I quite simply cannot stop stuffing my face at the moment. I find myself trying to pinpoint the root cause of this Pigginess. Is it the colder weather calling to me on a primitive level to lay down an extra layer, or in my case layers, of fat for the Winter? I can remember my A level Cookery teacher explaining to us this evolutionary phenomenon, for some reason I have never forgotten that pearl of wisdom, but ask me how to make a Frangipane and I am blank, my fault not her’s, I’m sure. Is it boredom, as I am restricted to mostly sitting and standing with definitely no hoovering after a back operation? Is it a hormonal thing, the cravings feel very similar to those that I get for a few days every month, where quite frankly, I could eat a chair if it was covered in Chips and Cheese, or is it my worst fear, that deep, deep down in the very bowels of my character I am a greedy Porker? The jury is out but whilst I am not allowed to visit the gym daily in my Leotard for high impact aerobic excercise and profuse sweating off of the large piece of Lasagne, Garlic Bread and 3 Halloween Fondant Fancies that I had for tea last night, I have decided to embrace it fully and surrender myself to the Call of the Swine. This will of course result in significant weight gain and indeed already has, but it’s Winter and I have a big Coat, long Tops and reinforced Underwear when needs must. It also feels liberating, although definitely not when wearing the Underwear, to be able to enjoy food without guilt,if only for a short while. That was the best bit of pregnancy for me,”Bring me that Meat and Potato Pie” I would shout to anyone that would listen.
This following recipe encompasses all of my cravings at the moment. Smoky Fish, a gorgeous rich Cheese sauce and a buttery Mashed Potato top. Heaven on a plate. It is simple but devastatingly good, like all great classics. I am particular (controlling) and always serve it with Petit Pois and Sweetcorn, which I keep frozen, close at hand for just these occasions .You can make it days, weeks ahead and keep in the fridge or freezer until required. I’m going to serve it for Tea on Friday just so I can say its Fishy Friday all day, like I said,I’m bored.
- 280g haddock
- 280g smoked haddock(undyed is best but hey ho)
- 75g butter
- 75g plain flour
- 200g mature cheddar
- 450ml milk
- 1kg mashed potatoes with 50g butter mixed through
I add spinach too sometimes,again from the freezer (4 nuggets)but thawed so as to be able to squeeze out the water before adding to the finished cheese sauce.Serves 6 adults.This is a quite a strongly flavoured Cheese Sauce so perhaps make it with Medium Cheddar for the kidllies.
- Put fish skin side up in a saucepan before covering with milk and bringing to a simmer.
- Simmer for 3 mins and then put fish in a bowl to cool and tip the milk into a jug.
- Melt butter in another saucepan and stir in flour until it forms a buttery,sandy mix.Cook gently for a few mins.
- Pour into saucepan half the reserved milk and stir until the mixture comes up to a simmer-whereupon it will start to thicken fast,you need to be brave here because the mixture usually is full of lumps, but have faith and if you keep stirring hard they will disappear.It is all in the wrist as they say and sometimes you may have to swap hands
- When all the liquid has been absorbed,add all but 50ml of the remaining milk and repeat it all again and when smooth simmer gently for five mins.If it is too thick add the last 50 ml of milk
6.Add all cheese and simmer gently until the cheese has melted into the sauce.Season to taste.
7.Flake the fish into your pie dish,feel as you flake for bones but I bought fillets and there were none but always better to check.
8.Pour over cheese sauce.
9.Cover with Mashed Potatoes and decorate as you wish,I push a spoon in a shell pattern all over mine,traditionalist that I am.
10.Bake in 200 C oven 180 C fan-roasting oven of Aga for about 30-40 mins until golden and bubbling.
11.Apply to Fishy Friday Face.