Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold salted water, bring to the boil, and cook for 20 minutes, until tender.
Add the eggs during the last 10 minutes (saves on another pan!). Once the eggs are ready, remove from the pan and run them under cold water. (This will prevent a dark rim forming round the yolk while they are cooling.)
Drain and mash the potatoes with 28g (1 oz) (⅛ cup, or ¼ stick) of the butter and a little milk, until creamy. Set aside.
Next, melt the rest of the butter in a pan and, once foaming, tip the pan and quickly add the flour. Stir to form a smooth paste and cook over a low heat for 2 minutes. Warm the milk (a microwave makes this quick) and gradually stir into the roux until smooth. Stir in the wine. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and gently cook for 5–10 minutes until the sauce is very thick, stirring constantly. (The sauce needs to be very thick because once the fish is added and cooks in the sauce, its juices will thin it.) Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper and a good grating of nutmeg.
Now cut the fish into bite-sized chunks and mix into the sauce with the spinach. Spoon into the ovenproof dish.
Peel the eggs, carefully cut into quarters and scatter them evenly over the top of the fish.
Cover with the mashed potato and sprinkle with the cheese.
Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove the foil then cook for a further 10–15 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling around the edges.
A simple meal of fish and chips, prepared and cooked in an hour. A chunky piece of fresh white fish (haddock or cod), coated in fresh breadcrumbs, and shallow fried for just 10 minutes. Served with home cooked fries and ready to be doused with ketchup and vinegar.
You will also need a large frying pan/skillet or sauté pan for the fish and a large baking sheet, covered with baking parchment, for the chips.
Adjust oven rack to the lowest level and preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
For the chips
Peel potatoes and slice into ½ inch thick rounds and then into ½ inch thick strips. Pat dry and place in a bowl.
Drizzle with oil and season well. Toss until evenly coated.
Spread out on the baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times until browned.
For the fish
Meanwhile, prepare the fish. Spread the flour on a plate and season. Then spread breadcrumbs on a second plate. Beat the egg in a shallow bowl.
Pat dry the fish with kitchen paper. Taking one fillet at a time, coat it in the flour, gently shaking off any excess. Then dip it in the beaten egg and coat in the breadcrumbs. Set aside on a clean plate and repeat with the remaining fish.
While the chips are cooking in the oven the fish can be cooked on the hob. Heat the frying pan/skillet over a medium heat and pour in enough oil to just cover the bottom. When the oil is hot, add the fish and gently fry for about 4–5 minutes until golden and crisp on the underside. Carefully turn and repeat on the other side. The fish may have to be cooked in two batches. Lift the fish from the pan and place on a warmed plate covered with kitchen paper to absorb any oil. Cover the plate with foil and keep warm while cooking the rest of the fish.
Serve immediately garnished with the lemon wedges.
Haddock and Prawn Fish Pie with a Chive and Cheesy Mash
Prepares: 4 servings
Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
For the fish pie
300ml (10 fl oz) full fat (whole milk) (1¼ cups)
450g (1 lb) haddock, skinned (cod will work too)
40g (1½ oz) butter (3 tbsp)
40g (1½ oz) flour (¼ cup)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 ml soured cream (⅔ cup)
200g (7 oz) frozen peeled king prawns/jumbo shrimps, thawed
115g (4 oz) frozen peas, thawed (¾ cup)
For the chive and cheesy mash
900g (2 lb) floury potatoes, peeled and cut into even sized pieces (6 medium)
55g (2 oz) Cheddar cheese, grated (½ cup)
90ml (3 fl oz) full fat (whole milk) (⅓ cup)
8g (¼ oz) fresh chives, chopped (2 tbsp)
A green leafy vegetable
You will also need a deep sided frying pan/skillet and a 2 litre ovenproof dish.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Put the potatoes in a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender. Drain.
Meanwhile, pour the milk into the frying pan/skillet and add the haddock. Bring slowly to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and, using a slotted spoon or spatula, carefully transfer the fish to a plate and set aside. Reserve the milk.
Over a medium heat, melt the butter in a separate pan. Stir in the flour to form a paste and gently cook for 1 minute. Gradually whisk the reserved milk into the flour until there is a smooth sauce. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2–3 minutes until the sauce has thickened. Season to taste.
Stir in the soured cream, prawns/shrimps, and peas, and gently heat for a further 2 minutes.
Break the haddock into small cubes, about 2.5cm (1 inch) and add to the sauce. Spoon the mixture into the ovenproof dish.
Mash the cooked potatoes and, when smooth, beat in the grated cheese and enough milk to make a creamy mash, then fold through the chopped chives. Spoon over the fish and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.
700g (1 lb 8 oz) cod or haddock, skinned and cubed
170g (6 oz) cooked tiger prawns/shrimp
knob of butter
3 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Serve with sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas
For this recipe, you'll need a 1.2 litre/2 pint shallow ovenproof dish
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6)
Peel the sweet potato and cut into even sized pieces. Simmer in lightly salted water until just tender, about 15 minutes. Then drain and set aside.
Cut the florets from the head of broccoli into small pieces. You will need 170g (6 oz) of the florets (1½ cups).
Next, pour the milk in a pan and add the flour and butter. Whisk continuously over a moderate heat until the sauce begins to boil and has thickened. Remove from the heat, season. and stir in 115g (4 oz) (1 cup) of the grated cheese. Beat until the cheese has melted.
Spoon a thin layer of the sauce over the base of the ovenproof dish. Layer the cubes of fish over the sauce and scatter over the prawns/shrimp and broccoli florets. Then pour over the remaining sauce.
Mash the sweet potato with the butter and stir in the parsley. Season well. Spoon on top of the fish and then sprinkle over the remaining cheese.
Bake in the oven for 30–35 minutes until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Serve with the sugar snap peas/mange tout or peas.
Ovenproof dish, greased. It should be large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) gas 4
Bring rice to the boil in 360ml (12 fl oz) (1½ cups) lightly salted water. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer. For brown rice, simmer for 15 minutes and for white rice simmer for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, remove the skin from the tomatoes. Put them in a bowl and cover with boiling water. Leave for one minute. Carefully, remove from the water and gently peel away the skin. (It should come away very easily.) Set aside.
Lightly season the fish with thyme and pepper.
Once the rice has finished simmering for the appropriate time, spread the rice and the remaining water from the pan in the ovenproof dish. It will not be fully cooked at this point. Then lay the fish on top of the rice in a single layer and sprinkle the wine over the fish. Slice the tomatoes and arrange over the fish.
Melt the butter in a frying pan/skillet add the onion and garlic, and cook over a low heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Mix in the breadcrumbs and parsley, then scatter over the tomatoes.
Cover the dish with foil and bake for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for a further 10 minutes until the fish is cooked through and the topping golden brown.
Cut the lemon into four slices and use to garnish.
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), hard-boiled
French fries and peas
A large lidded frying pan/skillet and a shallow flameproof dish.
Slice half the lemon and juice the other half.
Lay the haddock in a single layer in a lidded pan. Add milk, lemon slices and juice, parsley sprigs and peppercorns. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and leave for 15 minutes until the haddock can be flaked. Strain, reserving the milk. Then flake the fish and place in the flameproof dish.
Preheat the grill/broiler to high.
Next, melt the butter in a pan and stir in the flour. Cook over a low heat for 1 minute. Gradually stir in the reserved milk until there is a smooth sauce, then bring to the boil. Remove from the heat, season and stir in the chopped parsley. Pour the sauce over the fish and then sprinkle with cheese.
Place the haddock under the grill/broiler and cook for about 5 minutes until bubbling and the cheese is golden brown.
While the fish is under the grill/broiler, shell the eggs and chop.
Once the fish is ready, garnish with the chopped egg.
Fish cakes originated as a means of using up leftovers that otherwise might be thrown away. In Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1859) she lists “the remains of any cold fish” and “cold potatoes” as the main ingredients. However, I think they make a delicious dish in their own right.
Prepares: 4 servings for a light supper or 6 for a lunch
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Standing time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
450g/1 lb haddock fillet
salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
225g/8 oz potatoes
1 tbsp parsley, chopped
25g/1 oz flour
50g/2 oz dry breadcrumbs
oil for frying
Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4
Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, place the haddock in a greased ovenproof dish. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with lemon juice. Cover and bake for about 10 minutes until the fish is just opaque.
Drain the fish, discard the skin and mash with a fork.
Drain the potatoes and mash. Add the fish and parsley, and season to taste. Beat one of the eggs and add it to the mixture to bind. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up.
Shape into 8 cakes for a light supper or 12 for a lunch. Spread the flour on a plate and the breadcrumbs on a second plate. Beat the second egg in a small bowl. Coat the fish cakes first in the flour, then the egg, shaking any excess egg as they are lifted from the bowl, and finally coat in the breadcrumbs. (You may need more egg, flour and breadcrumbs if you are making 12.)
Heat a little oil in a pan over a moderate heat. Fry the fish cakes for 5 minutes until golden brown, turn and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Once they have been coated in the breadcrumbs they can be frozen. Open freeze on a tray. When hard, transfer to a container, seal and return to the freezer. To thaw, place on a tray, cover loosely, and leave at room temperature for about 3 hours. Cook as above.