Haddock Fish Cakes Recipe – Carina Contini


  • 500g Haddock or Cod
  • 400g King Edwards or Maris Pipers – Fluffy potatoes
  • 1 medium sized leek, washed, trimmed and blanched in boiling salted water and drained really well
  • 2 small gherkins or cornichons, cut into small cubes
  • A few fronds of fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 25g of butter
  • Fresh breadcrumbs
  • Plain flour
  • 2 free range organic eggs
  • Seasoning


  • Place the fish in a pan of full fat milk with a pinch of salt and a few peppercorns, and bring to a simmer
  • Take the pan off the heat then, when the milk is tepid, remove the fish and flake it, being careful to remove any skin or bones. Put the milk to one side as you will use it later.
  • Boil the potatoes in salted water and drain
  • Mash the potatoes with the butter and four tablespoons of the milk reserved from cooking the fish. The potatoes should be light, creamy and fluffy.
  • Fold in the gherkins and dill and season to taste. Finally fold in the fish and leeks. Be very gentle, as you don’t want the fish to become mushy.
  • Divide the mixture into 8 balls and pat them to flatten slightly.
  • Coat the fish cakes by dipping first in the flour, then in the egg, and then the breadcrumbs. Then ‘double crumb’ them by re-dipping in the egg and then the breadcrumbs.
  • Fry the fish cakes in some olive oil until golden brown.
  • Transfer to an oven tray covered with kitchen towel and rest in a moderate oven (180C) for 15 minutes to ensure they are thoroughly heated through.
Credit: Carina Contini

Carina talks about service with a smile


Carina Contini

I’ve got a confession: I have an addiction.

It’s not to clothes, shoes or booze. It’s plates! I see plates and I just cannot resist.

Second hand plates, antique plates, plastic plates, paper plates – any kind will do. There is a particular shop on George Street that’s a real temptation. I have to text a friend to tell her when I manage to make it out without buying something, as a form of catharsis.

Psychologists would have a hay day. Was I not fed as a child, and so subconsciously seek out anything related to food? Is plate collecting a replacement for eating the things I’m trying to avoid? It really is hilarious.

In truth, I think my reason is simply that, after all the effort of cooking, I want to making sure the fruits of my labours look their absolute best. And maybe I secretly hope that, if my cooking isn’t up to scratch, the plate will save the day!

Presentation is everything. I always describe myself as a cook, not a chef. The difference for me is that chefs have the special skill of delivering the food service and styling that customers expect in a fast-paced restaurant environment.

Our team of 35 strong chefs really are chefs. Unlike the Hell’s Kitchen stereotype, our teams are incredibly calm. I very rarely hear shouting, and any swearing when I’m in the kitchen can only come from me! Most of the time, especially while prep is in progress, there is silence. Everyone is beavering away like little elves.

During service I’m in awe of their command of the pass, the way they keep the momentum going and service the plates like the routine tick tock of a Swiss watch. I’m very proud of all our boys and girls.

The different skills needed in the hospitality sector are like chalk and cheese. The cheery, chatty, smiley front of house hosts and servers are the stark opposite to the concentration and creativity of those in the kitchen. The personalities of the two teams really are that different. And it’s the plates that connect them. At the pass the server daren’t touch a plate until Chef has called the table and the dish away. Having been on both sides of the pass, this is the golden rule.

So, I would say that discipline – and plates – are what connects those doing the cooking and the serving. And both of them know that a smile will add the final flair to any dish.


Haddock Fish Cakes

I love homemade fish cakes at this time of year. They take some effort to make but they are totally worth it. Please see the recipe and ingredients on the left.


Beetroot Tartare Sauce

We serve this at Cannonball with our fish and chips. It’s delicious!


  • 200g homemade mayonnaise (recipe below)
  • 100g crème fraiche
  • A small handful of capes in brine, chopped
  • 2 fronds of fresh dill, chopped
  • 1 pickled beetroot, dried on a kitchen towel to remove the vinegar, and finely shredded


Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Fold the beetroot in at the end so the colour marbles.


To make the homemade mayonnaise



  • 2 organic free range egg yolks from the fridge
  • 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon of Dijon or English mustard powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon of fine salt
  • 300 ml of light olive oil


In a food processor or blender, add the egg yolks, mustard, lemon juice and salt. Set the machine to slow.

Very slowly, drizzle the oil a tiny amount at a time into the blender. When the mixture starts to thicken you can add a little more oil until the texture is of thick yoghurt.

If the mixture is too thick don’t worry as we are going to thin this down with some fresh cream to make the tartare sauce.


Find out more at www.contini.com

See more of Carina’s recipes for us here and discover a new one each month in
The Scots Magazine