Monday 23 January 2012
Fishy little balls
It is cold and damp, the wind whistles around the house and beats the trees. Drops hang from red noses and coughing sounds everywhere. Appetites are minimal, just now when we need our vitamins most. A good thing that mama knows a trick to get vitamins, minerals and healthy fats into toddlers and pre-schoolers. We are going to hide vegetables and fish in crispy little balls. Tijm comes running as I put the ingredients down on the worktop. ‘Mama, can I help?’
Off course he can. Food made with your own hands tastes the best.
Suspiciously Tijm eyes the ingredients. What are we making?
Cheerful and precise Tijm throws fish in the blender. He likes fish. But when I put my knife in the carrot and the courgette he shouts: ‘No mama! Not green. I don’t like green.’
‘Carrot is not green,’ I comment.
‘It is,’ says Tijm and that says it all.
When I put the balls on the table he screams. ‘I do not like fishballs!’
‘Taste one,’ I insist. He refuses, I persist, and after some, or rather a lot of debate he tries, reluctantly.
‘And, do you like it?’ I ask.
‘No,’ he nods, positively. ‘I do not like them.’
He pricks another one on his fork, chews, swallows, and shakes his head.
Then, he polishes off the plate.
Fishballs with carrot and courgette
300 g mixed fish (any will do, salmon, cod, mackerel, haddock, whiting)
1 small courgette
4 spoons of (glutenfree) oat flakes
handful of finely chopped herbs (parsley, dill or thyme)
breadcrumbs or polenta for coating
Chop the fish very fine or smooth it briefly in a blender. Grate the carrot and courgette and mix them through the fish, together with the egg, oatmeal and herbs. Make sure the mixture is neither too thin nor too thick, it needs to be nice and firm so you can shape it into little balls. If it is too wet add some more oat flakes. Let the mixture cool and stiffen in the fridge, preferably for about an hour. This will make it easier to shape. Roll little balls of around 3 cm and flatten them slightly. You can also make slightly larger disk shaped fish burgers than can be served in a bun. Roll the balls through the breadcrumbs or polenta to coat and shallow fry in some hot oil for a few minutes on each side. Ready rolled balls can be frozen so one portion will make several meals. Serve with tomato sauce and fried potatoes.
For variation you can add other vegetables (just make sure they are not too wet) and spices. Why not some curry powder and fresh coriander for an Indian version, and serve with mango chutney and yoghurt.