Tuesday 24 January 2012

Fish pie surprise

Fish pie - haddock, prawns, leeks, porcini and chestnut mushrooms, mash potatoes
My tummy is rumbling already - the anticipation of my piping hot fish pie. It is delicious and I'm not just saying that. I'm so tired of watching chefs on TV tuck into their own food, gaze deep into the camera lens and orgasmically utter their own absolute approval of the (always) exceptional quality and perfection of their particular creation. Cooking isn't like that unless you're Heston Blumenthal or some other Michelin starred chef with a) the staff, b) the fear of losing your star studded status or c) the science/technology/time to assure that every plate reaches the necessary level of perfection. The domestic kitchen suffers the vagaries not only of the person cooking but is also subject to unforeseen issues such as misreading the recipe because you can't be bothered to find your glasses.

So this fish pie is a winner and the empty plates and satisfied slurps of your appreciative audience will be the best recognition you can get - and without a camera crew in sight!

Fish Pie

A piece of undyed smoked haddock (approx 400g)
Cooked prawns (approx 200g)
2 small leeks - thoroughly washed and finely sliced
10 chestnut mushrooms - finely sliced
Dried porcini mushrooms - soaked in boiled water for 10 minutes then roughly chopped
Potatoes for mash - 2 big ones/4 small ones

Peel, boil and mash the potatoes
Fry the leeks and mushrooms in some olive oil put into the pie dish with the soaked porcini mushrooms                                                                                                 
Poach the haddock in plain water - be careful not to overcook as the fish will go rubbery
Flake cooked fish into the pie dish - add the cooked prawns

Bechamel Sauce
250ml milk
2 bay leaves
1 small onion sliced
parsley stalks
4 peppercorns
Put all the above ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes
Strain the milk then take
25g butter
15g flour
Half a glass of dry white wine
Melt butter in the pan - add flour and cook gently for a moment then gradually stir in the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens. Lastly add the wine and stir in. Taste for seasoning but remember the haddock is smoked so is quite salty.
Carefully  stir the bechemal sauce through the fish and veg - do not mush up!
Cover with mash, smooth flat, then score with a fork for a nice crispy finish.
Bake in a hot oven - 200 Celsius, on a baking tray for about 20 mins until hot and bubbling, brown off under grill.

Tuesday 10 January 2012

A Clarion Call…

Feeding the Eye is a clarion call to designers - recognise the impact of your work and embrace your potential. Do not simply pay lip service to the ethical, the environmental, the sustainable. Believe in the capacity of effective design to inform choice and effect change. Believe that design has a power beyond the neomania of capitalism and consumption. This is not a myopic utopian vision but a call to be proactive as opposed to reactive.

Feeding the Eye questions orthodoxy. It takes a position and maintains it. Food, politics and economics form an unholy ménage a trois – a heady and seductive cocktail of appetite, power and greed. The government peddles information with a double handedness – the nannying voice of the healthy eating mantra but all the while allowing the most economically profitable – the food manufacturing industries, with their £80 billion a year, to dictate and control our insatiable appetites. Berating the economically challenged to adopt healthy eating practices but all the while pushing the highly addictive narcotics of sugar, salt, and fat. 

It is the free market economy model that has dictated food policy, as opposed to a more integrated social, environmental, and health orientated one. With a growing global population and an inequity of resources, the imperatives of future food security are at the fore of economic, political, environmental and ethical debates. Feeding the Eye is a clarion call to a new generation of designers to challenge this orthodoxy and locate design within this polemic as a force for good, healthy, sustainable eating practices.