Friday, 29 June 2007

Getting Messy

When I first became a dad, it seemed like an awful long way off from my little dream - cooking with the kids. Two and a half years later, I'm fully in the swing of it. And I can never take it for granted. Sitting Cerys on the kitchen bench whilst I prepare whatever I am preparing is brilliant for the two of us, especially if I have been at work all day. We can have a little chat about the day, talk about food and best of all, she can have a play with the food which gives her the impression that she has helped out. And it goes a long way to getting the food inside them! A proper bonding session.

This week it was the turn of her current favourite, fish cakes. The best thing about fish cakes is you can experiment so much, and it is perfect first food for your kids to help prepare. Stick what you like in and for some bizarre reason, they seem to eat it. Especially if they have had a go at 'squidging' them into balls and then 'bashing' them into cakes. All this talk of super foods this week, and not one fish cake mentioned. They must be.

So this week we boiled and riced the potatoes. I then poach whatever fish is going in, this week it was salmon. That is thrown into the potato. Then I get out a choice of flavours and other possible ingredients and ask Cerys what she fancies. This week she opted for Wholegrain mustard, créme fraiche, Parmesan cheese and loads of freshly chopped herbs. And a good grinding of black pepper. Completely randomly and with a bit of finger pointing from me of course. A fork was grabbed and 10 minutes of pushing and stabbing commenced in which I could have a cup of tea. 'Finished daddy!', was the cry, and I was met with basically exactly what we started with. A quick and vigorous stir from yours truly, we were happy with what we had produced. Cerys stuffed a handful straight into her mouth just to make sure. Floured hands, pat and a slap and hey presto - mustard, cheese, salmon and herb cakes aplenty ready for a little shallow frying in my favourite oil, cold pressed rapeseed from Northumberland (

The finished article wasn't the prettiest or uniform of fishcakes. But were they delicious. And the little one and I had brilliant messy fun. And she wolfed them down with gusto, along with the accompanying spinach and tomatoes. It works. Give it a go dads, getting messy is great!

Salmon, Mustard and Herb Cakes
Feeds 2 and a half people

4 large floury potatoes such as Maris Piper or King Edward
1 large piece of salmon, skinned
2 tbsp wholegrain mustard
A good grating of Parmesan cheese
A large handful of mixed herbs, finely chopped (any will do it seems!)
Freshly ground pepper
Rapeseed or olive oil for frying

1 - Place the potatoes in their skins into a large pan of cold water. Bring to the boil then simmer until you can push a knife through, approximately 30 minutes. Allow to cool.
2 - Whilst the potatoes are cooling, bring a shallow pan of water to the simmer. Place the salmon in and poach for 5 minutes. Drain and allow to cool.
3 - When cool, peel off the skin then either push through a potato ricer or mash into a large bowl.
4 - Flake the fish into the potato. Put in the mustard, cheese, herbs and pepper and mix thoroughly.
5 - With floured hands, shape into balls then pat into discs.
6 - Shallow fry in your oil of choice. Drain on kitchen paper and serve with a salad.


Pat said...

Ohhhh How sweet!!!! Sounds like you have a little chef in the making there. Brillant way to get kids to eat different foods too!!!

Great Big Veg Challenge said...

Well done!. Your daughter is very lucky having a brilliant chef for a Dad.
You could be a double act!

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Great idea, I was going to make my mother's fish & rice cakes. I will try your fish cakes as well. My daughter will be 2 in a few days.
Have a great day,

Squishy said...

Hey David,

Just watched you get through to the semi finals of Master Chef here in Australia. I get the distinct impression that I will enjoy watching the semi finals with yourself and Hannah. It's fun knowing I read your blog and I get to watch you cook on tv over here in Australia. :)

kitchenmage said...

What fun and your monstrrr will thank you when she grows up and can cook!

Valli said...

Salmon Cakes bring back many childhood memories. My parents moved to Canada in 1957 and these were often on our table. I loved to get in their with my daughter in the kitchen when she was young.It's great to share a love of cooking with with your kids!!! Now we invite each other over for dinner. She has far surpassed me in innovative and wonderful tasting dishes!!!!