Nigel Slater’s recipes for breakfast muffins, and kipper cakes with dill sauce – The Guardian

January 11, 2023 by No Comments

Few things galvanise the appetite quite like a pre-breakfast walk on a winter’s morning. Returning home, newspaper and loaf of bread in hand, it is then that the hob is lit, the coffee is on and the kitchen table becomes the best place in the world. If there are guests around, there will be something more than a bacon sandwich on our plates. Sometimes, there may be the plump little fish cakes I made this week. Crisp golden cushions of smoked fish and mashed potato, good for breakfast or supper, eaten with a jar of zappy pickles on the side.

It is usual to let any cake settle before eating, but these breakfast muffins can be eaten as soon as they are baked

The recipe is useful in that you can make it the day before, patting the cakes into rounds and leaving them in the fridge overnight. I use prepared fillets to save the pernickety task of tugging out the fine bones that lurk down each side of a whole kipper. Time is saved, but I rather miss not seeing the shimmering gold, silver and black of the splendid, opened-out smoked fish.

There may also be plain or fruit-studded porridge, or perhaps plump muffins with seeds and oats. The marriage of raspberries and oats is probably best appreciated in an autumn cranachan, where the two are layered together in a wine glass with whipped cream and whisky for dessert, but I know them better as breakfast partners.

On a grey winter’s morning, when apples and pears are welcome but have become ever-present, a splodge of crimson berry – albeit from the freezer – is a cheering sight in a bowl of Bircher muesli or studded into a ricotta pancake.

For the weekend, I tossed a handful of frozen berries into a batch of oat muffins and, tucking into the warm breakfast cakes with their crunchy crown of blue poppy seeds, I was rather pleased I had. We ate the rest of the batch, briefly warmed, to cheer up a parky Monday morning.

Breakfast muffins

It is usual to let any cake settle and cool before eating, but I do recommend that these little breakfast muffins are eaten as soon as they are baked. The orange zest teases out the raspberries’ flavour, the poppy seeds add a welcome crunch. They are not sweet, so if you would like them to be, add an extra tablespoon of sugar. I like to serve them with apricot jam. Makes 9

plain flour 275g
baking powder 2 tsp
caster sugar 2 tbsp
eggs 3
grated orange zest 2 heaped tsp
kefir 175ml
apple 1
raspberries 125g (frozen or fresh)
rolled oats 40g
poppy seeds 1 tbsp

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Line a nine-hole bun or muffin tin with
paper cases.

Sieve the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then stir in the caster sugar. Break the eggs into a small bowl, add the grated orange zest, then beat lightly to mix. Stir in the kefir.

Coarsely grate the apple. Fold the flour and egg mixture together lightly but thoroughly, making sure there are no pockets of flour. Add the grated apple, raspberries and all but 2 tbsp of the oats, stirring gently.

Spoon the batter into the bun cases, sprinkle over the poppy seeds and the reserved oats, then bake for approximately 20-25 minutes until risen. The tops should feel springy when pressed with your finger. Leave to rest briefly before eating. Best eaten warm, with a little jam on the side.

Kipper cakes with dill sauce

‘You can make these the day before, patting the cakes into rounds and leaving them in the fridge overnight’: kipper cakes with dill sauce. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer

I make a gravadlax-style dressing with honey, dill and mustard to accompany these smoked fish cakes, but a bowl of bread and butter pickles or even pickled gherkins straight from the jar is a suitably piquant alternative.
Makes 12

floury potatoes 400g
butter 30g
kipper fillets 400g
dill a handful
groundnut oil for shallow frying

For the sauce:
runny honey 2 tsp
grain mustard 1 tbsp
cider vinegar 1 tbsp
vegetable or groundnut oil 3 tbsp
dill 2 heaped tbsp, chopped

Peel the large and floury potatoes, cut into quarters, then boil them in salted water until tender, about 12-20 minutes. Drain the potatoes, tip them into the bowl of a food mixer and beat them with the butter to make a smooth but firm consistency.

Put the kipper fillets in a jug or heatproof bowl and pour a kettle of boiling water over them. Leave for at least 10 minutes until they have softened, then drain and flake the fish. I tend to leave the fish in short pieces about the size of a postage stamp rather than finely mashed.

Fold the fish into the warm potato together with a handful of chopped dill and a generous seasoning of both salt and black pepper. Leave the mixture to cool a little, then shape into rough patties. I make 12 of them the size of large golf balls, flatten them slightly, then leave them to cool and firm up.

Put the honey, mustard, vinegar, oil and dill in a screw-top jar, tighten the lid and shake for a few seconds to mix the ingredients.

Fry the cakes in shallow hot oil for five minutes or so on each side.

Drain on kitchen paper, keeping them warm in the oven if you are doing them in batches.

Serve the fish cakes warm with a bowl of the dressing on the side.

Follow Nigel on Instagram @NigelSlater