Tag Archives: winter salads

Sustainable fish at Llangollen food festival -Scandinavian style fish cakes recipe


Hugh’s fish fight is a campaign I started following a long time ago, even before I got to know local fisherman and fishmongers or got involved with the Menai Seafood Festival.  My love of all seafood is no secret, and I regularly tell people about it from the stage at various food festivals. But I do think very carefully about what I buy and eat and I would certainly think twice about eating in a restaurant that serves endangered species. A couple of years back I visited Nobu with a friend. The menu horrified me. That visit was definitely my last, even if their black cod is to die for!

I used to keep a close eye on websites such as FishOnline which gives great advice on what to eat and fish2fork which suggests sustainable alternatives to the those under threat. These days though I am more knowledgeable, usually go for local alternatives and if in doubt follow the advice of my fish monger (I highly recommend Wayne or Malcolm at Mermaid Seafood, Llandudno).

I eat a lot more fish at home now; the teen is rarely here these days but has started eating fish again and fish cakes are big on the OK-to-eat list. I’d based the previous incarnation of this dish on a recipe from Jamie’s 30 minute meals . His recipe called for fresh tuna, salmon and haddock. I replaced the haddock with pouting; a member of the cod family which is much cheaper and more sustainable, my salmon was organic farmed atlantic salmon (wild caught atlantic salmon are now not sustainable) but you could use MSC certified pacific salmon. The tuna I replaced with a tin. Pole & line caught skipjack tuna is sustainable and considerably cheaper.

This new and updated recipe uses grey mullet (a native fish) and farmed salmon again. In this version I omitted the tuna entirely, replaced the gluten part with porridge oats and gluten-free flour and instead of serving with a dollop of horseradish cream, baby potatoes roasted with herbs and a big lemon dressed salad, I made a fresh chilli salsa and used a garlic aioli to top.

Scandinavian style fish cakes: makes six medium-sized cakes..or quite a few little ones!

2 tablespoons porridge oats

1 dessertspoonful gluten-free flour

250g skinned and boned salmon fillet

250g Pouting / grey mullet

zest of 1 lemon (and a squeeze of the juice)

1 finely grated carrot

1 egg white

a small bunch of flat leaf parsley

salt and pepper

Put the fish into a food processor and blitz with the parsley and lemon zest. Add oats, flour, egg white salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon and  pulse a few times until coarsely mixed. Add the carrot and pulse again until roughly mixed.

Dust hands with gluten-free flour and form the mixture into 6 patties or lots of small cakes. Put a griddle pan on to heat with a drizzle of olive, rapeseed or sunflower oil to coat lightly. Slice a small clove of garlic and throw in to the pan. When it begins to sizzle place your fish cakes on the pan and leave to cook for about six or seven minutes. Turn over with a flat spatula and cook for the same amount of time on the second side.

Baby roast potatoes:

750g British baby potatoes (Charlotte, Jersey Royal)

Glug of Rapeseed oil ( I use Blodyn Aur Welsh rapeseed oil as its close to me but Cotswold Gold is also very good and Charlie the maker of it is lovely!)

a sprig of fresh rosemary leaves removed from the stalk and roughly chopped and a few small sprigs of thyme

Salt and pepper

Wash potatoes and put in a small roasting tin. Pour over a glug of oil, the herbs and a good sprinkle of sea salt (Halen Mon of course) and pepper

Roast in a preheated oven, 190 degrees for about 50 minutes, or until golden and crispy on the outside and soft when pierced with a skewer.


1 red chilli finely chopped

4 spring onions

4 yellow tomatoes (look for heritage varieties especially Sun Belle)

half a cucumber

1 red pepper

1 ripe avocado (optional)

flat leaf parsley and mint finely chopped

pinch of sea salt

splash of red wine vinegar

Finely chop the chilli (removing the seeds) and put in a mixing bowl. Take care to wash your hands well afterwards. Finely chop the spring onions, parsley and herbs and add to the bowl. Scoop the seeds out of the tomatoes and discard. Dice the flesh and add to the bowl. Remove the seeds from the cucumber and dice and do the same with the red pepper. Dice the avocado if using. Add a splash of red wine vinegar and season with sea salt. Taste and serve on the side with the fish cakes.

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Filed under British food, family budget cooking, Food festival, home cooking, local produce, Recipes, Seafood recipes, seasonal food, sustainable fish

Hot sprout top and flower sprout salad with crispy belly pork, red onion, pumpkin seeds and croutons: recipe

Sprout tops have long been a winter favourite, but as far as new vegetables go flower sprouts are quite intriguing. According to a website dedicated entirely to the flower sprout, Tozers the seed company spent some 15 years developing them as a more subtle alternative to the Brussel sprout. They certainly grow like a sprout, attached to a main central stem, but their little purpley-green shaggy leaves are more akin to curly kale.  Health wise flower sprouts they class as a superfood (both kale and sprouts are superfoods) and are jam-packed with vitamins and iron. Even Marks and Spencer got in on the act when they launched a year or so ago claiming that they would be stocking them.

Market garden manager Paul started growing them this year for the first time and I have watched their development with interest. The tiny fluffy buds have now turned into delicate deep purple flowers pretty much the same size as a sprout and they are just right for picking. I thought it was time to give them a try so I dropped in at Moelyci to collect a bag with a yummy weekend lunch in mind.

Saturday was the first clear day we’d had in a while, no supper club, no rain and no other plans so it was perfect for getting on with clearing the veg plots and doing a bit of pruning and weeding. With the excess of Christmas still fresh I’ve been craving salads and fruit, but with some fresh air in the lungs I’d worked up an appetite for more than a few leaves, so in the kitchen I went to rustle up something with a little more oomph.

For me hot salads are the perfect solution to my salad craving during the chilly winter months and so I came up with this. To my little bag of sprout flowers I added a good helping of sprout tops from my vegetable box, some crisp fried (Moelyci) pork belly and a good handful of croutons to keep up my trength for working out in the cold. An earthy mustard dressing with a drop of truffle oil finished the dish.

To make a hearty lunch for two to three people …or four if it forms part of a meal or you want a smaller serving,  you will need;

250g sprout tops or flower sprouts (I used a mixture of both. Make sure you wash them well as the tiny flowers heads tend to hold the dust and soil)

150 – 200g good bread, cubed and made into croutons.

300g diced pork belly (or you can use bacon, pancetta or even chorizo)

1 small finely chopped red onion

a handful of pumpkin seeds

For the dressing I used: 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar, a teaspoon of whole grain English mustard (but Dijon is good too), 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon ground nut oil, half a dessertspoonful white truffle oil (omit if you don’t have this) half a teaspoon honey and seasoning.

Put a large pan of water on to boil. Chop pork belly into cubes and put a frying pan on to heat. You don’t need any extra oil to cook the pork belly as it is already quite fatty and will cook in the fat released.

Make the dressing mixing all the ingredients in a screw top jar and giving a good shake. Don’t forget to taste it for seasoning and balance. If it’s too acidic add a tablespoon more of olive oil.

Once the water comes to the boil add the sprout tops to blanch. Bring the water back to the boil for thirty seconds to a minute and then add the sprout flowers. They are more delicate so blanch quicker. Leave for a minute, but make sure the sprout leaves remain bright green and the flowers keep their purplish colour. Drain and plunge into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.

Put another pan of water on to boil or save the first lot of water and keep hot.

Once the pork belly starts to crisp remove from the pan and put to one side. If there is a lot of fat in the pan drain most of it off. Toss in the cubed bread and fry over a highish heat until they start to turn golden. If you prefer you can make your croutons by coating in the remaining fat and then cooking in the oven for 20 minutes (gas mark two, 150 degrees C, 300 F) until crisp and golden.

Towards the end of the cooking time throw in a handful of pumpkin seeds and the finely chopped red onion. The idea is that they are just lightly warmed and not cooked until crisp.

When you are ready to assemble the salad, plunge the leaves into boiling water just to reheat and then drain well. Return to the hot pan and toss over a low the heat to dry slightly. Pour over the dressing.

Return pork to the pan and toss everything together so it is hot. Pile the dressed leaves in warm bowls or on to plates and scatter over the pork and crouton mix.

Eat greedily and feel virtuous about feeding yourself such healthy seasonal produce. Even the nine-year old liked it (apart from “those crispy nut things”…he mean’t the pumpkin seeds) 🙂

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