No-faff fish pie

IMG_2702.jpgRobin’s favourite favourite is fish pie. Closely followed by fish pie. It is not mine, on several counts: a) I find it a bit on the mushy, school-dinner, nursery-fare, side; b) it doesn’t look very appetising once it’s slumped onto the plate; and c) it is a right faff to make, what with having to pre-cook the fish, cook and mash the potatoes and then make a bechamel sauce with the cooking liquid. You feel as though you need to start thinking about dinner roughly five minutes after you’ve put the cornflake bowls in the dishwasher, and you’ll need more pots and pans than Jamie Oliver.

But help is at hand. I was idly watching a Mary Berry programme back in the summer and she made a fish and cauliflower gratin – a kind of fish pie by any other name. Now, I am not overly keen on cauliflower and I certainly don’t think it goes with fish – it’s just about OK if it’s been swathed in a particularly Cheddary-mustardy sauce and baked to a golden crisp in the oven, as a bit of a mid-week tea, but as a component of a fish pie, well, yuk. However, I decided Mary definitely could be on to something with her idea for a more simplified method and, with a few judicious tweaks in the ingredients department, I came up with a yummy alternative. Continue reading “No-faff fish pie”

Advertisements

Steak & ale hotpot

IMG_2552.jpgHappy new year to everyone – it is so hard to believe that we are already half way through the first week of 2018, yet it seems like only last week that we left Turkey and returned to the mayhem that is our house in Cornwall.

We’ve had a couple of weeks off from our lovely builders, who will be here with their boots shined (and coffee mugs at the ready) towards the end of next week, ready to start on Phase 2. This involves knocking down a wall (eek) and installing a new RSJ (not necessarily in that order, I realise, no need to write in to let me know that my house is about to fall down). I shall be glad to avoid the accompanying mess by being away in the Midlands, visiting friends and family, and cat-sitting for the same trio of Greek cats that we looked after back in the summer. In return for providing Claridges-style five-star catering and door-opening services for the Grecian trio of whiskered musketeers, we get to stay in Rosie’s lovely home in a pretty village on the Warwicks/Northants border, which handily means we are minutes away from our family and friends. Continue reading “Steak & ale hotpot”

Poulet au vinaigre

IMG_1989 (600 x 450)Yes, well spotted, that’s ‘chicken with vinegar’ to you and me. I know it doesn’t sound particularly appetising, but it’s not vinegar as we know it in the UK, and of course the dish involves wine, posh vinegar, garlic and tarragon, so things are getting better already.

We’ve been in France a couple of times this summer – I lived there for some time during the 1980s, but have hardly visited since, so it’s been fun re-encountering some of the absolutely delicious food I remember from my youth. I lived in quite a rural area, so the restaurants served good, tasty, country food to a clientèle mostly made up from farmers and shopkeepers (and the odd British cook from a neighbouring restaurant, of course…) Continue reading “Poulet au vinaigre”

What to do with that Swiss Chard in your veggie box

IMG_1162 (600 x 450).jpgToday is probably the hottest since we arrived back – ironic, since we’ve just moved into September. This morning it was 44 degrees, but has now cooled to a more manageable 34, so I might yet venture out – according to our little weather station, the temperature has been as low as 27 at some point since midnight – not sure when that was, I must have missed it while I was asleep. When I had my morning swim, I complained that the pool was starting to get cold – a quick temperature check assured me it was still 32 degrees in the water – it must have been the super-hot air temperature confusing me. Either that or I really have turned into a total wimp. Continue reading “What to do with that Swiss Chard in your veggie box”

Leek & onion tarts

IMG_1024 (600 x 425).jpgNo posts for 18 days, now two come along at once.

To be truthful, posting on the blog allows me to sit in air-conditioned bliss at the kitchen counter, feeling as though I am doing something slightly useful (while attempting to ignore the fact that there is a pile of ironing in the spare bedroom so big that it’s starting to block out the daylight).

Today is a half-day holiday before Eid Al-Fitr, the feast that follows the month of fasting during Ramadan, or Ramazan as it is called here. Known in Turkey as Şeker Bayramı, literally ‘sugar festival’, the local children will be out early tomorrow morning, knocking on their neighbours’ doors, looking for sweets and pennies. Watch out for tomorrow’s easy chocolate muffin recipe, which I’ll be cooking up for any children passing this way. Continue reading “Leek & onion tarts”