An End of The Month Supper

It doesn’t seem fair somehow. The higher your profile and the larger your bank account, the more free stuff you’re given. I mean, I bet Nigella Lawson or Delia Smith don’t have to pay £70.00 for a Kelly Bronze Turkey or a pig from Jimmy’s Farm. Sure, they might plug the odd organic shop here and there but I’m always advertising people’s wares on this here blog and what freebies do I get? Nowt so much as carpal tunnel syndrome, that’s what.
Anyway, that’s my complaint for the day.
Actually, it’s nudging the end of the month (although not quickly enough) and therefore payday, but until that glorious day when my Amazon account will open it’s cyber arms to greet me once more like the prodigal daughter, we are resigned to living on freezer burned fish and bits of cheese that resemble the Sahara Dessert.
Contrary to popular belief, you can actually make a really rather good dish with a dried up piece of cheddar and some frozen cod. Throw in some peas and potatoes that are beginning to sprout and you have, in fact, a poor mans’ fish pie. Don’t let my demoralising moniker put you off: this is a nutritious, one dish pie that takes no time at all to prepare and fools you into thinking that you’re eating something really rather luxurious, instead of the reality, which is that most of the ingredients had to be chiselled off the back of the refrigerator.
This pie can be tarted up in all sorts of ways. I have spread green beans or cooked spinach in the bottom of the dish, kids really love sweetcorn stirred into the sauce and you could switch around the fish as your budget or freezer allows. Prawns and scallops are, of course, particularly awe-inducing in a Fish Pie.
2 Large Potatoes (preferably white bakers), peeled
2 Fillets of Cod (or any other flaky white fish that you have in the freezer, do feel free to throw in some prawns if you feel like really going crazy)
Half a Leek, sliced thinly
Pint of Milk (I used skimmed because that’s what we drink, but for a more luxurious sauce, try full fat)
Some Butter
About an ounce of plain flour, preferably "00"
Cheddar Cheese
Handful of Frozen Peas or Sweetcorn (optional)
Preheat oven to 200c.
Chop the potato into large chunks and put into a pan of lightly salted water. Bring to the boil and simmer until a knife point pierces them easily. Drain and mash them with a little butter and milk. Season.
While the potatoes are cooking, poach the fish. In a deep frying pan, pour the milk, along with a bay leaf and some peppercorns. Gently lay the cod fillets, skin side down, in the milk and bring to a gentle simmer. Cover with foil and let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, or until the skin comes easily away from the fish when you ease it with the prongs of a fork.
Strain the milk into a mixing jug and reserve to one side. You will use this to make the white sauce.
Gently flake the fish into a bowl, taking care not to break it up too much, you want to come across lovely white flakes in the sauce. Discard the skin or give it to your dogs (mine love it and fish skin is good for their joints and skin).
In a small saucepan, melt together 1oz of Flour and Butter until it has formed a pale yellow paste. Gradually pour in the reserved milk, whisking to ensure that all lumps are destroyed like the annoyance they are. Add more regular milk if the sauce looks like it’s getting too thick. Grate in some cheddar cheese and season until it tastes good to you. Cook over low heat for a few minutes more to cook out the floury taste. Stir in some frozen peas or Sweetcorn if desired.
Scatter the flaked cod into the bottom of a small (about 9” dia) baking dish. Pour over the sauce making sure to envelope the fish completely.
Dollop over the mash and roughly even out with the rake of a fork or a pallet knife if you’re feeling fancy. Sprinkle with some more grated cheese, dot with butter, and if you’re in super-retro mode (and let's be honest, who isn't?), add a slice or two of tomato, just like mum used to.
Bake in oven for about 15-20 minutes or until golden and bubbly. Serve with nothing or some green beans.


Saffron said...

Hi Darling,
I've got the address for the BBM:I'm excited and I have to plan what to put into my parcel!!

Kathryn said...

I so know what you mean - we humble bloggers deserve some freebies too! Anyway your end of the month supper looks delicious and eminently worthy of imitation. Bravo. Oh and it is nearly December:)

Kathryn x

Randi said...

I just said this very same thing last night to my spouse as we were watching the Golden Globes and they showed a segment where all the celebs went into a room and just trolled for free stuff. So Sad!!