Not exactly cheap……Whitebait Fritters

Once a year, I allow myself a special treat. No, it’s not Chocolate! It’s WHITEBAIT!

Now there is no way, that Whitebait, even in NZ, counts as cheap – unless you catch it yourself that is!

I remember in my childhood, standing in the icy running water in the mouth of the Waikanae River, right beside where my grandparents were living at No 1 Field Way, with a Whitebait net and a bucket.

How exciting when you lifted the net and tipped all the little wrigglers into the bucket. It was normal  to go home with half a big metal bucket full of whitebait. I know we had fritters packed with whitebait, which is why it’s always been disappointing if I’ve ever ordered Whitebait fritters when out, to find a big lump of dough with a couple of whitebait somewhere in there!

However, there’s got to be a balance doesn’t there? If you’re constantly eating on the cheap, it can become a bit of a grind. You start to feel a bit blue and fed-up – so guess what happens then?

You have a blow out. You end up spending more than you really ever wanted to, on things that you don’t really need, and all because you’re feeling deprived.

So, every so often, if I’ve been tight enough with the rest of the budget, I allow us a treat! Having the odd treat stops you feeling so deprived, and so you’re less likely to go on a binge shop!

Whitebait is so expensive, it’s a once a year treat. Scallops might also be allowed once a year. While they’re not exactly cheap, if you compare it to the price of going out for dinner, you come out way on top. That’s how I justify it to myself! And I do have to be extra stingy for the rest of the week, so that it can happen.

Anyway, there’s not much to cooking whitebait. Usually an egg, a tiny bit of flour, mix and cook on a non-stick surface.

This year, however I tried a recipe which separated the egg, and only used the white, which you beat until stiff. I actually really liked these fritters, because the whitebait have such a delicate flavour, that an eggy taste can dominate it. However, without the yolk, that flavour comes through much more strongly, so that you get much more of the whitebait taste.

I used Annabel Langbeins recipe. 

Mine looked slightly different to hers. Maybe she could afford more whitebait! I had 100g of the little wrigglers. And NO, you are not allowed to cut their heads off!

Whitebait Fritters

  • Servings: 2
  • Print

  • 2 egg whites, beaten to soft peaks
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 heaped tsp flour
  • 1 cup fresh whitebait
  • 1 tbsp neutral oil and 1 tbsp butter to cook

Whisk egg whites to form peaks.  Add salt, flour and whitebait and gently fold to combine evenly.
Heat the oil and butter and cook heaped dessert spoonfuls of the mixture over medium heat until golden and puffy, adding extra oil and butter to pan between batches as needed.

Serve with a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Advertisements

Lovely Largesse! Salmon Pasta and Butter Bean Hummus

Some weeks are awesome! This week has been one of those. We have had a lovely week with three different lots of visitors, and an afternoon out with some colleagues.  It was so heart-warming to see them and spend time catching up. It was an added delight when I looked in my fridge, and found, not only left-overs, but some very tasty treats left behind for us.

I enjoyed cooking for my friends, and it was a good challenge to provide healthy, nutritious food, without breaking the budget, and I’m very glad to have done that. Clam Chowder with cockles picked from our bay, Fish Pie, and my Go-to dessert made with apple and blackberry, was one dinner, and a dinner of meatloaf and potatoes cooked in the Crock-pot meant that I could be out showing my Australian friends around, without having to worry about getting dinner cooked when we got back late.

So, using the largesse gifted to us, tonight I made Salmon Pasta.

This is the recipe I based it on, but of course below it is adjusted for what I had available! Salmon Pasta Recipe

Salmon Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients

250gm pasta (on special 50c) Reserve some pasta water to add to the sauce instead of wine, or in addition, if the pasta seems dry.

Salt

1 tbsp olive oil

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 onion (optional – I didn’t have one)

1/3 cup white wine (half a bottle left brought by a friend, Thank you!)

1 tbsp lemon juice (a lovely bag of lemons gifted by one of my colleagues, Thank you Helen! )

2 tbsp lemon zest divided into 2 piles.

2 tbsp chopped fresh chives (from my garden)

400 gms smoked salmon chopped into bite sized pieces (left in my fridge, Thank you, Phil!)

Fresh ground black pepper.

(Optional: You can add cream or evaporated milk if you want a creamy pasta. I didn’t, and it was fine.)

Method:

  1. Boil a large pot of water, add 1 tsp salt, and then add 250 gms of your pasta of choice. 6 minutes for al dente, but read your own packet!
  2. In a frying pan heat olive oil, (moderate heat) add minced garlic and an onion if you’re using one. Cook for two minutes, and then add wine, lemon juice, first tbsp of lemon zest. Reduce the sauce by half.
  3. Drain the pasta (reserving 1 cup of liquid). Add the sauce to the pot, and add in chives, lemon zest,
  4. Season with ground black pepper.

Because I hadn’t had to buy the salmon, I bought some extortionately priced vine tomatoes, and chopped them up with mint, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Perfect.

Prep for Salmon Pasta
Prep for Salmon Pasta

002

We also had a Memorial Concert we were performing in, and needed to take a plate of finger food. Phil had left a packet of crackers, and I had a tin of butter beans so I whipped up a Butter Bean Hummus recipe to take with us. Butter bean dip is much smoother than hummus made with chickpeas.

Butter Bean Hummus

Ingredients:

1 450g tin butter beans (drained) $1.00

3 tbsp tahini paste

1 clove garlic, minced

s & p to taste

1 tbsp lemon zest,

1 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped Herbs of your choice – I used Lemon Balm which made it extra lemony, but parsley would be good too.

Method:

Chuck in the blender and blitz until smooth!

And I still have lots of lemons AND a piece of smoked marlin in the freezer to decide what to do with!  (Thanks Robyn!)