It was a double fishcake day. A first batch that was light, fresh and spicy. A second to send us into a deep, satiated slumber. For the latter, I peeled potatoes, cooked them in boiling water and mashed them. Haddock was simmered with milk, parsley and bay leaves, its silver skin was removed and the pearly white flesh broken into fat flakes. I made a sauce from the seasoned milk, flecked with parsley and grated nutmeg. I stirred together the fish and potato and rolled it into balls, dipped them into beaten egg then rolled them in fine, fresh breadcrumbs and, lastly, fried them in deep oil. And then I was hed up. Peelers and pots, dishes and mashers, plates and bowls and the dreaded pan in which I made thapparsley sauce.
Was it worth it? The peeling and mashing and poaching and crumbing? Heavens, yes. Crisp balls of fish and potato hot from the pan alongside an accompanying comfort blanket of green-freckled sauce. A dish of quiet flavours, gentle seasoning and the satisfaction of a job well done.
The second batch were those that are on your plate in the time it takes to boil a potato. A sticky sauce hot with fresh chillies and shredded ginger – a neat little cake shaped and cooked in just 10 minutes. Flavours that are fresh and bright, clean and vivid. A fishcake to wake you up.