Accounting was not my strongest subject at school. OK that’s being generous. Truth is, I was dangerously close to flunking it. The whole debit and credit column thing didn’t really resonate with the teenage me. It still doesn’t, not really. My bank manager probably finds this a bit disconcerting.

The topic of family cropped up the other day. Given the size of mine – and my pitiful numerical abilities – it took me quite a while to work out how many cousins I have. The answer is 24.

That would be first cousins. Not second cousins, first cousins once removed, twice removed or any of the myriad other kinds of cousins the English language so quaintly recognises.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this tally. After all, my father was one of nine. Grandpa was clearly a manly sort of fellow and gran couldn’t have been much of a headache sufferer. But it’s probably best not to dwell on such matters.

The wonderful plus of having a big family, is that it increases one’s chances of actually liking some of them. For this is not necessarily a given. Families – bless their cotton socks.

Fortunately I am partial to quite a few of my cousins. One of them popped in for dinner on Tuesday. I hadn’t seen him for three years, so I opened a bottle of bubbly (not that I needed an excuse) and chucked a chicken in the oven.

It was a gargantuan beast which I figured would take a while, so we decided to nibble on corn fritters while we waited.

We used to eat them all the time as kids, but not this way. I gave them some all-grown-up attitude with herbs and a touch of chilli. And I served them with smoked salmon and a lemon and dill crème fraîche – just to remind him that I’m the classy cousin.

All you need is…

285g corn, tinned or frozen
one egg
5 tbs cake flour
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder
half a red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbs chives or garlic chives, finely chopped
1 tbs Italian parsley, finely chopped
pinch of black pepper
100g crème fraîche (I use this as it makes me feel fancy, but really, it’s just sour cream in French drag)
100g smoked salmon
2 tbs dill, finely chopped
zest of one lemon, finely chopped
3 tbs olive oil, for frying

Mix the crème fraîche, dill and lemon zest. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Place in the fridge to keep cool. The longer it stands, the better it will be as the flavours will mingle.

Drain the corn, (if you’re using frozen, defrost it by pouring over boiling water). Mix with the egg, flour, quarter teaspoon salt, chilli, chives, parsley and a pinch of black pepper. Shallow-fry dollops in olive oil over a medium heat. Once golden brown, flip and fry the other side until brown. Drain on kitchen towel and serve immediately with the salmon and crème fraîche. The crisp, warm fritters contrast beautifully with the velvety salmon and cold crème fraîche.

serves

3-4

prep

10 min

cook

10 min

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good to know

Cheap rocks!

If you prefer, you can serve this with smoked trout instead of salmon. It will rip a slightly smaller hole in your pocket. I think the extra money spent on salmon is well worth it though – and that says a lot, coming from the queen of cheap.

For an eastern vibe (that is also much, much cheaper), add a tablespoon of chopped fresh coriander to the fritters as well. Nix the pricey salmon and top each fritter with a ribbon of cucumber (use your vegetable peeler). Serve with Thai sweet chilli sauce instead of the crème fraîche.

enjoy with

You can serve pretty much any white wine with this. Something dry and pink would work too. But when it’s time to celebrate, nothing beats bubbles.
Perdeberg’s 2009 Brut Reserve MCC has intense citrus and pear on the nose. It’s crisp with a slight mineral finish.

This MCC won both Michelangelo and Veritas gold in 2012. It’s a seriously good-value, quality buy at R90-R95. Not that it’s germane, but I also kinda like the fact that their estate zebra (which appears on most bottles) is called Merlot. Just like my cat. But bigger. And with stripes.

Perdeberg

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