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.

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 Haddock Pasta Bake

I’m feeling guilty & spoiled at the moment. Although Mr S was back at work today he had made dinner again when I got in. My contribution to the meal? Grating & scattering the gruyère and serving up again.

Luckily the name of the blog is ‘This was Dinner’ and not ‘What I cooked’.

This is what Mr S did:

Stir fry chopped red pepper & courgette & a bashed garlic clove whilst you cook some pasta.

Cube a piece of smoked haddock & add it to the pan. Drain the pasta & add that too.

Add half a tin of chopped tomatoes, crème fraîche & seasoning. Give it all a good stir & transfer to a baking dish.

Sprinkle a layer of cheddar then a layer of gruyère. Cook in a 190ºc(fan) oven for about 15 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the cheese is bubbling & golden.



I really enjoy a pasta bake for a change & it’s safe to say I could put a crispy, cheesy topping on anything.

Thanks again Mr S.

This was dinner… 13th November 2013.

Baked Pancakes with Spinach Mushrooms & Gruyere

There is something about this that just seems to epitomise French cuisine for me. Not just that it’s a Raymond Blanc dish, or that it has pancakes/crêpes. Maybe it’s because I’m remembering the delicious crêpe I had over-looking the sea in Trouville-Sur-Mer this year.

I must confess that the only thing I did for this dish was to grate the Gruyère, ladle in the pancake mix and serve it up. The rest of it was down to Mr S.

Raymond’s recipe is here.

Heat some butter in a pan until brown (aka Beurre noisette). In a processor mix 2 eggs, 200ml milk, 100g flour, 4 pinches of salt & a pinch of black pepper. Give it a whizz up then pour in the butter (aside from additional flavour this apparently stops your pancakes from sticking). Add chopped chives & parsley.

Melt some more butter in a pan & wilt some spinach, season with salt & white pepper. Squeeze out the water and set aside.

Melt some MORE butter – I never said this was low fat – & cook thinly sliced button mushrooms on a high heat. Season with salt & white pepper. Then mix with the spinach & some grated Gruyère.

Pop your oven on to 190ºc(fan).

Make the pancakes. Put a ladleful of batter into a pan on medium heat which contains a tsp of hot oil. Swirl out the batter so that it’s nice & thin. Each pancake takes about 30-40 seconds in total. Repeat until all of your pancakes are made.

Pop some of the filling at the end of each pancake and roll up, placing each one side by side in a baking dish.

Bring 400ml of cream containing salt, white pepper & grated nutmeg to a steady boil then pour over the pancakes. Raymond uses whipping but I only had double cream. Sprinkle over more Gruyère and bake for 20 minutes.

TWD_Nov_Pancake_2 TWD_Nov_Pancake_1

It didn’t look like lots but I was stuffed after this.

Mr S has given me a couple of Photoshop lessons so expect some photography disasters experimentation at some point.

This was dinner… 11th November 2013.