My great dream, if I had enough energy to quit the day job and follow the beat of my own drummer, would be to open a home-style bakery. Plump and chintzy cushions, the scent of vanilla always hanging in the air, and an endless supply of brownies, cupcakes, cookies, and pies. If I wanted a partner in this caravan of baked dreams, I could turn to my friend Jill, who aside from being a talented cook is a fervent baker.
We were recently treated to both Jill's cooking and baking as something of a house-warming dinner. Jill has moved to a new apartment along the Thames in London, in what I have always labeled one of my top 3 dream living locations. Her local grocer has become Borough Market, and she can have a cup of tea while looking out at one of London's more inspiring views (more on that in a bit). I'd admit to twinges of jealous (or, vast, huge, rolling floods of it) if I weren't above that sort of thing.
We ate asian-style tuna fish cakes, Italian-style pork loin rolled in fennel seeds, and then a lovely English plum and ginger crumble; truly global cuisine. It was hard to chose a favorite of the three, but based on group reaction I'd say the tuna fish cakes were the winner of the night; fresh meaty tuna, still just a touch on the side of rare, mixed in with horseradish and coriander and dipped into soya sauce for saltiness. A nice twist on white-meat fish cakes, and a bit healthier for not being deep fried.
Ah yes, and the views; I won't let words get in the way of the picture, but I will say that we could have been fed sawdust and still thought we ate like kings. I don't believe we were fed sawdust, though - you can sample the tuna fish cakes and see for yourself.
Tuna Fish Cakes (an approximate recipe)
Serves 6 as a starter
- 1/2 lb of fresh tuna, roughly chopped into cubes
- 1 Tbs fresh horseradish, roughly chopped (or same amount of horseradish sauce or about 1/2 Tbs wasabi paste)
- 1 1/2 Tbs coriander, roughly chopped
- 1 red chili, chopped (more, if you like it spicy)
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 1/2 tsp salt
- sesame oil
- soya sauce
- Combine the tuna, horseradish, coriander, chili, spring onions and salt in a bowl, stirring together so it is all well mixed.
- Form the tuna mixture into little burgers, patting together fairly well so the burgers stay together. Size is up to you, but flattened cakes about the size of the middle of your palm give each person a few cakes and cook quickly.
- Heat some sesame oil in a frying pan. When hot, place fish cakes into the pan. Don't overcrowd them, and leave enough room for flipping; you might need to cook the cakes in batches.
- Cook about 2 minutes on each side if the cakes are palm-sized.
- Serve immediately, with soya sauce on the side and a bit of salad leaves underneath.