Tuesday, 3 February 2009

"Calories don't count in the Cold" according to Chris Evans, Drivetime, Radio 2

It's a good job, that's all I can say!

I've been lucky enough to have another snow day at home thanks to school being cancelled. Hurrah! So, again, I was up early and pottered around. Managed to get a bus into town and got enthralled walking around the food department of M&S. Now, don't think me odd, but I do love just wandering around their aisles and looking at all the yummy food. They're tending to move towards adding actual ingredients to their shelves now as well as simply ready-made stuff and even had lots of recipe cards out, to which I quickly helped myself, before making another tour of all the shelves to ensure I had got each and every one!

Tonight's meal will be a combination of one of those very cards and my own version. It should turn into a risotto of some sorts. Will keep you posted.

Last night, it was fish pie. I hadn't made this for a while and even went so far as to buy prawns to add to it, as requested by my boyfriend. Normally I leave them out - don't know why, just always have!

Hannah's Fish Pie

fish - I used pieces of smoked haddock, cod and prawns, but you can chuck in your favourites!
plain flour
salt and pepper
cheese - grated - some for the white sauce and some for the top!
wholegrain mustard
squeeze of lemon

First, pop all raw fish into an oven-proof dish and cover with milk. Put into the oven at 180 until the fish is just cooked. If in doubt, remove it from the oven a little beforehand.
Using the milk from the fish, make a bechamel sauce - white sauce - roux, whatever you'd like to call it:

In a pan, mix a blob of butter and a splash of flour in the quantities such as you get a smooth paste! (I do mine by trial and error - a blob of butter, then add flour til it comes together, you can always add a drop of oil if it goes powdery!)
The trick to getting a smooth sauce is not to have the milk hot, but to have the pan hot and add it a little at a time. So, splash by splash, add the milk, whisking the mixture continually. It will thicken and look much as it did at the start for the first few splashes, but will gradually become runnier.
If you use up all the milk from the fish, add a little more!

When the mixture has a thick, creamy consistency that clings to a metal spoon and drips slowly, add a few teaspoons of wholegrain mustard to taste, salt and pepper and some of the cheese. Mix together.
In an ovenproof dish, flake the fish, add the peas and prawns and pour over the sauce, mixing a little to combine. Be careful not to mix it so much that the fish 'mashes'.
Spoon the mash over the top and sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
Pop into the oven at around 180 for 15 minutes or so, until the cheese has browned. Everything is cooked so it just needs time for the peas and prawns to heat through and the cheese to brown and bubble!

You could even make it up earlier and finish it off in the oven when ready.

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Would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!
Merlotti x

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