Tag Archives: Bay Leaf

Simple Fish Pie

Fish Pie

Yes I know it seems like all I ever eat is pie.. But this is more like fish with mashed potato 🙂

Its a sad day when I make Fish Pie for one but that’s what I wanted for dinner and I was on my own so I decided to make an individual pie in one of my terracotta baking dishes, they really are handy as everything get cooked through and it retains its heat for a long time so even if you are a slow eater it stays hot unlike when you ladle a dollop of pie onto a plate and its cold in 5 minutes!


Ingredients (for 1)

  • 100 Grams Firm White Fish (I used Hake which I don’t recommend! Pollock or Coley work well or Line Caught Cod)
  • 10 Smallish Prawns (not tiny Shrimp but not Jumbo either-I used Frozen)
  • 10 Mussels, out of their shells, cooked (I used Frozen)
  • 10 Capers, drained of their brine
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Parsley
  • 15 grams Butter
  • 15 grams Plain White Flour
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1 Portion of Mashed Potato
  • 1/2 tsp Paprika
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 15 grams Cheddar, grated
  • 1 Egg Yolk
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 5 grams MORE Butter!


  1. If using frozen shell fish- allow these to thaw
  2. Place White Fish in a pan with Milk & Bay Leaf, season lightly. Poach over low heat with lid on until fish is JUST turned white
  3. Remove Fish to a plate and allow to cool. Reserve Milk for your sauce (discard Bay Leaf)!
  4. In a small saucepan melt Butter with Flour until you have a Roux
  5. Slowly add the Milk (used to poach the fish) whisking until it is all incorporated. Bring to the boil & reduce till a simmer, stirring till thickened.
  6. Remove from heat
  7. Flake White Fish
  8. Add White Fish, Prawns, Mussels, Capers, Parsley & remaining Butter- mix well (but gently you don’t want to break the fish up)
  9. Sprinkle over Paprika
  10. Season to Taste
  11. Prepare your Mashed Potato, I just add Butter & Seasoning. Then stir in 1 Egg Yolk!


White Sauce


  • Preheat Oven to Gas Mark 6
  • Grease your individual casserole dish with Butter or Olive Oil
  • Spoon in filling
  • Using a piping bag pipe over Mashed Potato (or spoon it on then fork over the top to create peaks)
  • Sprinkle over grated cheese
  • Bake in the oven for approx 25-30 mins till Golden & Bubbling (remember your ingredients were all cooked through anyway!)


This was a simple fish pie using the ingredients I had in the fridge, freezer & cupboards.

If you want to make a special fish pie I would (and do generally!) add the following:

  • A Flaked Smoked Fish Fillet- I normally use Smoked Haddock but you could use Smoked Salmon
  • 1/2 a Chopped Boiled Egg Per person
  • 2 Chopped Cornichons Per Person
  • Some Fresh Dill/Tarragon or Chervil

Please note my piping is atrocious in the photos I need a new piping set & I was using a children’s one! If you pipe the mash it goes really crispy, ditto the egg yolk makes the mash really crisp!


Chicken Stock, Chicken Soup & Chicken Sandwich Recipes

Soup & Crusty Bread

Last week I was feeling a bit under the weather so I decided to make a nice Chicken Soup, including my own Chicken Stock


For Chicken Stock

  • 900g Raw Chicken Necks (or you could use any other cheap parts- Wing Tips etc)
  • 1 Onion, quartered
  • 1 Carrot, Snapped in half
  • 2 Celery Sticks, Snapped in half
  • A few sprigs of fresh Parsley
  • 8 Black Peppercorns
  • Pinch of Rock Salt (Kosher Salt)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Water
  • 2 Tbs Butter
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil


  1. Heat Butter & Olive Oil in a large pan
  2. Add Chicken Pieces & fry until golden
  3. Add Vegetables, Herbs, Salt & Pepper
  4. Add enough Hot Water to just cover ingredients
  5. Bring to the Boil & skim off any ‘scum’ that rises to the surface
  6. Reduce heat & Simmer for approx 1.5 hrs with the lid on
  7. Taste & add more Salt if necessary
  8. Allow to cool & pour through a sieve (discard veg & chicken bones)
  9. This can be used immediately, frozen or stored in the fridge for 3 days (once cool you can scrape off any fat that solidifies on the surface)

Chicken Necks

Bubble Bubble

Skim Skim Skim

Ingredients (serves 4)

For Chicken Chowder Soup

  • 2 Chicken Breasts, Cooked & Shredded (I poached mine in the same pan I was making the Stock in)
  • 25 Grams Butter
  • 25 Grams Corn Flour (or Plain White Flour)
  • 2 Bacon Rashers, diced
  • 1 Potato, diced
  • 1 Onion, diced
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 Cups Chicken Stock
  • 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Tbs Fresh Chervil
  • 1 Small Tin Sweet Corn Kernels, drained (I didn’t have any but I wanted to add them!)
  • Salt & Pepper


  1. Melt Butter in a heavy based saucepan
  2. Fry Bacon till brown
  3. Add Potatoes & Onions, fry gently for 2 mins (do not allow to colour)
  4. Add Flour & mix well to coat ingredients in the pan
  5. Add Stock slowly, mixing well to avoid lumps
  6. Add Milk & Cream
  7. Bring to the boil stirring well until thickened
  8. Reduce heat to low & cook until Potatoes are done
  9. Add Chicken & Sweet Corn, stir well
  10. Season to taste
  11. Garnish with Parsley & Chervil or Chives if you have some!
  12. Serve with Crusty Bread

Chicken Breasts (for soup)


Close Up


After cooking I used my Stick Blender to roughly blend my soup- the blended Chicken & Potatoes made it quite thick so I added a little extra Water


I had some leftover Chicken as my 2 Chicken Breasts were HUGE and I didn’t want to put it all in the Soup so I used this to make my sandwich filling for the next day- Chicken, Bacon & Avocado.


For Chicken Sandwich

  • Shredded Chicken Breast (leftover from Soup Making)
  • Crispy Bacon, diced (also leftover from Soup Making)
  • 1/2 Ripe Avocado, diced
  • 3 Basil Leaves, Torn
  • Mayonnaise, to bind mixture
  • Salt & Pepper, to Taste
  • Iceberg Lettuce, Shredded
  • Toasted Crusty Bread


  1. Mix all ingredients well
  2. Fill Toasted Bread slices
  3. Enjoy 🙂

Friendly Creature 🙂


There are lots of different recipes for Moussaka available- some with Potato, some without Potato. Some with Potato on top, some with Potato at the bottom. Some have Lamb, some have Beef.. Its a bit like Lasagne in that respect- everyone has ‘their’ version & these recipes create much debate on food forums across the internet! Well I don’t claim to know the answer, I have simply put together the bits I like and left outs the bits I’m not so keen on & hopefully I have made it look simple as its not a very difficult dish to prepare but lots of recipes for it that I have read seem a bit daunting.. Let me know what you think!

Mini Cocotte


Ingredients (Serves 4-6 Depending on your Greed!)

4 Potatoes, Par Boiled & Sliced into Rounds

500g Lamb Mince (use Beef if preferred)
2 Medium Yellow Onions, Finely Chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, Finely Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Parsley, Chopped
1 Tbsp Fresh Mint, Chopped
1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ground All Spice
1/4 tsp Ground Cumin
1/3 Cup/80ml Red Wine
1/2 Cup Lamb (or Beef) Stock
1 Cup Tinned Tomatoes, Chopped
2 Tbs Tomato Puree
Salt & Pepper, to Taste

More Chop Chopping!

For The Bechamel Topping

35g Butter
35g Plain White Flour
275ml Whole Milk
1/4 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
1 Large Egg
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbs Parmesan, Grated

For The Aubergines:

  • First you need to remove any bitterness that may be lurking in the Aubergines- to do this, remove the stalks (leave the skin on) and slice them lengthways into 1cm thick pieces
  • Place these into a colander & sprinkle with salt
  • Put a small plate on top of the aubergines & something heavy on top of the plate (I used a small heavy bottomed saucepan)
  • Put a plate under the colander to collect the liquid from the Aubergines- Leave them for one hour
  • Pre Heat the Oven to Gas Mark 7, 220oc
  • Rinse the Aubergines & dry thoroughly with a clean tea towel
  • Cover a baking sheet with the Aubergine Slices, drizzle with 1 Tbs of Olive Oil & place them in the oven for 30 mins
  • Remove to a plate lined with Paper Towels to absorb excess oil


Bye Bye Bitterness


For The Meat Sauce:

  • Heat a Large frying pan & brown Lamb Mince (I didn’t use any Oil as the Lamb releases fat as its cooking)
  • Tip the Lamb into a colander & let the excess fat drain off
  • Meanwhile tip the Onions & Garlic into the pan you just fried the Mince in & gently soften in the residual oil
  • Tip the Lamb back into the pan with the Onions & Garlic- stir well to combine
  • Add the Fresh & Dried Herbs/Spices
  • Add the Tinned Tomatoes & Tomato Puree
  • Add the Red Wine & Lamb Stock
  • Season to Taste & simmer for 20 mins or until almost all of the Liquid has evaporated
  • Set aside for later

Good Consistency

For The Topping

  • Place Flour, Butter, Bay Leaf & Nutmeg in a pan- Slowly using a Whisk add the Milk, keep whisking until smooth & thickened
  • Turn the heat to Low, cook for 5 mins- Throw away the Bay Leaf & Season with Salt & Pepper
  • Place to one side to cool slightly, then Whisk in the Egg till perfectly combined


  • Preheat Oven to Gas Mark 5, 190oc
  • Line the base of your Casserole Dish with a layer of Potatoes
  • Cover the Potatoes with a layer of Meat Sauce
  • Cover the Meat Sauce with a layer of Aubergines
  • Do another layer of Meat Sauce
  • Then finish with a layer of Aubergines
  • Spoon the Topping over & cover with Grated Cheese
  • Place in the oven for 45 mins (or until the topping has puffed up & turned brown)
  • Leave to cool for 10 mins before serving
  • Serve with a Simple Salad, dressed with Olive Oil & Lemon Juice

Potato Slices

Mince Layer

Aubergine Layer


Top with Cheese

Golden Brown


Moussaka & Salad

Season & Dress


A 250g tub of Ricotta cheese added to your Topping Mix before assembly gives a nice rich Moussaka

A handful of Breadcrumbs sprinkled over your Topping before baking adds some texture

Experiment with different Herbs- Fresh Mint goes nicely with Lamb

Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

These are handy to keep in the fridge for adding a bit of heat and smokiness to whatever you might be cooking! If you make up a decent sized batch you can put them in (sterile) jars and store them in the cupboard along with any jams and chutneys!


  • 1 Cup Chipotle peppers/ Other dried chilli – whole , stem removed
  • 4 Tbs Sieved Tomatoes (Passata) or Tomato Puree
  • 2 tsp Paprika Powder
  • 1 tsp Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbs Onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbs Oil
  • 1/4 Cup of Apple Cider or White Vinegar
  • 1 Garlic Clove, minced
  • 1 Large Bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 3 Cups Water


Pour oil into a heavy bottomed saucepan & fry onions and garlic gently (do not allow to colour) for 2 mins.

Add all other ingredients, stir well, cover and cook over a low heat for 1-2 hours

The chillies should be very soft & the sauce should have reduced to approx one third (about a cup)- leaving a medium thick ‘gravy’


Once cool I put some of the chillies & their sauce in a jar to keep in the fridge, the rest I froze in individual portions for when I just want one chilli for a recipe. If you are dealing with a lot of chillies you can scale the recipe up & then put the finished article in jars.

I’m sure they would go down well at the Cooks Wednesday Market at Ozanköy Bookshop 😉

Uses for your new creation?

Chipotle Mayonnaise


  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotle chilies
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce


Blend in a food processor or with a hand blender & serve!

Delicious with chips, sandwiches, burgers etc

You can also make salsa, ribs, chicken, burgers, tacos the list goes on…


If you don’t have any Chipotle chillies you could use any dried chilli to make this sauce.  I currently have a healthy amount of unknown chillies growing on a plant in my garden which I am thinking to experiment with- picking 1/2 now (green) threading 1/2 of these with cotton, leaving in the kitchen to dry & then the other half dry roasting in a pan (till black), removing the skins and pickling in jars. The final chillies I will leave to go red and do the above with also. Its nice to have the red and green chillies to cook with!  to be continued..

Random Plant!

Tinga de Pollo


With Rice, Guacamole & Yoghurt

A while ago I had the brain wave that if I started making MR Jay a ‘healthy lunch’ box for work then he would escape the evil clutches of Alesta- The Demon Kebab King who force feeds people in the vicinity with Doner Kebab & the like for lunch every day without fail (or so I hear..)

So I’ve been buying a packet of chicken breasts at the beginning of each week and poaching them ready to turn into Pasta Salads etc but as I only got round to making one lunch last week (rubbish Fiance! Tsk!) I had four cooked chicken breasts left- Tinga de Pollo seemed the perfect solution.

Tinga is a typical Mexican dish made with shredded meat (chicken, beef or pork) and a sauce made from tomatoes, onion, garlic & chillies. It is typically used as a topping for Soups or in Tostadas (more about these later).

This dish comes from a state called Puebla which my Sis, R spent some time in during her travels so I will be awaiting the verdict on the authenticity of my recipe!


Ingredients; Serves 4
4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts (poached & finely shredded)

1 Large White Onion OR 1 Small White Onion & 1 Small Red Onion (chopped)

10 Large Ripe Tomatoes (diced- you can de seed them but I don’t like to!)

3 Garlic Cloves (roughly chopped)

2 Tbs Chipotle in Adobo * (more if you like it HOT)

1/2 Tsp Dried Thyme

1/2 Tsp Dried Oregano

1/2 Cup Chicken Stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

Handful Fresh Coriander (chopped)

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium/high heat.

Add Onions, Garlic & Tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes (turn down the heat if the garlic is browning)

Add Chipotle & stir well

Add Chicken Stock, Shredded Chicken & Herbs.

Simmer over a low heat until the liquid has reduced & thickened (it should be thick enough to wrap in a Tortilla- with a nice thick gravy, not watery)

Taste & Season with Salt & Pepper

Garnish with Coriander & Serve!

When poaching your Chicken Breasts place them in a saucepan with enough Water to cover, 1 Carrot (snapped in half), 1 Celery Stick (snapped in half), 1 Onion (quartered), a few Fresh Parsley Sprigs, 8 Black Peppercorns (whole), 1 Bay Leaf & a generous pinch of Rock Salt.

Reserve this poaching liquor to use as Chicken Stock. Any excess liquor can be boiled rapidly to reduce & then frozen in portions (such as ice cube trays) for future use!

Chipotle in Adobo*- Chipotle chiles (smoked Jalapeno chiles) are canned in a red sauce that typically contains tomato puree, paprika, salt, onions, oil, vinegar, garlic, bay leaves and oregano. Used for making sauces, chipotle mayonaise, rubs as well as other recipes.
Now unless you know something I don’t (?) these aren’t available in Northern Cyprus, however, what IS available is Jalapeno chillies- I found them in Tempo supermarket under the name of Meksika Biber and set about Smoke Drying them & ‘canning them’ in Adobo Sauce myself (more on this later)!

How I Look!

I’m guessing you probably aren’t a Smoking aficionado OR so keen to go down my ‘experimental’ (Nutty Professor) route to obtaining Smoked Chipotles, in which case I recommend you replace the 2 Tbs Chipotle in Adobo with 2 Tbs of Chilli Sauce & 2 Tsps of Smoked Papika.

If you are making a Chilli Sauce try dry frying (don’t lean in & sniff the pan!) your Chillies & Tomatoes till they are blackened & then blend these to create the ‘smoky’ flavour necessary in this dish

Serve with Rice, Soured Cream/Yoghurt (with dash of lemon) & Guacamole (see next post)
NB If you are observant you might notice the white beans in the picture- I had 1/4 of a can left in the fridge so the got thrown in at end! Waste not want not..