Food For Ill People

I think my appendix could be about to burst. Or something chronic.
I’ve tried to go to the doctors, but I can’t get an appointment until next Wednesday evening. I might be dead by then. The only small comfort is that I could be hailed as a martyr for the NHS. Probably not though…. 

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Frozen coley fishcakes

I maintain that frozen coley is an excellent thing to keep in the freezer—it defrosts quickly, it’s super healthy, and the fact it’s frozen so quickly after it’s caught means that it’s probably fresher than the fish lying about at supermarket counters.

Annoyingly, Tom sees frozen fish on about the same level as spam—something that should only be used in the event of nuclear fallout. But clearly he’s in the minority. The last time I wrote a post on frozen coley it received tons of hits…and because wordpress lets me see how visitors ended up at TheFoodIEat, I noticed that lots of you had googled ‘frozen coley recipe’. Interesting. So, in the name of supply and demand, here’s another:

Ingredients
Roughly 1 large potato per person (good mashing potatoes, preferably)
Roughly 1-1 ½ frozen coley steaks per person
Around 150 ml milk – basically enough so the fish are sitting in 3cm-deep milk when they’re nestled in the frying pan
Seasoning: black pepper, chilli, mustard, garlic, spring onions…(use your imagination)

(For proper fishcakes – I didn’t do this because, frankly, I couldn’t be bothered)
1 egg
Dried breadcrumbs

Method
Peel the potatoes and boil them until they’re nice and soft, and the potatoes will slip off a sharp knife.

While the potatoes are bubbling away, pour the milk into a frying pan, add seasoning (I used black pepper, mustard and chilli) then poach the fish until it’s cooked through—this usually takes around 6-8 minutes.

Strain, so the fish is separated from the poaching milk—but make sure that you keep both the fish and the milk.

Add some of the poaching milk to the potatoes, and mash them into a silky, fishy, potato mash – yum. Next flake the fish into the potato, add some spring onions and stir. As you can see, coley is a particularly good fish for this recipe—it’s quite a meaty fish so it holds its shape which adds texture to the whole dish rather than making it too paste-like.

Sprinkle flour on a board, and mould a handful of fishy-mash into a burger shape. If you manage to keep them all the same width then they’ll cook through more evenly—heat will take far longer to reach the centre of the fishcake if they’re in a big ball-shape.

If you fancy making your fishcakes really swish like the ready-made ones in a supermarket, then beat up an egg, coat the patties it and then cover them in breadcrumbs. As you can see, I didn’t bother — this decision was made on the grounds that 1) I was hungry, and it’s quite a time-consuming process, especially when you have to begin by making breadcrumbs and 2) because adding a load of egg and bread to a meal doesn’t make it any more nutritious—Tom and I are making a vague attempt to eat healthily.

Now, when it comes to cooking the fishcakes, I put them in an oven for 10 minutes, so they were warm the whole way through (note that the potatoes and fish are actually cooked already, so it’s just a matter of making all them hot and tasty). I finished them off by briefly frying them so that they had a crispy outside. Serve with a big salad, and some sort of condiment—mayonnaise, sweet chilli sauce…

Just a final aside for those of you who aren’t convinced by this recipe. Seeing as I already had lots of frozen coley in my freezer (there’d been a deal at Tescos a while back) I spent £2 on supper lastnight….and it got a resounding thumbs up from Tom, who was so moved by the fishcakes, I’ve got a feeling that he might re-think his stance on frozen fish.

Viajante

Recently I told a long lost friend that I was living in East London. He looked at me, eyes brimming with pity, and asked whether I’d had to eat many jellied eels. If he wasn’t being deadly serious, I wouldn’t have been so shocked. But he was.

The East End has been shackled with a reputation of jellified, fish-based produce. People think that the 24-hour bagel shop is as good as it gets. Otherwise it’s Bethnal Green’s Chicken ‘n Ribs joints or a dodgy Brick Lane curry…. 

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