Running a restaurant that specialises in gluten-free cuisine has been a winner for Bistro on Beaton chef Cory Keating.
Since taking over the kitchen at Wollongong Tennis Club at Beaton Park in October, Keating said they have thankfully remained extremely busy, which has been a nice surprise.
"It's been quite a surprise with the costs of living going up, making it difficult for people to spare more money [to go out], but I know there's a lot of places out there that are doing it quite tough," he said.
Keating said their coeliac-friendly menu has brought people to tears in the past, where a diner has been able to enjoy a $15 schnitzel or a parmigiana and a pint for the first time in their life. Some patrons are coming in up to four times a week for this reason, he said.
Because of their strict menu designed around the gluten allergy, everything they make is made from scratch - which also means they save money, Keating said.
Meantime, the Gwynneville chef has created a budget-friendly recipe for Mercury readers with cost, ease and efficiency in mind - crumbed tuna fishcakes.
"I wanted to make sure that it was practical for someone with not much skill in a kitchen, and something that saves time and mess," he said.
"It uses very readily available ingredients that are inexpensive as well."
* Where is your favourite place to get coffee in the Illawarra? Matthew Marks in Shellharbour.
* Where is your go-to for a meal out? Bull and Bear, Victoria Street in Wollongong.
* Favourite cheap eat? Guzman Y Gomez. They're open late which is good for chefs and it's still healthy.
* Favourite place to buy fresh produce? Wholesaler Flame Tree Foods.
* Thing you love most about the Illawarra? We're working class; we're built from a tough generation. As a chef we do long hours and hard work, and it's good to feed those in the community that work just as hard.
Step 1 - drain the tuna from the brine or oil. It helps with seasonings stick to the tuna and stops any overpowering fish flavour from taking over all the precious ingredients that will be added! This can be done by emptying the tuna into a strainer and rinsing under the tap at your sink, and then using a spatula or your hands to push out any excess liquid.
Step 2 - add tuna to a large mixing bowl.
Step 3 - add all ingredients to the bowl except for the breadcrumbs, rice flour and milk/water
Step 4 - mix all ingredients, and portion into balls of your desired size. Then flatten the balls slightly, making a rounded disc
Step 5 - crumb your fish cakes, first coat in rice flour, shake off any excess flour, dip in your egg and milk or water mixture and then pat down in your crumbs. Feel free to season your crumbs with whatever flavours you like!
Tip - refrigerating your fish cakes for 30 minutes to an hour before cooking helps set the crumbs to the fish cakes.
Step 6 - heat a deep frying pan or skillet to a medium/high heat with your desired oil, and add your fish cakes. Turning regularly to get a nice golden brown on each side. Alternatively you can bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown at 160 degrees
Step 7 - place on top of some absorbent paper to drain off any excess oil.
Step 8 - combine your salad ingredients and dress in a mixing bowl
Step 9 - plate up and enjoy!
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