Sunday, 19 March 2017

Thai-spiced Salmon Fishcakes - Recipe

This recipe was torn out of a newspaper many years ago and has been splattered numerous times and it's faded from much use over time. I almost know it by heart, as I've made them so many times, but I like to keep referring to it, just in case I miss out any crucial ingredient! I've blogged it before, but it's been a while, so I thought it was time for a revival.

These are delicious. Not like the rubbery fishcakes you may order in a Thai restaurant, they are fluffy, flavoursome and fishy, served with the obligatory sweet chilli sauce.

Please make them. You will thank me.

Again, apologies for the poor photograph. Prosecco-fuelled hunger.

Thai-spiced Salmon Fishcakes
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves 4 as a starter


Oil for frying
5 spring onions, finely sliced
2.5 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 x 170 g tins salmon, drained (you can also use crab, or a mixture)
85 g mashed potato
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
A few drops of Tabasco (optional)
Plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Dry breadcrumbs

To garnish: lime wedges, salad, fresh coriander, spring onions


Firstly, boil and mash the potatoes, I used about 4 medium sized ones.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok and sauté the spring onions for 1-2 minutes until they begin to soften.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute more. Add the lime juice to the pan and quickly remove from the heat.

Place the tinned fish in a bowl with the mashed potato. Add the onion mixture, lime zest and coriander, Tabasco (if using) and season with salt and pepper.

Flour your hands and shape into 8 Fishcakes, or 12 smaller ones. Dust with flour, then roll in the beaten egg, and coat with the breadcrumbs.

Heat a little more oil and try the Fishcakes for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Serve with a little salad, sprinkled with spring onions and coriander, and sweet chilli sauce. 

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Godiva's Atelier Easter Egg

'Atelier' is a French term for 'workshop' or 'studio', where a principal professional artist works together with students or apprentices to produce a piece of fine or visual art. This week, at the five Godiva Chocolate stores around London, executive chocolatiers Jean Apostolou and Ilse Wilmots made an appearance at each store to handcraft the delicate white chocolate butterflies as finishing touches to this year's Godiva Atelier Easter Egg. 

Standing 66 cm high (that's a small child), weighing about 13 kg (again, about two newborn babies) and with enough chocolate for about 70 people, this spectacular showpiece is actually on sale for a mere £1000!

Do you know enough people to club together to share one??!!

Godiva's Atelier Egg

See one of these five exclusive giant chocolate eggs at Godiva stores at Harrods, Selfridges, Regent Street, Covent Garden Market (below) or St Pancras International Station.

Me, I'm going to enjoy these, slightly smaller ones...

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

TWID - That's What I Do - Eating to Opera in Battersea - Restaurant Review

This was different. As I get older, I'm starting to admit to liking things I would never have dared to acknowledge in my twenties/thirties ... jazz with dinner, going to bed early, gin...
And now, Opera. I don't know anything about it. But after spending an evening at TWID in Battersea, I'm a convert. A gentle approach, with dinner and cocktails - not just sitting, watching and listening to a dramatic story told in song onstage. Okay, it was still dramatic, and, at times, slightly intrusive, but there were interludes where we could carry on with the dinner and cocktails and catch up on non-cultural gossip.

About a 10 minute walk from Clapham Junction, away from the buzzing Northcote Road bars, towards Battersea, lies a newly opened, refurbished, revamped theatre style eatery. With intimate velvet-curtained balcony booths as tables, all overlooking one table for 8 which doubles as a stage, for a full view of the singing Opera sensation who keeps us entertained and intrigued with Russian numbers, Italian numbers and even a couple of more familiar arias. Maintaining eye contact with each of the patrons, this tenor showed true passion for his talent and no sign of any reticence whilst we were eating...

Senor Tenor
Every evening a different Soprano/Tenor takes to the stage/table. As you enter, you may be serenaded immediately, if not then he will certainly come to your table at some point to bring the aria up close and personal. 4 sets with a 25 minute interval between each. Not to be taken too seriously, but with a certain amount of respect. This performer raises the roof and makes each of us patrons feel special.

Signature cocktails to start, of course. I can recommend the Rossini, strawberry with rose water and Prosecco, and the Elderflower Spritz, both light and fizzy. TWID also serve a range of traditional cocktails and will happily make up any requested.

To the food. Sharing platters - my favourite. Influenced by French cuisine but with a splash of international flavours. Lovely Luca, the manager, recommended each dish and he was tremendously proud of the food, eager for us to try everything.

First, scallops with crispy kale, raspberries and hazelnuts. Unusual combination but it worked superbly, the soft scallops set off beautifully with the crisp greens and the slightly acidic fruit.

Grilled aubergine, stuffed with goat's cheese and walnuts - again the nuts unexpected, but bringing out the full flavours of the aubergine and the cheese.

Aubergine with goat's cheese and walnuts
Beautifully tender lamb cutlets served with heritage beets and parsnip were exceptional, the vegetables perfectly roasted and tossed in some slightly exotic oils. Delicious.
Lamb c

For round two, some sushi, some duck and some crab. The sushi was highly recommended by Luca, and it was indeed sublime. A terrine of sorts, with hints of wasabi and a tiny dot of soy sauce was all that it needed. 

The duck dish was also delightful, fat-free duck breasts served with turmeric spiced pickled cauliflower with an added sweetness of raisins and apples.  

Lastly, the crab, a soft grated dish with apples, fennel and basil. Most dishes were served with shaved parnips crisps, which gave everything an extra crunch. 

For desserts, we still felt light and not quite over-stuffed so we were recommended to sample the range of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free desserts. Not exactly my idea of dessert, they were made from various fruits, with nuts and were probably designed to complement the light sharing dishes. Strawberry cheesecake, carrot cake,chocolate cake and mango cheesecake - I found them lacking in distinctive flavour and quite stodgy, so not quite my cup of tea. Instead we went back and ordered a  fluffy salted caramel cake and a traditional baklava... much better. However, as indulgent as that seems, for special dietary requirements, this place certainly delivers.

Salted Caramel Cake

Gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free Strawberry Cheesecake

This is a cosy, intimate, and yet interactive restaurant. Go along with an open mind, and get all your chatting done in between sets! It would be a fun work-do for example, or a destination romantic venue for couples. At weekends, once the Opera stops, a DJ set starts, so really it is an entire evening of culture, fantastic food and the chance to party the night away.


228 York Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3SJ
020 7223 2125

Meal for two with wine: ~£80

Thanks to CrispMedia for the (good) images.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Kids In the Kitchen #3 - Cooking Chinese - Recipe

This beauty plopped through my letterbox this morning from Lee Kum Kee. Always a delight to receive a little freebie (hence the name, AnnieThing For Food!).

So what to make for lunch? Continuing with my effort to get kids cooking, and get my Kids In The Kitchen more, a really simple recipe card along with a quality packet of Oyster Sauce, and whatever I could find in the fridge, my 10-year-old and I rustled up Braised Chicken with Spring Onions in Oyster Sauce in less than half an hour for today's lunch.

She painstakingly cut up 2 two chicken breasts with a scissors, and placed it in a bowl with the Oyster Sauce, and a dash of sesame oil. While she was doing this, I put some spaghetti on, chopped up some spring onions and carrots into long thin strips. The onion chopping caused her to reach for a clothes peg to put on her nose, to stop the tears... all good fun.
Once everything was prepped, the sunflower oil was heated in my #SchoolOfWok wok, and the onions and carrots quickly sautéed. The marinated chicken was then added and stir-fried for about 2 minutes, then 2 tablespoons of water added in and fried for a couple minutes more until the chicken was cooked.
To serve, plonk the spaghetti/noodles/rice in a bowl, top with the cooked chicken and garnish with sliced spring onions. Eat with chopsticks.
'Let's have this for lunch every day, Mummy!'

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Kids in the Kitchen #2 - Junior Bake-Off

My daughter's friend hosted a Junior Bake-Off. Four teams each had to bake and design a cake. The results were truly astonishing - for children aged 7-11, with minimal help from adults...

As I couldn't be there for the day, I wrote out the recipe for a Victoria Sponge, and filled up a bag with all the equipment she would need. She chose her own coloured fondants, glitters, and decorations and I lent her my cake tool box. 

The adults who were there helped with weighing out, mixing, and obviously hot ovens, and clearing up. But they spent five hours, totally engrossed, and absolutely loving it.

An excellent idea for a party, methinks...

(Judging/winning using the discretion of a secret ballot;) )

Make-Up Cake (Victoria Sponge)

Unicorn Cake (Marble Cake)

Glitter Pinata Cake (Chocolate Cake)

Oreo Cupcakes
Well done to everyone involved, particularly the host in her very own Funktional Kitchen, and to those amazingly creative children - you are all winners!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Valentine's Treats - Chocolate Covered Honeycomb - Recipe

As Valentine's Day approaches, much as I can't stand the clichés, I couldn't resist making something sweet and even quite cute to mark the day. I made these to bring around to a friend's house, for a multi-couples dinner, so we can all avoid following the hoards of enforced romantic nights out on Tuesday...
These are really easy to make, and taste almost like Crunchie bars. My first attempt was not so good - they tasted somewhat burnt, but the second time they worked beautifully.
Make sure you have everything to hand before you start, as once the mixture hits the right temperature, you need to move fast!
I recommend making them not too far in advance, and storing them in an airtight container in the fridge, so they don't shrivel up when you are ready to serve them...
Chocolate-dipped Honeycomb

Makes: 16-20 (depending on how you smash it up!)
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (plus cooling time)
Decorating Time: 20 minutes (plus setting time)


150 g golden caster sugar
75 g golden syrup
2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda.

100 g milk/dark chocolate
80 g red candy melts
Heart-shaped sprinkles/confetti


To prepare, line a baking tin loosely with greaseproof paper. I used a 20 cm square one, but you can use a bigger one and get thinner shards.

Sieve the bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl so it's ready to chuck in when needed.

In a large saucepan (it needs to be large as the mixture will triple in size at least), slowly melt the sugar and golden syrup until the sugar has dissolved. You can stir it to prevent any crystallization. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil for about 2 minutes (no longer!) until it turns an amber colour, then take it off the heat.. If you have a sugar thermometer let it come up to 150 C then take it off the heat.

Off the heat, quickly add the sieved bicarbonate of soda and whisk it really fast. The mixture will rise up and create lots of air bubbles - whisk it well to absorb all the bicarb - you don't want it to taste soapy!

Immediately pour this mixture into your prepared tin and allow it to cool completely.

Once it's cooled, break it into pieces - you can try cutting it neatly but it's unlikely to work, it will just shatter into shards!

Naked Honeycomb

To decorate, melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie, and dip each shard into the melted chocolate. Set aside on clean greaseproof paper to set.

Melt the candy melts, and add a little olive oil to make a smooth piping consistency. Make sure it's not too hot when you pipe, as it will melt the chocolate! Using a thin nozzle (or just the end of the piping bag snipped off) pipe heart shapes, fill them in, and allow to set. If you wish to stick on extra heart-shaped sprinkles at this point, or any other lovey-dovey stuff, go for it!

With any leftover candy melts, you can make little heart sweeties. Aw!!!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Meatballs with Tomato and Paprika Glaze - Recipe

Firstly, let me apologise for the rubbish photos. I was hungry. No way they are going on Instagram. Secondly, this recipe is blatantly lifted (with a few small adaptations) from Smitten Kitchen's gorgeous cookbook, one which I've had for quite a while, but somehow hadn't got around to using. What was I thinking? This is delicious! It takes a little bit of effort, but I didn't need to go shopping for any of the ingredients - once I spotted some minced beef in the fridge, I went rummaging for meatball recipes. Ms Pearlman came through for me with these beauties. A juicy meatball glazed with a smoky sweet tomato sauce. Delish. Scrum. Mmmm hmmm.

Tomato and Paprika Glazed Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time:  35-40mins 

Serves 4


For the glaze:

4 tsp sunflower oil
4 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp horseradish sauce
Pinch of salt

For the meatballs:

chunk of baguette (~15cm)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Half a parsnip, finely chopped (here you can use any veg really)
600 g minced beef
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
120 ml milk
salt and pepper to taste


To make the glaze:

Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Keep simmering and whisking for about 2 minutes then set aside.

To make the meatballs:

Heat the oven to 160 C.

Whizz up the baguette into fine breadcrumbs.

In a frying pan, sauté the onions, garlic and vegetables for about 15 minutes until very soft, seasoning as you go if you wish.

Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl, mix in the cooked vegetables, and then the rest of the ingredients. Mix together well, then shape into 10-12 meatballs.

To cook:

Line a baking dish with tin foil, then place the meatballs so they are not touching. Spoon a teaspoon or so of the glaze on top of each one. Bake the meatballs for about 20-25 minutes until they are cooked though.

To serve:

Serve with mashed potatoes and drizzle with the juice from cooking. Don't bother taking any photos... just eat and enjoy.