Smoked Salmon Fish Cakes

Hot smoked salmon is one of my favourites. When living in London I would buy multiple packets of the amazing hot smoked salmon from Marks and Spencer for my every day lunches. It’s a bit more expensive to buy here in NZ but this recipe stretches out one 200g packet to last the whole family.

Often the best recipes come from mistakes, and this is no exception. Being very distracted one night cooking dinner with my parents, I accidentally added the ingredients for the dressing into the bowl for the fish cakes. Not realising my mistake until it was too late, I carried on and this recipe is now one of my family’s favourites!

You want to keep the onion diced as finely as you can, and don’t completely mash the potato, you want it lightly crushed so there’s still lumps of potato. Don’t mix too hard, you want a light touch.

I serve these with a squeeze of lemon and steamed green vegetables like beans or broccoli.

Hot Smoked Salmon Fishcakes

400g agria potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small red onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons self raising flour
200g hot smoked salmon
handful of roughly chopped parsley
1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
salt and pepper

Boil potatoes and half the diced onion until the potatoes are soft. Drain the potatoes and mash, then lightly mix in flour, parsley, mustard and remaining onion. Flake salmon into bowl and lightly mix until just combined.

Season with salt and pepper, then form rough balls of mixture. Depending on how moist your mixture you can dust lightly with flour or just pan fry over medium heat until golden.

Serves 4 served with steamed greens or a green salad.

Summer Fruit Galette

It’s the end of summer (already Autumn if you talk to some) but the summer fruit seems to still be coming thick and fast. We had some great peaches the other day so I whipped out this really quick and easy galette instead of a pie for a casual dinner with friends.  We were in a rush so I used bought pastry and it was perfectly fine. If you have time, homemade sweet short party would be next level.

Summer fruit galette

6(ish) peaches, ripe but not too ripe
1 punnet fresh blueberries (or 1 cup frozen)
1 tablespoon corn flour
1 tablespoon sugar (optional – leave out if you think your fruit is ripe and sweet enough)
1 packet sweet short pastry, thawed

Roll pastry out on a piece of baking paper, to a rough rectangle the size of an A4 piece of paper.   Toss the peaches, corn flour and sugar (if using) in a bowl, then spread onto the rolled pastry, leaving a gap a few centimetres around the outside. Fold the edges up over the fruit, making a rough kind of pie crust effect. Gently dot the blueberries over the top of the pie, and in between any gaps in the peaches.

Bake for approximately 30-35 minutes, depending how thick the fruit layer is. The peaches should be soft to the tip of a sharp knife and the pastry golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes to let the juices thicken, then dust with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pots

According to my husband, I’m the only person who, when there’s a spare half bottle of cream in the fridge, says “Oh a half bottle of cream? I need to make salted caramel sauce”.  Except tonight, I had a craving for chocolate as well, and I’d had this recipe for Chocolate Pots on my to do list for ages so I combined the two and, well, here you go.

This dessert has only 4 ingredients (none of them healthy) but noone said this was a health  blog.  It’s a pretty quick and easy recipe to make in the morning and then have ready for dinner.  If you can avoid eating them for that long…


The key to the salted caramel not being too sweet is to take the caramel as far as you dare.   It will start to smoke and you’ll think “oh god it’s going to burn” and then it will start to foam a little and someone will say “what are you burning in there” and then just when you think it’s all over and you’ll spend the next half hour cleaning burnt sugar off the pots, drop in your butter and cream and it will be amazing.image

Salted Caramel Chocolate Pots (serves 4)

Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
45g salted butter
60ml cream

Melt sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan on a medium heat until it starts to melt and then darken.  Swirl the pan (don’t stir it) to ensure it caramelises evenly.  The pan will start to smoke, when the caramel starts to foam and darkens to a dark amber colour, drop in the butter and then stir in the cream, taking care it doesn’t spit and foam on you.  I find I can turn off the heat at this point and the residual heat is enough to melt any hardened caramel into the sauce, but if you still have hard lumps, leave it on the heat and stir until it’s smooth. Taste the sauce, add a pinch more flaky sea salt if you think it’s required (I like my salted caramel on the saltier side). Leave to cool a little before you assemble the pots.  Any residual sauce can be kept in the fridge and served over icecream.  Or just eaten with a spoon.

Chocolate Pots
125ml cream
100g dark chocolate (I used Whittakers 62% which was nice and dark and not too sweet)
20g butter

Melt cream, chocolate and butter over a low heat and stir gently until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Let cool.

To assemble:
Spoon two tablespoons of caramel sauce into the bottom of 4 125ml ramekins. Chill until set.  Gently divide the chocolate between the ramekins.  They will be about 3/ 4 full.  Sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt on top, cover with gladwrap and refrigerate until set. Remove from fridge about 1/2 hour before serving.

These turned out super rich and decadent – the recipe would definitely work as 6 smaller desserts, especially if serving after a bigger meal.

Flu fighter

Recipes of chocolate cake and a smoky pulled pork have gone on hold today as I try and fight off the bugs that my kids have been spreading round.  At least the sun is shining and there’s a distinct feel in the air that spring may be on it’s way.

I love my NutriBullet to get a few more serves of veges into my day. This one is packed with greens and vitamin C with a hit of ginger to fend off the colds…


Flu Fighter Smoothie

1 cup spinach greens, washed
1 cup pineapple, fresh or frozen (about 1/6 of a whole pineapple)
1/4 lemon, skin on
knob of ginger, to taste
coconut water to fill

Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth and there are no big bits of spinach.  I find this takes about 30-40 seconds. If you are using fresh pineapple you might want to add a small handful of ice cubes to chill the drink down.

Drink, and rest.

Feel free to substitute kale for spinach, and regular water for coconut water. 

Lemon Yoghurt Syrup Cake

I’ve had this cake in my recipe book for so long I can’t remember where I ever found it.  I often make it when I need to bake something quick and easy, when I have excess lemons to use or a touch of leftover yoghurt.  It keeps well although in my house it normally doesn’t last long enough to find out.  

Over the years I’ve adjusted the recipe little, just reducing the sugar in the cake a touch as a reaction to modern trends, and you can use any kind of “cultured dairy”, plain unsweetened yoghurt, sour cream or creme fraiche. The tangier the better though, to go with the tangy lemons.

It’s best to pour hot syrup over a hot cake, otherwise it can go a little soggy.

Lemon Yoghurt Syrup Cake

1 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
1 cup yoghurt (or sour cream) – (I love The Collective Straight Up plain unsweetened, its tangy but not bitter and nice and creamy)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I use ricebran but something light with little flavour will do)
3 eggs
zest of 2 lemons

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 lemons, how convienent!!)

Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease and line the base of your tin (20cm round, 20x30cm sheet cake tin, or a loaf tin) with baking paper.

In a bowl sift the dry ingredients. In another bowl whisk together wet ingredients and lemon zest. Combine the two bowls, gently mixing to incorporate together. Don’t beat too much or you will end up with bubbles in the cake.

Pour into cake tin and bake in centre of oven for 40-45 mins until a skewer comes out clean. (If baking in a slice/sheet cake tin, this will be a shorter time, 25-30 minutes but just keep an eye on it.). 

While cake is cooking heat sugar and lemon juice to make a syrup.  If you have extra lemon zest or juice it won’t hurt to add them to the pan. 

Remove cake from the oven and poke holes with a skewer all over the cake. Place on a board or plate to catch any stray syrup, and pour hot lemon syrup over the cake trying to keep it even (but if you don’t manage to, the soggy syrupy bits are the best!). 

Lovely hot or cold, served with extra yoghurt or cream or if you’re being really extravagant, some cheeky marscapone. Or just eat by itself if there’s any left.

Peanut Brownies

It’s funny what can inspire you to cook something.  An open packet of roasted salted peanuts and a paint tin of M&Ms (a freebie from buying paint for our new kitchen!) inspired our baking this afternoon.

Peanut brownies are an old school NZ favourite – a classic from the Edmonds cookbook era.  I remember having the extra special treat of baking in my lunchbox, in the days before muesli bars and bought biscuits became the norm.

There’s a running joke in our family that chocolate baking only needs a tablespoon of cocoa, a hark back to our childhood days when nothing ever came out of the oven with the dense strong chocolately flavour that I search out in my baking these days.  So when I saw this recipe had only 2 tablespoons of cocoa it was a flag to me to increase it and modernise this old recipe.

I’ve reduced the sugar a little, amped up the cocoa, and used roasted salted peanuts.

 Peanut Brownies
adapted from Edmonds Cookbook

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups standard plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt (omit if using roasted salted peanuts)
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts (or just plain roasted peanuts)

Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and light.  Add the egg and mix well, then add sifted dry ingredients and mix gently until a dough forms.  Add peanuts and mix.
Place tablespoon sized cookies onto baking tray and bake for 10-12 minutes until cooked (be careful you don’t burn the bottoms!)


Seeing Purple

Have you ever had purple cauliflower?  I bought one the other day purely because it was cheaper than regular white cauliflower.  And I was wondering what it would look like pureed into babyfood.  Tastes pretty much the same as regular cauliflower to be honest.  Apparently full of antioxidants – bonus!

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