Fish Pie

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At Barry Island

My most vivid memory of a seaside holiday was Butlin’s in Barry Island. The smallest, but the most modern of the camps, it was set on the hillside with a cable car ride taking you from one part of the camp to the other, stretching over the beach and a grassy terrain.

Jean and Paula went in the first cable car carriage and Dad and I sat in the one behind. The carriage jolted as we set off, which sent my heart racing, but Dad concentrated my mind on the wonderful view of the sea and this eased the thumping. We travelled over the beach and up over the grassy terrain. But then the cable car STOPPED. And I flipped. My heart shot into my mouth and I started to cry like a two-year old.

Looking over at Dad for reassurance, he was as white as a sheet, frozen in fear. The two of us sat there, terrified, in deadly silence, with just the sound of the swinging carriage and the soft sea breeze. I’m not really sure who was more scared. We can’t climb the stairs now without becoming petrified….and soon after this, he moved into a bungalow! 😄

Enjoy my fish pie. I can guarantee it is worth the effort.

Fish Pie

Serves 4
1 small onion, thickly sliced * 2 cloves * 1 bay leaf * 570ml (1 pint) milk * 310ml (11 floz) double cream * 455g (1lb) skinned cod fillet * 225g (8oz) skinned salmon fillet * 4 eggs * 115g (4oz) butter * 55g (2oz) plain flour * 5 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley * 4 gratings of nutmeg * 1kg (2lb 3oz) potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks * 1 egg yolk * salt & freshly ground black pepper

Stud a couple of the onion slices with the cloves, then put them into a large pan with the bay leaf, 425ml (15 floz) of the milk, the cream, cod and salmon. Bring just to the boil and simmer for 8 minutes. Lift the fish out onto a plate and strain the milk mixture into a jug. Keep this mixture to one side, as you will need it again. Cool the fish enough to handle it. Break into large flakes, discarding the skin and bones. Sprinkle it over the base of a shallow 1.75 litre (3 pints) ovenproof dish. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes, until tender. Meanwhile, hard boil the eggs for 8 minutes. This can be done simultaneously with the above.

Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. Melt 55g (2oz) of the butter in a pan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Take the pan off the heat and gradually stir in the reserved milk mixture. Return it to the heat and bring slowly to the boil, stirring all the time. Simmer gently for 10 minutes to cook out the flour. Then drain the eggs, leave to cool a bit, peel and cut into slices and arrange on top of the fish. Remove the white sauce from the heat, stir in the parsley and season with the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the fish and egg. Once cooked, drain and mash the potatoes, adding the rest of the butter and egg yolk. Season with salt and pepper. Beat in enough of the remaining milk to form a soft spreadable mash. Spoon the potatoes over the fish mixture and fluff up the surface with a fork. Bake for 35 minutes, until piping hot and golden brown. Serve hot.

I have collated all my favourite recipes into one book FOOD FOR ALL OCCASIONS.

This recipe comes from the section GREAT BRITISH DISHES, a selection of the best of British food.


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