So my characters are having dinner, and I thought I should mention something about the food, seeing as the heroine’s presence is distracting the hero from a wonderful meal. I took out my trusty Mrs. Beeton’s. My parents gave me this book for Christmas when I was eighteen -- even then, two of my interests were obvious: history and food.

So after flipping through it for a while, I decided they’re going to eat baked carp, because the carp can come from the heroine’s father’s fish pond. As Mrs. Beeton (who in a short life in Victorian times had several children and wrote a massive tome) says, “the carp both grows and increases very fast, and is accounted the most valuable of all fish for the stocking of ponds.”  Perfect -- this gives the old man a topic of conversation when he wants to change the subject from… magic.  (Yes, this story has magic in it, just at little, at least so far.)

So while I was nosing through the fish section of Mrs. Beeton’s tome (such cool stuff -- Collared Eel! Fish and Oyster Pie!), I found a recipe for fish cakes. It’s a lot like what I do nowadays when making salmon patties. I won’t include her recipe here because it’s a lot more involved than making patties from canned fish, but one of these days I’ll try it, adapt it and blog about it.

Here’s the recipe for Salmon Patties.  

1 large can red salmon, drained, but conserve the liquid (You can use pink salmon, but red is much, much tastier.)
1 or 2 eggs
Italian bread crumbs
Spring onions, chopped fine

Mix all ingredients together, adding bread crumbs and conserved liquid until the mixture is the right consistency. Form into patties and pan fry in ¼” oil until heated through.

Sprinkle with lemon and eat with bread and salad. They’re also great eaten cold in a sandwich. Enjoy!


  1. Beth Trissel // August 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM  

    Very interesting, Barbara. I love old cookbooks. Your story sounds lots of fun.

  2. Judy // August 23, 2012 at 1:15 PM  

    Fun, interesting recipes. I too love old cookbooks and weaving food into my stories...

  3. Barbara Monajem // August 23, 2012 at 4:28 PM  

    I have few more old cookbooks, Beth, but not in a physical format, so I tend to go to Beeton's because I can leaf through it. Still don't have the knack of leafing through Google Books. :)

  4. Barbara Monajem // August 23, 2012 at 4:31 PM  

    Hi, Judy. I enjoy food details in historical novels. On me, they act sort of like food ads. They're having scones!!?? Oh, yum, let's make some.

  5. Mary Marvella // August 23, 2012 at 6:28 PM  

    I like this recipe. The baked carp, not so much!

  6. Scarlet Pumpernickel // August 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM  

    I love salmon patties. I usually make homemade biscuits and fried potatoes. Add a little syrup and you've got a real southern dinner. Now, tells us more about this magic in your new book!

  7. Barbara Monajem // August 23, 2012 at 7:38 PM  

    Mary, I'll try almost anything when it comes to food. I've never had carp, but I've had lamb's head!

  8. Barbara Monajem // August 23, 2012 at 7:40 PM  

    Scarlet -- Syrup? Is that for the biscuits? I just made a soup with biscuits, but I had my biscuit with honey for dessert.

    As for the magic, the heroine's house has a Haunted Room and an Enchanted Meadow. :~))

  9. Josie // August 24, 2012 at 8:21 PM  

    Hi Barbara,
    I'll vote for the salmon patties and leave the boiled calf's head to someone else's palate. Thanks for recipe. Around my house, all we do is eat and cook. :)

  10. Mary Ricksen // August 26, 2012 at 12:58 PM  

    I do salmon patties. Once as a kid I saw goats heads cooking in the oven and I almost passed out when my 101 year old great grandfather popped an eyeball into his mouth!!!!
    I'll stick with the patties...