Simple Salmon Fishcakes

These Simple Salmon Fishcakes were one of my Nan’s most celebrated recipes. Home comfort cooking at its best.

Simple Salmon Fishcakes

This recipe was originally published on the blog in 2014. I have modified it to a gluten-free recipe and included new photos.

This pregnancy I was a little more on the ball as regards making freezer meals for the first few weeks of Beau’s life. I always had intended to do the same for Cole but I was little prepared for quite how much of an overwhelming time having a newborn would be and I just assumed I would be fine making my own simple meals everyday. Now with a toddler, a newborn and a husband who is back at work I am so grateful to have carved out some time for meal prepping a couple of months ago and I am reaping the rewards now.

One of the pre-requisites for my freezer meals was an emphasis on comfort food and real homely cooking. The first meal I craved after coming home from the hospital was a lasagne which is my mum’s signature dish. It reminds me of family and felt like the perfect meal to welcome our new bundle of joy home with. I also have stashed in the freezer a Shepherd’s Pie, these Barbecue Spare Ribs and a batch of my late grandmother’s Simple Salmon Fishcakes.

Simple Salmon Fishcakes

Now, my Nan wasn’t a great cook, she was very much a child of rations, plain food and making do, but there are a few things in her repertoire which I crave as an adult and get such a childish pleasure from. Her trifle was in a class of its own, made from Bird’s custard, tinned fruit puree and a packet of sponge fingers, but it couldn’t be bettered. Her beef stew consisted of beef simply stewed with potato and carrots until it had boiled down to almost a thickened soup, but its comfort factor cannot be surpassed. It was her salmon fishcakes though which our family has always considered her culinary masterpiece.

When we needed a bit of cheering up, perhaps we’d had a long week at school, it would perk us up no end when we’d get home from school on a Saturday lunchtime (yes, we went to school on Saturdays, don’t ask) and Mum would say that Nan had made us some fishcakes for a treat. There was no better reward for double maths, double chemistry on a Saturday (seriously that was the weekend lesson plan, sadists ran our school) and we could easily eat the whole plateful she had made us to last the weekend in a single sitting.

Simple Salmon Fishcakes

These are probably the most simple salmon fishcakes you will come across and they have a very special and secret ingredient, tinned salmon. When I first found out that was how she made them I was taken aback. It just seemed so wrong. But really the taste is unique, and despite how much I love a good fresh salmon fishcake, Nan’s are imbued with a more intensely sweet flavour which is entirely different. And to be honest, there isn’t a whole lot of salmon in these anyway. These fishcakes are more like mashed potato cakes kissed with a sweet blush of salmon. However that salmon flavour perfumes the whole cake.

When I asked Nan once how she made them she just said mashed potato and tinned salmon. That was her recipe and really all you needed to know in her eyes. Now, I’ve taken a liberty or two with my Nan’s recipe as I have added a few snipped parsley leaves, just because I couldn’t resist. I also included a generous amount of ground white pepper for a bit more of a kick and salt, which I know Nan definitely wouldn’t have used. She didn’t really buy into seasoning. Plus these days I have been making my Simple Salmon Fishcakes gluten-free and to be honest there is no discernable taste difference from the original version. I just swapped out the plain wheat flour for Doves Farm plain gluten-free flour and whizzed up a loaf of good gluten-free bread in the food processor to make the breadcrumbs. It made a huge amount so I have stashed the leftover breadcrumbs in the freezer for future meals. So useful and you can use the breadcrumbs straight from frozen.

Simple Salmon Fishcakes

The way to serve Nan’s fishcakes is and always will be non-negotiable, with brown sauce. It is in fact the only time I will ever eat brown sauce as if I’m pressed I’m not sure I really like it. However, here, when the crunchy crumbed shell of the fishcake which encases the sweetly soft interior is paired with the deep tang of the brown sauce the result is sublime. It’s the only thing in the whole world I feel like eating at the moment. Do note though that a lot of brown sauces are not gluten-free due to the malt vinegar and sometimes rye flour which is used. I prefer to make my own (you must remind me to post the recipe!) but otherwise Tesco’s own brand is gluten-free.

Print Recipe
Simple Salmon Fishcakes
These Simple Salmon Fishcakes were one of my Nan’s most celebrated recipes. Home comfort cooking at its best.
Simple Salmon Fishcakes
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
6 Fishcakes
Ingredients
  • 800 g potatoes
  • 75 g salted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 170g tin wild skinless and boneless red salmon
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves finely chopped
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 100 g gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 75 g gluten-free plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Passive Time 3 hours
Servings
6 Fishcakes
Ingredients
  • 800 g potatoes
  • 75 g salted butter at room temperature
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1 170g tin wild skinless and boneless red salmon
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves finely chopped
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 100 g gluten-free breadcrumbs
  • 75 g gluten-free plain flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
Simple Salmon Fishcakes
Instructions
  1. Peel and quarter the potatoes then place in a large pan of salted boiling water.
  2. Bring the potatoes back to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft.
  3. Drain the potatoes, then add them back into the pan with the butter. Add the white pepper then mash until the potato is incredibly smooth.*
  4. Tip the mashed potato into a bowl and leave to cool for an hour then cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours until the potato is cold.
  5. Drain the salmon and mix into the cold potato and the parsley leaves with a fork until evenly dispersed.
  6. Shape the fishcakes into patties of equal weight, about 125g, then place on a plate and put back in the fridge to settle for half an hour.
  7. Arrange the flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs into three separate bowls, then remove the fishcakes from the fridge and coat each fishcake; first with a light dusting of flour, then with the egg, then the breadcrumbs.
  8. Pour the olive oil into a wide heavy based saucepan and heat until sizzling. Then turn the heat down to low.
  9. Shallow fry the fishcakes in two batches, 5 minutes on each side, spooning some of the oil up the sides of the fishcakes to ensure they are golden all over, then place on kitchen towel to absorb the excess oil.
  10. Serve the fishcakes with a light salad and plenty of brown sauce.
  11. These fishcakes freeze very well so make a huge stash for emergencies and re-heat in the oven.
Recipe Notes

*If you use leftover mashed potato then these fishcakes come together in a snap. If you’re making the mashed potato especially for the fishcakes then you must wait for them to cool completely in the fridge as warm potato will fall apart when you’re shaping the fishcakes.

*I actually use a potato ricer for mashing my potatoes which ensures lump free and smooth mash without any gummy texture. To achieve this I place the salted butter into the saucepan and pass the potato through the potato ricer into the pan of butter, then give a jolly good stir into the butter once all the potato has been riced.

Garbage Salad

Garbage Salad is made at the end of the week to use up all the odds and ends from the fridge, supplemented by fridge staples such as salami and halloumi. No extra shopping required.

Garbage Salad

Garbage Salad has revolutionised the way I look at my fridge at the end of the week. Instead of gazing bleakly into the abyss claiming that there’s nothing for supper but the dog ends of the week’s eating, I can conjure up a delicious and satisfying salad in moments that everyone in the family will eat and enjoy.

Garbage Salad

Garbage Salad began life for me when I was a wee one and my mum was trying to get me to eat more veg. She would simply cut up as much salad veg as she could, stick it in a bowl with tuna, grated cheese, salad cream, crumble crisps into it and call it Mish Mash. I would devour it. I remember clearly sitting on the kitchen counter next to her watching her prepare it whilst sneaking bits of salad and crisps.

Garbage Salad

So I started making the same thing for Cole, with slight variations. Gone is the salad cream as I abhor it in adulthood, I don’t bother with the crisps either as the salad is just as good without, although don’t tell Cole that. What I have realised though is that he gets the majority of his salad in whilst I’m actually preparing it and it’s an activity in itself. He helps make it, eats a load of healthy salad and dinner is done in the bargain. I’m telling you the child can eat his weight in yellow pepper and I’m all for it.

Garbage Salad

What I didn’t expect since I started making it for Cole is how much nostalgia the meal would bring back and then actually how delicious it is. I’ve started making it for my lunches when Cole is at nursery and I’m not getting the slightest bit bored of it. The great thing is that the salad varies every time I make it as it depends on whatever odds and ends we’ve got hanging around the fridge. I used salami and halloumi in this particular recipe as I always keep a good supply of both in for emergency meals since they last an age unopened. If I don’t want salami or halloumi then I substitute with tuna and cheddar. Or maybe bacon and feta. The dressing rarely changes since a bit of mayo, mustard and olive oil takes seconds to prepare but the other week I had some leftover Caesar salad dressing in so I used that instead and it revolutionised the meal once again.

So this recipe isn’t so much a recipe but an inspiration for you to clear out your fridge at the end of the week, before the new shop arrives and make an amazing chopped salad. It makes you feel ultra organised, very healthy and is pretty damn delicious too.

Garbage Salad

Print Recipe
Garbage Salad
Garbage Salad is made at the end of the week to use up all the odds and ends from the fridge, supplemented by fridge staples such as salami and halloumi. No extra shopping required.
Garbage Salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 180 g halloumi sliced and grilled
  • 100 g salami cubed
  • ½ avocado diced
  • ½ little gem lettuce chopped finely
  • ¼ cucumber halved, seeds removed and sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes diced finely
  • 1 celery stick diced
  • 3 tablespoons sweetcorn
  • ¼ red pepper diced
  • ¼ yellow pepper diced
  • 2 tablespoons olives sliced
  • small handful parsley leaves finely chopped
Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon American yellow mustard
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
Prep Time 15 minutes
Servings
2 people
Ingredients
  • 180 g halloumi sliced and grilled
  • 100 g salami cubed
  • ½ avocado diced
  • ½ little gem lettuce chopped finely
  • ¼ cucumber halved, seeds removed and sliced
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes diced finely
  • 1 celery stick diced
  • 3 tablespoons sweetcorn
  • ¼ red pepper diced
  • ¼ yellow pepper diced
  • 2 tablespoons olives sliced
  • small handful parsley leaves finely chopped
Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon American yellow mustard
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
Garbage Salad
Instructions
  1. Make the salad by tossing all the ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Whisk the dressing ingredients together then pour over the salad, mixing well with salad forks.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken is deliciously tender with a sticky crunchy coating. A quick weeknight staple which is a million times better than a takeaway.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Valentines Day means Chinese to us. There have only been a couple of times where we have bothered booking somewhere smart and fancy, but set menus, surrounded by other couples don’t really signify romance to me. On Valentines Day you will either find us holed up in Chinatown where you can always get a table, a huge dinner and unobtrusive service or at home cooking a banquet together where the emphasis is not on the end result but the act of cooking as a couple.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

In fact one of my most memorable Valentines nights was when we decided to cook ourselves a night out in Chinatown. We mixed over-the-top cocktails that insisted upon using every alcoholic drink in our cabinet and was tantalisingly aqua marine with umbrellas and glace cherries. We drank these far too quickly whilst pouring over Chinese cookbooks and making a royal mess as well as sesame prawn toasts, char siu pork, egg fried rice and broccoli in oyster sauce. We finished with the requisite deep fried bananas, which always ensures a blistered tongue, and vanilla ice cream which melted as soon as it hit the bananas.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Spending hours in the kitchen isn’t as fun as it normally is at the moment with my increasing bump getting in the way of the kitchen counter, my lower back threatening to give out at any minute and bending down to get my bottom kitchen cabinets requiring about five minutes of recuperation time. So, we need to make haste with our Valentines preparations and there is no quicker and more delicious Chinese dish to make at home than this Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken. It’s a meal that I can happily make for the two of us, or if Luke is away then just me on my lonesome, it really is that little bother. Not to mention it tastes a million times better than the bland and greasy MSG filled takeaway at the end of the phone.

Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken

Print Recipe
Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken
Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken is deliciously tender with a sticky crunchy coating. A quick weeknight staple which is a million times better than a takeaway.
Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
4 people (or 2 with plenty of yummy leftovers so you can have cold Chinese the next morning)
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs with skin diced (or 3 chicken breasts)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos if gluten-free
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
4 people (or 2 with plenty of yummy leftovers so you can have cold Chinese the next morning)
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless chicken thighs with skin diced (or 3 chicken breasts)
  • 1 lemon
  • 3 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari or coconut aminos if gluten-free
  • 3 tablespoons sesame seeds
Lemon, Honey and Sesame Chicken
Instructions
  1. Place the cornflour, five-spice, garlic powder, zest of the lemon and salt in a bowl and whisk together until evenly mixed.
  2. Toss the diced chicken into the cornflour mixture until thoroughly coated.
  3. Heat up the coconut oil in a large wide bottomed saucepan or wok until hot then add the chicken, cooking on a medium to hot temperature until crispy and cooked through.
  4. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.
  5. Whisk the honey, soy sauce and juice from half of the lemon together until combined then pour into the pan. Bubble up for a minute then add the chicken back in along with the sesame seeds and cook for a further minute until piping hot.
  6. Serve with rice stir-fried with beansprouts, spring onions and soy sauce.