Family Fish Pie

This is from the St Michael All Colour Budget Cookery Book by Audrey Ellis. I can’t locate a date of publication inside it, but am guessing late seventies, possibly early eighties. It’s chocka with lovely all colour photos of things that mostly look mainly edible. Mindful of both my wallet and my health I’ve been trying to eat more fish instead of meat, so last Monday I cobbled together this fish pie:

Family Fish Pie
The skin can be removed after cooking if preferred but some cooks believe it adds to the flavour of the milk stock.

1kg coley or other white fish, skinned (I used coley)
600ml milk
50g butter
50g flour
2 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and roughly chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
225g frozen peas, defrosted
1kg freshly cooked potatos, mashed.

Place the fish in the saucepan, cover with the milk and poach for 10 minutes. Lift out the fish with a slotted spoon draining spoon, remove the bones and flake the fish. Reserve the milk for the sauce.

Heat the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually add the milk and bring to the boil, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat. Stir in the flaked fish and chopped eggs and season to taste. Pour the mixture into a buttered baking dish. Cover with the defrosted peas and spread the mashed potatoes over the top. Bake in a fairly hot oven (200°C/ 400°F/ Gas Mark 6) for 30 minutes or until golden-brown on top.

Serves 6-8


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(Photo came out pretty badly, I’m afraid, although to be honest the colours and general ennui of the pie are accurate).


Throughout eating this pie the one thing that kept occuring to me was that it was a very functional pie. Cheap, mostly healthy, filling, but ultimately boring. It worked as food, but that was about it.  Budget option it very obviously is, but even budget options can taste of something, whereas this tasted of mildly seasoned fish, and peas and very plain potatos.


6 responses to “Family Fish Pie

  1. I also want to eat more fish. And things which use up fish stock. I have two packets of fish stock which have to be used *somehow*. Sigh. Fish – we need to get on more.

  2. I have to admit that my fish pies, while superficially similar to this, tend to involve more than one fish (usually salmon and cod or tuna, and often with prawns too, though obv this makes them much less cheap), and have some cheese in the sauce and/or the mash. A bit of mustard is nice too. I’ve never thought of including egg though.

  3. It seems very… food group-y. I agree with Eleanor that it needs at least one more strongly flavoured ingredient.

  4. I was also surprised at the lack of fish diversity. I guess it’s the budget aspect of it. That and skimping on flavour…

  5. This is a favorite winter dish of mine, and what I love about the recipe I’ve got (from God knows where) is that it uses saffron in a mashed-potato crust to heighten the color and taste of things. 🙂 (Don’t hit me, but it might be Jamie Oliver’s recipe.)

  6. i make RICK STEIN’s fish pie which is pretty similar to this, and would suggest taking the peas out (and cooking them on the side), and doing half coley/half smoked coley (barely any price difference) and bunging a big handful of chopped parsley in yr white sauce and a little bit of mace. mmm mace…

    prawns are nice in it too but move away from the budget theme…