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.

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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. 

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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.

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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:
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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
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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.
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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.
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Fishcake bento

I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather over the past couple of days, so I thought a protein-packed bento would help get me back on my feet. Sushi rice, asparagus,  spicy scrambled egg, sea bass fish cake, cucumber salad and two types of stir fried veg should do the trick 🙂 image

  • I made four fishcakes using 200g mashed potato, one sea bass fillet poached in milk and some salt and pepper. Normally I’d add a few chilli flakes, but my Goth finds spicy food challenging. Just flake the fish, stir it into the mash and  form into four small patties. I patted them with breadcrumbs and grilled until golden.
  • For the cabbage stir fry, I shredded some Chinese greens and fried them in sesame oil until soft at which point I added a splash of soy sauce and generous pinch of chilli flakes.
  • For the yellow pepper and red onion stir fry, I just soften the veggies in a small amount of oil.
  • The cucumber salad is cucumber marinated in rice vinegar with a sprinkling of ume-shisho powder
  • For the scrambled egg, I scrambled and egg with a sprinkling of the nearest spice mix in the kitchen, which I believe was harissa-based.

 

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Venison and duck egg ‘scotch’ eggs fiesta Friday

I’ve always wanted to try venison scotch eggs and these look fantastic!

Cooking with Mr Fitz

Whilst feeling in the ‘richer’ end of eating. I decided to use up the duck eggs by making venison scotch eggs..

Venison?

Yeah had some left over Mr Fitz venison sausage mix in the freezer ..

Perfect for this wonderful snack..

Any meat works well really . The scotch egg is one if those fantastic inventions. This one for sure would go down very well on a hunting trip in the hills and hollows.. As well as just for regular snacking!

To be fair though they are pretty rich in not only taste yet cashola .. So mind your wallet as well as waistline !

Making them is easier than you think.. Didn’t quite get the duck eggs right as was out of ice to stop them cooking ..

Had to just run the cold water tap over them, not ideal really, ho-hum..

So once eggs are boiled and cooled…

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Julep lamb chops

I love gin cocktails and the mint julep is one of my favourites because of it’s fresh, summery taste. I was inspired to create this recipe while drinking a gin and tonic while I prepared some lamb for the barbecue. It adds an extra twist to the traditional minted lamb recipes and the brown sugar adds a divine crunch.

  • 8 lamb chops
  • 50ml gin
  • large handful mint
  • 3 spring onions
  • 1 medium onion (white, red or brown according to your preference – shallots might also be nice)
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Juice and zest of two limes
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • Pepper
  • Salt

With a food processor or hand blender, combine all the marinade ingredients into a paste, then slather over the lamb. I left mine to marinate in the fridge for three hours, but you can prepare this the night before or sooner if you have less time or want a less intense flavour. When you’re ready, heat your grill, barbecue or grill pan to a high heat if you want rare lamb with a crispy skin, or medium heat for medium or well done. Tastes great with potato salad!