Potato Cakes with Fish and Spinach

DSCI2102This is a great way of using up leftover boiled potatoes or simply starting from scratch, to make a tasty alternative use of our very versatile and humble root vegetable.

Ingredients

Makes 8 portions

700g potatoes

250g white fish (any kind will be fine and we used a basic range, frozen as the fish will absorb the added herbs and their flavours)

100-150g spinach (washed)

4 tbsp creme fraiche (we used reduced fat)

1 egg yolk, beaten

1/4tsp of nutmeg (ground or grated from a whole nutmeg)

1 tsp of dried marjoram (or fresh, chopped)

1 tsp of dried chives (or fresh, chopped)

Dash of milk (any kind: we used skimmed)

Salt and pepper to season

Method

  • Peel and boil the potatoes in a large enough saucepan, covered with boiling water with tiny pinch of salt added until they are cooked.

Dawn: This takes approximately 15-20 minutes and you can test if they’re cooked by sticking the fork into the potatoes while they are in the saucepan: if the fork goes in without any pressure applied and they are soft, the potatoes are cooked.

Andrew: You may prefer to steam as an alternative form of cooking well as well as thinking about the possibility of cooking the potatoes in their skins: all scrubbed clean and washed beforehand. 

Dawn: That’s right, Andrew. There’s a lot of goodness in the skins of lots of our fruit and vegetables – but always, always make sure you wash everything thoroughly before eating it raw or prepping it for cooking.

Andrew: Sound advice, Dawn. Shall we crack on? This dish won’t cook itself!

  • Drain the potatoes and set aside to cool.
  • In a frying pan, pour the milk and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and add the fish. Cook for 3-5 minutes both sides on a gentle heat. Lift the fish from the milk and set aside on a plate to cool. Discard the used milk.
  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 7, 220°C electric.
  • Place a saucepan of boiling water on the hob and add the spinach. Cook for approximately 3 minutes until it is wilted. Drain and physically squeeze out the excess water with your hands. Roughly chop.

Andrew: Spinach does retain water and it is very important to remove as much of it as possible because too much water will interfere with the potato cakes consistency making them sloppy rather than firm in texture. 

  • Take the cooled potatoes, egg yolk, creme fraiche and mash them with a potato masher, adding the herbs, nutmeg and wilted spinach. Season with a little salt and pepper to personal preference.
  • Place on a non-stick baking tray and cook in the centre of the oven until lightly golden brown.

Dawn: A wee experiment was conducted here – four were oven baked and four were very shallow, almost dry fried. The results are here:DSCI2086DSCI2087

Andrew: The baked potato cakes (above pic) rose like small bread baps whereas the almost dry fried version (below photo) were what you’d expect from cooking this method.DSCI2113

Dawn: And this dish is so easily a vegetarian meal by simply omitting the fish. 

Andrew: One further tip – these don’t freeze so prep and cook straight away, serve with a mixed green leaf salad for a healthy and filling meal.

For more recipes, food tips and cooking advice, follow the Cooking Duo’s blog here – www.forfoodlovers.wordpress.com – hop across to Twitter @Love_Food_UK, as well as finding us on Facebook and Mumsnet Bloggers Network. 

 

 

 

Posh Fish and Chips

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A healthy version, rather than ‘posh’, here we use cod, but any fish will do in this dish.

Dawn: I love the bright orange! Is that sweet potato?

Andrew: It is! Actually it is sweet potato wedges rather than chips per se.

Dawn: And the posh bits?

Andrew: Ah! You’ll see!

Ingredients

Serves 2

1 large or 2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and sliced into wedges

2 pieces of cod fillet, skin on

1 small chorizo, chopped into small cubes

1 portion of puttanesca sauce ( see https://forfoodlovers.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/pasta-puttanesca but leave out the tomatoes)

Cumin seed

Salt and pepper for seasoning

Olive oil for frying

Method

  • In an oven at 200ºC/Gas Mark 6, place a baking tray with the sliced sweet potato wedges, drizzled in a little olive oil, and sprinkled with a few cumin seeds.
  • Season well. Cook for 25-30 minutes, turning part way through so evenly cooked.
  • After about 15 minutes, heat a little oil in a pan, and cook the fish, skin side down.
  • Turn after 5-7 minutes, then scatter the cubed chorizo into the pan.
  • The chorizo will crisp up while the fish continues to cook.
  • When cooked through thoroughly, plate up the dish.
  • Arrange a few slices of sweet potato in a fan shape, place the fish below, scattering the chorizo on and around the fish. Place a generous spoonful of the puttanesca sauce alongside the fish.

Dawn: The puttanesca makes a pungent alternative to mushy peas doesn’t it?

Andrew: The chorizo allows for a bit of crispy bite, and if you wish adds some orange to the oil, which can also be drizzled over the fish.

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Pork Chops with Fennel

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The simple pork chop, trimmed of most of its fat, makes a delicious and simple lunch or light supper. Here we have served it with fennel which is season right now.

Dawn: Fennel has an aniseed flavour, doesn’t it?

Andrew: That’s right, Dawn. It might not be to everyone’s taste, but it is a vegetable which is usable both cooked and raw and is able to be cooked in a variety of ways.

Dawn: You can fill me in later. Can you crack on with lunch?

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 pork chops, fat trimmed

1 fennel bulb – take 1 or 2 centimetre wide slices per person

Olive oil to fry

Salt and pepper to season

Piri-piri or sumac to season (optional)

Method

  • Heat a little oil in a frying pan on a medium-high heat and cook the pork chops on one side for 5 minutes.
  • Turn the pork chops and add the fennel slices to the pan.
  • Turn the fennel after 2-3 minutes. It should have started to brown and soften a little.
  • After a further 3 minutes, check the fennel is cooked on both sides.
  • Decorate with the leaves from the fennel and serve immediately.

Dawn: An easy meal for sure! Great with pickles or mustard!

Andrew: For something more substantial, why not serve with sweet potato wedges and some green beans for a really colourful plate. 

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