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Salmon Fishcakes

Rozanne fish cakes        Pix Ronan Lang/Feature File

Serves 4

450g potatoes, peeled and cubed
approx. 300g cooked or tinned salmon (a little less
is fine)
30g butter
100ml milk
4 spring onions, finely chopped
salt and pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tbsp sour cream, crème fraîche or mayonnaise
30g + 1 tbsp plain flour
3 eggs
50g panko breadcrumbs
sunflower oil, for frying
lemon wedges, to serve
green salad, to serve

Method:

  • Boil or steam the potatoes for 10–15 minutes, until just soft. Drain very well to avoid soggy potatoes and overly wet fishcakes, then transfer to a large bowl.
  • If you are using tinned fish, allow it to drain very well in a sieve.
  • Melt the butter and milk together in a small pot. Add the spring onions and cook for 3 minutes. Season well, then stir in the parsley, sour cream and 1 tablespoon of flour. Add to the hot cooked potatoes and mash until smooth. Once the potatoes have cooled a little, mix through 1 egg, well beaten. Lastly, stir through the fish until roughly mixed to ensure a bit of texture.
  • Dust a work surface or chopping board with a little flour and shape the mixture into 4 flattish discs about 5cm thick. Put the 30 grams of flour in a shallow bowl. Place the remaining 2 eggs in a shallow bowl and beat well. Put the breadcrumbs in a separate shallow dish. Dip the fishcakes first in the flour, then in the beaten egg, then press into the breadcrumbs.
  • Chill for 30 minutes on a baking tray lined with baking parchment to help them keep their shape when you fry them. These can also be frozen once completely chilled – wrap very well in clingfilm, then freeze in a plastic freezer bag.
  • Heat a little sunflower oil in a pan and cook the fishcakes for 5 minutes on each side. If you have made them too large to heat right through, pop them into the oven until they are piping hot.
  • Serve with lemon wedges and a green salad.

The Ish Factor:
Tinned salmon is often overlooked as an option for including more oily fish in your weekly menu. It comes cooked and packed in brine, similar to tinned tuna. As it is quite flaky, it is best used in recipes such as fishcakes and pâtés, where it doesn’t have to look its beautiful best. It’s also good for salmon and leek quiches, salads and pasta dishes or as a baked potato topping with sour cream and plenty of fresh dill or chives.

Brown Rice Prawn Jambalaya

Brown_Rice_Prawn_Jambalaya 600

Serves 4

400g large, raw, peeled and deveined prawns (you can buy these frozen in Asian markets and some supermarkets)
200g spicy sausage, such as Andouille or chorizo
2 red onions, sliced into thin wedges
2 celery stalks, diced
1 green pepper, thinly sliced
2 fat garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp Cajun spice
2 cups chicken stock
1 cup medium quick-cooking brown rice
400ml tomato passata or 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
juice of 1/2 lemon or lime
salt and pepper
fresh coriander, to garnish

Method:

  • Defrost the prawns by leaving them in the fridge overnight or rinse off the ice in a colander in the kitchen sink under cold running water.
  • Cut the sausage into 1cm-thick slices. Cook in a large pan over a medium heat until the fat renders out.
  • Add the sliced red onions, celery and green peppers to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, until the onions have started to soften. A dd the garlic and cook for another few minutes, until the onions are translucent. Sprinkle over the Cajun spice, mix well and cook for a couple more minutes.
  • Add the chicken stock, brown rice, passata and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Stir in the prawns and let everything simmer, cover ed, for another 5 minutes, until the prawns are firm and pink. Squeeze over the lemon or lime juice and adjust the seasoning. Garnish with fresh coriander.

The Ish Factor:
Cajun spice is a traditional spice blend from Creole cuisine. This mildly hot spice is very versatile and great for jazzing up sweet potato wedges, tuna salad and jambalaya. You can make your own spice mix by combining 2 1/2 teaspoons paprika, 2 teaspoons each of garlic powder and salt, 1 1/2 tea spoons each of dried oregano and dried thyme and 1 teaspoon each of onion powder, cayenne pepper and ground black pepper.
Stored in an airtight jar, it will keep for up to 6 months.

Mango Chutney Lime Salmon

Mango_Chutney_Lime_Salmon 600

 

Serves 4

 

1/2 jar mango chutney

2 tbsp light soy sauce

juice of 1 lime

1/2 tsp ground ginger

black pepper

4 salmon fillets, skinned and pin boned

3 limes, thinly sliced

 

Method:

  • Preheat your oven to 200°C.
  • Mix together the mango chutney, soy sauce, lime juice and ginger and season with black pepper. Pour this marinade over the salmon, cover and refrigerate for 10–20 minutes.
  • Cover the bottom of a baking dish with the thin slices of lime. Place the salmon fillets on top of the limes and pour over the marinade.
  • Bake the salmon for 12 minutes, until firm, opaque and just cooked through.

 

The Ish Factor:Ground ginger tastes completely different to fresh ginger. It is quite punchy and hot, so it’s ideal to add to homemade chutneys, pickles and preserves. I use it in basting sauces and marinades for pork, in homemade ketchup and BBQ sauce as well as baking. Ground ginger isn’t just for Christmas baking and mulled wine – it’s essential for old-fashioned steamed puddings, as a partner to rhubarb desserts and of course ginger cookies and gingerbread loaves and cakes.

Creamy Mustard and Caper Cod

Creamy_Mustard_Caper_Cod 600

 

Serves 4

 

4 chunky cod fillets (or any firm white fish), fresh or frozen

450g frozen spinach

2 tbsp capers, to garnish

1/3 cup fresh dill, leaves plucked, to garnish

 

Reduced fat creamy sauce:

400ml low-fat milk

1/2 onion, peeled and studded with 3 cloves

6 black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

50g butter

50g flour

125ml lemon juice

2 tbsp reduced fat cooking cream (optional for extra creaminess)

1 tsp Dijon mustard

salt and paper

 

Method:

  • Allow the spinach to defrost overnight in the fridge or quickly defrost it in the microwave. Squeeze out some of the excess water.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C. Line a baking dish with parchment paper.
  • To make the sauce, gently heat the milk, onion, peppercorns and bay leaves in a pot. Do not boil.
  • In another pot, gently melt the butter before adding in the flour to form a thick paste called a roux. Stir well to mix. Slowly start pouring in the warm milk, stirring constantly. Add the lemon juice, cream and mustard and season well.
  • Spread out the spinach in the baking dish. Place the cod on top and season well, then pour over the creamy sauce. Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the cod is opaque and cooked through.
  • Garnish with the fresh dill and capers and serve.

 

The Ish Factor:Capers are the fruit of the Flinders rose. I love the tiny non pareil capers, which are salty and delicate and go extremely well with fish, in salads and even on pizza. The larger caper berries on the stem look very attractive in a dish and aren’t as salty. Capers come pickled in brine, so they’re a long-lasting Pantry Pal to have on hand to jazz up your recipes.

Salmon Niçoise Salad

Salmon_Nicoise_Salad_600

Serves 4

250ml water
250ml white wine
2 salmon fillets
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp capers
a few fresh dill fronds
1/2 lemon

Salad:
250g baby potatoes, halved
6 free-range eggs
1 bunch asparagus
250g cherry tomatoes, halved
2 baby Cos lettuces, leaves separated and washed
2 tbsp capers, drained
small bunch of dill
lemon wedges, to serve

Dressing:
1 small garlic clove, peeled
juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp honey
salt and pepper

Method:

  • First boil the baby potatoes for 15–20 minutes in a large pot of boiling water, until just tender. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, pour the water and wine into a small saucepan and add the fish. Add the bay leaf, capers, a few dill fronds and a squeeze of lemon. Slowly bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 4 minutes. Allow to rest for 3 minutes before gently flaking the fish into large pieces.
  • Place the eggs in a pot of cold water and bring up to the boil. Reduce to a vigorous simmer for 6 minutes. Drain and cover with cold water, then peel off the shell and cut the eggs in half.
  • Blanch the asparagus for 3 minutes, then refresh in ice water.
  • Pour all the dressing ingredients into a clean jam jar and shake to emulsify.
  • Gently toss together the baby potatoes, hardboiled eggs, asparagus, tomatoes, lettuce, capers and flaked salmon. Drizzle over the dressing and sprinkle over the fronds of dill. Serve with lemon wedges on the side.

The Ish Factor: Dijon mustard is one of my top five essential Pantry Pals. It’s a traditional smooth French mustard made from mustard seeds, liquid such as lemon juice or vinegar and sometimes other spices. It has a fairly mild taste – savoury with a little kick. Dijon mustard is normally served as a condiment with pork, cheese an d cold platters. I find Dijon indispensable for adding flavour to salad dressings and sauces. It also helps to emulsify salad dressings, meaning it helps the oil and vinegar to mix.

Crispy Chorizo Panko Cod

Crispy_Chorizo_Panko_Cod 600

Serves 4

You can use fresh or frozen fish. It can be cooked from frozen according to the instructions on the packaging.

450g frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
4 chunky cod fillets (or any firm white fish)
juice and zest of 1 lemon
100g cured chorizo sausage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
250g cherry tomatoes

Chickpea mash:
2 x 400g tins chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
25g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
3 tbsp finely chopped flat-leaf parsley, chopped
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  • Layer the drained spinach into the bottom of a line d baking dish. Place the cod fillets on top and squeeze over the lemon juice. Place a layer of the thinly sliced chorizo on top of the cod.
  • Mix together the panko, olive oil and lemon zest and season with salt and pepper. Scatter the crispy topping over the cod. Scatter the cherry tomatoes a round the dish.
  • Bake for 12–15 minutes, until the cod is cooked through and flaky and the topping is crispy. If the fish fillets are very big, they may take a few minutes longer to cook.
  • Meanwhile, to make the chickpea mash, blitz the drained, rinsed chickpeas and the chicken stock in a food processor to a rough purée. Heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the puréed chickpeas, stirring to combine with the garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
  • To serve, plate up the chickpea mash with a generous spoonful of spinach, some roasted cherry tomatoes and a fillet of crispy cod.

 

A Month of Meals

MonthofMeals

Weekly Meal Plan Structure
This meal plan structure is years in the making, and there are certain core principles that form the basis of it. One of them is that you only plan five dinners a week and leave wiggle room to use up leftovers and also have a day off cooking if you choose. This will reduce the amount of food that you buy and possibly not end up cooking.

I’ve written my course and book to try and use seasonal produce as much as possible. Fruit and vegetables in season taste better and are more budget friendly too. So do try and think about seasonality and buying good local produce. Use the structure I’m giving you to compile a file of recipes that you can repeat every two weeks or month. That is plenty of variety and will give you a chance to manage your food shopping and supplies better.

Meat-free Monday
As the name suggests, this is a day when you don’t eat any meat, chicken or fish and cosy up to a delicious vegetarian meal instead. This has a myriad health benefits from lowering saturated fat intake, increasing fibre and amping up your vitamin and mineral intake. There are many fab vegetarian dishes from cuisines all over the world, so you won’t be bored and with my recipes you certainly won’t go hungry! I always include a little protein in the form of beans, lentils, chickpeas, quinoa or cheese to keep you fuller for longer. You don’t want to be hungry a few hours after dinner and raid the biscuit tin! Vegetarian meals are generally easy to prepare, so ideal for a Monday night, when you’re organising yourself for a week ahead. By all means feel free to allocate a second vegetarian day, but having at least one a week is essential. This is one habit that my students really take onboard and convert to. It makes meal planning so much easier and is an excellent start to the week.

Go Fish! Tuesday
Like the card game tells you-Go Fish! This is one of your recommended two seafood dinners each week, one of which will be based on oily fish. We all have great intentions, but unless you plan and commit to getting your fish based meals, it’s not going to happen! There is no problem in using frozen fish, prawns and chowder mix. I either use frozen seafood or get fresh fish from my fishmonger. Many supermarkets now have fish counters where you can select your lovely fresh fish. This is far better than the prepacked fish hanging out in the fridge. With good quality fish and my super easy and tasty recipes you’ll be hooked on fish dinners in no time!

Cluck Cluck Wednesday
Chicken is probably the favourite choice of meat for family meals. It’s easy to prepare, quick to cook and you can choose from a huge range of recipes. As a white meat, you can enjoy chicken more than once a week. Most people tend to buy the skinless, boneless chicken breasts. I think this is because it has no skin, so it is lower in fat and many people prefer the ‘white’ meat. I really do encourage you to try skinless, boneless chicken thighs instead. The meat is far more tender and the fibres are looser so the thigh meat absorbs flavour much better. This is essential for dishes like curry when you really want the meat tender and the flavours to permeate. Without the skin, chicken thighs are a low fat option.

Freezer Treasure Thursday
This is a day where you are either going to cook a meal based on minced meat or sausages. Or you are going to raid your freezer for components of meals. For example, I freeze cured chorizo sausage, tiger prawns, Parma ham, petis pois, smoked salmon, fish pie mix and bacon lardons. These ‘Freezer Treasures’ form the base of many a delicious weekday meal. If you choose Minceperation, you can use beef mince to rustle up meatballs, burgers, kofta, chilli-not just spaghetti bolognese! Why not try turkey or pork mince for a change? Sausage hotpots using really good quality sausages are another great idea for this theme. This is one day that you probably have family favourite recipes for already.

Fishy Friday
This is your second seafood day for the week. If you haven’t had your oily fish, now is the day to allocate a recipe for it. Fish actually cooks very quickly, most people tend to over cook it. So a fish based meal at the end of a busy week is ideal. At a push, there are really good traditional fish and chips shops that use excellent fish and decent, non hydrogenated cooking oil. Why not pick up a fish dinner takeaway and tart up the meal with a crunchy salad and guacamole as a healthy sauce. You can make your own baked sweet potatoes fries seasoned with Cajun spice and minty pea purée by blitzing just cooked frozen peas, mint and a little creme fraiche together. Sounds cheffy, but super easy to whip up!

Fridge Forage Saturday
This is a really important theme to allocate. Before you do your weekly grocery shop, you need to have a a good forage and use up all those bit and pieces of leftovers, veg, cheese etc. You can also use this opportunity to give everything a good clean out and make sure there are no science experiments mouldering away. One of the best ideas to use up leftovers is a frittata, which can do double duty as breakfast and lunch. Other dishes I routinely make are stir fries with all the bits and bobs, quesadillas, fried rice and noodles. If you make a habit of doing this, you will also see what items you are over buying-thinking that you will eat and then not. For leftover fruit, crumble is a great dish or a fruit sponge with the peeled and chopped fruit at the bottom.

Flintstone Funday Sunday

This is a reference to Fred Flintstone and cooking up big joints of meat on the BBQ or Sunday roasts. I grew up with a Sunday roast with all the trimmings, followed by a really good homemade dessert. Not on the scale of a Christmas dinner of course, but still a special meal that takes more planning and longer to cook but not difficult to do. Coming into Summer you may well choose to have a BBQ on Sunday. Or you you may be out and about and doing no cooking, a well deserved day off! Many keen home cooks use one of the weekend days to try out a new recipe. This is the time to do it when you have a little more time and no hungry family members hanging off you looking for their dinner. Whatever you choose, don’t feel under pressure. It should be relaxing and enjoyable for all, including the main cook in the house.

Weekly Sweet Treat

I believe it’s what you eat 80% of the time that determines your overall diet and wellbeing. Having one really good, homemade dessert a week is something to look forward to and is what I would consider moderation as far as treats go. The common practice of having a ‘treat drawer’ that you dip into daily can be a slippery slope. They may small treats, but how many are you snaffling? Growing up, we just simply didn’t have crisps, chocolates and treats on the house on a daily basis. A box of Vienetta would have been considered the height of luxury! But now I realise how lucky I was to have real food and that is the real treat. Not processed food in boxes and plastic wrappers.

I hope you print this article off and stick it on your kitchen notice board as a helping hand for your meal planning and grocery shopping.

To book a place on the Month of Meals course, log onto http://www.rozannestevens.com
Twitter: @RozanneStevens