Smoked Haddock, Prawn and Herb Fishcakes

How to make Great Fishcakes

Fishcakes are incredibly versatile, they can be a great starter like the Thai style crab cake, flavoured with lemongrass and chilli with a sweet and sour dipping sauce or a crisp golden-fried fishcake as a main course, a staple of many pub and restaurant menus. Fishcakes are really simple to make, and you can use potato to bulk up what can be expensive fish and seafood. You can choose from any number of combinations; a simple white fish such as cod, haddock or coley with a piquant brown caper and parsley butter for added zing, smoked salmon and dill ( ask your fishmonger if he sells smoked salmon trimmings ), extravagant salmon and lobster topped with sour cream and caviar or today’s recipe that punches plenty of flavour, smoked haddock, prawn and herb.

Smoked Haddock, Prawn and Herb Fishcakes
Smoked Haddock, Prawn and Herb Fishcakes

This is a very tasty fishcake for a light lunch, al fresco dining on a hot summer’s day with a crisp salad and some Tartar sauce or as simple supper served on a bed of creamed leeks or Ratatouille. The smoked haddock gives a lovely rich smoky flavour perfectly complimented by the herbs and light fluffy potato. Panné is the technique for breadcrumbing any food from fish to the classic Chicken Kiev to make this recipe you can use stale bread processed into breadcrumbs, Panko or as I have polenta or coursed cornmeal. Dip the fishcake in seasoned flour, then egg and milk mix then in the coating. Further dip in the egg mix and coating a second time for a crispier finish.

For more information on how to Panné visit A Cook’s Compendium

Crispy Smoked Haddock and Prawn Fishcakes

1kg Fluffy Potatoes, washed and peeled

750ml Milk

250g Smoked Haddock, skin removed and de-boned

250g Mixed Fish ( Cod, Whiting, Salmon ), skin removed and de-boned*

250g Prawns, roughly chopped

50g Shallots or Spring Onions, peeled and very very very finely chopped 

50g Jersey Butter

1 small Onion, peeled

25ml Jersey Double Cream

20g finely chopped Chives

20g finely chopped Parsley

10g finely chopped Chervil

2 Cloves

1 Bay leaf

Sea Salt and freshly ground White Pepper to taste

Seasoned Flour, Egg and Milk, Course Cornmeal

*Your fishmonger may sell this using his offcuts

Stud the bay leaf to onion using the cloves, this is called a cloute. Pour the milk into a medium sized heavy-bottomed pan and add the cloute and the fish. Place on a low heat and bring to a simmer, and gently poach the fish for five minutes. Remove the fish from the pan and cool, the milk can be used to flavour  a chowder or a velouté sauce. When cool break the fish into large chunks. At the same time as you are poaching the fish boil the potatoes in another pan for mashing. When soft steam dry to remove excess moisture then gently mash with the cream, butter, salt and pepper. Combine the mashed potatoes, fish, prawns, onions and herbs together trying to keep the fish in large flakes throughout the mix. Correct seasoning.

Allow the mix to cool sufficiently so that you can safely handle it and then shape the mix into balls then squash slightly into fishcakes. Place the fishcakes on to a lightly floured baking tray and chill thoroughly, this will make the next stage much easier. Panné the fishcakes in the seasoned flour, egg mix and breadcrumbs, passing twice through the breadcrumbs. To cook gently shallow fry in a little oil for around five minutes on each side then finish in a preheated oven at 350 F / 180 C / Gas Mark 4 for around twenty minutes until golden brown and hot throughout.



What to Drink? Why not try your fishcakes with a crisp dry white wine like a chilled Soave or New Zealand Semillon.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour  Raw Fish Milk  Crab

Please see the Allergens Page

Shepherds Pie

British Pie Week – Shepherd’s Pie


Pie Week

It is British Pie Week that quintessential staple of a good pub menu, and who doesn’t like pie ( apologies if you don’t dear reader ). I want you to think of tender braised beef in a rich gravy wrapped in short crust pastry, lightly poached seafood in an indulgent creamy sauce and topped with a cheesy mash, a rich lamb, plum, celery and port pie with golden flaky puff pastry, the choices are almost infinite even before we get to desserts and a deep filled apple pie with lashings of custard.


Beef Pie
Beef Pie


So whatever takes your fancy and makes you Ap-Pie, did you see what I did there, you should go out and get baking a delicious pie for your dinner and while the weather is still cold and blustery here in the Channel Islands I am going to share one of my favourite pie recipes. Traditionally Shepherd’s Pie is a réchauffé dish made from reheating leftover minced lamb and vegetables in gravy and serving with a mashed potato top. My recipe uses one of my favourite cuts of lamb, the shoulder, which is full of flavour and delicious when slow cooked. If you want to try something a little different you could try topping the pie with sweet potato mash. The Shepherd’s Pie can be made in advance and frozen then defrosted and baked as required.

Shepherds Pie
Shepherds Pie with slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder

Shepherd’s Pie with slow-cooked Lamb Shoulder

2kg diced Lamb Shoulder, cut into 2cm cubes

( Ask your butcher to cut this up for you and to give you the bone )

1 large Onion, peeled and very finely sliced

2 large Carrots, peeled and sliced

2 sticks of Celery, washed, peeled and finely sliced

1 x 400 gr can of chopped Tomatoes

500 ml of quality Veal stock

200 ml good White Wine

100 gr Plain Four

60 gr Butter

6 tablespoons Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Tomato Puree

Large handful of Curly Parsley washed and finely chopped

2 Bay leaves

2 generous sprigs of Thyme

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

For the topping

1 kg Mashed Potato

60 gr grated Cheddar Cheese

20 gr finely grated Parmesan

 Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan and sauté the diced lamb in three batches until the all of the pieces are browned all over. Remove the browned lamb with a slotted spoon and place into a large heavy-bottomed pan or casserole. Add the onion, carrot, bay leaves and thyme to the frying pan and gently sauté for fifteen to twenty minutes until the onion has started to soften.

Add the plain flour and tomato paste to the cooking vegetables and stir in and cook for two minutes. Add the diced tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme and veal stock and bring to a simmer stirring regularly. Return the lamb to the pan, reduce the heat and cook for an hour and a half or until lamb is tender and the sauce is reduced. Remove from the heat, remove the thyme and bay leaves and season. Allow to cool and stir in the parsley.

 Preheat your oven to 375 F / 190 C / Gas Mark 5. Place the lamb mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with the mash. Sprinkle with the Cheddar and Parmesan and place in the oven. Bake for fifty minutes until the cheese is browned at the edges and bubbling and the Shepherd’s Pie is heated right through.

Wine and Beer

What to Drink? Shepherd’s Pie pairs fantastically with classic English Ales such as Greene King’s Abbots Ale or Timothy Taylors Landlord. If you want to drink wine Rioja is a classic partner for lamb if you want something lighter try a fruity Pinot Noir.

Allergens in this recipe are;

Celery  Flour   Milk

Please see the Allergens Page

A tray of Pasties

My Beef and Vegetable Pasty Recipe

It’s cold outside ( again ) and you probably want something hearty to eat, worry no more I have the perfect recipe for you from a few years back from when I lived and worked in Cornwall. On a journey through the southwest when you leave cuddly, cosy Devon and its world-famous cream teas, scones piled high with clotted cream and jam*, you cross the Tamar river and enter another world. There is something different about Cornwall and it always has been so, it is a magical place, a mythical place, slightly out of step and even out of time with the rest of England. It is a land with a rich history, it was a stronghold of the Celtic resistance to the Roman invasion, Phoenician traders travelled across the seas, over five hundred years ago, to bargain for the tin mined from its stony ground. It is a land of rolling, bleak moors, secret coves and bays hiding smugglers and pirates. Tintagel Castle, the birthplace of the once and future King Arthur clings to its rugged coast. Cornwall is the land of the pasty.

Freshly Baked Pasties
Freshly Baked Pasties

While I lived in Cornwall I made more than a few pasties culminating in a Bank Holiday weekend festival of pasties, real ale, music and more than a little mayhem at the New Inn, Tresco. People watched live bands, drank numerous pints of real ale and scrumpy in the Beer Festival Pavilion and ate pasties, ate pasties and ate more pasties. In fact, I’m pretty sure it could be a world record we sold thousands of pasties from producers all over Cornwall with some very unusual fillings. Peaches and Cream, Lamb Biryani, the Full English Breakfast Pasty ( grandma would approve ** ) to name just a few. I developed quite an aversion to the pasty but now I am slowly recovering.

So before I upset every Cornish man, woman, and child with my totally unauthentic recipe I really ought to mention how it should be made. One of the first references to a meat pasty was made by the thirteenth-century chronicler Matthew Paris ( not the modern Times columnist although I’m sure he could make a mean pasty should he wish ) writing about the diet of the monks of St. Albans. The pasty often filled with venison was a delicacy and is mentioned by Jane Seymour, wife of King Henry VIII and the diarist Samuel Pepys.

As the popularity of the pasty waned nationally the Cornish pasty came into its own. The pasty was a popular filling dish to carry into the deep pits of the Cornish tin mines in the seventh and eighteenth century, wrapped in thick pastry and muslin cloth the filling would keep warm for several hours. The pasty was often divided with meat the potato then fruit fillings. The thick twist of pastry was to allow the miners with dirty hands a convenient way to hold the pasty and was then discarded. There may be some truth that this also prevented contamination with poisonous arsenic present in the tin mines.

A proper pasty is considered to contain beef, sliced potato, onion, and swede. Confusingly in Cornwall, a swede is called a turnip. I am not sure what they call Norwegians. The ingredients are sealed in the pastry with plenty of black pepper and cooked from raw. The Cornish pasty is protected under European law alongside Champagne and Parmesan cheese so the Cornish are right to be proud of their culinary heritage. Here is my recipe for the unauthentic but still quite tasty pasty. If you are Cornish I apologise.

*Always in Devon cream first and jam on top, in Cornwall the jam goes on the scone, it’s best not to ask wars are started over less.

 ** It is a little-known fact all Grandmother’s don’t think you can get through the day without a hearty full English breakfast inside you. This is no bad thing


Beef and Vegetable Pasties makes 6 – 8

1 block of readymade Puff Pastry

Look I know we have not even got to the filling and I am using puff pastry and that is sacrilege, frozen puff pastry is a godsend to all but the most dedicated of cooks and always delivers a good finished result and they are very tasty I promise and I have apologised already.

500 gr Chuck Steak, cut into small chunks ( ask your butcher if you’re a bit unsure )

1 large White Onion, peeled and sliced

1 medium Swede, peeled and sliced about  ½ cm thick

4 Carrots, peeled and sliced

2 large Baking Potatoes, washed, peeled and sliced twice as thick as the swede

50 gr Button Mushrooms, wiped and thinly sliced ( optional )

A knob of butter

A glug of quality Olive Oil

30 gr Plain Flour

300 ml good Beef Stock

Worcestershire sauce

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

Flour for dusting

Egg wash

Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6. In a large heavy-bottomed pan heat the oil and butter over a medium heat and add the onion and sauté for five minutes. Seal the meat, flour and plenty of black pepper into a plastic bag and shake well. When the meat is coated add to the pan. Stir and add the carrots, swede, mushrooms, and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for ten minutes stirring occasionally. Add the swede and a good slug of Worcestershire sauce. Cook for a further fifteen minutes until the potatoes are just soft. Check seasoning and set aside to cool.

Making Pasties
Pasties and filling

Flour a clean work surface and roll out pastry to about half a centimeter thick. Using a plate cut out circles around six to seven inches in diameter. With a soft pastry brush egg wash one side of the circle. Spoon on a generous amount of filling and pull over pastry.

A Prepared Pasty
Crimped Pasty

Crimp together the edges between finger and thumb to seal the pasty and place on a baking tray covered in parchment or with a silicon mat. Continue until all of the filling is used up. Chill in the refrigerator for twenty minutes to relax the pastry then brush twice with the egg wash. Prick once with the tip of a sharp knife to let out the steam and place in oven. Bake for twenty minutes until golden brown and serve.

Allergens in this recipe are;

  Flour   Milk    Eggs  Celery  Raw Fish

In the Worcestershire sauce

Please see the Allergens Page

Roasted Jersey Royals and Chickpea Salad

If you love your potatoes, your mash, your roasties and your chips then now it is the season to celebrate. The first or early potato crops are being lifted in Cornwall and the South West, but for the real connoisseur, there is only one option, the Jersey Royal. Now you lucky folk can get them on every high street in Britain, every good greengrocer, every supermarket sells the tastiest potatoes you will try. Quite often at a better price than on the island of Jersey itself. So I hold my hand up here, I live on the island, I could always just go dig up a bucket load I guess if the farmers didn’t guard them so highly.


Right now across our fertile fields you can see acres of plastic sheets covering the wonderful Jersey main season potato crop. The earliest and hardiest growers would have been planting in November for the early season potatoes. Visitors to the island are often amazed by the land that is turned over to potato growing, virtually vertical pockets of soil on rocky outcrops are planted carefully suspended by ropes. The potato harvest lasts from early April through to June depending of course on the climate conditions. The above average temperature of the island, its easy draining soil and the use of the abundant local seaweed as a fertiliser all helps to shape the flavour of this perfect potato. The islanders would swear to the fact the secret is all in the use of abundant amounts of the pungent seaweed.

Jersey Royals 3

We need however to go back to 1878 ( Fear not this is only a minor historical digression and an essential part of our tale ) for the origin of the Jersey Royal or to be more precise the Jersey Royal Fluke and its unique taste. A pair of abnormally large potatoes were purchased and later cultivated by Hugh de La Haye becoming the forerunners of the modern jersey potato industry. Today at its peak 1500 tonnes a day are exported during the season’s peak and the Jersey Royal enjoys EU protected origin status. For more information please visit the Jersey Royal website.

So what do I suggest you do with the lovely little tubers, on the island they are consumed simply served in a bowl with golden Jersey butter. I have a taste for freshly boiled Jersey Royals with some cold smoked Jersey butter and coarse sea salt if I’m feeling a little culinary inclined. You can serve them with Spring Lamb, they as you would expect excellent with simply grilled fish, but here is my favourite, a nice early summer recipe to look forward to, healthy, full of flavour and texture and very easy to make.

Roasted Jersey Royal Salad

Roasted Jersey Royal, Chickpea and Sweet Red Pepper Salad                    serves 4

The wonderful sweet flavour of the potatoes is complimented by the rosemary, the slightly smoky charred peppers, the salty olives and the crunch of the chickpeas all bound in a simple but fragrant vinaigrette.

500 gr Early season Jersey Royal potatoes, thoroughly washed

2 large sweet red peppers

100 gr ripe On-the-vine Cherry Tomatoes

A small tin ( around 100 gr ) of Chickpeas, washed and drained

8 tablespoons quality Olive Oil

2 tablespoons Sherry Vinegar

1 teaspoon Clover Honey

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 small Chilli, seeds removed

A large sprig of Rosemary

A small bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley, washed and picked mixed salad leaves

Sea salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

A heavy-duty plastic food bag

 Preheat the oven to 375F / 190C / Gas mark 5. Place your peppers in an oven proof dish and bake until the skins to blacken. ( You can achieve the same results under a grill or salamander in a shorter period of time ). In a medium sized saucepan place the Jersey Royal potatoes and cover with cold water. Add half a teaspoon of salt, place on the hob and bring to the boil, simmer gently for five minutes. Remove from the heat and drop into a bowl of ice-cold water. Drain thoroughly and place in an oven tray. Toss with two tablespoons of the olive oil, one crushed clove of garlic, the rosemary sprig broke up into pieces and plenty of salt and pepper. Roast for thirty to forty minutes until the skins are crispy.

Meanwhile, place the charred peppers in the food bag, seal and allow to cool. As the peppers cool the self-generated steam will loosen the blackened skins. When cool remove from the bag and place on a chopping board and using a small sharp knife scrape off the skin. Do not worry if you cannot remove it all a few blackened pieces add a smoky flavour to the salad. Remove seeds and any membranes and slice. Slice tomatoes in half.

Wipe a medium sized glass bowl with the second piece of garlic that has been cut in half. In the bowl dissolve a good pinch of the salt into the sherry vinegar then add a good grind of black pepper, the honey and mustard. Whisk in the oil. Immediately before serving toss the chickpeas, tomatoes, pepper slices and parsley in the dressing. Place over four bowls of mixed salad leaves drizzling with any remaining dressing, top with crisp roasted potatoes and enjoy.

Pictures courtesy of the States of Jersey.

If you enjoy this Jersey Royal recipe here is another  I wrote for Frost Magazine.

Sausage, Apple and Thyme Hash

Sometimes you just want simple, full flavoured food. Something more than a snack but perhaps nothing as complicated as a full meal. Hash is a great and easy to prepare dish that can be made with beef, corned beef from a tin is great but flakes of your own cured salt beef is better, confit duck and pulled pork. Hash is a dish made from diced or chopped meat, potatoes, and flavourings such as onions, spices and herbs that are mixed together and then cooked. The name is thought to come from the French verb ‘ hacher ‘ meaning to chop. Corned beef hash became especially popular in Britain, during and after the second world war, when rationing limited the availability of fresh meat.

Sausage Hash

You can add just about anything you want to use up in your fridge and ramp up the heat with lots of pepper and chillies if you so choose. I like the sweetness in this recipe that you get from the onions and apples, a classic flavour combination with pork sausage and make sure there is a real good grind of black pepper for a little kick.

Sausage, Apple and Thyme Hash                                             serves 2

6 grilled, good quality Pork Sausages, from your local butcher

500 gr boiled Baby Potatoes, sliced

2 large Spanish Onions, peeled and finely sliced,

2 Red Peppers, de seeded and sliced

2 Crisp Green Eating Apples

2 fresh free range Eggs ( Duck Eggs if you can get them )

80 ml Vegetable Oil

50 gr Butter

½ teaspoon freshly picked Thyme leaves

Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper

A handful of curly Parsley, washed and finely chopped

Heat half of the oil and the butter in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan until foaming. Add the onions and sauté for five to ten minutes, over a medium heat, until they start to soften but not colour. Add the potatoes, peppers, apples and thyme, stir and cook for ten more minutes until the potatoes are starting to colour. Place the sausage pieces in the pan and finish cooking, stirring occasionally. After ten more minutes, the sausages should be thoroughly heated through and the potatoes nicely golden brown. Season generously and keep warm. In a second frying pan, heat the remaining oil and fry the eggs. Stir in all most all the parsley into the hash, transfer into bowls and top with the eggs and remaining parsley.