I continually ask my husband if he is bored of the meals we eat; I fear that we may get stuck in a food rut, a nightmare to a greedy person like me! I love food and I love my meals to be exciting and varied. When My little boy was first born ( in August.. where has the time gone?) we were definitely in a food rut. I had frozen an eye-watering 75 meals beforehand as I knew I would have no time to cook. This was an absolute life saver in the early days when my evenings were spent mainly on the sofa trying to feed and/or comfort an often inconsolable baby. It was however, rather boring and repetitive. Meal times began to feel like just another task; an interruption to looking after William. I will admit I found this really sad; meal times were my favourite time of day and I longed for the picture-perfect image of us all sitting at our table together sharing a meal. It was feeling like this that made me determined that William would be able to share our meals.
Fast forward a few months and obviously this doesn’t always work. My husband is a farmer and some days he can be home at 4pm, on other days I don’t see him until the middle of the night. William is not a flexible baby (he likes routine, just like me) so we don’t always get to have supper together even if we have managed breakfast and lunch. That being said, I still try to ensure he eats the same supper as us, even if it has been blended or altered slightly.
These fishcakes are something I made long before I was a Mum and are a perfect example of a meal that can be altered slightly to suit grown-ups and little ones. They have always been a staple in our house as they freeze brilliantly meaning I can make a large batch and then have them stored away for busy days. I’ve called them cod fishcakes but actually I have made them with a variety of white fish, today they are haddock, in the past I have made them with pollock, red snapper and even monkfish. William often requires some persuasion to eat fish but he adores sweet potato so these tend to be received well, I try not to take it too personally when my food gets thrown on the floor in temper!
The quantities I’ve outlined below make 6 large fishcakes and 6 mini ones.
- 200g white fish (cod, haddock and pollock all work brilliantly)
- 4 medium sweet potatoes
- 3 spring onions
- zest of half a lemon
- Handful of fresh herbs (basil, mint, coriander or parsley all work well, use whatever you have)
- Oil for frying fishcakes
- Polenta or plain flour for dusting
Optional extras for grown-up versions
- Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees, place fish on a baking tray and pop in the oven for approximately 15 minutes.
- Peel and chop sweet potatoes and boil until soft
- Finely slice the spring onions remembering to ensure they are small enough for your little one to manage and place in a large mixing bowl
- Zest half a lemon and add to the mixing bowl
- Once the potatoes are cooked, drain them well and leave to cool a little
- Add potatoes to mixing bowl and mash roughly with a fork
- Once your fish is cooked (15 minutes approximately but depends on the thickness of the fillet) place it on a plate and flake it, checking for bones as you go
- Add the flaked fish to to the mixing bowl and fork it through the sweet potato mixture
- Once the mixture is cool enough to touch, shape your mini fishcakes and place on a plate
- Add any extras to the remaining mixture and stir through
- Shape your large fishcakes and place on a plate
- Place fishcakes in the fridge to cool down as this ensures they hold their shape when cooked
- Dust the fishcakes in flour our polenta. I love the texture that polenta gives them and it makes the easier for small hands to grab (at this stage they can be frozen and then cooked in the oven from frozen)
- Shallow fry in the oil of your choice (I use cold-pressed rapeseed oil as it has a high smoking point) for a couple of minutes a side until they are crispy and golden. Make sure you give them long enough on each side to form a crust or they won’t flip easily.
Tonight we are having these with some grilled asparagus. Although we also have them with salads, mushy peas or tenderstem brocolli.
The key with these is really to add herbs and flavours that you like to them. I love the salty spice of chorizo with the sweetness of the potato and the white fish. They can also take on an asian twist if you add lime zest instead of lemon, with chilli and coriander. Its a brilliant base-recipe that you can tweak to make your meals more exciting, avoiding the infamous ‘food rut’!
I’d love to hear if you try making these, happy cooking!