Even though I say it myself, I regard my culinary talents as adventurous, even challenging!
I only married in my 30’s, so had a fair bit of cooking experience in my bachelor days, despite living in Africa where cooks were often employed for most meals. Of course being an African male, I am an experienced vleis braaier, which is Afrikaans for ‘meat guerrilla’.
The braaivleis, known as barbeque in many parts of the world, is a cultural practice which involves the cooking of piles of meat. The cooking often takes place after a few drinks and is not really that important; the meat just has to look cooked. It often does in the evening twilight, after a few beers…
But I am not here to talk about meat, of which, I have realised, I eat too much. Accordingly, I have resolved to give up meat for Lent in accordance with older traditions and instead of beer.
My wife is perturbed as I said that I would eat more fish, which she is not fond of. So I have set out to show her that there is no need to fear, by cooking some fishcakes as a surprise.
In order to ensure a special dish, I used my pilchards in chili sauce, which I had been saving for a treat. I combined it with some bread crumbs of the nutty, seedy bread she prefers. To make the mixture more special and because she doesn’t like raw onion, I used sliced pickled onion, which I thought was quite innovative. To add some colour, I added a couple of sliced pepperdews, small red capsicums in a sweet syrup. I mixed in an egg for binding, salt and pepper seasoning and some finely chopped parsley from the garden. Simple!
Please note, this was my own recipe!
The mixture made six and a half cakes, which I fried in olive oil. Even though I say it myself, they were delicious! (A couple fell apart, so I had to eat them for lunch).
To my consternation, my wife turned down the fishcakes without hesitation – she doesn’t like tuna, chili or my cooking, especially when I try different ingredients…
Looks like I’ll be cooking for myself for the 40 days of Lent.
P.S. I had a nibble of half a cake before I went to bed. I must confess I had a very weird dream about riding a brown ox which was chased by a lion past a lion reserve full of identical lions following each other, holding the tail of the foremost one in their mouths…