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From the Barton Chefs: Gillian Cathie’s Fish Pie

For six to eight people you need: 450 g fresh skinless haddock or cod, 450 g undyed smoked haddock, 250 -300 g defrosted, cooked prawns, 1 pint full-fat milk (plus a little water, if necessary), 2-3 bayleaves roughly crushed, 75 g butter, 75 g flour, 250 g grated strong cheddar, grated nutmeg.

Cut the fish into chunks and put in a big pan, checking for bones as you go. Add enough milk and water (if necessary) to just cover the fish and add the bayleaves. Put on a moderate heat with the lid on for 6 minutes or until the fish looks opaque. Carefully strain off the liquid into a jug and discard the bayleaves.   Flake the fish into a large bowl (again checking for bones).   Add the defrosted prawns.  

Make a white sauce using the fishy milk and then add most of the grated cheddar and plenty of grated nutmeg. The smoked fish is quite salty but you may like to add some pepper. Taste!  Add the cheese sauce to the fish and prawns. Then make enough buttery mashed potatoes to cover the dish/dishes and sprinkle a little grated cheese on top. Put the fish pie into a moderate oven for half an hour or until bubbling hot

This meal can be frozen in small dishes or, if serving without freezing, the classic addition is several hardboiled eggs, quartered, added to the fish layer, which makes the whole thing go further. (Remember that hard boiled eggs don’t freeze well so don’t put them in a freezer version. Serve the fish pie with green veggies or a salad.

Gillian Cathie

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