These ham hock and pea croquettes are made from a stiff béchamel, rather than mashed potato that so many versions of croquettes seem to be bulked out with. They need to be eaten hot – so hot you burn your fingers on the crisp breadcrumb exterior as you rush to bite into the oozing, cheesy, molten centre. The smoky ham and tangy mustard make the perfect accompaniment to a cold beer or cider.
Makes about 40
75g plain flour
500ml whole milk
100g mature cheddar, grated
1 tbsp mustard
Salt and white pepper
200g cooked smoked ham hock, shredded into chunks
100g frozen peas, defrosted
flat-leaf parsley a handful, finely chopped
3 eggs, beaten
150g panko breadcrumbs
groundnut oil for deep frying
Melt the butter in a pan and then stir in the flour to make a thick paste. Gradually stir in the milk until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer over a low heat for 10-15 minutes. Add the cheese and mustard and stir until melted, then add the ham, peas and parsley and season. The mixture should be quite thick and paste-like. It will thicken a little more once chilled too.
Scoop into a tray or dish, cool, then chill completely in the fridge. (This can take 2-3 hours, or you could make it the day before.) Scoop out large tablespoons of the mix and roll each into small logs, around 5cm long and 2cm thick. Flouring your hands slightly will help prevent the mix from sticking to everything.
Put the beaten egg on one plate and breadcrumbs on another. Roll the croquettes in the egg then the crumbs. Repeat so you have two layers of egg and breadcrumbs.
Fill a pan no more than 1/3 full with oil and heat to 180C (or until a cube of bread browns in around 30 seconds), then deep fry the croquettes in batches for 3-4 minutes until crisp and golden. Scoop out and drain on kitchen paper (you can keep the cooked croquettes warm in a very low oven). Serve with English mustard and cold beer.
I recently went to a Japanese restaurant in London with my best mate and haven’t been able to stop eating Japanese food since. This is a recipe for a Japanese crispy fried chicken with a sauce made from a curry roux. This is an incredibly easy dish and an incredibly satisfying one with silky sauce to accompany crispy, juicy chicken.
The recipe serves 3 as I was raving about it so much that a couple of mates wanted in on the action too but the quantities are easily adjustable.
3 Chicken breasts, skinless & boneless
50g Plain Flour
100g Panko Breadcrumbs
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
3 chunks of curry roux (I used S&B Golden Curry Sauce Mix)
Sunflower Oil for frying
Salt & Pepper
Cooked Jasmine Rice and chopped chives to serve
Butterfly the chicken breasts, cover with a sheet of cling film and flatten them out using a rolling pin until they’re about 1cm thick. Season both sides of each breast with salt then coat all over in the flour.
Beat the egg in a shallow dish and tip the breadcrumbs into another. Dip each piece of chicken in the egg then coat in breadcrumbs. Leave to one side whilst you make a start on the Katsu Curry sauce.
Add a tsp sunflower oil to a small pan and sweat the chopped onion until cooked through.
When the onions are cooked, add in the curry roux and a little bit of the hot water. Stir to dissolve the roux then gradually add the rest of the water and cook over a medium heat until the sauce has thickened.
Meanwhile, heat some sunflower oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat. (Just short of enough to coat the base). Be a little patient with this, if you put your chicken in and the oil isn’t hot enough, the panko crumbs will likely go soggy.
Carefully add the prepared chicken into the pan and fry for about 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden and crispy. Remove from the pan onto a plate lined with some paper towels.
Now all your components are ready, it’s time to serve. Plate up some cooked rice, slice up the chicken and place on top. Then pour over as much of the katsu curry sauce as you like! You could even sprinkle over some chopped chives.
Normally, I’d be dead set against ready grated cheese but it tastes incredible in this recipe and delivers a super savoury umami hit along with the crunch of the panko and the succulence of the chicken for a super tasty meal.
2 chicken breasts
50g plain flour
75g panko breadcrumbs
75g ready-grated parmesan
½ tsp each smoked paprika, dried rosemary
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
a knob of butter
Butterfly the chicken breasts by cutting them open to spread them out without cutting all the way through. Cover with some cling film and gently bash them with a rolling pin to tenderise and flatten each breast. You should be left with two large ‘sheets’ of thin chicken about 1cm in width.
Take 3 shallow bowls. Place the flour in one and season. Place the beaten egg in the second. Place the panko, parmesan, smoked paprika and rosemary in the third bowl. Season the breadcrumb mix well.
Take each chicken breast and coat with the flour, then the egg and finally the cheesy panko. Press the panko mix gently so it sticks well to the eggy chicken.
In a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the chicken breasts and fry for a few minutes until the bottom is crisp and golden and you just start to see the sides of the chicken turning white.
Turn the chicken over to make the other side crispy and golden and ensure the chicken is cooked through. By now, the kitchen should smell of amazing cheesy goodness.
Remove from the pan and slice up each piece to serve. I have served mine with rosemary roast potatoes and a rocket salad.
I don’t know if this is the ‘right’ way to make fishcakes or if this recipe uses the ‘right’ ingredients but I do know that this version is seriously tasty.
I used oak smoked tinned mackerel as my partner can’t stand smoked fish (strange man) so I always have a tin lurking in the back of the cupboard ready to use for when I only need dinner for one. You can, of course, use whatever fish you like but I find smoked mackerel particularly flavoursome.
The rest of the ingredients are also what I had in the cupboards. I made this up the other day as I was craving fish cake and I couldn’t be bothered to leave the house so needed to use whatever I had. To be fair though, I tend to have absolutely everything and anything in my cupboards that maybe a normal (not obsessed with wacky food stuffs) person wouldn’t have. But I can assure you, this recipe requires bare minimum ingredients and is so easy to make! Again, adapt it to your tastes. If you don’t like something, swap it.
As mentioned, I made this meal for myself so the quantities are for 1 large portion but if making it for more people, use 1 mackerel fillet per person and adjust the other quantities as necessary.
4-5 small new potatoes
A chunk of peeled swede, diced
1 tin of oak smoked mackerel, drained
1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Flour, for dusting
1 egg, beaten
50g Panko breadcrumbs
25g Parmesan, finely grated
1 tsp Smoked paprika
A few sprigs of sage
Knob of butter
Cut the potatoes and swede into equal sized chunks and boil in a pan until tender. Drain and mash together until fairly smooth. A few lumps are desirable.
In a large mixing bowl, flake the mackerel up and add the mustard and seasoning. Add the mashed veg to the bowl and stir well to combine.
Beat the egg in a separate bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the panko, parmesan, smoked paprika and a few leaves of finely chopped sage. Season and set aside.
Using a little flour on your hands, shape the mix into 3-4 patties. Dredge the patties in the beaten egg then transfer them to the panko bowl and coat evenly.
Heat a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Drop a sprig of sage in to flavour the butter then place the fish cakes into the pan to sizzle in the herby butter and become crispy and golden. After a few minutes, gently flip the fish cakes and fry for a few more minutes until the wonderful smell of herby cheesy goodness fills the house. Remove and serve with a fresh green salad.