Food: Sabrina Ghayour

Fabulous fishcakes -a family crowd-pleaser 

Fabulous fishcakes -a family crowd-pleaser - Credit: Kris Kirkham Photography

A new fishmonger is bringing Sabrina joy and inspiration 

For some types of people, the arrival of spring is something to celebrate and be excited about… but in life, there are many different types of people and I am the type that feels a fair amount of excitement about the arrival of spring but I tell you what, the arrival of a new fishmonger in my area is something far more exciting for me.

As Easter draws near, I realise just how unhealthy I have allowed myself to become and here we go yet again with another chocolate-filled holiday to justify us filling our trolley with egg-shaped chocolatey delights.

And before you even suggest that it is a religious holiday, I would like to say that I am fully aware of the true meaning of Easter and went to a Church of England school but like so many other holidays, the true meaning has slightly been lost to commercialism and that does make me sad. I do, however, think its nice to try and be with your loved ones and if you’re able, gather around a table and celebrate together.

I often get asked to write a 'nice Easter lamb recipe', but recently I’ve been thinking, we just don’t eat enough fish at home.

In London I was spoilt with lovely, but terribly expensive, fishmongers selling every variety of fish and seafood you could dream of from seasonal classics and staples of British shores to exotics import to suit every taste.

In the years since I moved to Yorkshire, I never came across a fishmonger anywhere near me and supermarkets seem to stock very little in the way of fish, except for the usual salmon, cod and prawns. I’ve always found that sourcing a good variety of fresh fish in my area is a real nightmare and I know that York has a few good fishmongers (one of whom I’ve had on speed dial for a couple of years) and that Leeds has plenty of great offerings but they aren’t exactly nearby so I’m was happy to hear The Fish Dock had opened in Thirsk - and it's been sort of life changing for us!

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I’ve picked as much of the wild garlic in our modest patch in the garden as I could and turned it into a butter compound and frozen it ready for all the fish and seafood we will be consuming.

Now I harp on about fish because there is distinct lack of love for it in my household (unless it’s crumbed or battered) and I know that we just don’t eat enough of it as a region - when a lot of that has to do with childhood memories and traditions and also not having enough inspiration as to what to do with it.

So I will start you slow with these incredibly simple and super delicious fragrant fishcakes of mine. They are so simple (and fun) to make and everyone really seems to enjoy them so I wholeheartedly recommend you give them a go. More so, remember what wonderful and sustainable fish and seafood we have on our shores and how important it is to support the trade  - your body may just thank you for it, too!


Fragrant fish cakes with preserved lemon mayonnaise

Many Brits avoid dill with white fish (especially if you grew up in 1980s England eating vacuum-packed white fish in dill sauce), but it still remains one of my favourite pairings. The preserved lemon mayo provides a really decent hit of salty citrus that works incredibly well with the fish cakes.

Makes 6–8

For the fish cakes

vegetable oil, for frying

300g skinless chunky white fish fillet, such as cod, hake or haddock, diced

400g mashed potatoes

1 small packet (about 30g) of dill, finely chopped

1 small packet (about 30g) of fresh coriander, finely chopped

2 tablespoons English mustard powder

4 tablespoons plain flour

1 teaspoon chilli flakes

1 teaspoon ground ginger

1 teaspoon garlic granules

1 egg

Maldon sea salt flakes and freshly ground black pepper

For the preserved lemon mayonnaise

3 small preserved lemons, deseeded and finely chopped

4 heaped tablespoons mayonnaise

Place a frying pan over a gentle heat, drizzle in a tiny amount of oil and add the fish. Cook for 6–8 minutes until just opaque. Transfer the fish to a sieve, break into flakes and leave to drain.

Preheat your oven to its highest setting.

Put the fish with all the remaining fishcake ingredients into a mixing bowl and season well with salt and pepper. Using your hands, work the ingredients together really well, pummelling the mixture for several minutes into a smooth, even paste – the more you work the mixture, the better it will bind together.

Shape into 6–8 patties. Place the patties on a baking tray and bake for 12 minutes until just starting to brown.

Remove from the oven and finish cooking the fish cakes in a hot frying pan with a drizzle of oil for 4–6 minutes on each side, or until nicely browned.

Mix the preserved lemons with the mayonnaise in a small bowl, season with pepper and serve with the hot fish cakes.

Delicious with my Green Bean Salad with Tahini, Preserved Lemon & Pine Nuts 

From Simply by Sabrina Ghayour, £26. octopusbooks.co.uk