Easy Fish Pie

With the arrival of my aunt from New Zealand, I thought easy fish pie was something I could prepare ahead of time and just stick in the oven when I needed it.
Now, this is barely a recipe as it involves very little cooking and much more assembling.  So it’s more of an exercise in purchasing and emptying than actual cheffy finesse.  However, if you are short on time and have finally realised that sometimes the shop-bought stuff is actually better, then this is the recipe for you.  The Mother-in-Law has actually asked for this recipe, which was a test in truth or dare.  Do I dare tell her I whipped it up from scratch from my own intuition or do I tell the truth – it all comes from Waitrose and I merely plopped it in the dish….Anyway, back in the days when toast was a challenge I would have loved this ‘recipe’!
Get about 500g of fish pie mix from the fish counter.  This is nicely skinned/boned chunks of cod, smoked haddock and salmon.  Put them in the bottom of a lasagne dish and scatter a handful of frozen, shelled prawns over the top.  Next empty the contents of a large tub of cheese sauce over the fish and stir it through carefully.  Sprinkle some frozen peas over the mixture and set aside.
Make up a good wodge of mash – I use about 8 medium potatoes and mash it with a large knob of butter and some whole milk or single cream.  Mash and mix until it is creamy and not stodgy.  If you’re feeling a bit ‘Abigail’s Party’ you can put it in an icing bag and pipe the mash on in stripes using a big Mr Whippy nozzle.  Or you can just plonk it in the middle of the dish and spread out carefully until all the fish mix is covered.
Grate a knob of cheese over the top and sprinkle with a tsp of paprika (not as much as I put on in the picture…slightly heavy-handed and got it in my coffee, which was an interesting taste…pepped it up a bit!).  Then bake in the oven at 180ºC for about 45mins.  If the top looks like it’s burning, lay a piece of foil over it.
Hey presto!  Very easy, very cheaty but very tasty fish pie!  Costs about £12 to make and feeds 4 hungry adults or 6 modest ones!



Stuffed chicken wrapped in prosciutto

This is a dish of my own invention!  So not particularly difficult then….

All I did was put of dollop of Le Roule cheese in a chicken breast and then wrapped the breast around to cover the cheese.  Then I wrapped each breast in 2 slices of prosciutto (but bacon, parma ham etc. would work just as well, I’m sure).  To secure it all and keep all the ingredients where they are supposed to be I skewered it with some cocktail sticks.  Than I baked the chicken in a 180ºC oven for about half an hour.  When it was cooked I removed the cocktail sticks and served with some steamed baby sweetcorn and fine green beans.  

Avocado & Mozzarella Platter

We eat this a LOT!  I can’t even remember where I got the recipe from, but it is a lovely mixture of Italian flavours and even better with a large glass of wine!  I urge you to try this – delicious!   I haven’t really given specific amounts as you can use as much of each ingredient as you please but as a guide, for two people I would use one avocado and one packet of mozzarella.  Try to buy the best you can afford – it makes a difference!

Heat oven to 200ºC.  Put 2 bunches of cherry vine tomatoes and either 2 cloves of chopped garlic in a roasting tin.  Drizzle over 2 tbsps of olive oil and cook for about 15 mins (when the skins have split).

Meanwhile, decorate plates with a generous drizzle of balsamic glaze* and then arrange slices of avocado and mozzarella.  Toast some pine nuts and scatter them over the plates too.  Divide the roasted tomatoes between the plates and drip the left over garlicky oil over the mozzarella.  Eat and enjoy – mop up any juices with some crusty ciabatta!
*I recommend Waitrose balsamic glaze – it is thick like a syrup and you can zig zag across the plate like a pro!

Variations:Feel free to use large tomatoes cut in half and small mozzarella balls.  For the more rustic approach I sometimes tear up the mozzarella and scatter everything haphazardly over the plate.  Whichever way the wind takes you…there are no rules!

Cod & Chorizo with Green Salad

This is a healthy and delicious meal with some of my favourite flavours in it – chorizo, lemon and thyme – yum! Serves 2.

Fry 90g of chorizo chunks over a high heat for about 5 mins, then remove from heat and stir in the thyme.

Put 2 skinned cod fillets in a roasting tin and season with salt & pepper.  Sprinkle over a pinch of paprika and the grated zest of 1/4 lemon (you’ll need another 1/4 later on).  Drizzle over half a tablespoon of olive oil and scatter about 10 cherry tomatoes and 8 cloves of peeled garlic around the tin.  Place 2/3 of the chorizo over the fish and bake at 200ºC for 8 minutes.  Then add the rest of the chorizo and lemon zest and cook for another 5 minutes.  Check the fish is opaque inside so you know it is cooked properly as some fillets are chunkier than others!  Serve with a green salad, or indeed whatever you fancy!

p.s. What do you think of my photos?  I am slowly improving my photographc skills…..

Rice Krispie Chicken

This is a recipe from Lisa Faulkner’s book: Recipes from my Mother for my Daughter.  It is basically home-made chicken nuggets, but more exciting and can be done with the help of little people (children, not elves).  Quick and healthy to make, they went down a treat, although my kids were slightly miffed that there was no snap, crackle and pop!

However, the second time I made them a few rogue coco pops had wriggled into the rice krispies so we had a little bit of fusion food…..chicken and chocolate.  Reaction was mixed from ‘Hey!  There’s a coco pop!’ to this face…..

All you need to do is dip strips of chicken in mayonnaise and then into crushed rice krispies and bake at 180ºC for about 20 minutes.  For the exact recipe, please consult Lisa Faulkner’s book (which I hope you all have – it is very good).

I was going to post a photo but we ate them all before I remembered……next time!

Chilli Con Carne

This is a delicious recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale’s ‘Home Cooking Made Easy’.  I have had a few dodgy chillis in my time, but this one (for me) has just the right kick to it and is tasty too.  Serve with rice, bread or, my fav, on a bad of tortilla chips, sour cream and guacamole.  Yum…

Nigella’s Spanish Chicken – Olé!

It’s fiesta time in our house tonight!  Well, not exactly.  It’s been a long day and I needed to cook something easy, quick and very tasty.  This recipe is all of that – shove the ingredients into a roasting tin and pop it in the oven for an hour.  Out comes the delicious flavours of Spain!
I halve the recipe and modify it to fit with what is in the fridge, so here is how I made tonight’s Spanish Chicken (based on the Nigella recipe in ‘Kitchen’ which is infinitely more eloquent and probably more delicious).
Add a slug of olive oil to a roasting dish and add 4-6 chicken thighs/legs.  Rub them in the oil and place them skin side up.  To this add one large onion roughly chopped, 225g of baby new potatoes, 100g of chorizo cut into 4cm chunks and a sprinkling of dried oregano.  Then sprinkle the zest of one orange over the top and bake at 220ºC (or 200 fan) for about an hour.  I baste the mixture every 20mins to keep it moist.  Serves 2.  You can have it with a green salad, but usually we just eat it as is, or with some crusty bread.  Oh, and a nice glass of rioja of course!