These July mornings have been muggy, dark, drizzly, and cold. It feels a bit like October when we wake up and everyone comes down to breakfast in fleece-y jumpers and woolly socks.
And so I think my body clock has gone hay-wire, and I’m craving warming stews and pies… like this fish pie- surely the most moorish and delicious meal when you are feeling dark and damp.
To make is simplicity in itself- cook 2lbs of fish -a combo of any: hake, cod, monkfish, sea trout, salmon and some smoked haddock- in milk with a bayleaf, salt and pepper, an onion and carrot or two. Bring to the boil, then I let sit in the milk mixture while I peel a good few spuds (potatoes!!) and boil them up. When they are boiled, and ready to be mashed, I drain the water from them and let sit while I pour off the milk from the fish with a colander (KEEP THE MILK!!!) Discard the bayleaf and onion, (I chop up the carrot and add it later- if it escapes the carrot-eating children) and carefully remove as many of the bones as possible, leaving large chunks of fish.
Into a deep pie dish I put the fish and carrot and a cup of peas, then I make up a roux of butter and flour, add most of the fishy-milk to make a white sauce, pour that on the fish, and use the remaining milk to mash the potatoes with butter. Onto the fish, sauce and veg, I top it with fluffy mashed potato and put in a hot oven for approximately half an hour (the potato will be starting to crisp, and some sauce will be bubbling to the top.
Enough for one, and possibly 4-5 other hungry adults (or children, if they are anything like mine: permanently starving)