I am feeling very lazy and slow at the moment. Partly due to genuine physical discomfort at being 40 weeks plus 10 days. Partly due to sheer bloodymindedness. If you can’t be lazy at this point in pregnancy then when can you be? The bathroom remains uncleaned and the ironing is being done by Mr B. Normal service shall resume once Baby Bell II is out and my back has recovered.
So, here’s the lazy girls version of fish pie. It involves freezer staples (well at least in our house) and cooking the veg into the pie – so no need for any accompaniment. Just a big plate of pie straight from the dish. Yum.
- frozen fish (I used 600g frozen cod portions)
- frozen chopped spinach (I used 10 pellets)
- 200g applewood cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp of plain flour
- 40g butter
- about half a pint of milk (I used full fat.)
- freshly ground pepper
- a pinch of mace
- about 7 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes
- about half a swede, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
Disclaimer: this fish pie gets the smokey title from the applewood cheese, not from any inclusion of smoked fish. I rather like it but there could be an issue with trade descriptions for some.
It goes without saying really that you need a dish for a fish pie. The amounts above suited my dish but use yours as a better guide – nothing worse than a half filled pie dish after all.
Preheat the oven to Gas 5 and pop a large pan of boiling water on to boil, lid on, lightly salted. Pop all the frozen spinach into the microwave in a covered dish and cook on high for 4 mins until just cooked. Then drain and set aside.
As soon as the water is boiled pop the swede and potato into it, replace the lid and boil until tender. Once cooked drain well until the potato and swede combo looks ‘dry’. Next, take all the frozen fish and put into a bowl, cover and microwave on defrost for about 10 mins until just starting to cook. Remove from microwave, drain and discard the fish water. (Mmmm…)
In the meantime make the white sauce – melt the butter in a saucepan and whisk in the flour. Then turn up the heat and add the milk a little at a time, whisking like crazy. You’re looking for a thick, glossy white sauce. I did add 4 ice cubes of frozen double cream to my sauce but that’s mostly because I got over excited when I found them in the freezer. Turn down the heat, add the mace, some black pepper, half the cheese and then the drained spinach and continue whisking. Take off the heat and add the fish, gently stirring with a wooden spoon until some of the fish starts to break up. Pop into your dish and smooth over evenly.
Whilst the fishy, spinachy mixture is cooling and settling a little, make the mash. I simply mash the potato and swede until smooth, add black pepper and then the other half of the cheese. I know some people add cream, some add milk, some butter – whatever. Just don;t make it too liquid or it will disappear into the fish mixture in the oven. Once the mash is mashed, spread over the pie and then make your signature fish pie pattern. I like to use a fork to make scratchy waves. My Mum uses the fork’s handle to make rounder waves.
Put in the oven for 20 mins, then turn down to Gas 3 for 10 mins. Serve with no other accompaniment than a fat belly.