I am trying to make the most of my time and freezer at the moment, preparing big meals and then freezing some for later. These yummy little fish pies can be cooked and served in small containers (I use recycled ramekins from shop-bought desserts) or in one big casserole dish. I like using ramekins because they look sweet and my kids feel they are having something special. Plus if you want to freeze some then you can freeze the pies in portions (I put the ramekins in a freezer bag). Adults or older/hungrier kids may need at least two portions per meal though!
The fish pies are simpler to make than most – you chop and boil some potatoes (I don’t bother peeling them) and mix with chopped fish, torn spinach, onion, parsley, soft cheese and a stock cube. Make sure some of the fish is smoked to give the pies a particularly delicious flavour. My kids and partner love smoked fish and wolfed their meal down!
If freezing, Freeze the pies once they are in the dish but before cooking, then you can simply take them out and put them in the fridge in the morning to defrost (or overnight if having for lunch), and cook at mealtime!
Don’t laugh, but I have decided to serve the kids a pretend ‘restaurant’ meal at home every so often, with posh napkins (tea towels). We did this yesterday and they loved it. They actually said things like ‘oh this waiter is very nice and her food is delicious’ and ‘thank you very much’. They would NEVER say that normally..!
Mini make-ahead fish pies (fills 8 ramekins or a casserole dish)
8 small potatoes, chopped small and skins on
40g spinach, torn or roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped small
300g fish pie mixed fish, chopped (or a combination of smoked fish and non-smoked fish. Smoked river cobbler is particularly cheap and tasty. You could also use smoked pollack, trout, cod, salmon etc).
Small handful parsley, chopped or shake of dried herbs
150g soft cheese (I use the value one)
1 stock cube
Good shake of dried mixed herbs
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/200 degrees.
Boil the potatoes for about 8 minutes, until tender. Drain and put in a large bowl. Add the spinach, onion, fish and parsley and mix. Add the soft cheese and a little hot water and mix until the right consistency (see photo above). Crumble in the stock cube and mix again. Put the mixture in to individual ramekins/containers or a large casserole dish. Cook on an oven tray for 20-25 minutes until bubbling and the fish is cooked through. This may take longer in a casserole dish. Serve with a sprig of parsley on top.
If freezing, do this when the fish are in their containers but not cooked yet, then take out the night before or in the morning and cook as above (or maybe a little longer to ensure the pies are cooked through).