Guest post by Mum: classic family recipe with a 70s twist

Another blog which I find very inspiring is the wonderful Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things. Recently Lizzy featured a great guest post by Carmen Brown, a local beekeeper who shared her excellent time honoured family recipe for honey ANZAC Biscuits.  Lizzy's post not only inspired me to make a batch of honey ANZAC biscuits, which worked wonderfully, but also to think about my own cooking influences. If I were to feature a guest blogger who inspires me, who would it be? I couldn't think of anyone more inspirational than my mum, Madame Zen. 

Madame Zen, early 1970s 
Madame Zen is the essence of creativity. Studying art and design at a prominent Sydney Art School in the late 1960s, Madame Zen's creativity extends from the canvas to the kitchen. Madame Zen is now a very successful Sydney artist. Growing up she made equal time for her work, her studio, her family and her kitchen. Madame Zen encouraged my creativity from a very young age. My world was filled with colour, music and texture. One of my favourite memories is being placed on the lime green laminex bench to help mum cook. There were no issues of getting messy or making a mess. That was all part of the fun and the spirit of play. 

Mum and I late 70s, in my personally designed overalls, made with love by Madame Zen 
Madame Zen also had a wonderful, very strong relationship with her mother. The recipe mum has decided to share is one of her own mother's recipes. It is simple, classic, delicious home food. Salmon Patties featured highly on our every day table. Whenever I think of home and growing up, it's the dish that is always first in my mind. Over to you mum. 

In the same way that I encouraged the then, little Mrs Mulberry, to have fun in the kitchen with this recipe, I also learnt this recipe in the same way from my mum. After a long day at school I can remember coming home to afternoon snacks in the kitchen and watching mum prepare the evening meal. 

Mrs Mulberry Snr, around early 1940s
Mum pretty much ran an open kitchen. In addition to my brothers, sisters and grandparents, there were aunties, uncles, cousins visiting the seaside from the country. My older brothers and sister also had friends, boyfriends or girlfriends calling in for dinner. Mum was incredibly generous and giving. She was also a phenomenal force in the kitchen, cooking sometimes for 13 people a night. 

While mum was making the salmon patties, I remember sitting on the white, gold flecked laminex kitchen bench, the black, yellow and white tiles below. I would sit there swinging my legs (probably marking the cupboard with layers of melted summer asphalt from the school playground on the bottom of my school shoes). I love this dinner. It was a very welcome change from sour school milk with a revoltingly sweet flavoured straw and mum's other  favourite recipes which included tripe, pressed tongue sandwiches and steak and kidney pie. I think I had vegetarian leanings from a young age. I would have greatly preferred the olive oil we were sometimes given for medicinal purposes, on a salad of our home grown tomatoes. Salmon patties though were one dish I enjoyed coming home too. 

While mum's classic recipe included a brown onion, my mother in law's version had a bit more of a 70s vibe. Yes, it had corn! To the sounds of Cat Stevens and Bob Dylan, I whipped these up in the kitchen when first married - remembering mum's advice that speed was important. The salmon pattie mixture waits for no one. 

The sound track to my 1970s. 
You can make these salmon patties, with fresh salmon or if you a really in a rush (or catering for 13) you can reach for a big can of pink salmon. Tuna also works well. 

Salmon Patties 
500g of cooked fresh or tinned salmon
1 brown onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup of corn kernels 
2 eggs
1/2 cup of self raising flour
1/2 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tbs of chives, finely chopped
olive oil for cooking (I like to use lemon infused oil)
salt and pepper to taste 

1. Flake the cooked salmon, removing bones, into a large mixing bowl. 

2. Add chopped brown onion, corn, parsley, chives and mix well. 

3. Season to taste. 

4. Add to eggs (no need to beat them before hand) and mix well. 

5. Add flour and mix well. 

6. Shape into patties or balls, dust lightly in flour and shallow fry in olive oil on a low to medium heat. Serve warm. 

In the 1970s, these were usually served with a great big dollop of tomato sauce, creamy mashed potatoes and spinach or peas. If you wanted the classic three veg, you could also go with some glazed carrots or some pureed parsnips. 

Flaking the cooked salmon 

Other good accompaniments, a chilled Chablis, 70s ironstone dinner plates and a classic 70s table cloth

A more modern take on the tomato sauce, sweet chili is also good.


  1. Oh, Mrs Mulberry and Madam Zen, this is just beautiful. I am in awe and have tears in my eyes. Mrs M you are so fortunate to have your beautiful mother with you so that you can feature a guest post written by her! I so wish that my mum was still here, she would be tickled pink to do the same! I love salmon patties... and I do have vivid memories of the 1970s! Lovely post. Thank you.

  2. Oh Lizzy, thank you so much for your very heartfelt comment. My mum lost her mother to early and I really cherish every moment I have with my gorgeous mum. Thank you for your constant inspiration. I am sure you mum is still with you when you make your wonderful traditional recipes x

    1. Thank you. I am touched by that thought. I bet she is too! xox

  3. Looks wonderful...I've been wanting to find a nice salmon pattie recipe so thank you Madame Zen.

    1. Thanks Mel. These do not disappoint!! I ate five large patties in one sitting!!

  4. Your mum is gorgeous with a lovely, warm smile! And funnily enough, my mum makes something similar with tuna although it isn't her usual sort of dish as she is Singaporean! :P

    1. Thanks Lorraine! Madame Zen is an avid reader of your wonderful blog and was thrilled by your lovely comments. Salmon patties are just so good. I think every culture must have a delicious version!! Would love to know your mum's recipe!!

  5. The warmth goes through the post as I read this! So lovely! Thanks for sharing your family's recipe :D

    1. Thank you! Really glad you enjoyed the post ; )

  6. How blessed you are to have such a wonderful family! Thanks for sharing.

    xx arteymum

  7. my elderly aunty makes the best salmon patties, we love them in our home :)

  8. It has been wonderful to read your post, and re-read it over the past couple of days, by myself and with my Mum. Family memories of cooking are an absolute treasure for me too. Thank you for sharing this delicious recipe, and giving my mum and I another recipe memory. :-)

    1. Thanks for your kind words Carmen! I really enjoyed your lovely guest post - such a fantastic recipe!! The honey ANZAC biscuits worked out beautifully and were a huge hit with mr k and our families!!

  9. Its Looks good that you are providing Classic Family Recipes but we are also providng the same as wel as Classic Indian Recipes

  10. I have been looking back through your site. I love this story, so cute and retro and loving :) Great images too, thanks for sharing :)

  11. Vanessa Weatherley10 March 2014 at 16:03

    Wow, this dish brings back so many memories


Thank you for your comments, I really appreciate every single one!

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Maira Gall