Food, glorious food. And also fishcakes

Thinking about next week’s dinner while enjoying yesterday’s leftovers.

Salmon and mackerel fishcakes with a blue cheese and honey salad
Salmon and mackerel fishcakes with a blue cheese and honey salad

Most weeks we pop into Rathmines Library while the nippers are doing extra curricular activities. It’s a real refuge and extremely kid friendly. I usually wander over to their recipe book collection and end up lugging a hard backed tome home. Libraries are great for many things, not least being able to try before you buy on books such as this. There are quite a few books on my recipe bookshelf that I wish I had test run before buying.

Anyway this week is Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries
which has been firmly placed on my Amazon wishlist. I know it’s been around since 2005 and was recommended to me way back then but there you go. I get to things in my own time. One of these days…

I already made what he calls English Apple Cake but instead we made Irish Apple Cake using apples from the garden and the breadcrumbs from the brown bread monster encountered on my brown bread odyssey. (As an aside next stop on the voyage of discovery is Imen McDonnell’s recipe¬†currently residing on one of my many Pinterest boards.)

So I had a thoroughly enjoyable lunch perusing Mr. Slater’s diary while munching through my super wholesome lunch. It hadn’t started out so well yesterday. This week’s menu included the wholly uninspiring entry for yesterday evening; “Fish from freezer”. Oh. Yum. Thankfully I had also added a reminder to my phone totake said fish from the freezer the night before. I was so glad I tell you. So freaking glad. So it was now 5.30 and I was no closer to a “delicious meal featuring perfectly cooked fish” except for the defrosted-ness of three small mackerel fillets and one salmon fillet to feed five-ish. I’m not the most inspired when it comes to fish at the best of times. What I really wanted was soup. It was a cack day that needed a delumptious, hugger of a soup to save it and all I had was cold fish.

So I did my usual and did a Google search for salmon and mackerel and found this recipe for which I actually had all the ingredients. Okay I had no herbs so I lashed in some sad looking spring onions. I added a dash of Cayenne Chilli Pepper, only used one egg because well you know…¬†However my big problem with fishcakes persisted. These were lovely: held their shape well, no frying involved as they are oven baked and a nice balance of potato and fish but what the heck do you eat fishcakes with? We went with couscous and sweetcorn but it was all a bit, well, yellow. We had no dipping sauce. Maybe a tartare sauce would have worked.

However with two left over I picked up a bag of rocket and baby leaves while in the shops today to which I added quartered cherry tomatoes, diced cucumber, crumbled Gorgonzola, vinaigrette and a dash of honey and had a delicious lunch. You see I never think of salad when the nippers are around because I just end up throwing it out. Ungrateful wretches.




Rice and Bean Salad

On Saturday we decided to make a bit of space in our freezer by using up burger buns and lamb mince to make these simple and delicious lamb burgers. I didn’t have any harissa (I don’t think I’ve ever seen any for sale in our local supermarket…!) so we decided to use that Lebanese paste again. Made for a yummy condiment. I felt we needed something fresh to go with this (Himself and the Nippers ALWAYS try to convince me that deep fried gnocchi are the perfect accompaniment to burgers. Shudder. And yet also delicious.) We ended up eating late enough and we were starving so we needed something with a bit more substance.

I love rice with beans. I have often made this Caribbean Rice with Beans recipe but risotto style dishes have become a no-go for one of the nippers. You pick your battles! I like this one because as it’s not actually a risotto you don’t have to stir like a mad thing: you just leave it to cook away.

So I rustled up this salad leaving some of the rice to one side and serving it plain with carrot batons for the kids. I do rather love the combination of the colours in this salad. The rice was slightly warm which is very nice too. There would have been enough left over for our lunch the next day but as I mentioned we were starving.

Rice and Bean Salad (serves 4)

Lamb Burger with Rice and Bean salad
Lamb Burger with Rice and Bean salad
  • 2 cups uncooked Basmati rice cooked to your liking
  • 1 can of Red Kidney Beans, rinsed
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • A handful of baby spinach, shredded
  • 1 quarter large red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons of your favourite vinaigrette (I make a bottle of Ballymaloe Vinagrette and larrup it on to a wide variety of salads but you could use this)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Place all the ingredients in a delightful bowl and toss. Eat. Yum.