Posh Fishcakes with a Teacup of Salsa

Next week J starts his first ever job as an actual doctor - hello milestone! He has moved into a gorgeous Victorian-style flat in preparation and I am visiting this weekend for the very first time. To celebrate, we not only had delicious champagne but also cooked up some posh fish cakes with a yummy, zesty salsa for dinner. The recipe is based on a meal from Jamie Oliver's 30 Minute Meals but for those without the book below is how it's done! In future we would maybe use a less 'fishy' fish (not a fan of fish tasting like fish - someone must know what I mean!), and also make them thinner so that the outer crust is a bit thicker and crunchier. The salsa is particularly amazing (nothing to do with it being the bit I made, honest...).

To make the fishcakes, you'll need salmon, haddock or other white fish (we used basa which I think also contributed to be fishiness), tuna, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest and salt and pepper.

If you are making your own breadcrumbs then get your crusts chopped and whizz them up finely in a blender. Empty onto a plate then put the fish, parsley, salt and pepper and lemon zest in a food processor and blend to a paste. 

Fishiest picture ever?!
Take out and divide into four balls and then flatten into patties. Lay them on your plate of breadcrumbs and then flip over so that both sides are coated.

Heat up some olive oil in a pan and then gently lay down your fishcakes to start cooking.

Now it's salsa time! For the salsa, you'll need tomatoes (the more colours the better!), red chilli, limes, basil, spring onions, cucumber and a swig of vinegar of some sort (it said white wine vinegar, we used cider vinegar and it worked out fine)... 

A little OCD - me?!
Put everything except the limes, basil and cucumber in a blender and whizz up until teeny. Finely dice the cucumber and chop up some basil leaves and add to the mix. Lastly, squeeze in the juice of half a lime or so - this literally makes the salsa.

When the fishcakes are looking nice and brown and crispy on the bottom, flip over in the pan. This is a great time to pour champagne/wine into glasses, FYI. Probably got some time to take a few sips too, before they're ready.

Once cooked on both sides, serve up! We ate them with peashoots and covered in the salsa. Light, summer meal and so easy with a food processor.

Voila - fresh and delicious!
Enjoy and let us know how you get on - any alternative (less FISHY!) fishcakes recipes you can suggest?


P.S. Life is not all great tasting salsa and fishcakes....I have been wanting to make cinnamon rolls since FOREVER and finally got my act together making dough last night and then rolling, proving and baking this morning. They looked amazing and squishy and delicious. They tasted like yeasty beer. SO disappointed! All that effort for a nasty aftertaste. When I have got over the misery, I will attempt again and feed back....

Looks can be deceiving, as it turns out...


His Royal Highness Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge

And there we have it. A king is born. As the world waited with baited breath for the news, Kate and Wills managed to get a precious four private hours with their newborn son without anybody outside of the Lindo Wing knowing of his birth - crafty and yet rightly so. 

The media are of course writing every story possible about the baby and trying to drag out every ounce of information for all it's worth but for the most of us now, we can get back to our normal lives. No more panic checks of the news before opening Twitter and Facebook. No more bets on names, weights, hair colours [although the bookies will undoubtedly come up with some new wonders - how about where the baby's christening will be; what colour dress Kate will wear; what brand of Royal nappies they use; and then later down the road which school he will attend]. The nation (and world) will remain captivated by this little boy for the rest of his life. He has no idea of the storm into which he has entered. In a way I feel sorry for the little boy. He will never know normality, never get to go to his friends' houses after school for tea, never go trick or treating, or scare himself witless on the teacups at a fairground. Despite his parents' efforts (and judging by their own down to earth attitudes I feel they will try to keep him out of the media as much as possible), he will be scrutinised and followed everywhere he goes. 

Kate married William knowing what she was entering into. But Prince George has been born into this with no choice in the matter. His future is decided whether he like it or not. And perhaps therein lies the key question about monarchy itself - should these people, born into wealth and media and etiquettes and responsibility be revelled and respected as much as they are? The Queen has significant interaction with the Prime Minister and indeed approves some governmental orders. She is not 'qualified' to make these decisions any more so than you or I but her fundamental position in UK society (and across the Commonwealth to some extent) gives her that right. The Royal family own and reside in numerous palaces and castles around the country and are served by a significant number of staff. Yet none have been entrepreneurs, successful business people or won the lottery; instead they have simply been born. 

I do not know all of the facts nor am I decided myself whether I believe in and thus fully support the monarchy, but somehow knowing that this two day old newborn baby boy has his entire future already decided and dictated by his genes and ancestry has had me thinking about my freedom to make my own decisions and choices. I am also left questioning the role that our Royals should play in society.

What are your thoughts on this? Do you support the monarchy, be that in the UK, Commonwealth or other countries? Should Royal families be merely ceremonial, or exist at all? I would love to hear your thoughts so please comment below.


Plea to the Royal Baby

The UK is currently on hyper alert for the news. There have been paparazzi camped outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, London for days. Even the Queen would "very much like it to arrive". And so we wait...

Frankly, I'm getting impatient.

Ever since the nation found out that Will & Kate were pregnant we have been guessing, betting on, hoping for, preparing and stalking the Duchess' progress. The bookies have made a fortune on the standard baby stats - name, date of birth, gender, weight, day of the week born. But they haven't stopped there. Fancy 4:1 odds on ginger hair like it's Uncle Harry? Or perhaps 33:1 on the prince or princess becoming a model? We are all going gaga and it's not even gurgled yet.

I am not a royalist, I can't stand Prince Charles and his conservative, pompous ways. Camilla grates on me and Princess Anne seems like she's made of cardboard she's so stiff upper lip. But Will and Kate have won us over. They have a normality and we relate to them. Despite her upper class upbringing, Kate is the girl next door who married a prince and for that we like her. So their baby news was welcomed by [almost] all - I'm not sure my parents will ever warm to the royal family. Last weekend I expressed my frustration and impatience about "the birth" and my Dad asked who's birth. "The Royal Baby!", didn't help him. He couldn't remember Kate's name and thought Prince William had married a woman called Sarah. I digress...

I refresh the BBC News app far too frequently. I open Twitter on my phone and then panic that I'll see the news on there first and have to check BBC News again first to be sure. IT'S TAKING OVER MY LIFE. So please, little squishy, wrinkly prince or princess-to-be, I know it's warm in there but hurry up and make your entrance so that we can all have a party and then, more importantly, MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES!

Thank you. JAM.

p.s. I'm sorry in advance if you have your grandfather's ears. There are surgical options out there.

Wine Tasting for Beginners.

On Saturday I had my first wine tasting experience. Whilst not a novice to tasting in general (I have partaken in port tasting and tea tasting don't you know), there is an air of high-brow seriousness when you up your game to wine. A friend had found a voucher for discounted entry and tasting session to Vinopolis, a wine/cocktail/food extravaganza with 5 restaurants and 6000 different wines near London Bridge, London.

We arrived and swapped our voucher for a token card - the whole principle here surrounds each wine sample costing 1-4 tokens and you load your card with however many (however drunk) you like. We were then ushered into a lecture hall-like room and given a glass of chilled white on the way in. Our lesson on slurping, swilling and nosing was to be given by Patrizia, an adorable Italian woman with big crazy hair and a wonderful way of making English sound romantic and like a song. We were told very quickly NOT to drink the glass of wine yet - and more importantly to hold our glass only by the stem so as not to warm the wine ("the winer glass isa like-a flower, you-a don't-a touch the delicate part-a").

We were then taught the ins and outs of the different colours of wine, viscosity (how syrupy it is = how sugary and therefore sweet), age, how to tell how strong a wine is, the aromas and taste profiles of wines etc etc.

After this whistlestop tour of tasting techniques we were released to the self-service machines! The space is well laid out, with different rooms for red, white, dessert wines and a champagne bar as well as interactive touch screen panels for finding out what taste profile you have and learning about different grapes - taste profile = fun, grape knowledge = less so...

We soon got started on using our card to get samples, card in, button pressed and glass fills up - MAGIC (andperhapsdangerouslyeasy)! We were advised to start with white then red then dessert wine and we are not those to rule break so duly drank SIX glasses of wine in that order. Needless to say, some tiddliness followed, along with warm fuzzy winey feelings in the tummy region. Tried a crazy Georgian white wine which was delicious and drank what seemed like liquid sugar in the dessert wine section to finish off.

Sozzled, it was sadly time to leave. Until next time, Vinopolis - I am a fan!