Fish pie topped with rustic mash

This was a bit of an experiment as I got home after work to find I had no butter in the fridge to make a roux. I was too tired to head back out, so I decided to experiment using olive oil. The result was a light and creamy white sauce that I’ll definitely make again.

The mash is “rustic” because I was lazy and didn’t bother skinning the potatoes – but I did take the time to add parmesan and yoghurt, which made all the difference.

image

For the pie filling

1-2 packs fish pie mix

1 onion, peeled and cut in half

One clove of garlic

500ml milk

2 dessertspoons olive oil

1 heaped dessertspoon plain flour

Salt, pepper

Vegetable of choice (I used leeks this time, but am also fond of peas for this recipe)

For the mash

500g potatoes, cleaned, chopped but unpeeled

2 tbsp natural yoghurt

25g parmesan, grated

Black pepper, nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Place the fish in a saucepan with the garlic and onion and cover with milk. Simmer on a low heat until the fish is cooked through, then remove the fish from the milk and place in your baking dish (keep the milk, it is the base for your sauce. The onion and garlic can be saved for another recipe).

While the sauce is cooking, put your potatoes on to boil.

In a pan (I used the same one, so sue me!) heat the oil gently and stir in the flour to make a smooth paste. Cook for 1-2 mins before whisking in the milk in small amounts to form a lump-free sauce. Once you have added all the milk, add any uncooked veg and continue to simmer until the sauce thickens. Once this is done, you can pour the sauce over the fish and fold together gently.

Drain the potatoes and mash to your preferred consistency with the yoghurt and parmesan, adding black pepper and a dash of nutmeg. Place large spoonfuls of mash on top of the fish/sauce mixture. When the pie is completely covered, fluff the mash a little with a fork and then put in the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. 

image

Advertisements

Baked cod loin with potato rosti and poached egg

This dish started out as a quick Monday night meal before morphing into something slightly more complex, a memory of one of my favourite student dishes. When travelling in Spain in the early ‘00s I frequently ate plates of rice topped with a simple tomato sauce and a fried egg. It was delicious and cheap and kept me well-fuelled throughout my stay in Barcelona and beyond.

12 years later, in London, I started out with a packet of cod loin and the intention of making a baked fish dish. Too tired to hit the shops, I decided to serve it with what I had to hand, which was rice. The mere thought of a tomato-based dish served on rice took me straight back to Barcelona and the presence of a lone potato in the veg basket and an abandoned heel of French bread gave birth to this dish.

You could, of course, double the size of the rosti and eliminate the rice, or vice versa.

image

Continue reading

Stuffed chickpea crepes

Try these! They are delicious!
To make my crepes, I adjusted Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe, using the same quantities of gram flour (140g) and water (250ml), but adjusting the spices. I used ½ tsp of cayenne, 1 tsp coriander, 3-4 crushed garlic cloves and ½ tsp chilli powder. You end up with something  that looks like this:
image

My main tip is not to worry about the consistency of the batter – it’s a lot more watery than milk-and-egg based crepes but it cooks up fine. The quantity here makes about 4-6 large crepes depending on the size of your pan.

Step 1 Make batter
Step 2 Heat 1-2 tsp vegetable oil in a frying pan, evenly coating the base of the pan
Step 3 Pour in enough batter to cover the base of the pan with a thin layer, as you would for a standard crepe
image

Step 4 Fry on a medium heat until the top of the pancake starts to form air bubbles, then flip using a spatula

Stuffed chickpea crepes Toppings! The possibilities are endless. I have covered mine with all sorts of things including:
• A layer of grated cheddar cheese, a handful of spinach and an egg
• A layer of leftover cooked rice mixed with leftover curry, and an egg
• Softened onions, spinach, egg
Once you have piled your toppings on, fold the crepe over into a half-moon shape and cook, turning once, until the egg is cooked to your liking.
image

I find the topping holds together quite well and with a bit of care these can be wrapped up in foil and taken as a packed lunch.

Beware, these crepes are so scrumptious your pets may try to mug ypu for them. This is Gustav, looking hopeful.
image

Batty for biscuits

I experienced an uncanny craving for biscuits on Sunday – and it was incredibly easy to whip some up. In just an hour I managed to make four varieties, so our biscuit tins will be full for a few weeks!

Oat, Honey and Nut Crumbles

image

These have proved a big hit with my partner and I suspect they’ll become a lunchbox staple. I used wholemeal, but you can use plain or a mixture of both. If you like a springier biscuit – more like an American cookie – use self-raising flour or add a teaspoon of baking powder. And for extra chew, use a mixture of Demerara and Muscovado sugars. You can also experiment with additions like dried fuit, coconut, chocolate – whatever you like!

Ingredients

75g flour

75g oats – I used jumbo oats for texture

50g chopped walnuts

75g brown sugar

75g butter

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp milk

Method

Preheat your oven to 160C. Put the flour, oats, nuts and sugar into a mixing bowl. Next, melt the butter, honey and milk in a pan until heated through and fully combined. Stir the mixture into the dry ingredients until fully combined. Using a teaspoon, drop spoonfuls of the mixture onto a lightly greased baking tray and flatten into a biscuit shape (round, square, triangular). Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on the temperament of your oven) or until golden brown and leave to cool for five minutes before removing from the tray (otherwise they will burn your mouth and break to pieces!)

Chocolate, spice and peanut butter

I used BBC Good Food’s Basic Biscuit Dough Recipe as a starting point, with the following amendments:

#1 – I mixed the wet ingredients as described in the BBC recipe, and then divided them in half to make two separate mixes.

#2 For the spice biscuits I added 1 heaped teaspoon of mixed spice and 150g of whole wheat plain flour. I chilled the dough for 15 minutes, then divided it into little balls and pressed them into flat biscuit shapes. In my oven, they took 8 minutes at 160C.
image

#3 For the plain chocolate biscuits, I added 150g plain white flour and 2 tsp cocoa powder.
image

After chilling the dough, I divided it into small balls and pressed them down with my fingers before making indentations with a fork. These took about 8 mins to bake at 160C.
image

#4 For the peanut butter chocolate biscuits I took half the chocolate dough and pressed it into a rectangular shape about 6in long. I then spread it with peanut butter and rolled it into a sausage shape before cutting it into 1in slices.
image

I baked them at 160C for 8-10 mins.
image