My granny (or ‘Nonna’ as she chooses to be addressed) considers herself a free spirit, an artist; a ‘bohemian’, as she would preferably be labelled. She lives down a modest street in a modest part of Doncaster in a modest home. She lives by herself and likes it, but is in the process of deciding what cat she wants next.
I love it when I go to visit because each time she has made a little tweak to her home – be it a new painting she has done or a play around with the cushions, which makes herself with old material. In fact, if you looked up ‘shabby chic’ in the dictionary – she would be the definition. She’s also a mean cook – and despite not having a huge budget to spend on food, she always manages to cook up a beautiful lunch that never fails to amaze me. She has a simple, realistic and affordable approach to cooking and she won’t stand for food waste – which I would say is a pretty good way of living, don’t you?
These fishcakes were her latest drop – and Mum and I firmly agreed they were most probably the best of her creations yet. She used tinned smoked mackerel (cheaper, good to keep in stock, handy), boiled eggs, mashed potato and mustard – before dipping them in egg, coating them in flour and frying to perfection. Served with a simple lettuce and chopped celery salad dressed in olive oil and cider vinegar, it was one of those things you taste and think ‘Why the hell are we all fucking around with food?!’
I recreated them at home, using up some leftovers and the same principle minus the boiled egg and plus sweetcorn – because that’s what I had in. Were they better than Nonna’s? Hell, no! But they were certainly on par, and I would strongly urge you to give them a go. This makes a few, so keep them cold and take them to work for a not-sad-desk-lunch.
What you need:
- 1 tin smoked mackerel
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups cold boiled potatoes, cubed
- 1/2 tin sweetcorn
- 1 tsp english mustard
- 1 egg
- buckwheat flour for gluten free, plain flour for normal
What you need to do:
- Heat some oil in a pan and fry the red onion on a medium heat until soft. Throw in the potatoes and sweetcorn and cook for a further few minutes. Use a masher to press down on the potatoes to make a mash.
- Transfer the mix to a big bowl and crack in the egg and add in the mustard. Stir well and form in to cakes.
- Put some flour in to a dish and roll each cake in the flour, making sure they’re well coated on either side.
- Heat some more oil in a pan and fry each cake on a medium high heat for about 7 minutes each side, until extra crispy. Keep turning them around to make sure they don’t burn.
- Once thoroughly cooked, serve up with a simple salad, some extra mustard if you wish and mayonnaise.