Fish Pie

21 06 2011

We’d not had much fish recently, so I did a fish pie at the weekend.



Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Par-boil the potatoes for mashing. While they are on, grease an oven dish and flake the fish into it. Boil the onion and peas together and add to the fish.

Make the parsley sauce by bringing the milk to a simmering point in a pan, then adding the onion, parsley, flour and butter. Do not combine the flour and butter before you add to the milk! Keep stirring the simmering mixture until it thickens up. You can either pour the mixture straight into the oven dish or strain it first.

Mix the contents of the oven dish together well and spread evenly.

Mash the potato with a couple of tablespoons of milk and cover the fish with it evenly. I find the easiest way to do this is by taking a spoonful of mash and smoothing it off the spoon onto the pie with the back of a fork. Spread the top with a thin layer of butter/margarine. Grate cheese evenly over the top of the mash and put the dish in the oven for about half an hour.

When it’s done, the top should be golden and crispy and the fish should be thoroughly cooked.



24 05 2011

Today, I have a large dollop of mayonnaise in my lunch box.

We get through quite a lot of mayonnaise in our house. At the end of last year we obtained half a bucket of it from a café that was closing down and we got through it in no time. It was gorgeous – the kind of mayonnaise that you get when you go out for a meal, not the kind that’s available in the supermarkets. We’ve got through a good few jars of it since that ran out, attested by the mass of empty jars in the cupboard waiting to be re-used. We also get through masses of ketchup and BBQ sauce.

In some cases, my lunch box being a case in point, I think the sauces are being used to make up for slightly flavourless cooking. I have left-over mash and peas in my lunch box and, while they were nice in the context of mince and Yorkshire puddings, they are not that nice on their own. It’s not a particularly bland mash (see here), it’s just not very appetising.

I’d like to have a go at making some sauces in bulk and jarring them up at home. To be quite honest, I don’t have a clue what BBQ sauce is even made of and I don’t know what’s in ketchup beyond tomato and sugar. It would also be interesting to see how much bang we get for our buck, so below are the prices of the sauces we are currently buying. At first glance, it looks as though there may not be an awful lot to be saved on mayonnaise at least.

Sauce Price
Mayonnaise 7.6p/100ml
Ketchup 10.0p/100g
BBQ Sauce 31.3p/100g

So, what goes into each of these sauces?

There seem to be quite a few different recipes for mayonnaise out there, but the common ingredients seem to be eggs, oil (various kinds have featured), lemon juice or vinegar, some kind of mustard and salt & pepper.

The tomato ketchup making taking some experimenting with. The recipes I have seen so far required large quantities of fresh tomatoes, which we are unlikely to have. We can, however, get tinned ones at 77.5p/kg. We will also be needing sugar, which we should be able to get at 82p/kg. There don’t actually seem to be any other ingredients common to all the recipes and the quantities of sugar required seem to vary enormously.

BBQ sauce recipes seem to vary massively, so the most sensible starting point would seem to be the ingredients of the product we’re currently buying (see below), which sounds rather costly. Another experiment, or perhaps we need to just make up our own.

Water, Sugar, Concentrated Tomato Purée (14%), Glucose-Fructose Syrup, Cane Molasses, Spirit Vinegar, Modified Maize Starch, Red Wine Vinegar, Apple Purée, Salt, Natural Flavouring, Smoke Flavouring, Preservatives (Sodium Metabisulphite, Sulphur Dioxide)

I will try to fit this in over the weekend and post an update and, hopefully, some results! I suspect it’s something we’re not going to save much money on, but it’ll be fun, maybe healthier and, who knows? We may end up with something we prefer to commercially-available brands.

It would be great to hear other people’s sauce experiences and recipes!


The mash was made by finely chopping, but not peeling, the potatoes and par-boiling them. I then didn’t drain them, but just added a dash of milk and a few spoons full of stock from the mince I was cooking.

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