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I’ve been debating over writing and sharing this post for a while.. Mostly due to laziness over having to type out the long list of ingredients, but also because I wasn’t overly thrilled with this meal as the photos will show you. Have I captured your attention yet? Lots of ingredients, an under whelming (burnt) result – I’m really selling this recipe 😉

However let’s step back in time to last Christmas when I received the Save with Jamie cookbook as a gift…

This was my first Jamie Oliver cookbook. I have to say I generally don’t mind his recipes, they are a little vague at times in direction and ingredient measurement (i.e. a mug of rice, a glug of oil), but overall not bad. At first glance I loved this cookbook – very attractive layout with great photos, bright fonts, and cheeky introductions for the recipes; plus as a graduate student a collection of recipes aimed at stretching your food budget without sacrificing flavor sounds brilliant!

Reading the book (yes I LOVE to read cookbooks like a work of fiction) the recipe for Sweet and Sour Fish Balls caught my eye. T. is a huge fan of all things squid and it seemed like a healthier option than ordering a chinese take away. So one chilly January Saturday night I decided to tackle this recipe. Just glance your eyes down at the ingredient list you will understand why I say tackle.. Fueled by red wine, guilty pleasure television, and the company of T. and a good friend I began this fairly easy, but time-consuming recipe.

While I started out this post with mixed feelings about this meal, I think that I will probably give this one more try. I’m going to play around with the ratio of squid and shrimp, probably adding more shrimp. Plus I did make a few errors with this meal – I blame the marathon of trash television and dear friend, even the photos are bad! Besides burning a few of the fish balls, I added the peas in too early and added a can of crushed (not the listed chucks) pineapple by accident. Overall the flavors were good in the sauce, it was the consistency of fish balls I wasn’t crazy about. Lastly I really wouldn’t say this was a ‘budget’ meal as Jamie advertised. Frozen squid not cheap in land locked prairie land! Cheaper than getting a take away, but not budget.

Since this I have made a few more recipes from this cookbook and we’ve enjoyed all of the meals. Overall its a good cookbook that I would recommend to friends as it does make a lovely addition to the cookbook shelf. BUT much like my review of the recipe, if you are looking for a true budget friendly cookbook I would probably keep looking…

Sweet and Sour Fish BallsIMG_1195

Adapted from Save with Jamie.

  • 2 pieces of stale bread (or sub store bought bread crumbs)
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese five-spice
  • 1 3/4 cups of frozen raw squid rings or tubes
  • 1 cup frozen peeled raw prawns
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
  • Fresh coriander
  • 1 egg
  • 5 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 carrots
  • 4 spring onions
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon hot chilli sauce
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 small can (~250g) of pineapple chunks in juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • basmati rice


  1. Blitz the bread and five-spice powder in a food processor and set aside. (or mix if using bread crumbs)
  2. Place the squid, shrimp, egg, ginger, cilantro, egg, 3 tablespoon of cornstarch, and salt and pepper in the food processor and blend till smooth. Place mixture in fridge.
  3. Chop the peppers, carrots, and white of the scallions (set green stalks aside for later).IMG_1190
  4. Place the veg in a large pan over medium high heat to cook for about 10 minutes till softened. Then add tomato paste, 2 tablespoon cornstarch, soy and chili sauces, vinegar, pineapple, and 1 2/3 cup of cold water. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add the peas in the last few minutes.IMG_1191
  5. Prepare basmati rice.
  6. Take the fish mixture from the fridge. Spoon one teaspoon of the fish mixture and roll in the breadcrumbs, then roll into a ball shape.
  7. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large fry pan, once heated, cook fish balls for approximately 5 minutes until golden brown.

    Got a little distracted by the guilty pleasure tv and friend, so my balls were a little more dark golden brown.

    Got a little distracted by the guilty pleasure tv and friend, so my balls were a little more dark golden brown.

  8. To serve, pour the sauce on to a large platter, place the fish balls on top. Serve with the basmati rice and top with chopped scallions.IMG_1194