Usually braving the waves in Easter, this year I am treading water in warmer seas. No, nothing as daring as 'out of the UK', but going West to the wondrous British holiday destination that is Cornwall.
We're heading down to the beautiful home of Rodda's clotted cream, blow-your-socks-off Rattler cider, and the one and only Padstein. And yes, last year I did get good old Steiny to sign my much-loved Seafood book, only to be sympathetically chuckled at when I requested a recipe to cook on my caravan hob...
But it's not going to be soggy sarnies and salty tea. I've got a gas cooker, pans, a kettle and, boy!, am I going to show them some Cornish love.
But I need your help please. Your suggestions, if you would be so kind, of where to buy, what to cook and where to eat it. We have no plans apart from to roam the winding roads of the Northern Regions of Cornwall (Padstow and around), so by the end of the week I want to have fished and chipped (homemade style) in every little Cornish nook and cranny I come across. Don't hold back on the restaurants either - it will rain.
So while you unload your thoughts underneath this blog, here is a fishy recipe to whet your jealousy and imagine you''ll be in Cornwall with me!
Recipe adapted from Skye Gyngell's Crab cakes
3 free-range egg yolks
½ tbsp Dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
250ml mild extra-virgin olive oil
250g fresh salmon
squeeze of lemon juice
4 new potatoes, mashed
1 red chilli, de-seeded and finely sliced
50g fresh white breadcrumbs
200ml very clean, neutral-tasting oil such as sunflower or corn
lemon wedges, to serve
Heat the oven to 200 degrees C. Bake the salmon fillets for about 20 minutes until cooked through.
Cook the new potatoes in pan until soft. Remove the skin, and mash with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile make the mayonnaise. This will go into the fish cake mix to make them suupppper moist. Whisk the egg yolks with the salt, mustard and lemon juice. Trickle in the oil, very slowly to begin with, whisking all the time. Continue until all the oil is incorporated. You should end up with a lovely, bright yellow, bouncy mayonnaise.
Once the salmon has cooked and cooled slightly, break into small flakes with a fork. Squeeze over the lemon juice and add the chilli, the mashed potatoes and a large pinch of salt. Stir in 100ml of the mayonnaise until evenly mixed in. Cover and place in the fridge for an hour. This will harden the mixture slightly and make it easier to roll into fish cakes.
Spread the breadcrumbs evenly on a clean work surface. Shape the salmon mix into evenly sized patties or balls. Roll in the breadcrumbs, making sure the surface of each cake is well covered. Return them to the fridge for another half an hour.
To cook the cakes, put the sunflower oil in a shallow, heavy-based saucepan and place over a low to medium heat. Heat the oil gently until it reaches about 60°C (check with a thermometer). Gently - and CAREFULLY - drop the cakes into the oil in small batches and cook for two minutes on each side; they should be golden and crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Serve with fresh chilli oil, the remaining mayonnaise, and a wedge of lemon. Devour either as a starter, with a warm Nicoise salad - soft boiled eggs, spinach, peas, new potatoes - or serve in brown paper for a Gourmet take away (much like what I hope to be doing on my Cornwall camping escape).
Might I briefly add that it is always VERY wise to turn OFF the heat when the cakes are cooked...I managed to set the pan alight. Nicht gut. That's enough of that memory -but the fish cakes were worth it.
Enough scoffing, now for your beachside, camp fire, pub bench tips.