Mostly cloudy and frigid

When your digital weather station reads: "mostly cloudy and frigid," you know it's a good day to make a pie. Fish pie that is. A fish pie needs to be piping hot, topped with mashed potato, and somehow provide real sympathy to the lack of times you'll step foot out of the house today.

Having lived in London for so long, I'm partial to a cottage pie (beef) or a shepherd's pie (lamb), but the one I've made dozens of times and always go back to, is fish. It must include the best fish you can get, and you can pick any kind you like. My chosen fish was always smoked haddock, but it's hard to find here in Midwest America. Cod, if properly sourced, is tasty. You can add several different kinds of fish including salmon, shrimp, whatever you like. Ultimately, it's the creamy, mustardy sauce and hard-boiled eggs that makes this pie irresistible.

This is certainly one of my top 5 Jamie Oliver recipes that I simply could not do without. As he suggests, I add a touch of class and serve it with tomato ketchup and heinz baked beans.

Fantastic Fish Pie

5 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks for boiling and mashing
a few tbsp of olive oil for mashing the potato and frying the onion & carrot
2 free range eggs
2 large handfuls of spinach
1 onion, chopped
1 carrot, halved and chopped finely
1 1/4 cup heavy cream (or double cream)
2 handfuls of grated mature white cheddar cheese
juice of 1 lemon
1 heaped teaspoon of English mustard (Colman's)
handful of parsley, chopped
1 lb of fish- your choice: haddock, cod, salmon, or a mix- skinned, boned and cut into bit size chunks
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 450F. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and add the potatoes. Bring the water back to the boil and cook for 10 minutes. Add the eggs once the water has boiled. Use a colander on top of the boiling potatoes to cook the spinach (using a pan lid on top of the colander to trap the steam.) At the end of the ten minutes, your potatoes and eggs will be cooked. Remove the spinach to drain and squeeze the excess water out of it.
Drain the potatoes. Set both the eggs and spinach aside to cool. When the eggs are cooled, peel and quarter them.

Mash the potatoes using a little olive oil and salt & pepper, put a lid on the pan and set aside. You can use butter and a little cream if you'd like, but the sauce underneath is creamy enough. The olive oil makes the mashed potato crisp up in the oven.

In a separate pan, add a little olive oil and slowly cook the chopped onion and carrot until cooked (about 8- 10 minutes). Add the cream and bring just to the boil, then remove it from the heat. Add the cheddar, lemon juice, English mustard and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste and get ready to start layering your pie.

Using a lightly oiled casserole dish of your choice (8x10 in size at least), start by placing the pieces on the bottom and strategically arranging the spinach and eggs around the fish. Make it so that each person will get a bit of everything.

Pour the sauce over the top of the of the fish, eggs and spinach and top everything with the mashed potato.

Cook for 25- 30 minutes until bubbly and the potatoes are golden brown on top.

Serve with a salad and/or heinz baked beans and don't forget the ketchup.