Tuesday, January 15, 2013

{Vintage Kitchen} Mackerel Fishcakes

This week's vintage recipe comes from 1947, and is another one which makes use of storecupboard basics. That's one of the greatest things about vintage recipes - they generally have just a few main ingredients, and you don't have to rush out and buy half a dozen different spices. It's also all seasonal (plus preserved foods like tins), and furthermore - best of all - very cheap.

Fish and Potato Cakes
from Everywoman magazine, December 1947

To serve 4 people

½ lb boiled, well-mashed potato; 4 oz self-raising flour; ½ lb fish (smoked haddock, tinned salmon, pilchard or sardine); 2 tablespoons very finely minced onion; 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley; salt; pepper; a little lard or dripping; fine crumbs, crisped and browned; tablespoon or so of milk, or the oil or some of the liquid from the fish.

Mix the mashed potato and flour well together, stir in the fish (tinned varieties give a stronger flavour than cooked, white fish, but smoked haddock is very good when procurable), onion and parsley. Add seasoning. Use either a few drops of milk, or some liquid from the tinned fish, to make the mixture soft enough to mould into flat cakes. Press each flat cake into the crumbs until well covered. Grease a baking tin, put in the cakes and bake in a moderate oven for 25 minutes, when the outsides of the cakes should be crisp.

I used tinned mackerel in tomato sauce, plain flour (because I didn't read the recipe properly) and fresh breadcrumbs (a couple of slices of bread whizzed up in the blender) rather than toasted.

Since the method basically involves mashing the ingredients together, once the potatoes were cooked it came together very quickly. The mixture was a great consistency for forming into patties, and good and sticky for the breadcrumb coating. The recipe made 15 fishcakes, and I baked them at 200°C for about 15-20 minutes.

And the verdict? Success! The fishcakes had a nice texture, quite dense, and were plenty filling for lunch or supper. The magazine suggested serving with an anchovy sauce, but I just went with mayo. If I'd been shopping beforehand and had the ingredients I would have made a tartare sauce, which would have gone very nicely.

We'll definitely be having these again - they're a really good standby meal, which takes hardly any time to prepare.

Oh, and say hello to my kitschy salt and pepper Dalmatian puppies! I haven't named them yet - what should I call them?


  1. Ooh they sound delicious, and they look pretty too!

    In 101 Dalmations, one of the puppies is called Freckles and the other is Pepper.... Freckles and Pepper?

    Regardless of what you name them, they are fine additions to your table!


  2. I'm rather partial to smoked mackerel. As a child I used to go with my uncles and grandfather when they went mackerel fishing, I remember feeling rather green once or twice when the wind started to get up and the boat rolling started!

  3. Your dalmatian salt & pepper shakers are so fabulously cute! Tony is a big mackerel fan, so I'll definitely be trying this recipe on him one of these days. Thanks so much for sharing it!

    ♥ Jessica

  4. I love fishcakes, will definitely be giving these a go!
    I love your salt and pepper shakers they're adorable!

  5. That sounds delish - I'll give 'em a try...


I'd love to hear your thoughts!


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