It’s almost wrong how faff-free yet tasty this is. I’m not sure there’s an easier tap dancing addition to the Christmas feast; the perfect last minute option for those who err towards party participation over planning. And for the complex carb fascists and paleo people out there, you can still have your mash and eat it.
Feeds 4 – 6
1/2 cauliflower, steamed.
1/2 cup milk of your choice – cow’s, coconut, soya. Or water from steaming.
3 tbsp olive oil
25g (good) Grana Padano or parmesan
1 dsp / drizzle white truffle oil
Pinch sea or Himalayan pink salt and black pepper
Steam cauliflower for 10 mins, or until soft but retaining a bite. Puree all ingredients until super smooth with a blender or Vitamix. Re-heat when you’re ready to eat.
That’s it. Happy Christmas!
Tip: 50/50 turnip and cauliflower’s also delicious.
In light of the almost sub-zero temperatures, I’ve deviated from the Tortilla plan to a fish pie feast. Because who doesn’t love a (tangy and creamy, chunky and cheesy) fish pie? This recipe feeds 8 – 10 and doesn’t skimp on the fish, so you can bribe your friends to visit and still have left overs for Sunday. Seasonal, cosy comfort: perfect winter week-end sharing.
2 lemons, juice and zest
1.4kg potatoes: Rooster or Maris Piper both good for mashing
600g Pollack, filleted bones and skin removed
200g smoked haddock, filleted, bones and skin removed
340ml milk: I swap between soya and cow’s and no-one notices.
3 tbsp flour: plain or rice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
60g low fat cream cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
1 dsp wholegrain mustard
250g tiger pawns
5 scallops – optional
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
120g mature cheddar, grated
Fish pie calls for a bit of pan juggling. Don’t stress about timings, it all goes into the oven at the end so there’s no roast dinner co-ordination called for.
Put eggs to simmer in a pan of cold water that just covers them. From the point the water begins to boil, set the timer for 6 mins.
Pat fish (not shellfish) with lemon zest and put to one side.
Peel potatoes and set to boil with pinch of salt.
Remove the eggs and stand in cold water.
Lightly poach fish in milk then turn off heat.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a pan and stir in flour, slowly add milk from fish pan to make the white sauce. Add Dijon mustard and stir continuously until the sauce begins to bubble and thicken. Remove from the heat and set aside. You’ll have a little milk left over, should you need it for the mash.
Pre-heat oven to 180°C and grease baking dish.
Drain potatoes and return pan to a low heat to dry off – See my Mash not Smash tips for perfect creamed tatties.
Add low fat cream cheese, olive oil, wholegrain mustard salt and pepper and mash. A lot. Then whisk with a fork to get lots of air in, giving you fluffy, creamy mash heaven. You may want to add the retained milk from earlier. If not, discard.
Peel boiled eggs and cut into quarters. Mix with fish, shellfish and white sauce and pour into baking dish. Make sure your fish isn’t swimming in liquid, or you’ll end up with a sloppy pie.
Top with mash, then grated cheese and bake in oven for 30 mins, until cheese has started to brown and sauce begins to erupt around the edges.
Serve with green salad. Crunchy freshness with creamy pie.
PP: 385 Kcals Protein 29.5g Carbs 32.8g OWS 2.6g Fat 16.1g Sat Fat 7.4g Salt 1.2g
On making my faithful old fish pie recipe, it occurred to me that perhaps my mash checklist could be considered more meticulous than most. In my defence, Root was essentially a mashed potato shop. Kind of. And my Granny was a beef farming Scot: we love our mince and tatties. Even my non cooking uncle felt compelled to bark instructions at me on the need for endless mashing and whisking as I sweated over his Aga. So, here’s my step by step guide on perfect mashed tatties.
Feeds 6 (or 4 farmer portions)
1kg potatoes: Rooster tend to lump less; and Maris Piper, a safe, readily available bet.
60g low fat cream cheese
3-4 tbsp olive oil
100ml warm, full fat milk (or cream if you prefer). I often drop all together.
Salt, lots of
Freshly ground black pepper
Peel potatoes and cut to similarly proportioned pieces. Quartering is generally a fair guide.
Place in a large pan and just cover with cold water. Set to boil gently.
After approx. 20 mins, test with a knife. You want soft right through, though not disintigrating.
Drain off water and return pan to the lowest heat, ensuring all water evaporates. Dry potatoes are key if you want a fluffy, non-Smash, mash.
Keeping the pan on the heat, start to mash. When you think you’re finished, go round again, working to remove all the lumps.
Add cream cheese, salt and pepper and whisk with a fork.
Add olive oil and milk (if using) and whisk until you feel the need to remove layers of clothing from having burned more calories than in a spin class.
Taste, season, add more oil or milk if needs be. Whisk and test again.
Add wholegrain mustard, chives (added to hot milk then whisked through), lemon or frozen peas – they’ll de-frost in seconds. Potatoes go with everything so you can’t go far wrong.
Swapping the Rooster for new potatoes, skins on, and adding rosemary sea salt is my all-time favourite. Top with salmon and poached egg. Trust me.
Note: Potatoes love salt and fat. There are times when no-one’s any the wiser if we cut out or swap the ‘baddies’, and there are times when food partners need to be respected, however waist expanding. So speeketh the Scot.
PP (6): 218 kcals Protein 3.7g Carbs 28.8g OwS 1g Fat 10.6g Sat fat 3.8g Salt 0.9g
PP (4): 328 kcals Protein 5.6g Carbs 43.3g OwS 1.5g Fat 15.9g Sat fat 5.6g Salt 1.4g