Tag: comfort food

Super Simple British Fish Pie

NOTE: This is an older recipe, of which I cannot retrace when I originally posted it before the hack of my old domain name.

When I was a little kid I spent years an inordinate number of years ordering off the ‘kids menu’, usually compiled of fries and some type of ‘chicken’ or other heavily processed meat. Until one night, in France when I had just hit puberty, I saw a very dainty French lady daintily deconstruction a whole trout.

Give me the whole damned fish

I ordered the same and copied her every move and then spent years ordering whatever fish was on the menu. Needless to say I got very excited when I discovered the UK not only had fish cakes, but also fish pie! Fish in a creamy sauce, topped with mashed potatoes? I’m in!

Of course I’ve matured a little since then and now order whatever tickles my pickle. In the mean time fish pie has become one of my favorite winter warmers. It’s carby, creamy and fishy and you can slap it together in endless variations.

It’s important to keep in mind virtually all the ingredients for the filling in my recipe are optional. Just make sure to switch them out for equal quantities if you do.

A word on prawns

I used to make this dish with prawns, but there are a lot of problems with how prawns are farmed. Prawn farming produces huge quantities of greenhouse gases and support abusive labor practices. So check where your prawns are from and how they are produced or omit them al together.

An oven dish of fish pie with a glass of white wine and two plates of fish pie

Super easy classic British fish pie for two

Dorothy Porker
A slap dash and filling kind of fish pie for cold weeknights and long weekends for two.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Main course
Cuisine British
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Pot
  • Oven proof dish
  • Oven
  • Small saucepan
  • Potato masher

Ingredients
  

  • 6 large potatoes peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 T - 15 gr butter
  • 1 T - 15 gr plain flour
  • 1/2 c - 120 ml white wine
  • 1 c - 250 ml milk or cream
  • 1 c - 125 gr cheese grated, I like a mixture of Parmesan and Dutch demi-mature cheese
  • 1 filet fish of choice, cut into bite sized chunks, I prefer salmon
  • 1 c - 150 gr mussels optional, frozen or fresh
  • 1/2 c - 75 gr baby carrots roughly chopped
  • 1/2 c - 75 gr peas or other firm bite size green, fresh or frozen
  • 1 small bunch parsley finely chopped
  • 1 T - 15 gr unsalted butter
  • splash milk
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your oven to 200° C/ 400° F.
  • Cook 6 peeled and cut potatoes for 15 minutes in a large pot in ample salted water until tender.

Make the sauce

  • In the mean time, to make the sauce: melt 1 T - 15 gr of butter in a small saucepan. Once the butter has melted, add 1 T - 15 gr of plain flour and stir vigorously until the butter and flour have come together and start letting go of the bottom of the pan. This should take 2-4 minutes or so.
  • Keep stirring as you add in 1/2 c - 120 ml wine and 1 c - 250 ml of milk. Now keep stirring on a medium heat until the sauce starts to thicken, before adding 1 c - 125 gr of grated cheese and stir until fully melted.
  • Finish the sauce by seasoning it with pepper and salt, tasting until the sauce is seasoned to your liking, and set aside as you assemble your fish pie.

Assemble the pie

  • Take an oven proof dish and scatter around the 1 filet of fish in chunks, 1 c - 150 gr of mussels, 1/2 c - 75 gr of baby carrots, 1/2 c - 75 gr of greens and finely chopped bunch of parsley, or whatever you're using. You want to distribute everything evenly so no matter where you stick your spoon you will get a good mix of things in the end.
  • Poor the sauce over the fish and veg.
  • Mash the cooked potatoes to your favored consistency with another 1 T - 15 gr of butter, a splash of milk and plenty of pepper and salt. Taste until the mash is to your liking and then spread the mash out across the fish. You can be slap dash or pretty with it, whatever works for you.
  • Finish your fish pie by baking it in your preheated oven for 30 minutes, until the top is nice and golden brown and the sauce is oozing out and aggressively bubbling up the side.

Notes

I like my fish pie with salmon and mussels, carrots and a rando green but you can of course have this with whichever fish/ veg combo you have available to you. I do recommend firmer fish so it doesn't fall apart completely and offsets the mush that is the mash and sauce combination.
Of course you're also free to add more or less cheese and omit the wine. Any alcohol from the wine will evaporate and it does add a lot of flavor to the dish so if you can avoid skipping the wine, don't skip the wine.

How long does the fish pie keep?

If you eat half of this dish one day, cover the oven dish and store it in the fridge and then reheat it in the oven at 175° C/ 350° F for 10-15 minutes or so the next, that's fine. It won't keep for much longer and is not suitable for freezing.

A note on prawns

There are a lot of problems with how prawns are farmed. Prawn farming produces huge quantities of greenhouse gases and support abusive labor practices. So check where your prawn are from and how they are produced or omit them al together.
Keyword british, easy fish, fish, fish pie, fish recipe

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor simpele klassieke Britse fish pie.

Nigel Slater’s Bacon Lentil Soup

NOTE: This is an older recipe, of which I cannot retrace when I originally posted it before the hack of my old domain name.

Years ago, I was living in London and had just broken up with ‘a bit of a dick’ (his words). I was really missing his food until I realized I could just buy the cookbook he always used: Nigel Slater’s Appetite.

Nigel Slater’s Appetite taught me how to cook

It’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made and I’ve gifted it to many a friend who wanted to learn how to cook. What’s great about Nigel is he doesn’t give you time frames for cooking, but explains the process in terms of looks, smells and textures. Which is really what you should be going on when you’re hovering over a stove.

The cover of Nigel Slater's cookbook Appetite

What’s more, every recipe in this book includes re-imaginings of the basic recipe. This gives you a foundation to build on and teaches you how flavors and textures work together.

Beluga lentils, unfuckupable

I had this soup at least once a week while I was living in London. When I moved back to Holland I fucked it up once and turned it into more of a split pea soup, which I hate, and then I sort of forgot about it for a while.

Until last week, it was cold and a friend came round for dinner. I just wanted something easy, warm and comforting, with a little kick to it. It was the perfect fit. It helps that I’ve since discovered the mighty Beluga lentil, which is unfuckupable and easy on the eyes.

A bowl of black lentil soup with bacon and spinach, surrounded by lemon wedges, raw black lentils, spinach and a blue checkered tea towel

Nigel Slater's Bacon Lentil Soup

Dorothy Porker
Nigel Slater calls this a warming meal in a bowl type of soup and it really is. It's filling, hearty and earthy. A squeeze of lemon makes everything spring to life at the end.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main course
Cuisine British
Servings 2

Equipment

  • Heavy based pot with a lid
  • Two meal-sized soup bowls

Ingredients
  

  • 4 medium shallots finely chopped
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c / 100 gr bacon diced
  • small bunch parsley roughly chopped
  • 1 1/4 c / 250 gr lentils I prefer Beluga or black lentils, see notes
  • 4 1/2 c / 1 l stock vegetable or chicken, water also works
  • 2-3 handfuls fresh spinach for serving
  • pinch salt
  • pinch pepper
  • 1 lemon cut into wedges, for serving
  • small bunch fresh mint torn, leaves only

Instructions
 

  • To begin, gently cook 4 finely chopped shallots, 4 thinly sliced cloves of garlic and 100 gr of bacon in some olive oil in a heavy based pot. Stir every once in a while until the bacon has turned golden and everything has gone fragrant and glossy before adding a small bunch of roughly cut parsley.
  • Wash 1 1/4 c - 250 gr of lentils carefully, picking out any tiny stones. Add them to the pot and stir them into your bacon and onion mixture.
  • Now add 4 1/2 c - 1 l of stock or water, until everything is well and covered and bring to a boil. Skim off any froth that bubbles to the surface and turn down the heat to a gentle roll.
  • Cover with a barely closed lid and cook until the lentils are tender. This should take 30 minutes or so.
  • When the soup is nearly done, divide 2-3 hands of fresh spinach among 2 bowls.
  • Season the soup with salt and pepper, a pinch at a time, until it tastes right to you, before ladling it onto the spinach and into the bowls.
  • Serve with wedges of lemon and the torn fresh mint, garnishing the soup as you eat it so you get a nice fresh pop of lemon and mint in with every bite.

Notes

I like to make this with Beluga or black lentils as they hold up even if you overcook them, where other lentils turn to mush. Use other lentils and watch your soup like a hawk to avoid overcooking, or be the kind of person who enjoys mush.
This soup does not freeze well but does keep for up to 3 days in a closed container in the fridge. Simply reheat in a saucepan on the stove on low heat. If it's become a little to dry for your liking just add water.
Keyword bacon, lentils, Nigel Slater, soup, spinach

Zoek je dit recept in het Nederlands? Ga dan naar vettesletten.nl voor Nigel Slater’s linzen, bacon en spinazie soep.