books, I start to get a bit itchy. I fidget and worry, jiggle and bounce. And as soon as I am back… ahhhhhh. And relax.
Now, I just needed something to offset a lot of rich and heavy food. And so it was back, kind of, to Japan. Soba noodles I boiled for five minutes, rinsed in cold water and tossed with some sesame oil, Japanese soy sauce and mirin to make a deliciously slithery accompaniment.
For some crispy salad I finely sliced some baby gem lettuce, romano red peppers and carrots. This gave the meal some textural balance, after biting into the soft, spicy and slightly pungent fish cakes, I happily slurped some nutty noodles and refreshed my mouth with crispy crunchy veg.
All in all, a fresh, easy and super healthy meal to bring me and my kitchen back together. Sigh. Cue sunset and schmaltzy music. “Here’s looking at you kid.”
The fish cakes
These are suprememly adaptable and malleable. I like them as small disks, but you could just as easily shape the mixture into burger sized patties. They can be deep or shallow fried, baked, grilled or barbecued.
You can also use any combo of ingredients so long as they hold together. I might sometimes add some blended prawns and fish sauce, or some garam marsala and chickpeas and dust them in gram flour. When I’m really after a quick meal I have been known to use chilli sauce and tinned tuna. Delicious.
180g cooked fish (I used left over sea bass that had been grilled with lemongrass, chilli, garlic, coriander and lime leaves)
Approx 250g cooked mashed potato (about the same volume as the fish)
0.5 beaten egg
1 small red onion
1 clove garlic – crushed
Black pepper and salt
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
Sort through and flake the fish by hand removing skin and any bones as you go. Stir in the mashed potato then add the egg and mix it all in by hand. Finely chop (or blend) the onion and add it along with the crushed garlic, cayenne, pepper and salt and mix it all in thoroughly.
Shape the mixture into slightly-bigger-than-bite-sized disks that you can pick up with chopsticks. Heat a little oil in a non stick frying pan and fry them for about 2-3 minutes a side, until they are a dark golden brown.
Serve with some salad, soba noodles, maybe some sweet chilli sauce for a healthy, tasty and fine looking meal