Fish Pie Made Easy

Fish Pie

I tend to whine about fish. Not all fish, mainly fish in Israel. It’s just not great, and you can see in my archives that I don’t have a whole lot of recipes because I’m never very inspired by the fish available here. The flipside is that I love eating fish.

Watch any British cooking show and the famous Fish Pie will often make an appearance. I’ve always like the idea of a fish pie because it’s a good way to disguise fish that isn’t magnificent. The classic English fish pie features wonderful smoked haddock. It’s easy to find in the UK and in South Africa, but certainly not in any stores in Israel, and I imagine that you’d have to go to a specialty store in the US to find it. Having been put off from trying to make a fish pie for this reason for years, I recently decided to just give it a go. I messed about with a few recipes, and the result was a very tasty and colorful fish pie. I happily now have an additional fish dish in my repertoire and it’s a crowd pleaser too.

With winter just around the corner, this is a good recipe to have on hand and it firmly fall into the comfort food category.

Ingredients

1 kg potatoes

3-4 tablespoons butter

1 carrot very finely diced

2 sticks celery very finely diced

Olive oil

150 g good-quality Cheddar cheese

Juice of 1 lemon

½ fresh red chilli finely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

400 g skinned salmon fillets

400 g skinned fillets of a firm white fish – hake/bass/meagre (if you live in a country where you can get smoked haddock, use haddock)

200 g fake shrimp (optional). If you can’t get hold of this product in your supermarket, increase the quantity of the fish in equal parts.

2 ripe tomatoes , quartered

Salt and Pepper

1 beaten egg

How to do it

  1. Peel and cut the potatoes into chunks. Add them to a large pot of cold salted water. Bring the water to a boil, and simmer until the potatoes are fully cooked through (when you pierce them with a fork they will easily yield.  Drain the water off. In the same pot, add the butter, salt and pepper and mash together until smooth. You can also use olive oil instead of butter if you’re feeling healthy. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, saute the vegetables in a pan in some olive oil until soft.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)

    Fish mixture

    Fish mixture

  4. Lightly grease a deep oven proof dish. Cut the fishes into bite size chunks and mix them in a large mixing bowl. Add the sauteed vegetables, cheese, chilli, parsley, lemon juice, tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil over all of it. Grind some black pepper and salt over the top and mix it all together. Spread evenly into the baking dish.
  5. Spread the mashed potatoes over the top of the fish mixture. Brush the top of the potato with some beaten egg.
  6. Bake for 40 minutes.

Serves about 6.

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A Decadent Lemon Cake for your Succot Entertaining

Triple Layer Lemon Cake

Succot is almost here. It’s the week of non-stop entertaining, or, if you’re lucky, getting invited out and maybe having to make one thing for the meal. I love it when that happens to me because that’s when I get to invest a lot of energy in one dish that takes too much time to make when you’ve got a whole meal on your cooking agenda.

Lemon cakes are a favorite of mine. Their sweet tartness is the perfect way to round off a meal. This is a cake I eyed in the Better Home and Gardens New Cook Book for a very long time before taking it on because it is quite a bit of work. But if you’ve got something to celebrate, it’s a winner. I made this as a birthday cake for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday. It’s that kind of cake. I had made a dairy meal, which after all the meat eating we’ve been doing over Rosh Hashana is not a bad idea at all, and it was the perfect dessert.

Don’t be put off by the fact that it’s 3 layers – it makes it fun and it just means an extra round of baking if you have a European-sized oven, as I do. Make your own lemon curd – it’s not difficult and it’s so good when it’s fresh and home made. You can make it ahead of time and refrigerate it.

The result is a large, festive and delicious cake that feeds a whole bunch of people.

TRIPLE LAYER LEMON CAKE

Lemon Curd

Ingredients

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon corn flour

1½ teaspoons lemon zest

3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

3 tablespoons water

3 beaten egg yolks

¼ cup butter

How to do it

Le,on Cake Stacked and awaiting frosting

Stacked and awaiting frosting

  1. In a small saucepan, stip together the sugar, cornflour, lemon juice, zest and water until you have a smooth mixture.
  2. Cook over medium heat until the mixture has thickened and is bubbling.
  3. Beat the yolks in a small bowl. Add half the lemon mixture to the bowl while stirring vigorously so that the yolks don’t curdle. When well combined, add the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over medium heat while constantly stirring until the mixture comes to a gentle boil (medium-sized bubbles). Continue cooking for a another 2-3 minutes until the mixture is nice and thick.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the butter, stirring until it’s fully melted.
  5. Cover the whole surface of the curd with plastic wrap – the plastic should be touching the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for an hour or overnight if you want to make this ahead of time. If you do, when you take it out the next day, give it a good stir to loosen it up again.

Cake

Ingredients

1 cup butter

2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 1/3 cups flour

1½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

2 teaspoons lemon zest

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 cup buttermilk

How to do it

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
  2. Line 3 20 or 22 cm (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans with baking paper and spray them with non-stick spray. If you only have 2 then prepare them and you will keep aside one third of the cake mix and bake the third layer separately.
  3. In an electric mixer beat the butter for 30 second till softened. Add the lemon zest, juice and sugar and beat until well combined.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time on high speed till very well mixed – mixture should be fluffy.
  5. Turn the mixer down to low speed, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt alternately with the buttermilk, beating until just combined.
  6. Spread the mixture evenly between the baking pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the layers on a cake rack for 15 minutes then turn them out and cool completely so they are ready for assembly.

    The cut lemon cake

    The cut cake

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

Ingredients

180g (6 oz) cream cheese (at least 25% fat)

½ cup softened butter

1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

Up to 4¾ cups powdered sugar

How to do it

  1. In a mixer, beat the cheese, butter and lemon juice on medium speed until light and fluffy
  2. Slowly add the powdered sugar until you have a good spreading consistency – the mixture should clump around the beater but be soft to the touch. It must not be running in any way.

Assembling the cake

  1. Turn out two of the cake layers, bottom side up (flat side). Give the lemon curd a mix so it’s spreadable and spread half the curd on the first layer. Place the second layer of cake round side down on top of the first. Spread the rest of the curd on top of that layer. Place the third layer round side up on top of the 2 layers.
  2. Frost the top and sides of the cake.