Izzy and I were invited for fish pie. Little did we know what we were in for.
We arrived at H's house after school only to find ourselves in the midst of a family crisis. A smell of fish permeated the air, N. was wandering around with her tush pointing skywards (in the throes of potty-training) and poor I. was blubbering after having heedlessly tossed a can of paint all over the living room carpet. H. was in desperate need of either Calgon or a glass of sherry.
Izzy and I removed our shoes and joined the chaos. Izzy sniffed around and said, "What's that smell?" (kids are always so subtle, aren't they?). His friend replied, "It's fish pie." After trying to play with the kids upstairs while H. cleaned up, I managed to give her a break and take them all back to my house. I entertained them with Pink Ink Yink Drinks, scones and red pears.
They all sat round the table bubbling drinks and amusing themselves for half an hour, followed by some good-old fashioned child's play of their own invention. They created a runway and became airplanes landing, whilst I played goose patrol, monitoring the little N., so she wouldn't get tangled in the fuselage of landing planes.
The merriment continued until dinnertime, at which point I bundled the kids up and brought everyone back to H.'s house. When we arrived, the aromas were far more inviting, the table was set and general calm had returned. I knew we were in for a comforting meal.
The fish pie turned out to be the fish version of shepherd's pie, prepared with cod, salmon, shrimp and hard-boiled eggs. The fish are cooked in milk and then strained. The milk is then reserved to make a roux. The fish and roux are combined with a few other things like capers and parsley and then poured into a baking dished which is then topped with mashed potatoes. The steaming pie was a beautiful sight as it arrived at the table, steaming and golden brown. Served with broccoli rabe it was a soothing, warm dish for a winter's night.
Everyone dug in. The grown-ups had some wine and hopefully the paint will be gone from the rug tomorrow.
p.s. Izzy and I will be trying to make our fish pie one of these days.
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