Thursday, 21 February 2013

Of horses, ready meals and proper food

I thought I'd give you a little update on the horse meat scandal that I wrote about a little while ago (please click here if you missed it).  Companies in Germany, France and the UK have withdrawn further products from sale, either because they have already tested positive for horse meat or as a precaution (the majority of further products tested negative).  Worryingly though, some hospital and school food has also been found to be containing horse.  I would have thought that a weakened or young body needs the best nutrition but maybe that's a lot to ask when the money just isn't there (as is the case in UK hospitals & schools).  What a shame that it all boils down to money in the end :-(

Talking of money, I had to laugh the other day when I saw the TV advert of a fast food company.  Here they were, shouting about the great value of their family meal for £19.99.  It was pizza, potato wedges and a large bottle of soft drink - all for four people (I am assuming 2 adults and 2 kids).  I am sorry but you can cook a perfectly lovely meal for 4 people for far less than that!  I'm not sure if I am angry, frustrated or just bemused by the ad - maybe a bit of everything.  How do you feel about this?

Fish pie...
So, in order to prove my point, here is today's recipe - a yummy fish pie!  I reckon you can make this for four people for half the price of the fast food meal, even when buying sustainably sourced fish.  Plus, it'll be nutritious and tasty!

Fish Pie (serves 4)

350g smoked haddock, skinless (or any other smoked fish)
250g salmon filets, skinless (again, you can use other fish such as coley, whiting,...)
1 small onion (diced) or leek (cut into small rings)
1 carrot, cut into small dice
2 bay leaves
1/2 vegetable stock cube
25g butter
2 tbsp plain flour
250ml milk (plus some water if there isn't enough liquid to poach to fish)
salt & pepper

For the topping:
600g potatoes, peeled & cut into cubes
some milk & butter
a little nutmeg
25g grated cheese

  1. Put the fish into a large saucepan, adding the milk, onion, carrot, bay leaves and stock cube.
  2. Bring to a gentle simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and set aside to infuse a little (this brings out the smokey flavour really nicely which for me is the key to a good fish pie).
  3. Preheat the oven to 200c (conventional oven).
  4. Peel & cut the potatoes and cook until soft, then mash with a little butter and milk and some nutmeg (optional).
  5. Take the fish out of the liquid, drain well and cut into chunks - you will need the poaching liquid (without the bay leaves - please remove for next step) for the sauce.
  6. In a small saucepan, heat 25g of butter until frothing.  Stirring constantly, add the flour and then gradually pour in the poaching liquid.  Keep stirring to avoid lumps.  You also want the sauce to be quite thick.  If there is too much liquid and the sauce doesn't thicken enough, simply mix a spoonful of cornflour with some water and add to the sauce - that should do the trick.
  7. In an ovenproof dish, add a little of the sauce to the bottom of the dish, top with the fish cubes and pour over the remaining sauce.
  8. Top with mash potato and finish off with a sprinkling of grated cheese.
  9. Bake in the oven for about 20 - 25 minutes or until the top is crispy.
 Serve with steamed vegetables or a green salad.  Yum!

Variations:  Why not try adding a dash of white wine, a bit of double cream, some fresh parsley or a handful of frozen peas to the sauce?


  1. Hi Kirsten I thought you'd be interested to know the major supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths/Safeway in Australia are checking their respective products for any horse or donkey meat? It's mind boggling really! BTW I'm going to give your Fish Pie a go but I'm going to use a can of Sirena Tuna and I'll let you know how it goes. My huz had a bad experience with another fish pie a long time ago but I reckon this one will change his mind. If it doesn't I'll have it all to myself over a few nights :-)

    1. Wow - I hadn't realised that this issue is now so far reaching. Let's hope they don't find any horse/donkey!
      Fingers crossed for the fish pie - I hope your husband enjoys it. If you use canned tuna, you can skip the poaching bit but maybe use the liquid from the can to add to your sauce. But you were probably going to do that anyway :-) Kirsten x

  2. Kirsten I hope the following link works. I just thought it would be of interest to you :-)

    1. Brilliant - thank you! The link works & I will read this later on. Thanks again! Kirsten x