I have quite a few recipes for Fish Pie in my library of cookbooks, I’m sure. The thing is, most of them call for such a ridiculously expensive array of ingredients that I’m immediately turned off. Either that or my waistband begins to strain at the mere prospect of all that butter and cream!
Yes, I know that an unctuous, creamy fish pie can be an absolute delight, such a comfort food. But, let’s face it, if you’ve got to get the kids bathed and to bed after dinner, you don’t want to feel like you need to take a little nap beforehand.
So my plan was to make a pie that came in within my weekend budget of £1 per head, and was low in fat. First stop, Aldi. I bought a packet of frozen Basa portions, and some frozen smoked haddock. Together they came to around £4.60. However, I saved about a third of each packet for another day.
Here’s how I made my Non-Drowsy Fish Pie:
I brought approx 1 pt semi-skimmed milk to simmering point in a saucepan, along with a chopped onion, a pinch of mace (you could use nutmeg), some ground black or white pepper and a bay leaf.
When the milk had reached simmering point I placed the haddock in for a couple of minutes, just long enough to make it easier to remove the skin. You don’t want the milk to boil, so keep the heat low. I then poached the Basa for a couple of minutes, before roughly chopping all the fish.
Meanwhile, I boiled some new potatoes, and hard-boiled some eggs. I also steamed some carrots, fine green beans and peas (sorry I can’t be more specific on quantities…you’ll know how much of each you want/need)
Once the fish, large piece of onion and bay leaf were removed from the milk, I added a pinch of vegetable bouillon, and brought it up to a light boil, then added a teaspoon of Dijon mustard and about a heaped tablespoon of slaked cornflour, to thicken it. This is a great low fat way of making white sauce, without the need for butter.
I then peeled and sliced the eggs, and mixed all the ingredients (except the potatoes) together in an ovenproof dish, adding about a tablespoon of chopped capers and gherkins.
I crushed the potatoes, drizzled with a dash of olive oil, seasoned, and spread over the fish mixture. Then I cooked it in a moderate oven until golden and bubbling.
My apologies for the vague instructions given in this post. I still forget to write everything down while I’m cooking, in case I want to blog about it. Lesson learned, and I promise the next entry will be far more precise. Thanks for bearing with me.