Taste of the Seacakes

A collage showing "seacakes" - along with photos of the seaside and samphire

Samphire like wild garlic is one of those foraged foods that has found its way onto plates in restaurants across the UK.  A local chef ( in New Zealand) was using it on his menu and receiving press for having foraged for it himself. He refused to divulge exactly where he’d found it. Intrigued, it set me on a personal mission to see if I could find it for myself. It turns out, once you know where it prefers to grow, you can’t help but find it in abundance. Samphire is the perfect side to highlight the taste of the sea with Chickpea and Potato Seacakes.

This salty little seaside succulent is traditionally paired with fish, so I challenged myself to find another way to use it. I wanted to keep a focus on the sense and taste of the sea.



Chickpea and potato seacakes, with a hint nori, pair really well with steamed samphire and kale, topped off with tofu tartare sauce (a traditional fish accompaniment). The New Zealand variety is slightly different to one found in the UK; and rather than forage for it here in Scotland (which is always more satisfying), it is most abundant at the local supermarket. I’ve included some notes at the bottom of this post if you decide to try foraging for it yourself.

Taste of the Seacakes

Serves – 4 to 6


  • 350g new potatoes or waxy potatoes
  • 340g cooked chickpeas – crushed
  • 100g finely diced celery (approx 2 stems)
  • 100g finely diced red onion
  • 50g finely diced Gherkins ( approx 1/3 cup)
  • 10g Nori ( approx 3 sheets) or kelp flakes
  • 1tsp sea salt
  • Wholemeal bread crumbs or GF bread crumbs


Steam or boil the new potatoes, you want them firm but edible, crush with a fork and season, set aside to cool.

Finely dice celery, red onion and gherkin, mix together in a bowl, add the chickpeas.

Grind the nori sheets or chop into tiny pieces, stir into your mixture, add the potatoes once they are cooled.

Wet your hands, divide your mix into 12 equal portions and mould into patties, refrigerate while you make your batter mix.

Once the seaquakes are chilled, coat in wholemeal breadcrumbs.

Lightly oil a frypan and colour both sides of the seacakes


Tofu Tartare Sauce


  • Tofu Aioli
  • 1 shallot finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp chopped capers
  • 2 Tbsp finely diced cornichon
  • Chopped fresh parsley


Make one recipe, stir in finely diced shallots, coronation and capers. Add chopped fresh parsley, this could be switched for chives, parsley or chervil. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Samphire and Kale

Blanch or steam until tender, will only take a minute or 2.


Foraging for Samphire:

Samphire grows through the Summer months and is typically found in salt or mud marshes in the UK. In New Zealand it can be found most on a rocky shoreline, just above the hide tide mark. New seasons fresh growing tips are best harvested in late spring to early summer.

Choose a location with clean coastline, good tidal movement, away from potential pollutants.

Snip off the tops of the plants with scissors, leaving the more fibrous stems in the ground so that the roots can continue to grow.

Wash, making sure you remove any sand and grit, pat it dry and keep wrapped in a paper towel in the fridge until ready to use.




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