A fresh face on the cookbook scene, self-taught home cook Lizzie Hewson has just released her first book (no doubt the first of many), entitled Moving Out, Eating In. It’s a fun and essential read for those who are plucking up the courage to move out of the parental home, and are looking to impress both friends, lovers and flatmates with their prowess in the kitchen.[fold]

Hewson’s recipes are varied and effortless. They seem intricate from the outset but are simple and approachable once you get started. The pages see prawn burgers with capers, lemon and garlic aioli next to sticky chicken skewers, mozzarella-stuffed meatballs, apple cider cocktails and a lamb shoulder cooked with all the flavours of a Bloody Mary.

Each recipe is accompanied by a striking photograph of the end result, and in some instances, illustrated steps. “People cook with their eyes, especially my age group,” says Hewson. “I wanted this book to be a visual feast to get readers excited to try every dish; something which I think other like-minded books lacked.” Frustrated with being unable to find a cookbook for young people that “really understands the lifestyle that we lead, one that has recipes which are more vibrant than run-of-the-mill home-leaver meals and one that looks really good too,” she created one herself. “I thought that a cookbook which was aimed at home-leavers should be written by a fellow peer of similar age. It was really important for me to get the tone right,” says Hewson.

Hewson gave us one of her favourite recipes from the book, perfect for a light summer dinner:

Fish Cakes with Homemade Tartare Sauce and Fennel Salad

By Lizzie Hewson

Fish cakes are a bit retro but they make a fantastic dinner for home-leavers. The ingredients take them a long way, feeding a whole household with only two bits of fish, making this a very affordable way to feed four.

PS. The uncooked cakes freeze really well, too.

Serves: 4

• chilling required

Fish Cakes

2 lemons
1 fillet (about 250 g) boneless and skinless salmon (ask your fishmonger to remove the bones)
1 fillet (about 200 g) firm white boneless fish, such as ling
400 g potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 cup (about 1 bunch) finely chopped dill
2 teaspoons dijon mustard
1 tablespoon plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 egg
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons grapeseed or peanut oil

Tartare Sauce

3 tablespoons baby capers, drained and chopped
1/2 cup whole-egg mayonnaise
1/4 cup (about 1/4 bunch) roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup gherkins, roughly chopped

Fennel Salad

1 large fennel bulb, thinly sliced, fronds reserved
3/4 cup (about 3/4 bunch) roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons olive oil

Peel and juice one of the lemons and set aside the juice. Place the peel in a large saucepan of salted water and bring to the boil. Add both fish fillets and simmer for 7 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to remove the fish and set aside to cool. Add the potatoes to the hot water and boil for 15 minutes over medium heat or until soft. Drain the potatoes and leave to cool and dry from the steam in a colander. After about 15 minutes, place the potato back in the pan, remove lemon peel and mash roughly.

When the fish is cooled, flake the flesh into a large bowl. Add the mashed potato, garlic, the zest of the remaining lemon, dill, mustard, flour, egg and a generous seasoning of salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix until combined.

Lightly dust a plate with flour and divide the mixture into eight patties. Mould the patties into discs about 2 cm thick. Place on the floured plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or until firm. (To freeze, wrap each fish cake well in plastic wrap and keep in the freezer for up to 3 months.)

Meanwhile, combine all the tartare ingredients plus the reserved lemon juice in a small bowl. For the fennel salad, combine all the ingredients in a bowl and toss. (Before I dress the salad I often throw sliced fennel into iced water to give it a shock. This results in lovely crisp fennel slices. Make sure you pat them dry afterwards.)

When ready to serve, heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add the oil and when hot, add the fish cakes. Cook in two batches for 3 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden. To serve, arrange the fennel salad on plates, top with the fish cakes and dollop with tartare sauce.

Moving Out, Eating In is published by Roc Hin and is available for $34.95 at all good book stores.

movingouteatingin.com

We have two copies of Moving Out, Eating In to give away. To enter, email sydney@broadsheet.com.au with your contact details and address. This competition will close on October 25, 2013.