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)

Ingredients:

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

Method

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)

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

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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Surf and Turf…And A Cake

A few recipes to include today, given my lack of blog updates for a while! First up, two steak dishes to compare.

The first steak recipe we cooked was Steak with Chimichurri from Olive Magazine, June 2011 (p.3 of the BBQ section). It’s a pretty straightforward recipe that works as well on a griddle pan as it would on a BBQ. Cook the steak for 2 minutes a side on a searing hot pan (with just a little olive oil rubbed over) and serve with the Chimichurri which incudes paprika, cumin, garlic, red onion, red wine vinegar and some coriander. All emulsified with olive oil. I did enjoy this dish but felt the chimichurri was a little powdery due to the cumin and paprika. I’d be interested in researching other chimichurri recipes to see if I can improve on this a little. But the sauce works really well with the steak and I served with home made wedges. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Steak with Chimichurri. Olive Magazine, June 2011

The next steak recipe was the simply titled Spicy Fillet Steaks from Delicious Magazine, September 2011 (p.88). I don’t often eat fillet steak, preferring the flavour of rump, but decided to stick to the recipe and pushed the boat out on fillets! Again, the steak is cooked simply on a searing hot griddle pan (2 mins a side) and then left to rest for 10 minutes. During this 10 mins you create the sauce by using the same pan as you cooked the steaks and adding garlic, fennel seeds, sun-dried tomato paste and chilli. To turn these flavours into a sauce you add some balsamic vinegar, red wine and beef stock and allow to reduce. By this time your steaks have rested and you can add in their juices to the sauce. The recipe suggests serving with rocket – I’m still not keen on this, so I went for the old faithful. Yep, home made potato wedges! (Worth noting there was a gap of a couple of weeks between cooking these two recipes!). Somehow that sauce is greater than the sum of its parts – very fiery and rich and works amazingly well with the steak. I can see why fillet works well here as you get the texture of the cut, but the sauce packs in the flavour that is often lacking with fillet steak. Amazing, and one for the repertoire. KB rating 9/10. PR rating 9/10

Spicy Fillet Steaks. Delicious Magazine, September 2011

Up next was a recipe that Paul cooked for us, Spicy Chorizo Potatoes with Fried Eggs from the p.32 of the ‘£5 Supper for Two’ supplement with Olive Magazine, September 2011. The recipe only had 7 ingredients but it worked really well. Simply cook some potatoes in boiling water and drain, then fry in oil until golden. Remove from pan and add some onion and green chilli, before adding chorizo and paprika. Once cooked, add the potatoes back into the pan and serve with a fried egg on top. Great comfort food, stuff you’d often have in your fridge and very tasty. Nom nom nom. KB rating 8.5/10. PR rating 8/10.

Spicy Chorizo Potatoes with Fried Eggs, Olive Magazine Supplement, September 2011

Another recipe Paul cooked recently was Linguine with Garlic, Prawns & Spinach from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘The Italian Diet’ (p. 104). A nice pasta supper with fresh flavours (lemon, parsley and cherry tomatoes) in addition to the ingredients in the recipe title. Very enjoyable but I found it strange that the recipe only used the zest from the lemon and no juice – think I’d add a bit of juice next time and increase the amount of spinach to give this recipe a bit more oomph! The prawns, however, were really juicy and full of flavour and were definitely the highlight. KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10.

Linguine with Garlic, Prawns and Spinach. Gino d'Acampo, 'The Italian Diet'

I cooked another recipe from Gino D’Acampo’s ‘The Italian Diet’ book recently too – Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce (p.150). You can’t beat butter, lemon and chicken as a flavour combination (my own roast chicken uses lots of butter and lemon – surprise, surprise, it’s Nigella who inspired me!) and it works really nicely in this recipe. Unfortunately I had a slight issue when making this dish – the first stage is to coat thin pieces of chicken in seasoned flour and fry in a pan before removing and keeping warm. You then proceed to make the sauce in the same pan by deglazing with some lemon juice and stock, and adding parsely and butter to create a creamy texture. However, the floured chicken was catching on the pan so there was a slightly burnt layer over the pan that, when I deglazed, made the sauce really, really bitter and burnt tasting. I tried to sieve but to no avail! So I effectively had to make a sauce from scratch which meant the chickeny bits from the pan that add so much flavour were lost. Boo! I’ll make this again but with a more careful eye! KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Chicken with Lemon Butter Sauce. Gino d'Acampo, 'The Italian Diet'

Given I’ve been feeling unwell over the last week I decided to cook two things with a view to making me feel better! So first up was a simple soup – Summer Veg-Box Soup from Olive Magazine, June 2011 (p.44). Dead easy to make – fry spring onions and courgettes in oil (I upgraded to garlic oil to add further flavour). Add some orzo pasta before adding frozen peas, frozen broad beans and veg stock and allow the whole thing to bubble away. I got a bit carried away with adding extra orzo, so it turned out being less liquidy than it should, but that’s what I was after anyway. Serve in a mug with warm bread and I instantly started to feel better. Yum. KB rating 8/10.

Summer Veg-Box Soup. Olive Magazine, June 2011

And finally, what else can cheer you up when you’re feeling grotty? Tea and cake. It’s a winner, so I decided to make a Victoria Sponge from 101 Teatime Treats (p.10). I hadn’t made one before, but now I am the proud owner of 2 cake tins I felt it was time. I had a slight worry when the oven started to smell like scrambled eggs, but turns out I was being paranoid and the end result was very good indeed given it was my first attempt. Buttercream and strawberry jam, with a mug of tea, completed the treat. KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8.5/10

Victoria Sponge. 101 Teatime Treats


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Who is Tim Dobson?

Another busy week, but more due to long hours at work than for fun reasons unfortunately! Paul and I went to watch Bridesmaids mid-week though and had a lovely meal at Wagamama beforehand. Their Raw Salad starter is one of my favourite dishes from a High-End Chain and I get ridiculously virtuous cravings for it now and then – it definitely hit the spot!

Our other non home-cooked treat this week was a huge plate of Fish and Chips! After getting absolutely drenched watching the British Open golf on Saturday and spending 2 hours getting home we wanted some comfort food. Nothing ever beats fish and chips with mushy peas, along with a huge cuppa! Mmmm!

On to the meals cooked this week. First up was Tim Dobson’s Prawn Pasta from Olive Magazine, August 2011 (p.11) – no idea who Tim Dobson is, but his pasta was pretty good! It’s a very simple pasta recipe but very tasty, particularly as I don’t normally go for creamy sauces. The prawns were the best component – I cooked them in garlic oil first (as the recipe requested cooked, peeled prawns and I only raw, frozen ones) and they then get marinated in lime juice before being added back into the pasta with cream, spinach and Parmesan. KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10

Tim Dobson's Prawn Pasta. Olive Magazine, August 2011

Finally this week I made Chicken Saltimbocca with Green Beans and Shallots from Olive Magazine, August 2011 (p.52). Not sure how authentic this recipe is for Saltimbocca but it was definitely good. It involves flattening chicken thighs before adding sage leaves and wrapping them in Parma Ham, then sauteeing in butter and finishing them off in the oven. This was served with green beans and a simple shallot sauce (with a white wine and stock reduction). I also served this with crushed new potatoes. I liked the recipe but would probably alter things a little – Paul suggested that the sauce would be better served on top of the chicken rather than through the green beans and I agree. I also think chicken breast would work better than chicken thighs here – I love chicken thighs but in this recipe I’d have preferred the texture of white meat instead. KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7.5/10

Chicken Saltimbocca with Green Beans and Shallots. Olive Magazine, August 2011