Friends of mine are constantly sending me pictures of the delicious meals that they have been cooking. I do the same. There is a real sense of pride and achievement when you cook something which tastes and looks wonderful. Unfortunately, a lot of the time there is no one around to fully appreciate it! This blog is for people who want to share their culinary triumphs with everyone else. Email me the recipe and a photo of the finished product on

Second Best Ever Fish Pie

The best EVER fish pie is served at the Red Lion pub on the Isle of Wight. I'm not sure whether it tastes so superb because it is always preceded by a lengthy bike ride, or because it is served in individual cast-iron dishes, with the unctuous sauce bubbling tantalizingly up over the sides through the creamy mashed potato... oops, I just dribbled on my keypad. Or if it is because the pub itself provides such an idyllic location to consume fish pie. In summer, the entire family sprawl ourselves across two tables in the beer garden, basking in the sunshine, sipping cool glasses of white wine as accompaniment. But really, it tastes most delicious when we arrive mid-winter, sodden from the downpour which began almost as soon as we set off, frozen to the bone and whinging, but eagerly anticipating the roaring fire and heart-warming fish pie. Yes, the Red Lion at Freshwater has the best ever fish pie. But, for something a little closer to home, I am almost positive that this is the second best ever fish pie.

450ml semi-skimmed milk
150ml single cream
450g firm white fish fillet such as cod or haddock
225g undyed smoked haddock fillet
200g cooked prawns
2 bayleaves
2 large free-range eggs, hard-boiled, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large leek
80g butter
60g plain flour
4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1.25kg (2 ½ lb) large floury potatoes such as Maris Piper, scrubbed and halved
salt, freshly ground black pepper and freshly grated nutmeg

Preheat the oven 200C/180C/ gas mark 6. Put the potatoes in a large pan of cold, salted water, bring to the boil and then cook for about 20 minutes until soft.

Meanwhile, put the milk, cream, cod and smoked haddock together in a large roasting tin with the bayleaves. Cover with foil and cook in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes until the fish is just cooked through. Lift the fish onto a plate and reserve the liquid. Break the fish into large chunks, discarding any skin and bones. Arrange over the base of a shallow 1.75litre (3 pint) ovenproof dish. Scatter over the eggs and prawns. Put the chopped leek in a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Scatter over the fish and egges.

Melt 50g (2oz) butter in a pan and add the flour and cook for a minute. Off the heat gradually add the cooking liquid from the fish a few tablespoons at a time stirring each addition in and keeping the sauce smooth. Return to the heat and bring to the boil, stirring all the time, then simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Off the heat, add salt, pepper, the parsley and the nutmeg. Pour over the fish.

The potatoes should be ready. Drain them, and mash with some butter, salt and pepper. Arrange over the pie and then place in the oven for 20-25 minutes until it is crisp and golden. It MUST be served with peas!