How to make salmon fishcakes and cranachan…

With apologies to my Scottish husband, I’ve long held a belief that the Scots invented whisky to make haggis more palatable – or to make you forget that you’d eaten it. Yes, I know there are plenty of people out there who like haggis – my husband is one of them – but I am not. Regardless of the reason behind it, the Scots do whisky well – in fact, I consider myself just a wee bit of an expert on the subject.

The Scots also do salmon and oats well – and that’s what this post is about: salmon and oats. Not at the same time, just two recipes: one with salmon, and one with oats – and both perfect for a wintry Saturday night.

Salmon Fishcakes

Firstly the salmon. These are, I think, the best salmon cakes ever. Dead easy to make and seriously good to eat. We had them with some steamed curly kale and a vegetable stock based butter sauce, but they were equally as good the next night with a leafy green salad and a dollop of aioli. You could also, if you wanted, posh them up with a creamy noilly prat sauce. You’d definitely need the kale then to cut through the richness.

Anyways, you need equal quantities of salmon fillet and mashed potato. I used 450g of each. The mashed spud is just done the usual way with a little bit of butter and milk. As for the salmon, we’ll be roasting this, so preheat the oven to 230C and grease a roasting tin that’s big enough to hold the salmon fillets. Oh, before I forget, don’t forget to pin-bone the salmon – we’ve all seen that Masterchef episode where a bone has sent someone home. Don’t bother to skin it – it’s easier to do this after it’s been cooked.

Dot about 25g butter over the salmon, drizzle over 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, some salt and pepper and 1 long red chilli that you’ve de-seeded and diced finely. Bake the fish for between 5-8 minutes – you want it to be a little under-cooked in the centre. Once it’s out of the oven, let it stand for 5 minutes and then flake it.

Put the mashed potato into a bowl and stir through 4 tablespoons of finely chopped spring onions (just the white part – I used the green leaves to flavour a chicken stock for the best ever cock-a-leekie soup…but that’s another post entirely), and 3 tablespoons of chopped flatleaf parsley.

Add the fish and mix it through.

Dust your hands with flour and shape the mixture into patties. If you keep them about palm size, you should get 8.

Pop them onto a tray lined with greaseproof paper and freeze for an hour or so – until they are solid enough to handle.

To finish the fishcakes, do what you’d usually do to crumb something – set out some flour in a shallow bowl, a couple of eggs whisked in another, and some panko breadcrumbs in another. Dip in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. If you want, you can freeze them at this stage. To cook afterwards, you’d need to bake them in a low oven (150C) for about 45mins.

If, however, you’re cooking now, simply fry them in sunflower oil (or whatever you have – just not olive oil) for 4-5 minutes until they’re nicely golden.


This is the part where we talk oats – not the instant quick oats, but real traditional oats. The sort of oats you stir for porridge on a winter’s morning. Cranachan is sort of like a Scottish trifle. At it’s simplest, it’s layers of oats, softly whipped cream, and raspberries.

Raspberries are a tad expensive though at the moment, so I cooked up some strawberries that we’d picked up at the markets for $6 for 1kg. Yes, really. All I did was heated them in a saucepan with some vanilla, a sprinkle of sugar and some grand marnier.

It would taste just as good if they were fresh raspberries and mixed with a little whisky and honey…just saying.

For the oats, I popped 50g into a fry pan with about 30g brown sugar and stirred them and watched them like a hawk – I didn’t take my eyes off them for one second – until the sugar had melted into the oats and they were all toasted beautifully. As they cool, they get really crunchy.

All you need to do when you’re ready for dessert is layer it all together and serve it with a wee dram of whisky on the side. Yum. Sorry, no pic – they were eaten too quickly, but below is what they would have looked like if they were made with fresh raspberries with whisky – instead of cooked strawberries with grand marnier.

Ok, it’s Thursday, so that means sharing our happy. Like the Partridge Family sang C’mon Get Happy! Am I the only sad case old enough to remember that?

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To join in the Lovin’ Life Linky, all you’ve got to do is: Link one post about what you’re currently lovin’ in life. Read two or three posts from other Lovin’ Life Linkers and leave a comment so they know you’ve dropped by. Spread the Lovin’ Life word and feel free to link back. The linky goes live at 7.30am every Thursday and finishes at 7.30am of a Monday (Australian Eastern Time).

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Author: Jo

Author, baker, sunrise chaser

13 thoughts

  1. I must confess I don’t do salmon or oats. Well, I did eat oats until my coeliac diagnosis but not with gusto and mainly in Anzac biscuits.

    Is black pudding Scottish? I really only remember it from The Goodies TV show but they made it on Masterchef the other night and I had some serious flashbacks!

    1. The Scots do like their offal…but black pudding is widely available all the way through Britain..& yes, Grant likes that too 😦

  2. Thank you for the fishcake recipe, Jo! One of my favourite dishes. Homemade is always better for these too!

    SSG xxx

  3. Ha! I’m not a fan of Haggis either, but my husband is! But I’ll go for those salmon fish cakes anytime – er when can you pop round to make them Jo? I’ll supply wine – okay? 🙂

  4. No you’re not the only sad case old enough to remember “C’mon get happy” by the Partridge family! Both these recipes sound sooooo yummy!! Thank you … I will try them! 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. I so used to love that song – & don’t tell anyone, but I still have I Think I Love You on my playlists…

  5. Thanks for the recipes. I do like salmon cakes. I like to add some Thai flavours to mine with chilli, lime juice and fish sauce. I make a pear and cranberry crumble with oats and crushed almonds that sounds similar to your Cranachan. I will have to give your recipe a try – it looks very tasty. 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

    1. I love Thai flavours in them as well – so fresh. I’m thinking I’ll have to give your pear crumble a go 🙂 #TeamLovinLife

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