Tuesday, 12 January 2016


I remember when hubby(then boyfriend) took me to a restaurant in London for the first time about 10 years ago. Looking at the menu I thought in disgust 'Fish pie?!?!?!' It sounded so strange and bizarre and the idea of fish pieces in sauce under mash just did not seem appealing at all.
Years later I tried a cottage pie and I loved it. But then again I love meat. Hubby tried to persuade me to give the fish pie a go but I was always reluctant. Then 4 years ago I invited my father in law to dinner, thinking my mother in law was out of town for a few days and he would be lonely. I had planned cottage pie but I got a call from him telling him his wife was in town after all and she was coming to dinner too. You see the annoying bit was that mother in law is a vegetarian so cottage pie was out. In the playgroup I was taking my kids to at the time I asked around what I could cook and most mums recommended FISH PIE. So there I was making notes of how to make a fish pie. Up until then I was not big on leeks either but as I found out fish tastes so much nicer if you use them instead of onions. Over the years I stuck my recipe and it has been a hit every time.
A few nights ago I was going through the TV channels trying to find something decent to watch and Mary Berry was smiling at me, showing a quick chicken and pasta bake recipe. The reason I kept watching is because I got fascinated by how quickly her white sauce was ready. It has always taken me quite a while to make sure there are no lumps in it. I take the rue off the heat and stir, adding little bits of milk at the time until it is all incorporated. She however, poured all the milk in the pan and within less than a minute the sauce was smooth and thickening up! The secret?! The milk was HOT.
To tell you the truth I was very sceptical about it but decided to give it a go nonetheless. It worked. My sauce was ready in next to no time. What I love about the fish pie I make is that it is really rich and filling. I tend to make enough to feed my kids twice. They like fish pie but are not very keen on grilled salmon. It freezes very well too, defrost in the fridge overnight or at room temperature over 4-6 hours and heat thoroughly before serving.

Recipe: (to feed 4-6 people)
350gr fish pie mix
800gr potatoes
35gr butter
35gr plain flour
400ml milk, hot
50ml milk , cold
a handful of grated cheese
2 bay leaves
1 large leek (or 2 smaller ones)
4 eggs (optional)
salt and pepper


Chop the leek finely and fry for a few minutes in some oil. Add the fish pie mix and the cold milk to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes at medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add the bay leaves - they give a wonderful aroma to the poached fish.
From the potatoes make mash. I do not add butter or milk to it as there is plenty of liquid in the sauce. Plus I want a nice, thick cover for the pie. I find adding milk to the mash makes it very soft and difficult to handle. To make the white sauce melt the butter and add the flour to it. Stir until well combined and a rue has formed. Add the hot milk and whisk lightly - under a minute you will have a smooth white sauce. Cook until it has thickened, stirring all the time to prevent it catching at the bottom of the pan. Mix the fish with the sauce and transfer into an oven proof dish. If you would like to make this pie extra special I suggest you hard boil 4 eggs and cut in half. Put the half in the pie, cover with the mash, sprinkle with the grated cheese and bake in a preheated oven to 180C for about 25-30 minutes until the cheese is golden brown. Serve hot.
Do you like fish pie? Or would you rather have cottage or shepherds one?
Desi in the Kitchen 

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