And you should absolutely take that warning seriously because the biggest mistake I made with this pie was to make it on a Wednesday morning just in time for lunch. After our first wet dog walk of Autumn, followed by a very gloomy morning catching up with chores and work, it seemed a pretty good idea to polish that all off with a piping hot fish pie. Oh and it was. It was warm, it was creamy, it was buttery… but it was so comforting that I could have very happily curled up on the sofa under a blanket and slept for the rest of the day after shoving in that final mouthful. It’s not that it was really that filling, it was just an incredibly cosy pie – something that would be absolutely perfect on a gloomy, snoozy Saturday or Sunday afternoon, not on a Wednesday afternoon when you’ve got back to back Zoom calls for the rest of the day.
Packed with everything you’d expect in a traditional fish pie (except the mash topping), this one gets a subtle glow up with the addition of a little fish sauce and lager, giving it a richer and slightly saltier flavour (but strangely, without making it taste too fishy). The sliced leeks and shallots balance by bringing a little sweetness to the creamy sauce, while the golden puff pastry lid adds the flaky, crunchy texture you’ll miss with the traditional mash topping. Do yourself a favour and serve it up with some tender stem broccoli – you’re not going to want to miss out on dunking them into the sauce!
Cosy Fish and Lager Pie
1 tbsp olive oil
1 banana shallot, sliced
handful of spinach leaves, sliced and stalked
half a leek, sliced
handful of parsley, sliced and stalked
1 tbsp fish sauce
100ml cold water
150ml pale lager
25g plain flour
150ml double cream
250gfish pie mix (pick one with plenty of smoked haddock)
enough puff pastry to cover your chosen pie dish(es)
splash of milk
Set your oven to 180°C (fan)
Add your oil and chopped shallot to a deep frying pan and fry on a medium heat until translucent. Add the chopped leek and spinach and fry together for about 5 minutes.
Next, pour in a tablespoon of good quality fish sauce, 100ml of cold water and 150ml of pale lager. Bring to the boil, then turn the heat down to low and pop on the lid– leaving it to simmer while you make the roux.
To make the roux, melt the butter in a saucepan on a medium heat then whisk in the flour until combined. Add the cream, stirring until any lumps are gone. Pour the sauce base into the frying pan and then stir to combine with the other ingredients. Pour in the parsley and fish, then leave to bubble without the lid for about seven minuteswhile you get on with preparing the puff pastry lid.
Pour the fish pie mix into your chosen pie dish (I used two large ramekins), then seal with your puff pastry lid. Brush with a little milk, then cook in the oven for 25 minutes.
Serve hot with with tender stem broccoli (great for dunking!) or peas. (…Then prepare to fall asleep on the sofa for the rest of the day because – fair warning – this is the cosiest of all the cosy pies!)
Happy September! I don’t know about you but I’m loving that slight chill in the air; it’s getting me all excited for cosy jumpers, darker evenings spent in front of the telly and cheeky takeaways. Speaking of which, I’m deadly serious when I say that one of the worst things about moving back to Cardiff is that the local takeaway doesn’t serve up one of my favourite ever dishes. Back in London, along with chicken balls and sweet and sour sauce, a spicy serving of Singapore Noodles was an absolute must-order whenever I rung up our local Chinese Takeaway. I mean yes, they’re the colour of nuclear waste and yes they’re so spicy that they’ve been known to leave my mouth numb, but I love them and was absolutely gutted when I found out that my new local doesn’t serve them.
Deciding that I absolutely couldn’t face another winter without them, I thought I’d try and make them myself, and you know what? They’re not that difficult, and other than a couple of essential “back of the kitchen cupboard” ingredients, they can can be whipped up using a lot leftovers from your fridge. Leftover roast chicken? Chuck it in. Lonely carrot? Whack it in there. Leftover bacon? …Er, nope, right, there’s no such thing. Buy some more bacon. But hey, in less than twenty minutes they’re steaming away on the plate, which would give any local takeaway a run for its money. 😉
Easy Singapore Noodles (serves two)
One pack of vermicelli rice noodles
100g shredded roast chicken
100g bacon lardons
3 tsp madras curry powder
2 tbsp rice wine
3 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 garlic crushed garlic cloves
2 red chilli peppers, thinly sliced
3 spring onions, chopped
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
1 carrot, finely shredded
Splash of vegetable oil
Soak the rice noodles in a bowl of boiling water for a minute, then drain and separate.
Add the soy sauce, rice wine and 2 tsp of the curry powder to the softened noodles and mix until they’re all coated and then set aside.
Heat up your wok (or deep frying pan) with the vegetable oil, then add the garlic, ginger paste and the rest of the curry powder. Fry until the kitchen starts to smell like your takeaway, then pour in the chopped chilli, pepper and carrot and fry for a couple of minutes.
Now nudge them to the side of the wok and pour in the egg, letting it sit for a minute or two until you stick your spatula or spoon in and scramble it into the veg.
Now add the chicken and bacon – frying until cooked through – then pour in the noodles and spring onions. Getting everything nicely mixed together is trickier than it sounds!
Serve steaming hot with chopsticks. 🙂
Hope you’re enjoying the first week of September whatever you’re up to! It’s good to be back 🙂
R-Amen that we live in a world where bowls of warm noodle soup exist, amiright? There’s something about Ramen that always puts a smile on my face (and my husband’s; which is no mean trick because he’s one of those “Soup isn’t food it’s just sustenance!” kind of people). It’s far easier to make than you’d think, provided you can get hold of all the Japanese cooking essentials like Mirin and Miso. I used to make it a lot when I lived in London because there was a Japanese Centre in Piccadilly where all the ingredients could be easily found. Nowadays, the local supermarket has pretty much everything you need to make an easy peasy bowl of ramen. 🙂
Pork Belly “Tonkotsu” Ramen – Serves 2
Pork Belly Strips
1 tbsp of Mirin
1 sachet of Green Miso Paste (I used the packet kind you can find in the supermarket)
500ml boiling water
Chopped Spring Onions
Noodles of choice
Carrots (cut into thin strips)
First, cook the Pork Belly: I roasted mine in the oven for an hour at 190°, turning once to make sure both sides are nice and crispy.
Next, cut down the pork belly into thin slices and add to a deep saucepan (at this point you can fry them in a little oil to crisp them up a bit more if you like). Add the mirin and the miso paste and then pour on the hot water.
Add the chopped spring onions and carrots and then leave to simmer for about an hour.
Meanwhile, boil your egg for five minutes and then drop into a bowl of cold water to prevent the yolk from cooking any further.
Add the noodles to your stock (how long they take to cook will depend on which noodles you use – but usually they’ll only take a couple of minutes).
Split the noodles between two bowls and then pour on the stock with the meat and veg. Garnish with seaweed, pea shoots and half a soft boiled egg.
Other than a Chicken Jalfrezi, there are two dishes I’m likely to have a strop over if they’re not on the table when I go out for an Indian; Aloo Gobi, and Aloo Parantha. Both potato dishes (Aloo Aloo!), Aloo Gobi is a vegetarian dish made from potato, cauliflower and Indian spices (my mother in-law makes great Aloo Gobi) and Aloo Parantha is basically a veggie flat bread stuffed with potato and fried in butter (yum). They are my absolute faves – they’re such great comfort food, perfect for this time of year. So why not combine the two and have the best of both worlds, eh? 😉
Aloo Gobi Parantha
250g of Potatoes, chopped (I used one Maris Piper and one Sweet Potato)
1 Echalion Shallot, finely chopped
250g roughly chopped Cauliflower
100g roughly chopped Green Chillis (the smaller, the spicier!)
225g Atta Flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp Oil
100g Melted Butter
125 ml Warm Water
50g roughly chopped fresh Coriander
1tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala
First, make the dough: If you’ve got a bread maker then you’re good to go – pour in the water and oil first, followed by the flour and salt. Run the “dough” program and then leave it to do the hard work! 😉
Next make up the Aloo Gobi filling: boil the potatoes and cauliflower until soft, then pour out the water and mash. Add the onion, green chillis, coriander and spices and stir together.
Once the dough is ready, divide it into six equal balls. Now the tricky bit; filling the parantha and then rolling it out without it spilling out the side, AND trying to keep it in a perfectly flat circle. I’m RUBBISH at this part; I’m sure there’s a knack to rolling them out perfectly, but I’m still nowhere near figuring it out! You’ve basically got to roll them out a little, plonk a spoonful of filling in the middle and then parcel it up and roll out the dough again until it’s flat and round. Sounds easy, right?
Heat up your frying pan with a little melted butter and cook the parantha on both sides, brushing with butter as you go.
Serve hot with fresh yoghurt (I flavoured mine with a little turmeric) and tamarind sauce.
Remember when the weather wasn’t grey and miserable and it felt like summer was literally on the doorstep banging the door down? Yeah, good times. Well, back then we managed to have a barbecue (the first and hopefully not the last of the year…). We had sausages, grilled chicken, and on a whim Sunny picked up some Halloumi Burgers and – oh sweet Jesus – I suddenly remembered just how amazing the stuff is.
Cue one moody Monday lunchtime I got a craving for some halloumi and – after a quick online search – landed on a recipe I fancied. It’s one of those meals that’d work for breakfast, brunch or dinner since it’s got a little bit of everything. 🙂
A handful of chopped baby potatoes (how many will depend on how many you’re cooking for)
Chopped baby tomatoes
Chopped bacon (or lardons)
Boil the potatoes until they’ve just started to soften, then drain.
Heat up a frying pan with a little olive oil, then fry the potatoes until they start to brown.
Add the bacon, then the halloumi and finally the tomatoes and spinach.