20cm of snow and -17° drop over night was a bit of a shock. It still takes me a bit of time to adjust to extreme temperatures like this even though I’ve been living through them in different areas for the past few years. One of the biggest things to get used to is the change in clothes…I still think it’s perfectly fine to wear dresses and ballerina shoes until I’m up to my knees in snow and shivering waiting for my train. So, this year, I bought jeans…a real pair and I’m doing the sensible thing by wearing them….some of the time.
The forest and park are very close, so it was easy for us to pop over and get a proper feel for the first snow of the season. My first winter was when I lived in Germany and at that time we drank a lot of Glühwein to keep warm at the Christmas markets. Winter for me tastes and smells like the Christmas Markets, orange & cinnamon lingering around the smell of roasted nuts and the bratwurst.
Glühwein or Mulled wine are very easy to make, most of the ingredients you may already have stacked away somewhere. Although I very rarely have a spare bottle of wine lying around the place…. don’t think that would ever happen. I’ll be putting up my recipe for Glühwein quite soon, there are so many variations that I haven’t quite found my favourite yet.
Fish pie is one of my favourite things to order in a restaurant, if it’s somewhere near a coast that is. In Ireland it’s usually on a lot of menus, so I end up getting it about 3 times or so on a trip home because I know I wont have it for a while. This recipe is one passed on from my mum. I really enjoy cooking and of course eating this recipe, its also a perfect recipe for entertaining, and it wouldn’t really need anything to go with it other than a simple green salad and a nice glass of white wine.
The fish can be varied according to what’s available as long as you have 1kg in total. I feel though that a fish pie always needs some smoked haddock added in, although I had a hard time looking for it, I think it’s really essential in a fish pie because it gives such a nice level of smoky and saltiness to the whole dish.
The sauce in this fish pie is quite creamy, which makes it a really comforting dish, perfect for when the snow has started to fall heavily. There is a layer of spinach between the potato and fish which soaks of all the flavours from the fish and sauce but also still gives that burst of green which I think it needs but in think my favourite part of this pie is the parmesan breadcrumb layer just on top of the potatoes, it gives the perfect crunch to perfect floury mashed potatoes that’s sure to make anyone want another piece.
6 medium sized potatoes
1lb 0r 450g of fish of your choice (cod, haddock, Pangasius etc.)
200g of peeled prawns
55g of butter
4 large spring onions roughly chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1 lemon rind/zest
couple of sprigs of parsley
120ml of single cream
4oog of spinach leaves
1 tsp of olive oil
170g of breadcrumbs
100g of parmesan shavings (or as much as you like to taste)
110ml of wine wine (which is approx a normal glass portion)
Of course, preheat your oven to 190°C / 370°F or gas mark 5
Begin by peeling the potatoes and popping them into a saucepan of cold water, and leave to cook for about 20mins or until soft. While the potatoes are cooking, Melt half of the butter in a pan, add the chopped spring onions, the garlic, half of the lemon zest, parsley and then the cream. Cook gently without boiling for 1-2 mins and then add in the wine and stir.
Chop the fish into chunks and place all of it into a greased oven proof dish, pour the sauce over fish and mix until all the fish is incorporated. Layer the spinach over the fish until it completely covers.
Drain the potatoes, and mash them as you would for mashed potato but try to leave it in chunks rather than a purée. Dollop the potato mash over the spinach and spread it across without lifting the spinach and creating a mess.
In a bowl, melt the remaining butter and add the olive oil. Toss the breadcrumbs about in it so they absorb the butter and oil and then add the remaining zest of the lemon. Add 3/4 of the Parmesan cheese to the breadcrumbs and mix it all together in the bowl and scatter the breadcrumb mixture over the pie. Add remaining Parmesan cheese on top and put into the oven for about 20mins until it’s completely crispy on top.
Eat your fish pie piping hot. The End.
Apple Crumble is always something that’s straight to the point. The topping that I have here makes for more than one crumble, it sits perfectly happy in the freezer for the next time. At this time of year apple is the main ingredient but I really look forward to when rhubarb is in season it’s so bitter and tangy, although apple is always a good substitute when you want things speedy. The nice thing about this recipe is you can add many different handfuls of nuts or seeds to this to give it a nice bite e.g. almonds, pumpkin seeds pistachios…
This recipe is crazy easy, it’s done before you even know it, especially if you have pre-made the crumble. So, no flies on you if someone pops by for a coffee.
450g of flour plain
115g of butter
220g of porridge oats
50g of ground almonds
30g of sugar
5 cooking apples
2 tsp of cinnamon
Preheat oven to 175°C/345°F or gas mark 4.
Sieve flour into a large mixing bowl with the porridge oats. Cut up the butter into cubes and rub it into the oats and flour with your fingers, making sure there are no large lumps of butter left. Mix in the sugar, almonds or whatever extra dry ingredients you may want to add.
Chop up apples into slices, add the cinnamon and stir it around apples until completely covered. Transfer apples into an oven proof dish. Pour flour mixture over the apples. Try not having a very thick layer as this will soak up all of the apples juices.
Sprinkle sugar on top and bake in the oven for about 30mins, or until the fruit is soft and the crumble is crunchy.
Serve with some cream or Crème fraîche for a lighter choice.