It’s pretty much guaranteed with every single one of my recipes that none of the resulting grub will ever be as tasty as mum’s version. My chicken soup is slowly getting there and I’ve upped my Spanakopita game since investing in a pastry brush (slash used my boyfriend’s old shaving brush); but I’ve still got a hell of a way to go.
Fish Pie is one of those dishes that, no matter how much I try, my homemade dinner will always taste a little off. Not off in a shit-your-pants way, just off in a; “it just doesn’t taste like it did at home”, kind of way. The unnerving feeling was even more pronounced the first time I dived into the dish after my year-long hiatus from fish pie (amongst most other foods). I skilfully dodged my childhood favourite for the entirety of my illness, and as of a couple of months ago, was reluctant to reintroduce it into my repertoire of culinary experiences. Until, that is, I wasn’t the one cooking it.
Sitting down to dinner at mum’s, faced with a piping hot dish of creamy fish and buttery mash (two of my arch enemies, pre 2016), there was an undeniable weariness in the expression on my mother’s face. Even after all this time, there’s a silent terror that haunts the dinner table; a question which remains in the air like week-old rubbish. Will she eat it? Unlike many times before, when I’d avoid the potato topping as if it were arsenic and scrape off any trace of semi-skimmed milk from the chunks of fish, this time I did eat it. ALL of it.
Over the past few months I’ve developed my own, unique take on the British comfort food. Sometimes I even use TWO different types of potatoes. Like with many of the foods I rejected during my period of disordered eating, my carb-dodging meant that I missed out on a tragic amount of dinner-induced pleasure. It’s only after I consciously re-coupled with all foods that I realised going without ANY food for basically no reason at all was in no way worth it. These days, my relationship with fish pie is far simpler. I cook it. I eat it. I enjoy it. I complain that it’s not as good as mum’s. Then the next week, I do it all over again.
- 900g skinned fish (haddock, salmon,cod)
- 350ml milk
- Olive oil
- 2 knobs of butter
- 50g plain, white flour
- 2 tbsp fresh parsley
- 200g fresh or frozen prawns
- 2 handfuls frozen peas
- 4 leeks, washed and chopped roughly
- 4 sweet potatoes (skin-on)
250g carrots, peeled