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.

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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.

Mushroom Spinach & Potato Pie

On 11th February 2016, This was Dinner

I should have cooked the potatoes last night for this, then it would have been a quickie dinner, but I didn’t, so much for organisation!

So if you did it, cook your potatoes in advance.

Get set…

  • Preheat the oven to 180°c (fan)
  • Halve or quarter some new potatoes (depending on their size)
  • Slice some chestnut, portobello & oyster mushrooms
  • Crush a couple of garlic cloves
  • Prepare some vegetable stock
  • Boil the kettle
  • Get baby spinach, wholegrain mustard, ground nutmeg, crème fraîche, filo pastry, oil & seasoning ready

Throw it together…

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until just cook.

Pop the spinach in a colander and pour the boiling water from the potatoes as you drain them over the spinach to wilt.

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms until golden. Add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Stir some of the mustard through then add a pinch of nutmeg along with the stock and potatoes.

Bring to the boil and reduce it a little then remove from the heat.

Season and add the crème fraîche and spinach.

Tip it into a pie dish.

Whilst it cools a little, brush the pasty with oil then cut the sheets into smaller pieces to scrunch and place on top of the pie.

Cook for about 20 minutes.

Dish it up…

With whatever you fancy really but there was loads so we had it on it’s own.

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Original recipe here.

Italian Shepherd’s Pie

On 8th January 2016, This was Dinner

I do love a shepherd’s pie and this one was no exception. The sweet potato topping made it a little lighter and normally I would overdo some cheese on top but the light scattering of parmesan meant I didn’t overdose on cheese for a change.

Preparing:

  • Finely chop an onion
  • Peel and chop a couple of carrots
  • Quarter some mushrooms
  • Roughly chop some basil
  • Peel and chop some sweet potatoes
  • Grate some parmesan
  • Preaheat the oven to 200°c (fan)
  • Get minced lamb, red wine, tin of chopped tomatoes, butter, mascarpone, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Heat some oil in a pan and fry the onion and carrot until softened.

Add the lamb and cook until the mince is browned. Add the mushrooms and cook for a couple more minutes.

Add the wine and turn the heat up until reduced. Add the tomatoes and basil, season and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water. Drain and mash. Add a little butter and mascarpone and half of the parmesan.

Pour the mince mixture into a casserole dish and top with the sweet potato. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.

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This is a Gino D’Acampo recipe from the Market Kitchen Cookbook.

Shepherd’s Pie

On 27th February 2015, This was Dinner

Carrots? They really do go off quickly. This has always been a source of irritation for me so I read up on how to store them a long time ago. There are lots of suggestions but the one that works for me is to top and tail them then store in the fridge. I topped and I tailed the ones I bought last week but forgot to fridge them. Luckily I noticed this on Wednesday and managed to rescue, blanch and freeze them. Can someone create a long life carrot please?

I think we all know the difference between cottage and shepherds pie but here’s 10 facts about shepherd’s pie from Jamie Oliver including my favourite:

The Chilean version of “pastel de papa”, a dish similar to shepherd’s pie eaten in many parts of the world, also contains hard-boiled eggs, raisins and black olives.

I’m definitely trying that. I’d forgot about Jamie’s Comfort Food version, I’ve been making this one for years.

The carrots are my only contribution to this meal as Mr S cooked it whilst I was at work. All I had to do was take it out of the oven and serve it up.

Preparing:

  • Chop a large onion
  • Peel & chop a couple of carrots
  • Peel and cut some potatoes
  • Prepare some beef stock
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºc (fan)
  • Get minced lamb, tomato purée, Worcestershire sauce, dried thyme, dried rosemary, milk, butter, plain flour, oil & seasoning ready

Making:

Cook the potatoes in a large pan of salted water. Drain, leave to steam for a few minutes then mash adding milk, butter and seasoning.

Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onion until soft and starting to brown. Add the lamb and brown. Stir in the flour, Worcestershire sauce and tomato purée and stir well.

Add the carrots, herbs and stock then bring to the boil. Season well. Cover and cook for about half an hour. Add water if it starts to dry out.

Transfer the meat to an oven proof dish and spread the mash over evenly then cook for another half hour.

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Ir’s National Pie Week next week, we’re a little early.

Salmon & Caper Filo Pie

On 16th February 2015, This was Dinner

So it was back to work ‘tomorrow’ 😦 Mr S is going to have his hands full, most definitely.

Walter and I had a nice day, him sitting by my feet whilst I caught up on all this blogging. I only had to shoo him away from the laptop wire twice.

This was a nice and simple dish, probably a bit more suited to summer but if I close my eyes I can pretend that the light nights are here and it’s not freezing at 3.30am in the morning when you take your puppy to the toilet!

Preparing:

  • Preheat the oven to 170ºc (fan)
  • Skin & dice a piece of salmon
  • Finely chop a shallot
  • Drain, rinse & roughly chop some capers
  • Finely chop a red chilli
  • Beat an egg
  • Chop some mint leaves
  • Get eight pieces of filo pastry ready
  • Juice an orange
  • Get pine nuts, honey, sesame seeds, filo pastry, fromage frais, breadcrumbs, olive oil & seasoning ready
  • Brush a piece of baking parchment with oil and place on a baking tray

Making:

Mix the salmon, shallots, chilli, fromage frais, egg, capers, pine nuts and seasoning together.

Brush four pieces of the filo pastry with the oil and place on top of the parchment.

Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Spread the salmon mixture over.

Brush four more pieces of filo with oil and place on top of the salmon.

Sprinkle with sesame seeds and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

Mix honey, olive oil, the orange juice and the mint.

Pour the dressing on top of the pie when serving.

TWD_1602_Salmon_FiloAs you can see, I served this with some frozen mixed veg.

The original recipe can be found in BBC Good Food’s Comfort Food book.

Squash & Chorizo Pie

On 7th February 2015, This was Dinner

Well today was wonderful.

On Thursday night, as I was making dinner, I mentioned that I really fancied a couple of cocktails. When I looked at my phone a little later, lo and behold, there was a message from my sister asking if I fancied a couple of cocktails in Relish on Saturday!

I had my regular 8 week colour and cut due at 9.15am, my hairdressers is about 4 doors away from Relish. How could I say no?

So after a few nice cocktails with Emma and her friend Sam, I went home armed with a bottle of vodka to see that Mr S had made sure the garden was puppy proof for Tuesday. (Yes I did feel a little guilty!)

We got straight to the pie as having cocktails on an empty stomach could be disastrous!

Preparing:

  • Preheat the oven to 180ºc (fan)
  • Chop a couple of red onions
  • Slice a chorizo
  • Cut a butternut squash into chunks
  • Beat an egg
  • Get puff pastry, spinach, chickpeas, olive soil, crème fraîche & seasoning ready

Making:

Heat a large pan and cook the chorizo. Remove and set aside, add a little oil if required then cook the onion until softened.

Add the squash to the pan with a little water and stir well. Cover and leave for about 15 minutes until just cooked. Add the chorizo, a can of chickpeas (including the liquid) and the spinach. Season and stir well. Cover again for a few minutes.

Add the crème fraîche and let it bubble for a few minutes. You might need to add some water.

Transfer to a pie dish and roll out the pastry. Brush the dish with a little of the egg then pop the pastry on top and trim, pressing down around the edges.

Brush the pastry with egg then cut a hole in the top of the pie.

Pop on a baking tray and cook in the oven for about 25 minutes.

TWD_0702_Pie2 TWD_0702_pie1After pie we partook in a couple of vodkas and watched the Nelson Mandela movie, when it finished I picked up my phone and there was a message…could the puppy come tomorrow!!! Could he? We couldn’t wait! And so a new era starts…

This recipe was in the January edition of BBC Good Food and can be found here.

Lattice Topped Fish Pie

On 13th December 2014, This was dinner

I do have a go-to fish pie but it is quite time consuming and very rich. This Tom Kerridge ‘Proper Pub Food’ dish uses a puff pastry lattice instead of the huge pile of mashed potato and cheese that I would usually use.

Preparing (or mise en place as TK would call it):

  • Butter a pie dish
  • Finely slice a couple of leeks
  • Get some chicken stock ready
  • Zest a lemon
  • Chop some tarragon
  • Chop some parsley
  • Chop a piece of salmon into pieces
  • Chop a piece of smoked haddock into pieces
  • Beat an egg
  • Get raw prawns, all butter puff pastry, butter, milk, nutmeg, plain flour & seasoning
  • Preheat the oven to 190ºc (fan)

Making:

Melt butter in a pan and add the leeks with a good pinch of salt. Fry until softened but try not to colour them.

Tip into the pie dish and arrange evenly.

Mix the stock with water and bring to the boil. Melt more butter in another pan and add the plain flour, stir for a couple of minutes to cook out.

Slowly add the stock stirring constantly to make a sauce. Add the lemon zest and a grating of nutmeg along with some seasoning then leave to cool. Once cooled stir in the tarragon and parsley.

Scatter the salmon and haddock over the leeks and add the prawns. Pour the cooled sauce over.

Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut it into 1cm wide strips. Arrange the strips in one direction on top of the pie and then interweave more in the other direction. Brush with egg then pop in the fridge for half hour.

Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes until the fish is cooked though.

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Serve with peas and sprouts and a nice chilled glass of white wine.

There’s a reason Tom Kerridge is at the top at the moment – Perfect Saturday evening food, my friend for the night loved it too. We have been ‘baby’sitting Tilly the lab and she enjoyed it that much that she brought her dish to me for second helpings!