For many years my husband and I kept separate homes; I lived in Cape Town and he lived in Johannesburg. He would commute between the two cities, flying down on Thursday and returning on Monday morning. The set-up worked well for us, a mutual politness prevailed, something that often falls by the wayside in the familiarity of a life spent constantly together. My heart would skip a little beat when I heard his key in the door on Thursday nights and there was always that sweet sorrow of parting on Monday mornings, that feeling that Mister Shakespeare described so well.
But things couldn’t carry on like that forever; it became too expensive to keep both homes, and our child was growing up and proving a handful for me on my own. Dad got only the good stuff; the weekend stuff: the beach, barbeques, movies and fun. I was left the grim weekday tasks of getting her to do her homework and suchlike. The final decider was when Old Spouse had a heart-attack scare and became disorientated; he didn’t know which airport he was at.
I sold my house and had all the contents shipped up to Joburg, we spent the last few days in a guest house and my good friends Rose and Brian invited us over for a farewell supper. The special treat was Brian’s mom’s salmon fishcakes.
I’ve adapted Mrs Ashley’s fishcakes over the years, and often serve a Thai-style version as a starter. Mandy, a South African living on the island of Mauritius, who writes a lovely food blog, has asked me for the recipe for these divine fishcakes:
1 tin Alaskan or Norwegian salmon
1 large egg
2 slices brown bread, crusts removed
½ cup chopped parsley
½ cup chopped coriander
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 finely chopped chilli
Juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon crushed ginger
Drain fish and reserve liquid. Remove skin and bones from fish. Soak bread in liquid and squeeze out excess before adding the bread to the fish.
Add all other ingredients and fold together.
Fry in hot olive oil until goldy-brown on both sides. I do them in tablespoon size, for small fishcakes, but have made larger ones to serve as fish burgers too.