So, as some of you will know that follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I have been reading Grain Brain by Dr Perlmutter. I won’t go into it too much here because once I finish it I will provide you will a full review. However, in the book, Dr Perlmutter outlines the scientific evidence for a grain-free, carbohydrate-free, sugar-free; but high-fat diet in preventing and/or curing many neurological disorders…from depression to ADHD. There is a fascinating chapter outlining why gluten is such a problem, which amongst all the negative stories you hear about coeliac disease, makes a welcome change!
Anyway, continuing on my quest to find foods that the kids will eat that are high in calcium, rich in protein, tasty and cheap; whilst being dairy and gluten-free, I decided to make up a recipe using sardines…great brain-food!
I have had a tin in my cupboard to test out in a recipe for about a year…never quite plucking up the courage to do so! Then one Saturday a friend of ours mentioned some recipes in the Guardian by Hugh Fernley Whittingstall and raved about sardines with worcester sauce, chilli and not much else. I thought it was time I rose to the challenge, and having had success with a simple sardine pate (mashed up sardines with worcester sauce, chilli, mayo and lemon juice), I decided to experiment with a main dish.
I am happy to report that these went down a storm! In fact I think my daughter polished off 4 or 5 and would happily have had more. Little did she know that there was even cabbage lurking in them!
Tasty, cheap sardine bites
- 2 tins sardines in oil don't worry about the bones, they are soft and add calcium - trust me!
- 2 leaves savoy cabbage kale or spring greens
- 2 spring onions
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 tbsp frozen peas defrosted - or any veg of your choice
- 1 tbsp frozen sweetcorn defrosted - or any veg of your choice
- 1 tbsp chopped dill
- 1 medium free-range egg
- 1 tbsp lime juice
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Sprinkle chilli powder
- Dash of Tiger Tiger worcester sauce many are not gluten-free
- Black pepper to taste
If you have a food processor then place all the ingredients into the bowl with the chopping attachment and process until it is smooth. If you don't have a food processor, use a hand-held chopper and chop the vegetables individually adding them to a bowl once done. Add the beaten egg and remaining ingredients and mix well.
Remove a walnut-sized piece of mixture and roll into a ball, flattening it with your hand slightly to make a small burger-type shape. Place on a greased baking tray and continue until all the mixture is used up. Don't worry the mixture is quite sticky!
Place the sardine 'bites' into a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C, 180 degree fan, for 15-20 minutes or until golden.
Serve with your choice of vegetables and my home-made tartare sauce (1 tbsp mayonnaise, 1 tsp chopped dill, handful washed and chopped capers, 1 spring onion white finely chopped, and a squeeze of lemon). I don't include the recipe because it was 'rejected' by the kids...despite the adults loving it!
Cost breakdown – based on prices in Tesco on 28.01.14, approximated where small quantities are used.
Tesco sardines in oil 50p
Tesco savoy cabbage = 80p, 2 leaves = approx. 5p
Tesco spring onions = 75p; 2 onions = approx.20p
Tesco garlic bulb = 30p; 1 clove = approx. 3p
Tesco frozen peas = £1 per kg; 15g = approx. 2p
Tesco frozen sweetcorn = £1.50 per kg; 15g = approx. 3p
Tesco dill = 80p per 30g; 15g = 40p
Tesco free-range eggs = 23p each
Tesco ingredient lime juice = 85p per 250ml; 15ml = approx. 4p
Tesco ingredient sesame seeds = £1.96 per 300g; 30g = 20p
2p allowed for chilli powder and worcestershire sauce – a dash of each!