I was asked to make a fish pie for ITV This Morning ‘with a Cornish element to it’, so I opted for a healthy dollop of Cornish Yarg in the mash. Yarg is one of my favourite cheeses; it was brought to prominence by a couple called Alan and Jenny Gray (Yarg is ‘Gray’ backwards!) around 30 years ago, after they found a recipe dating from 1615 in a dusty old book in the attic. I love a bit of foodie folklore, so I happily went and found some, but if you can’t get hold of it, you can use a blend of mature cheddar and Caerphilly for a similar flavour. Also, the lovely Gemma in makeup did my HAIR AND LOOK AT IT!!
(Back to the fish pie, sorry!)
Serves 4-6 from £1.11 per head
800g white potatoes with skin, 40p (£1/2kg, Farm Stores at Asda)
100g butter, 58p (£1.45/250g, Smartprice at Asda)
120g Cornish Yarg, £2.56 (£5/235g, Waitrose)
100g sliced leek, 14p (99p/700g, frozen at Asda)
2 sticks celery, 5p (50p/10 stalks, Asda)
100g streaky bacon, finely chopped (£1/600g cooking bacon, Farm Stores at Asda)
1 tbsp cooking oil, 2p (£1.09/1l, Asda)
500g mixed fish, £2.50 (£5/1kg, frozen at Asda)
400ml whole milk, 20p (49p/litre, Asda)
2 cloves, <1p (84p/31g, Asda)
1 tsp mixed dried herbs, <1p (30p/18g, Smartprice at Asda)
25g flour, <1p (45p/1.5kg, SmartPrice at Asda)
25ml oil, 3p
1 tsp english mustard, <1p (35p/185g, Asda)
Plenty of black pepper
Finely dice your potatoes and place in a pan of generously salted water. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes until very soft. Strain and set to one side. Leave the skin on mine, because it’s easier, there are lots of vitamins hiding just below the surface, and it’s cheaper, too. And you get some good rough texture for your mash top. If you really can’t bear the thought, feel free to peel them, but you’ll be missing a treat!
While the potatoes are simmering, finely slice your leeks and celery and add to a second pan with the bacon and a tablespoon of oil. Fry on a medium heat until the veg is softened and the bacon is cooked. Add your fish, along with the cloves, herbs and pepper. Cover with the milk, and poach gently on a medium-low heat – you don’t want the milk to boil over and spoil so err on the side of gentle here. There’s a lot going on at the same time here but it all comes together at once, so try to keep your wits about you!
In a small bowl, jug or mug, mix your flour and oil with the mustard and a little of the hot poaching milk to make a slurry, beating to a smooth liquid. Pour it over the fish and veg, stirring it in gently so as not to break the fish up too much.
Drain the potatoes and mash thoroughly with the butter and half the cheese. Season generously with pepper.
Spoon the fish, bacon, veg and sauce into your dish. Add most of the remaining cheese. Spoon the mash over the top, and scatter any remaining cheese on top. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 minutes, until the mash is crisp in places and the cheese is golden.
This fish pie recipe was based on one from A Girl Called Jack, which is available here