Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London

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Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping

Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping, Delicious Magazine November 2012

Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping, Delicious Magazine November 2012

The good thing about the 5:2 diet is that it’s still doable if you enjoy cooking and food. Although I’m spotting a pattern – on my non-starve days I tend to crave carbs AND cheese. And given that the weather has taken a strong autumnal turn, I’m craving comfort food too. So I went back through a few old food magazines and found Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping in the November 2012 edition of Delicious Magazine.

The recipe itself is really simple – but, as with all fish pies, there are three stages to the dish which can take a bit of time. The first stage is the mashed potato that’s flavoured with Parmesan and Cheddar. The second stage is the fish filling itself which is various fish types (I used cod, smoked cod and salmon), prawns, onions and garlic. And the final stage is the sauce which is a white sauce base but with wine, Parmesan and herbs added.

I also tried a new thing with this recipe – using a piping bag to pipe the top layer of mashed potato. Now I have no idea if I’m a particularly bad piper, but I found the use of the silicone bag I bought was almost impossible. Because the silicone stretches, I found that the nozzle kept squeezing out of the bag! Hugely frustrating and I’m still finding random bits of potato almost 24 hours later. Thankfully the Katie vs Potato battle was worth the effort – having the piping let’s the potato ‘catch’ in the oven so there’s a bit more texture.

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash Topping (serves 6)


For the filling:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 600g mixed fish fillet (eg haddock, salmon, pollock etc), skin removed and cut into 2-3cm cubes
  • 200g peeled, raw king prawns

For the sauce:

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 350ml whole milk
  • 150ml dry white wine
  • Handful of flatleaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Handful of dill, finely chopped
  • Zest of 1 lemon, juice of half

For the cheesy mash topping:

  • 1.2kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 50g unsalted butter, plus extra to bake
  • 120ml milk, plus extra if needed
  • 25g grated Parmesan
  • 50g mature cheddar, grated


Preheat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/Gas mark 4. For the mash, put the potatoes into a large saucepan over a medium-high heat and pour over cold salted water to cover. Bring to the boil, turn the heat down to medium and cook for 15-20 minutes until soft. Drain and return to the pan. Add the butter, milk, parmesan and half the cheddar. Mash thoroughly until smooth and creamy. Taste and season. Add a little more milk if you like your mash really smooth and creamy. Set aside and allow to cool.

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring, for 8 minutes, then add the garlic and continue to cook for 5-6 minutes to soften. Add the fish and prawns to the pan along with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then cook for a further 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

Fish Pie serving

For the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a medium-low heat. When melted, add the flour and whisk to combine, stirring for 1 minute. Gradually add the milk and continue whisking to form a smooth paste. Add the wine, whisking well, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes or so until thickened. Stir in the parsley, dill, parmesan and lemon zest and juice. Taste and season. Pour the sauce over the fish and stir to coat thoroughly.

Fill a large, deep, ovenproof 2 litre pie dish with the filling. Put most of the mash into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5-2cm star nozzle, then spread the remaining mash over the fish in a thin layer to create a lid. Pipe potato stars over the entire pie top (and, in my case, over the counter, yourself and loved ones). Alternatively cover the whole pie in the mash and fluff up the top with a fork. Dot the top of the pie with a few knobs of butter and the remaining cheddar.

Bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes until crisp and golden brown. If you wish, put the pie under a hot grill to get the top really crisp and crunchy. Serve with something green – watercress or, in my case, peas!

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Good-For-You Green Curry with Prawns

Good-For-You Green Curry with Prawns

Good-For-You Green Curry with Prawns

Last Thursday was one of Paul’s ‘fast’ days (as he’s doing the 5:2 diet), so I had to find something that was low calorie for him and low points for me. I settled on Good-For-You Green Curry with PrawnsHaving put this recipe into Weight Watchers Recipe Builder it came out at only 3 points per serving without the rice. Rice, it turns out though, is a massive hit in terms of points. In fact the 50g serving I had was 5 points. Grr. But anyway, this meal is really quite substantial for such a low 8 points value!

I did, however, bugger up my organising skills. For anyone who knows me, I do operate my shopping and kitchen processes like a military chief, so I was beyond apoplectic when I realised I didn’t have any coriander and that’s a pretty integral component. Paul, having fasted all day and played football, had no energy whatsoever and reminded me a bit of a balloon you find behind the sofa a few days after a party. Even in my rage, I really couldn’t send him back out into the cold to go and forage herbs for me. (Plus the fact he’s still not sure of the difference between parsley and coriander). So we had to do without. And I really think that affected the taste of the dish. It just tasted a bit more bland than I expected, particularly surprising when the first part of the recipe involves making a really fragrant curry paste. Even though it’s not in the recipe I added a huge squeeze of lime to try and pep it up a bit, which helped a little. But all is not lost with this dish – even though it fell a bit flat this time, I am going to make it again. But with loads of coriander this time, some more chilli and perhaps a few other  flavourings dependent on what’s sat in the cupboard.

KB rating 6.5/10. PR rating 7/10. Weight Watchers Pro Points: 3 per serving (plus rice)

Good for You Green Curry with Prawns (serves 4)


  • 3cm piece ginger, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , roughly chopped
  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 green chillies , seeded and roughly chopped (I used 3, but would actually add more next time)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 4 cardamom pods , split and seeds crushed
  • 100ml chicken stock
  • 165ml tin half-fat coconut milk
  • a large bunch coriander , finely chopped
  • a small bunch mint , leaves finely chopped
  • 400g large raw peeled prawns


Put the ginger, garlic, onion, chillies and all of the spices in a food processor and whizz to a paste. Add a splash of water if you need to bring everything together.

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and fry the paste for 5 minutes until you can smell the garlic, ginger and spices. Add the stock and coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes then add the herbs and prawns and simmer for a further 3 minutes until the prawns are pink and cooked through. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

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Katie’s Moules Marinières

There’s only one thing tricky about making Moules Marinières, and that’s getting your act together enough to buy the mussels in the first place. Obviously, they’re not something you can keep in the fridge for very long so it tends to be a “buy the same day you want to eat them” situation. But once you’ve got over that hurdle, this recipe is embarrassingly easy. I’ve cooked it in no time when I’ve had a few people round. And I cooked it for 8 people recently which, again, was quick to cook, but de-bearding 3kg of mussels was a bit of a pain! There appears to be some level of debate as to whether a Moules Marinières should include cream. I’m in the ‘vote no’ camp, so this recipe doesn’t include it. But sometimes I have added a small amount right at the end if the people I’m cooking for prefer it. Either way, it’s great cosy food.

Before I first attempted this recipe I was a nervous about cooking mussels for some reason. I worried about giving everyone food poisoning, but there’s really nothing to it. And having cooked this quite a lot, I can safely say I have a current 100% success rate in not poisoning myself or others.

Prepping your mussels:

Buy your mussels the same day you want to cook them and prep them as soon as you get home. The longer they’re prepped and sitting happily in chilled water, the less likely you’ll end up with any grit in your dinner.

1. Tap any mussels that are partly open, and throw away any that do not close tightly (you’re looking for signs of life!)

2. Rinse each mussel in cold water and pull the hairy ‘beard’ from the mussel

3. Put the de-bearded mussels into a large bowl (as big as you have) with cold water

4. Keep changing the water as often as you can. As the mussels sit in the water, they open and close, and any grit that might be within their shells gets expelled into the water

Moules Marinières (serves 4) 


  • 50g butter
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1.5kg mussels, prepped as above
  • 200ml white wine (with this recipe, don’t go for really cheap plonk as it’s a huge part of the overall flavour)
  • A bay leaf
  • Large bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt and pepper


Gently heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan (the larger the better, with a lid)

Add the garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. Be gentle – don’t brown or frazzle them

Add the mussels, wine, bay leaf and seasoning, bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes or until all the mussels have opened

Finally add the parsley (and a little cream if you choose), put the lid back on and shake vigorously

Serve at once, discarding any mussels that haven’t opened

Ideally serve in large bowls, ensuring you’ve divvied up both the mussels and the sauce evenly. Serve with either crusty French bread, or frites-style oven chips. Put empty bowls on the table for the shells, and crack open an ice cold bottle of Muscadet. Bon appétit!