Put the zing into Christmas

Posted on: 10th December, 2018

Category: A Flavour of West Cork

Contributor: Karen Austin

Lettercollum Kitchen Project 22, Connolly Street, Clonakilty Karen@lettercollum.ie www.lettercollum.ie

With the shorter days and longer nights it’s good to know that there is a feast pending.

I love Christmas for the gathering of the family and friends, sitting around the table together eating and having time to decide how to spend the day, as normal routine is suspended.

The eating part is always important and we have numerous conversations about the menu. The sole meat eater has to campaign for his ‘bird’ that is cooked every Christmas dinner whilst the rest take a worldwide culinary trip.

One recipe that often appears when we are feasting is Thai fish cakes. Fresh and zingy they are a little blast of sunshine for the taste buds, informal enough to suit every occasion and perfect if you are suffering from turkey fatigue.

For dessert we are traditionalists, we always go for Christmas pudding. Ignited with whisky then slathered in brandy butter and cream, it’s surprising we make it to the sofa.

If you need any help with your Christmas baking call to the shop – we make Christmas puddings in all sizes – gluten free and regular and we’ll also be making mincemeat, mincepies and Christmas clementine cakes.

I hope that you enjoy the recipe, the festivities and wish everyone the very best for the coming year.

Thai Fish Cakes

All the ingredients are available locally. Mung bean vermicelli, also known as glass noodles are stocked by the little Asian store in Spiller’s Lane and fresh lemongrass is in the supermarkets. Any white fish will do the job just ask the fishmonger to remove the skin and any bones.    


600g white fish such as hake or haddock

75g glass noodles/mung bean vermicelli

2 stems lemongrass

2 cloves garlic

2cm piece fresh ginger

3-4 spring onions,

a handful fresh coriander

2tbs Thai fish sauce

1 egg


Put the noodles into a bowl and cover with hot water. Set aside for five minutes.

Chop the lemongrass, peel and chop the ginger and garlic then put them into a food processor and buzz to a puree. Keep the motor running, chop the fish into chunks and post down the chute into the processor then add 2tbs fish sauce. This should all buzz to a thick paste. Add the egg then tip into a bowl.

Drain the noodles and snip into smaller pieces with a pair of scissors.

Chop the spring onions and coriander.

Mix the noodles, spring onions and coriander through the fish paste. Use your hands to give it a good squish.

Wet your hands and form the paste into small balls.

Heat a large frying pan, adding enough oil to just cover the bottom. Put the fish balls into the pan and gently flatten a little. Don’t overcrowd the pan, you’ll probably have to cook two or three batches. Leave to cook for 3-4 minutes each side on medium high heat. Don’t fiddle about with them wait until there is a good crust before turning and cooking the other side.

Serve with dipping sauce or sweet chill sauce

This recipe makes approx 15 fish cakes.

Dipping Sauce


3tbs lime juice

2tbs fish sauce

2-3 chillies

2 cloves garlic

1dsp sugar


Pell and chop the garlic, chop the chillies, and then mix together with the other ingredients.


Best wishes


Next year’s cooking schedule is ready. We are doing a series of classes in the spring. Check our website for the full list.


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