For Christmas I treated myself to an Emma Bridgewater Fish Pie dish. So recently for dinner we had Fish Pie followed by Apple and Blackberry Crumble. The menu was inspired by watching Downton Abbey, and in particular Mrs Hughes attempts to please her new husband. This food is more nursery or comfort in nature, not necessarily what would be served upstairs but both dishes are very traditional British dishes. The fish is cooked in a classic cheese sauce, made by the traditional ‘roux’ method, which is not as scary as it sounds. Once mastered you would be amazed at the number of dishes you can whip up. It is also traditional to add a little pinch of English mustard to bring out the flavor of the cheese. I always keep powdered mustard in my spice drawer, as it is also the emulsifier in oil and vinegar salad dressings.
5/6 large potatoes, peeled.
small onion, chopped
2/3 carrots, chopped
3 ounces of butter
3 Tablespoons flour - maybe more
good handful of cheddar cheese
large pinch of English mustard
approximately 1 pint of milk
11/2 pounds of white fish, cut into thick slices
2 large handfuls of spinach
handful frozen or uncooked peas
two hard boiled eggs, cut into eights - optional
some chopped parsley if you have any lying around
squeeze of lemon juice
Salt and pepper
knob of butter
Pre heat oven to 400F
Put potatoes in a large pan and cover with cold water.
Bring the water to the boil and cook the potatoes until almost fully done.
Drain and leave to cool.
In a large pan melt the butter and gently sauté the onions and carrots for 5-10 minutes.
Add the flour and cook slightly until all the flour is absorbed and forms a thick paste.
Add slightly more flour if the mixture is too greasy.
Slowly add the milk, stirring well until the sauce is thick and glossy.
Add the cheese, mustard, lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper.
Place the spinach and fish, and eggs if you are using them, in an ovenproof dish and cover with sauce.
Slice the potatoes and arrange over the top of the fish. They should fully cover the dish.
Dot with the butter and season with salt and pepper.
Cook for about 30 minutes until the potatoes are browned and the filling is piping hot.