In 1985 AD, Dad and Jean took us to the ancient town of Lindos, Rhodes. The whitewashed buildings cascaded down the hillside, pierced only by narrow streets. Our villa was set in a walled courtyard behind a huge wooden door and our bedrooms were set to the side. Each day we walked down to the beautiful, golden beach and bathed in the clear, blue Aegean Sea.
Being 14 year old teenagers, in a metropolis of fun was hard to resist. So one evening, we slipped away from our parents and went up to Yanni’s Bar having Brandy Alexander and Tequila Sunrise bought for us all night! At our midnight rendevous underneath the fig tree in the square, Paula and I pretended to be sober, but to no avail. We were grounded for the rest of the holiday.
What our parents didn’t know was that one hour after lights out each night, dressed to the nines, both of us climbed over the rose-covered villa wall, scrambled down to the beach bar and partied until the sun came up. Best holiday ever! This secret has only just been revealed, as both of us exit our forties! But then, rules are meant to be broken….
My fish cakes are ideal as a starter, as a lunch-time meal or when on the run.
455g (1lb) potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks * 455g (1lb) salmon fillets, skinned * 2 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped * grated zest of 1 lemon * 2 tbsp double cream * salt & freshly ground black pepper * 1 tbsp plain flour * 1 egg, beaten * 115g (4oz) breadcrumbs, made from day-old bread * 4 tbsp vegetable oil, for frying * watercress, to serve * sweet chilli jam, to serve
Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for 15 minutes, until soft. Drain well and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Place the fish in a frying pan and just cover with water. Bring the water to a boil over a medium heat, then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes until cooked. Remove from the heat and drain the fish on a plate. When cool enough to handle, flake the fish roughly into good-sized pieces, ensuring that there are no bones.
Mix the potato with the fish, tarragon, lemon rind and cream. Season well with salt & pepper and shape into 4 round cakes or 8 smaller ones. Dust the cakes with flour and dip them into the beaten egg. Coat thoroughly in the breadcrumbs. Place on a baking tray and allow to chill for at least 30 minutes. Heat the oil in the frying pan and fry the cakes over a medium heat for 5 minutes on each side, turning them carefully using a palette knife or a fish slice. Serve with a crisp, watercress salad and sweet chilli jam.
I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.
This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.