What drives a desire to cook? What is the initial reason that someone decides that making the food they eat is rewarding? Who decided that the time taken to prepare a meal for themselves (or their family and friends) was better than going out to a restaurant, or ordering in take away?
These days we have so many options, that don’t cost that much, which means that cooking can become irrelevant. With delivery services coming out of our ears, and restaurants within reaching distance, what is it about home cooking that just makes sense?
I know my reasons for cooking, and my reasons for the days when I don’t. I know that a lot of my decision to cook my own food comes down to having a craving for something that just won’t be satiated from eating out or a delivery service. There are certain dishes that bring nostalgia, as you would have read previously, that just can’t be beaten – no matter how many Michelin stars a restaurant has.
And that’s how I feel about the dish tonight. I’ve had fish pie in many restaurants, as it is something I love. But, I struggle with how creamy and rich restaurant fish pies can be. I can’t handle that much cream in a dish, I’m too used to skimmed milk and 0% yoghurt that it just doesn’t agree with me.
A long time ago, during my university years, I got into making a healthier version of fish pie – using skimmed milk and cornstarch. It has been a while since I made a fish pie, I can’t remember the last time I made it, to be honest. I remember making it for friends during my Masters degree, but I’m sure I’ve made it since then. Who knows?
The beauty of fish pie is you can literally add any seafood you want. I had a whole bunch of frozen fish fillets in the freezer that I wanted to use. So I simply bought some prawns to add to the two barramundi fillets, one salmon fillet, and one haddock fillet. I also had a leek in the fridge – kindly donated by a friend as she wasn’t using all of the ones she’d bought. Instead of mashed potato on top, I opted to use the cauliflower that desperately needed using in my fridge.
I have a tendency to buy things, especially vegetables, and then only use half of what I bought… so I try to use up the things in my fridge when I can. I hate food waste, and I can always find something to make using the ingredients I have in the house. Although, there have been days when my fridge has only had chutneys, sauces and cheese. Those are days when I realise it’s time to do a food shop.
Now today’s fish pie does require three different pots and pans, so in my tiny kitchen, this required a bit of juggling around with other equipment, and utilising a stool that is usually under the dining table. However, it is an easy recipe to carry out – and so delicious, I do say so myself.
One of the best things, besides how good it tastes, is that each serving is only 3 WeightWatchers Smart Points! Thanks to cauliflower and seafood being worth 0 points, this fish pie is as healthy as it gets.
So, without further ramblings about why we choose to cook, here is my healthy fish pie recipe.
1 medium cauliflower, chopped into florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large leek, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
100 ml white wine
250 ml vegetable stock
1 tablespoon corn starch
2 tablespoons skimmed milk
200 g salmon fillet
300 g barramundi fillet
150 g haddock fillet
200 g shrimps, uncooked
- Preheat the oven to 190°C.
- Add cauliflower to a pan of boiling water and cook for 20 minutes, until the cauliflower is soft. Drain, season with salt and pepper, and mash. Set aside.
- In a deep frying pan, sweat the leek and garlic with the olive oil for 3 minutes. Add the wine and stock and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix the corn flour with a tablespoon of water, then add to the leeks, along with the skimmed milk.
- Mix well, and turn the heat down low.
- In a separate pan, cook all of the raw seafood for a few minutes, to get some colour.
- Add the fish to the leeks, and combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Pour the fish and leek mixture into an oven-proof baking dish.
- Cover with the mashed cauliflower. Then transfer to the oven for 30 minutes, or until the top starts to go golden brown.
- Serve immediately.