At the weekend we decided on a day trip to the seaside – in all fairness we don’t need much persuading if we have somewhere in mind that has shellfish so off we set to Mersea for the day. With the warmth on our backs and the kids happy because we borrowed a dog from my parents (in the attempt to persuade Mr K we need one) off we went for a walk on the beach. After building up a great appetite (isn’t it amazing how a couple of tennis balls and a dog can do that – not eating the dog I hasten to add but the exercise required) we set off for West Mersea to buy some oysters and whatever else we could find at the Fish shed that day. I can’t show you a photo of what we bought as it soon disappeared when we got home.
Suffice to say it involved oysters, mussels, prawns and crabs and was absolutely delicious (and I love the fact that two of my children (7 and 10) tuck into it with as much gusto as us, it’s a bit much to ask the three year old to eat oysters but she’s rather partial to the rest of it). Astonishingly we had a little left over so decided a fish pie was in order the next day.
This is a syn free version if you use the cheese topping as a HEX A and I make enough to feed a small army as there are a few stages. However, you could leave out some of the bits and bobs if you want to – it just adds a bit more luxury if you keep them in – not to mention giving you the extra veggies. I used the extra brown meat from the crab as you can see sprinkled over the top of the fish mix and I can confirm as well as the prawn there are a couple of mussels lurking somewhere.
Mersea Inspired Fish Pie – probably will feed 6 adults – SYN FREE (or syn cheese if not using as a HEX A)
White firm fish
Smoked fish – I used dyed haddock as I couldn’t find natural dyed but you can see quantities Prawns, mussels, crab meat – in fact, whatever else you like
1 onion, chopped
4 carrots, chopped
3 sticks celery, chopped
handful parsley, chopped
1 tsp English mustard or powder
4 eggs, boiled
Bag spinach, wilted
1 lemon, juiced
1 large tub fat free fromage frais or fat free crème fraiche
6 large potatoes, mashed
180g cheddar cheese, grated
Fry off onion, carrots and celery without colouring for about 5 mins
Leave this to cool while you boil eggs – I do this in a pan with a steamer over the top and steam the spinach at the same time.
When the veg mix is warm stir in HALF of the fromage frais, all of the lemon juice and mustard (remember, if you add fromage frais to a hot mix it will split – if using crème fraiche you won’t have that problem), and season
Layer the uncooked fish in the bottom of a dish, then the eggs and spinach, followed by the veg and fromage frais mixture.
Boil potatoes and mash and then add plenty of seasoning and the remaining half of the fromage frais, I always add a splash of milk at this stage to loosen it a little more, but this is not necessary if you don’t have HEX A left or syn this.
Leave it rough and ready or make a pretty pattern on the top (as my eldest likes to do using the back of a spoon work towards you pressing gently), then sprinkle with cheese (TIP: use the smallest side of the grater as this will go further).
Pop it into a 180 degree Celcius oven for around 30-45 minutes and hey presto – enough to feed an army!