Smoked-Fish Pie with Hard-boiled Eggs
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C, 350°F, Gas 4.
Place the pieces of skinned fish in a wide saute pan or frying pan, add the quartered onion and the bay leaf and pour over the milk. Bring the milk up to a light boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 8 minutes until the fish is just cooked.
Remove the fish from the milk and place on a plate. Using a fork, flake the fish into nice chunky pieces, then spread out in an ovenproof dish, about 22cm (8½in) square or smaller individual dishes. Pour the milk through a sieve into a jug and set aside.
To make the mashed potatoes, first clean the floury potatoes, but do not peel them. Place in a saucepan of cold water with a good pinch of salt.
Bring the water up to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Then pour out all but about 4cm (1½in) of the water and continue to cook the potatoes on a very low heat. Do not be tempted to stick a knife into them - the skins will break and they will just break up and get soggy if you do. About 20 minutes later, when you think the potatoes might be cooked, test them with a skewer. If they are soft, take them off the heat.
Peel the potatoes while they are still hot, holding them in a tea towel to prevent scalding your hands. Mash them immediately. Add the butter, but don't add any milk until they are free of lumps. When the potatoes are mashed, add the boiling milk - you may not need it all, or you may need more, depending on the texture of the potatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To boil the eggs, bring a small pot of water to a gentle boil, then carefully lower the eggs in and boil for just 8 minutes. Drain and cool the eggs under cold water. Peel the eggs, cut into chunks of about 2cm (¬in) and place on top of the fish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley.
Next make the white sauce. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, stir in the plain flour and cook for 1 minute over a moderate heat. Gradually add all the fish poaching milk, whisking all the time, and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes, stirring until you have a smooth, slightly thick sauce.
Remove from the heat, season with salt, the freshly ground pepper and the grated nutmeg, then pour over the fish and eggs in the dish.
Arrange the mashed potato over the top of the sauce, score it with a fork and sprinkle with the grated cheese. Place in the oven and cook for about 30 minutes, until bubbling and golden on top.
Seafood fish pie
In the above recipe, add 200g (7oz) raw peeled langoustines or prawns to the baking dish along with the poached fish.
Salmon and dill fish pie
Replace all of the fish in the smoked fish pie recipe with 700g (1½lb) skinless salmon fillets, and use fresh dill instead of the parsley.
Fish pie with leek and mushrooms
Place 50g (2 oz) butter in a frying pan and on a medium heat, when melted, add 200g (7 oz) sliced leeks and 350g (11oz) sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, then cook for 5-10 minutes until soft.
Set aside and allow to cool, then make the smoked-fish pie recipe and add the leeks and mushrooms in to the baking dish along with the poached fish.