The Best Fish Pie

On 29th May 2016, This was Dinner

One of my oldest (surviving) books is an Antony Worrall Thompson book – The Top 100 Recipes from the Food & Drink TV Series.

I can’t say I’ve made loads from the book but it is where I went to for my original Yorkshire puddings and I made a stand-out bœuf bourguignon. This fish pie is well worth the effort you might have to put in. Here goes…

Get set…

  • Peel and chop some potatoes and place in a pan of salted water
  • Chop a large onion
  • Hard boil some eggs
  • Chop some parsley
  • Chop some thyme leaves
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Grate some gruyère
  • Get a salmon fillet, a smoked haddock fillet, some raw prawns, mustard powder, milk, double cream, a clove, a bay leaf, nutmeg, plain flour, butter, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Bring the potatoes to the boil and cook until tender then drain and leave to dry out for a couple of minutes. Mash well and add a little butter, double cream and some seasoning.

Pour the milk in a large pan along with some double cream and add both the fish fillets. Pop the bay leaf, clove and a pinch of nutmeg in and gently poach until the fish is tender. Remove the fish and strain the poaching liquid to use later.

Wipe out the pan and add a little oil and butter and cook the onion gently, you want it soft but not coloured. Add some plain flour and stir well for a couple of minutes.

Pour in the poaching liquid a little at a time, whisking well each time. Simmer gently for around 10 minutes until thickened.

Shell and chop the eggs and add to the sauce along with the parsley, thyme and a very good pinch of mustard powder. Flake in the fish, stir well and move from the heat and allow to cool. Now might be a good time to check the seasoning.

Add the raw prawns when cooled and transfer to an oven proof dish. Leave for 10 minutes then spread the mashed potato over the top and fork up a bit.

Sprinkle with both of the cheeses then bake for around 30 minutes.

Dish it up…

Nothing else required in my opinion. Just a fork and a big appetite.


It fed us for 2 days but as you can see from the ingredients, it’s not the cheapest pie you will ever make, but as I said before, well worth it.

Red Curry Sea Bass with Potato Rösti

On 12th May 2016, This was Dinner

If I could only eat one fish for the rest of my life it would be sea bass. So as soon as I saw this recipe in the – you’ve guessed it – John Whaite cook book I had to try it as I had a packet of red curry paste in the cupboard.

Get set…

  • Peel and grate a couple of potatoes
  • Score some sea bass fillets
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Get red curry paste, limebutter, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Season the potato and mix well. Get a clean tea towel and put the potato in the middle and squeeze really well to get out all of the water. Divide into four portions. Press into four patties, press it tight – use a chefs ring if you can. If you don’t have one I have used a large cookie cutter in the past.

Heat some oil and butter in a large frying pan and then carefully transfer the röstis to the pan, give it another pat down to help it hold together. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side.

Coat the sea bass in the curry paste with a small splash of oil then place everything on baking trays and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through.

Dish it up…

I had some spinach going spare so I served it all on a bed of that.


A nice simple meal that feels like you have made an effort and a lot healthier than fish and chips.

Tuna Caesar with Anchovies & Kale

On 9th April 2016, This was Dinner

Well, behind as usual, what better opportunity to get up to date but a real wash-out of a bank holiday. We didn’t even get to the Tour de Yorkshire as we were going to walk the dog to see it but would have got soaked to the skin. Well done to everyone who braved the rain and made the most of it.

Fresh tuna is not a favourite of mine. This might sound weird but it is a little too meaty and not quite fishy enough for me. However, being the nice person I am, I force myself to put it on the menu sometime as Mr S likes it. After eating this though, I think I might have tuna a little more often.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 160°c (fan)
  • Cut up a ciabatta into large chunks
  • Zest a lemon
  • Roughly chop a few anchovies
  • Finely chop a garlic clove
  • Grate some parmesan and shave a little more for serving
  • Chop some kale, removing the thick stalks first
  • Get tuna steaks, mayo, buttermilk, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Toss the bread in the oil and pop on a baking tray, cook for around 10 minutes until golden.

Oil the tuna steaks and add half of the lemon zest and season well.

Heat more oil in a pan on a gentle heat and add the anchovies and garlic. Break the anchovies down to form a paste. Transfer to a bowl and add mayo, buttermilk, Dijon, Worcestershire and the grated parmesan. Add the remaining lemon zest and a good squeeze of juice then mix it up to a nice dressing.

Add the kale leaves and stir well. Leave it a while to get the kale nice and softened.

Cook the tuna for around 3 minutes each side and leave ti rest whilst you plate up.

Dish it up…

Place the kale on the centre of the plate, arrange the croutons around then top with the tuna. Add a squeeze of lemon then top with the parmesan shavings.


The original, using cavolo nero which I couldn’t get hold of but Aldi sometimes stock, can be found here, at BBC Good Food.

Cod & Spinach Yellow Curry

On 26th March 2016, This was Dinner

There is something satisfying about a fish curry in my opinion. I think this might be a version of Meen Molee, a dish I found many moons ago and got me into making my own curry sauce rather than buying a packet/jar. This recipe is so quick too.

Get set…

  • Skin a cod fillet & cut into chunks
  • Finely slice an onion
  • Finely peel & chop a couple of garlic cloves
  • Peel & grate a piece of ginger
  • Get a can of coconut milk, spinach, garam masala, turmeric, smoked paprika, groundnut oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Mix half of the spices together with the seasoning and coat the fish. Set to one side.

Heat some oil in a pan with a lid and gently cook the onion, garlic and ginger until softened. Add the remaining spices and cook for a minute, stirring well.

Add the coconut milk and stir well, bring to the boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the fish and pop the lid on and cook for about 7-8 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until it has wilted and the cod is cooked through. Add some seasoning if required.

Dish it up…

Serve with rice and naans.


Surprise, surprise it is a BBC Good Food recipe and here it is.

Fish Tacos

On 14th March 2016, This was Dinner

It’s been a busy few days, we have had a wedding anniversary and Mr S had a birthday so we it’s been takeaways and eating out, a couple of which get a mention below.

We saw Jamie Oliver and Fearne Cotton make these tacos on Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast and Mr S decided he wanted them for his birthday. Who was I to argue?

I took the day off so made these at a leisurely pace one I got back from walking Walter.

The fish I used was haddock and sea bream.

A little bit of pre-preparing…

Cook a full bulb of garlic in a 160°(fan) oven for an hour

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Trim & peel the pineapple & cut into wedges
  • Finely chop about 4 chillies
  • Finely chop some mint leaves
  • Finely chop a couple of red onions
  • Chop a couple of spring onions
  • Destone and chop an avocado
  • Finely chop some tomatoes
  • Season some fish fillets
  • Zest a lemon
  • Grate some cheddar
  • Get a few limes, sour cream, tortillas, extra virgin olive oil, seasoning

Throw it together…

Heat a pan and cook the pineapple until starting to char. Remove and finely chop. Pop it in a bowl along with any juices.

Add half of the onion, and half of the chillies, half the mint and the juice of one of the limes and season well.

Mix the remaining onion, mint leaves and chillies with the avocado, spring onions, tomatoes and the juice of the other lime. Season and drizzle with more extra virgin olive oil and combine well.

Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and mix with the sour cream, seasoning and a squeeze of lime and drizzle of extra virgin oil.

Heat a little oil in a pan. Sprinkle the lemon zest over the fish and cook, skin side down for around 4 minutes. Turn over and cook until the fish is cooked through.

Warm some tortillas in the oven.

Dish it up…

Spread some of the sour cream over the torillas then pop a dollop of the salsa and a dollop of the guacamole on top. Top with some of the fish and a sprinkle of cheddar. Roll and stuff in your face!


There were some extra’s to this but there was more than enough with what we had so I didn’t bother with the slaw or the beans.

We were lucky enough to be given a Christmas gift of afternoon tea at Harvey Nichols and decided to use it as part of our anniversary celebrations. Here are the photo highlights.

Special mention to the fish and chips of Friday night, just because it’s fish and chips, and it was good!


Cod, Cauliflower & Chorizo Mornay

On 14th February 2016, This was Dinner

We were going to make a ‘special’ meal for Valentines Day but we were naughty yesterday and had a Chinese takeaway which meant the cod that I had defrosted needed using before the pork did. All’s well that ends well as this was a far better meal than the pork anyway.

We took Walter for a walk in the woods today. It was a lovely crisp morning and we donned our wellies and off we went. It is nice to walk him up at Cusworth Hall and the surrounding area but in the woods he can be off the lead a little longer. Although he got a bit cocky at times and had to be shouted back. He has some confidence that little bugger! He doesn’t get to meet as many new friends but he still met some.

I never thought to take him here but was reminded of the place when I read this Doncopolitan post.

Anyway, what is a Mornay I hear you ask? Well it is ‘a Béchamel sauce with shredded or grated Gruyère cheese and egg yolk added’ (source: Wikipedia). There’s no egg in this one so does that make it cod, cauli and chorizo in cheese sauce? I’m not arguing with BBC Good Food where the original can be found.

Cooking cauliflower really takes me back to my distant not-so-long-ago childhood. It must have been the go to veg.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 160°c (fan)
  • Cut a small cauliflower into florets*
  • Roughly chop a chorizo**
  • Grate some gruyère
  • Chop a cod loin into bite sized pieces
  • Chop some parsley
  • Slice some spring onions
  • Boil the kettle
  • Get 25g butter, 500ml milk, 3 tbsp plain flour, breadcrumbs, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Pop the cauli in a pan and add the boiling water. Add salt and bring back to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes until al dente. Drain and leave to one side.

Heat a frying pan and cook the chorizo for a couple of minutes until starting to brown. Remove with a slotted spoon resisting the urge to eat it. Cover it to pretend it isn’t there.

Melt the butter in the pan with the chorizo oil then add the flour and stir to create a roux. Remove from the heat and pour the milk in gradually, whisking constantly to ensure there are no lumps.

Pop back on the (gently) heat and stir in the most of the gruyère. Season.

In individual dishes (if you can), divide up the cauli. Add the chorizo and the cod then add the spring onions.

Spoon over the cheese sauce. Mix the breadcrumbs and parsley together and sprinkle over the top. Add the remaining cheese.

Pop in the oven and cook for 30-35 minutes.

Dish it up…

It’s in an individual dish so no extra effort needed but I have a large bag of frozen green beans so I served it with thise. Let it cool a bit, it’s hot as hell!


* in the spirit of Miranda – florets is a nice words isn’t it?

** yes I said a FULL chorizo


Smoked Mackerel Carbonara

On 18th January 2016, This was Dinner…

I love a simple carbonara and when I spied this Jamie Oliver dish I thought it would make a nice alternative to bacon.

I’d forgotten to pick up a courgette but to be honest, it didn’t miss it.

Get set…

  • Finely slice an onion
  • Chop a few rosemary leaves
  • Tear up the mackerel into bite sized pieces discarding the skin
  • Whisk up a couple of eggs
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Get pasta, single cream, olive oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water according to the instructions.

Heat some oil in a pan and add the onion, cook until starting to soften. Add the rosemary and cook for a few more minutes.

Add the mackerel. Stir well.

Whilst this cooks, mix the eggs with the cream, cheese and some seasoning.

Drain the pasta, keeping a little of the water back if required. Add to the mackerel and pour in the egg mixture. Stir well, the heat of everything will cook the egg through.

You can add some pasta water if required, I didn’t need it.

Dish it up…

Serve with an extra sprinkle of parmesan if you like your food extra cheesy.


Just a quick note: According to Wikipedia a carbonara is a dish consisting of eggs (check!), cheese (check!), black pepper (check!) and bacon (Hmm?) so not strictly a carbonara is it Jamie?

Baked Sea Bass with Fried Brussels Sprouts

On 19th December 2015, This was Dinner

A fabulous version of fish & chips. And with one of my most loved but loathed by many vegetables, the sprout!


  • Slice some potatoes
  • Prepare some brussels sprouts (I did mine whole as they were tiny and halved the larger ones)
  • Zest & juice a lemon
  • Get butter, sea bass, fennel seeds, caster sugar, oil & seasoning ready
  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)


Par boil the sprouts.

Toss the potatoes in oil and seasoning and bake in the oven for around 30-40 minutes depending on how thick you have cut them.

Season the sea bass and drizzle with oil and sit on top of the potatoes when there is about 15 minutes left.

Heat some oil and butter in a pan and add the sprouts. When they start to turn golden, add the fennel seeds, lemon juice and zest and the sugar.

Nice and simple and very, very tasty.


This meal can be found in the December edition of Delicious magazine.

Mr Bennett Omelette

On 5th October 2015, This was Dinner

I had to go to my book and check the name of this recipe. Apparently, there is an Omelette Arnold Bennett, so named because the travelling writer was so delighted with the egg, smoked haddock and parmesan concoction that chefs at the Savoy created for him, he insisted on it being made wherever he travelled. (Source: The Guardian.)

Was Jamie Oliver’s recipe Gordon or Arnold?

Why do we say Gordon Bennett as an exclamation of what? Disbelief. Well apparently as an expletive. The short version? Gor Blimey which is in itself, a version of God Blind me, thus adapted to take into account one Mr Bennett’s ‘famously outrageous lifestyle and newsworthy stunts’. (Source: The Phrase Finder.) This was the 1800’s. I wonder who’s lifestyle and stunts could inspire an expletive that someone is looking up in the year 2215? I think Kanye is a front runner.


  • Finely slice some spring onions
  • Flake some smoked mackerel
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Get chives, eggs, a lemon, butter, oil & seasoning ready


Beat some eggs in a bowl and add a little seasoning and half the parmesan.

Heat a little oil and butter in a frying pan.

Add the spring onions and cook until softened. Add the flaked fish then carefully pour over the eggs. Move everything around so it’s nice and even.

When the egg is cooked around the edges and turning opaque on top, your omelette is done. If you fold it over it will finish cooking on the inside.

Sprinkle with parmesan and snip over some chives.

TWD_0510_OmeletteAfter all that, I’m still no wiser as to why Jamie called his ‘gordon’, that’s why I’ve gone formal with my title but it was delicious so who cares?

Smoked Mackerel & Beetroot Pizza

On 28th September 2015, This was Dinner

I was reminiscing on my last post so I’m going to do so on this one! When I was first introduced to the pizza I thought it was amazing. Bread? Covered in cheese? Yes please! It’s cheese on toast for the future*

When I think about that first pizza I tried I would be disgusted if you gave me one now. I won’t name the brand but fake tasting tomato sauce and some poor excuse for cheese, I’m glad both the pizza and I have moved on.

We have also moved on in terms of the pizza itself. We realise it doesn’t have to contain a tomato base** and the whole of the food spectrum is your oyster. Apparently you can get a chocolate pizza from our local kebab shop!

So don’t read on if a smoked mackerel and beetroot pizza isn’t for you. Next month it’s a sprout and blue cheese one which brought gasps of disgust when I mentioned it at work. Heathens!

I’ve gone back to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Three Good Things for this one.


Prepare a shop-bought pizza dough (or do your own)


  • Flake a couple of smoked mackerel fillets
  • Slice some cooked beetroot (not pickled)
  • Thinly slice some shallots
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºc (fan)
  • Get a lemon, horseradish sauce, natural yoghurt, extra virgin olive oil and seasoning ready


Stick a baking tray in the oven.

Toss the shallots in the oil and season well.

Mix the horseradish with the yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon. Season.

Roll out the dough to your preferred pizza sizes. Make them as thin as possible.

At this point I always transfer mine to the heated tray and build the pizza.

Distribute the mackerel, shallots and beetroot over the pizza(s). Pop in the oven and cook for around 10 minutes.

Pop the sauce over the cooked pizza and enjoy.


* cheese on toast was something I could easily have lived on (probably still could)

** according to Collins the definition is ‘a dish of Italian origin consisting of a baked disc of dough covered with cheese and tomatoes’.