When it comes to cooking, for me, the pleasure is in the groundwork. The finished product is so important but this will all be so much better if you start from the right base.
This time of year my preparation starts before 6am when I open the tunnel in my garden and start to pick my herbs and salads that I’ll use in the day ahead.
This week’s fish pie also uses fresh chives and this dish is transformed by adding this one simple fresh herb to deliver a lovely tasty flavoursome dish.
The Butterscotch Gateau is wonderfully indulgent and would be perfectly accompanied with some lovely fresh local strawberries and raspberries when they become available very soon.
Mascarpone Fish Pies
2lb Potatoes, cubed
4oz Cheddar, grated
1 x 250g tub Mascarpone Cheese
1 x 200g tub Crème Fraiche
1lb White Fish, e.g. Cod, Haddock, cubed
7oz Raw King Prawns, peeled
Handful of Fresh Chives, chopped
Salt & Pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°. Boil the potatoes for about 15 minutes until tender. In a large bowl, mix the mascarpone, crème fraiche and cornflour; gently fold in the fish, prawns, peas and chives and season with the salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into 4 individual greased dishes or 1 large greased dish. Drain the potatoes and mash until smooth, add in the milk and cheddar cheese and season with salt and pepper, spoon over the fish and bake for 30 to 40 minutes until fish is cooked, serve immediately.
Butterscotch & Hazelnut Gateaux
4oz Hazel Nuts
6 Large Eggs
6oz Caster Sugar
6oz Plain White Flour
7oz Dark Muscovado Sugar
1½pt Double Cream
½ seeds from a Vanilla Pod
Preheat the oven 180° and grease and line 3 x 10” round cake tins. Place the hazel nuts into a blender and blend until resembling fine crumb. Whisk the eggs and sugar in a mixer until thick and smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes, sieve the flour into the fixture and fold in using a large metal spoon, then gently stir in the nuts.
Divide the mixture evenly between the three tins and bake for 15 minutes until firm. Remove from tins and allow to cool. To make the butterscotch melt the butter and sugar in a saucepan, stir until the sugar dissolves and add 2fl oz. of boiling water and continue to stir for about 2 minutes, leave to one side.
Blend the cornflour with a little of the milk, heat the remaining milk in a saucepan with ½pt of cream and bring to the boil, stirring all the time, add the cornflour mix and continue to stir, now add in the butter and sugar mix, stir until the butterscotch sauce is thick and smooth. Add the vanilla seeds to the remaining cream and whisk until stiff.
Spread ⅓ of the butterscotch onto one of the sponges followed by ⅓ of the cream mix, top with the 2nd sponge and repeat these layers to finish with the final sponge topped with the remaining butterscotch and finally cream, decorate with fresh fruit.