29 September 2014

Thai Salmon Fish Cakes

A little spice, a little coconut, a little ginger & kaffir lime – the flavours of Thailand & they are perfect for brightening up a healthy flavourful dinner.  A few more of which are required as Summer is fast approaching. Spring is here & most of the office is kick starting Spring with some healthy living.  Measurements are being taken & goals logged.  There’s even a little healthy competition to keep everyone on track over the next few weeks.

Nadia Lim’s Good Food Cook Book has become a bit of a go to for me for fast, healthy, full of flavour dinners.  These Thai salmon cakes are bursting with the flavours of Thailand; packed full of chilli, ginger, kaffir lime & coconut cream.  I love them all, I add chilli to just about everything, like hit of ginger & love anything coconut; however for me it is the kaffir limes that add that quintessentially Thai flavour & burst of taste than nothing else comes even close to matching. Shiny & bright green there is nothing quite like their scent & taste.  Just rub the leaves between your fingers & they release their aroma, intensely limey but so much more.  Much more fragrant & much more pungent. Like lime on crack really.  

These salmon cakes are quick to whip up & gave my new toy another work out. Pretty much everything gets thrown in to the food processor & then you roll them in to little patties & coat in panko bread crumbs for a golden crispy finish.

*Top tip for kaffir lime leaves...grab them when you see them & freeze them.  Frozen kaffir lime leaves will keep anywhere from several months to a year in the freezer & even better you can use them right from frozen, no thawing required.

Thai Salmon Cakes with Basil Chilli Mayo, from Nadia Lim’s Good Food Cook Book

Serves 6 as canapé or make them larger & you have a few speedy dinners worth.


Salmon Cakes

450g salmon fillet, skin off, pin boned & cut in to cubes
¼ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground chilli
¼ tsp ground coriander
½ tsp brown sugar
2-3 kaffir lime leaves, central stem removed & very finely chopped
1.5cm piece of ginger, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
3 tbsp coconut cream
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 red chilli, chopped
3 spring onion, chopped
Pinch of salt
1-1.5 cups panko bread crumbs
¼ cup rice bran or vegetable oil

Basil Chilli Mayo
1/3 cup mayo
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
20 basil leaves, finely chopped

To Serve
Lebanese cucumber, thinly sliced
1 red chilli, thinly sliced
1 lime, cut in to wedges


For the salmon cakes place all the ingredients except the panko crumbs & oil in the bowl of a food processor.  Pulse until just combined in to a thick paste. For canapés roll heaped teaspoons of the mixture in to balls & for lunches or dinners large tablespoons.  Place the panko crumbs on a plate & roll the balls gently in the crumbs to coat well.  Lightly flatten each ball in to a little patty & set aside until ready to fry.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a frying pan on a medium heat & cook the salmon cakes in batches for 1-2 minutes on each side or until golden, crisp & cooked through. Add more oil as needed.

For the mayo just mix all the ingredients together.

For canapés top each salmon cake with a slice of cucumber & a dollop of mayo.  For the larger cakes just serve with cucumber & mayo on the side.  Scatter over chilli  & serve with lime wedges.

*Even better these can by fried in advance & then just crisped up in the oven for a speedy supper.

For all things Russell Hobbs head over here.

And full disclosure my shiny new food processor was very generously given to me by Russell Hobbs.

17 September 2014

Persian Love Cake

So... I was very lucky to receive a new toy from the lovely people at Russell Hobbs, this little beauty.

I've never had a shiny brand spanking new food processor, having been using a trusty hand me down from Mum* for, well forever, so I was quite excited.  I especially love that there is a little bowl built in for pesto & flavoured oils.  This little baby has been fair humming away on the bench top making pesto, herb oils & several batches of Thai prawn cakes. I will have to share that one, it's just too good not to & a whizz to whizz them up in minutes!

*And she's been trusty....over 20 years old & still going strong! And is going to continue her journey in a very lovely new home.

But first up we had a bake off at work pre a MKR* cook off & that's where this cake comes in, a Persian Love Cake no less, I just couldn't go past it.  It just sounded so exotic & a little loves always a good thing.  There's ground almonds, nutmeg & a scattering of pistachios, their almost bright limey green flecked with pink always adding a hint of the exotic.  This cake was the hands down winner at our cook off, the base a wonderful sweet almost caramelised crunch topped with moist, melt in the mouth cake & pistachios. Even better it was easy peasy to whip it up in my new baby.

* going the most exciting part actually getting my vey own MKR apron with my name on it, spelt correctly even! 

It was more successful than the chicken we cooked at the actual cook off, it may have looked pretty but sadly it was a tad over cooked & a little dry which did not make for a winning entry, nonetheless it was a fun night & just a reminder that I don't really like cooking to timelines as it totally removes the relaxing component! Much more fun just to take one's time.

*My Kitchen Rules for you non antipodeans.

Persian Love Cake

Serves 8-10

*next time, & there will definitely be a next time, I will add some orange zest & possibly just a little orange syrup drizzled over the top.


360g almond meal
220g raw sugar
22g brown sugar
1 tsp salt
120g unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs
250g natural yoghurt
1 tbsp grated nutmeg
½ cup pistachio nuts, roughly chopped


Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F . Line the base of a 26cm spring form cake tin with baking paper & lightly grease the size.  Place the almond meal, sugars, butter & salt in the bowl of a food processor & process until you have course breadcrumbs. Spoon half the mixture into the spring form cake tin & gently press to evenly cover base.

Add the egg, yoghurt & nutmeg to the rest of the crumble mixture & process on medium speed to mix well. Increase speed to high & process for 1-2 minutes more until smooth & creamy.

Pour the cake mixture over the base, scatter with pistachios & bake for 40-45 minutes until golden.  If a skewer comes out clean she’s cooked.

Cool completely before taking out of the tin & let it cool completely before slicing.  Serve with a dollop of creamy Greek yoghurt.

For all things Russell Hobbs head here.


08 September 2014

Fast & Fabulous French Bread

Bread & butter; one of life’s simple pleasures.  Even better if it is home baked. The aroma of fresh bread baking wafting from the oven making you wait, me becoming impatient as it tempts & tantalises.  And then once out the oven more waiting, well if you can , before slicing & slathering with butter. 

Biting in to fresh golden crispy crust giving way to a warm interior, butter melting, maybe even running down chin. So comforting, so toasty & buttery delicious.  Nothing else needed; perfect just as it is.

“Good bread is the most fundamentally satisfying of all foods; and good bread with fresh butter, the greatest of feasts.” 
James Beard

This one from Jamie over at Life’s a Feast via Milk & Honey via Eat Cake for Dinner... a recipe passed on spreading a little joy; a little pay it forward with deliciousness. I love all sorts of bread & more often than not it’s brown & full of grains but the pinnacle of bread for me is white bread.  There’s just nothing quite like it & so this fabulous & fast white bread caught my eye & had to be baked.  It will keep for a few days & makes for good toast & then a few days old & it satisfied my craving for eggy bread top with thyme fried mushrooms & on the sided a crispy bacon & balsamic & thyme roasted tomatoes.

The smell of good bread baking, like the sound of lightly flowing water, is indescribable in its evocation of innocence and delight...

[Breadmaking is] one of those almost hypnotic businesses, like a dance from some ancient ceremony. It leaves you filled with one of the world's sweetest smells... there is no chiropractic treatment, no Yoga exercise, no hour of
meditation in a music-throbbing chapel. that will leave you emptier of bad thoughts than this homely ceremony of making bread.” 
M.F.K. Fisher, The Art of Eating: 50th Anniversary Edition

Fast & Fabulous French Bread

*I used half white spelt flour & half “00” flour & made 2 loaves instead of 3

Makes 2 loaves


1 cup boiling water
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup warm water
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp salt
15g unsalted butter
2-3 cups "00" flour
2-3 cups white spelt flour
1 egg, beaten


Preheat the oven to 80C / 175F 

*Yes, that's 80C not 180C. The low starting temperature lets the bread have a little rising time before turning it up.

Spray a large baking tray with cooking oil & set aside.

Pour the 1/3 cup of warm water into a small bowl & sprinkle over the yeast, whisk a little & set it aside for 5 minutes. Place the sugar, salt & butter in the bowl of an electric mixer.  Pour over the boiling water & mix until the butter has melted.  Add the cold water, mix, add the yeast mixture & mix again until all combined.

Add half the flour & mix on low speed. Next add enough of the remaining flour until a soft dough forms (I used 5 & a half cups). Keep the mixer on low & mix for 8 minutes. Stop the mixer & leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto the prepared baking tray & divide it into 2 equal portions & allow it to rest for another 5 minutes.

Using your fingertips, spread each portion of dough out to a rectangle. Roll them up like a Swiss roll length ways & then fold the two ends in toward each other. Turn them over so that they are seam-side down. You can tuck the edges in to create smooth tops & sides if you like, or you can leave & go rustic.

Spray a sharp knife with cooking oil & make three diagonal slashes into the tops of each loaf. Brush with the beaten egg & bake at the low heat for 15 minutes before turning up the temperature to 200C/390F & bake for a further 15 - 20 minutes. Turn the oven temperature down to 180C/350F & bake for a final 10 minutes. The bread should be golden & sound hollow if you tap it,

Transfer the loaves to a wire rack to cool for as long as you can resist before slicing & spreading generously with butter.

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