Saturday, October 25, 2008

Now and Then

A couple of recipes, the first is for a fish pie that uses a smaller amount of fish than normal. The fish itself could be cod, haddock, smoked haddock, or salmon or a mixture of all. If using the sweetcorn/peas means you could reduce the amount of fish used, the eggs adding extra protein.
Fish Pie with Sweet Mash topping: serves 2
1 lb (450g) sweet potatoes. peeled and cut into chunks
1 lb (450g) ordinary potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
2 hard-boiled eggs
2 oz (50g) butter
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped
1 small can sweetcorn, drained (optional)
4 oz (100g) frozen peas, thawed (optional)
8 fl oz (225g) creme fraiche
10 oz (300g) haddock (see above) cut into chunks
2 tsp mustard (English or Dijon)
2 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
Cook both the prepared potatoes in boiling water for 10 minutes or until tender, then add half the butter and mash together, adding seasoning to taste. Set to one side.
Heat the remaining butter in a frying pan and saute the onion for a few minutes until softened, then stir in the mustard and creme fraiche. Bring to the simmer and add the pieces of fish and cook for 5 minutes, by which time the fish should be cooked through (if using sweetcorn and peas add these at the same time as the fish).
Cut the shelled hard-boiled egg into quarter and stir this with the parsley into the pan, season to taste then pour into a ovenproof dish. Top with the dual potato mash, forking up the top to make a rough surface then grill for 4 - 5 minutes until golden and bubbling. Serve immediately on warmed plates.

This next recipe is an old one, probably eaten by all our grandparents at some time or another, but one worth bringing back and serving to the family. Cutting the veggies into 'cubes' is similar to dicing, only diced veggies are smaller - and cubes are bigger and give the appearance of a more substantial dish. Aim for something around th size of a sugar lump. Other root vegetables, also leeks could be used instead or included.
Family Roots Pie: serves 4
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed
2 parsnips, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, cubed
1 oz (25g) butter
half tblsp sunflower oil
4 shallots, cut into four (or use one onion)
1 tblsp plain flour
half pint (300ml) dry cider or chicken stock
3 tblsp Philadelphia cream cheese (pref garlic and herb)
salt and pepper
9 oz (250g) puff pastry
Boil the potatoes, parsnips and carrots in salted water for 15 minutes then drain well.
Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan and saute the onions until softened. Stir in the flour and cook for a further minute then pour in the cider and stir/cook until thickened. Add the cooked vegetables and simmer for a further 7 minutes then stir in the cream cheese and season to taste. Spoon the mixture into a deep heatproof dish. Roll out the pastry to an inch wider than the top of the dish, then lay the pastry over the filling and roll/pleat the surplus pastry around the edge. Brush the top with milk and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 20 - 25 minutes or until the pastry is puffy and golden.

Final recipe today is for a variation on the macaroon. Sandwiched two together with a filling (recipe also given) they would make a very good festive treat.
Chocolate Macaroons: makes 20
4 oz (125g) ground almonds
9 oz (250g) icing sugar
3 egg whites
1 1/2 oz (30g) caster sugar
1 oz (25g) cocoa powder
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then whisk in the caster sugar until the mixture is glossy and stiff. Sieve together the icing sugar and cocoa powder and gently fold this into the egg white (meringue) together with the ground almonds. Either put the mixture into a piping bag that has a half inch nozzle, and pipe or spoon mixture to make one and a half inch circles (4 cm) onto parchment lined baking trays (you may need 2 - 3 trays) spacing well apart. Leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow the surface to form a crust.
Then bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 5 minutes, then turn the lining paper upside down and bake for a further seven minutes, then leave to cool completely.
6 fl oz (175ml) double cream
2 oz (50g) dark chocolate, melted
icing sugar for dusting
Whip the cream untll thick, then fold in the chocolate.
An hour before serving, sandwich together the chocolate macaroons and dust the tops with icing sugar.