At Home

Sunday Fish Pie

I made a fish pie today.  Let me explain why:  The Beast and I, as I’ve mentioned before, spent six months living in a tiny outport in Newfoundland called Grand Bruit. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world.

It was stupid thing to do–to go live in a place with no cars, no roads and about thirty winter residents with a boy you’d been dating for only ten months.  But the thing is, I’d saved up for a year to go live by myself  in the house that my dad and step-mom bought several years ago. I never expected to meet a Beast who’d want to come with me.  We were young, or at least the Beast was, and we took a chance.  There were tough time all right.  But they didn’t hold a light to the good stuff,  like our drawing expeditions,

icing skating on ponds that went on forever

and me turning thirty and getting this cake.

The people there, our friends, treated us two city kids, who “came from away,” like one of their own.  We shared many meals with them.  My favourites were the ones that featured traditional Newfoundland fare, like moose, beaver and caribou boil-ups (not so different than an Italian bollito), cod cheeks, pan-fried cod, brewis, sea birds, and codfish pie, which is sort of like a shepherd’s pie, but with more cheese and cream.  

I’m regretting using a Jaime Oliver recipe for tonight’s fish pie rather than the recipe I took with me from Grand Bruit.  I suppose I thought it might be interesting to see how the Newfoundland dish compares with a nouveau British one  (Grand Bruit is also where I started becoming very interested in the history of food.)  

I don’t, however, regret making Nigella Lawson’s Guinness chocolate cake (you can find the recipe here:  take a look-see if only for her inspired description!)  It’s a recipe that my friend Alex Girl recommended to me and it’s perfection both visually (because it looks like a Guinness!) and in your tummy.

The fish pie was dead simple to prepare.  I just had to grate some celery, carrot, red chili, lemon zest and Cheddar into a baking dish.

and then toss in bite size bits of cod,

cover it with mashed potatoes and bake it for 40 minutes.

Anyway, I suppose I made fish pie because I missed a time and a place so much today that I wanted to taste it.  The Guinness chocolate cake was just pure gluttony.

Foodie:  *** (But I prefer the Newfoundland version, specifically Linda Billard’s recipe.)

Beast:  ** (the fish pie was too spicy for his weak palate.)

Categories: At Home

10 replies »

    • Jenny V you can come over anytime for chocolate Guinness cake. I’m shocked that there’s still so much left–even though we’ve been eating it for both dessert and breakfast!

  1. Could I ask you for your Newfoundland fish pie recipe? I would love to use it for my blog (Travel by Stove). I’m cooking a meal from Eastern Canada next week and have been searching without much luck for a Newfoundland fish pie recipe.

    • Sorry for the late reply Becki. Here’s the recipe for Linda Farrell’s Cod au Gratin from the “What’s Cooking in Grand Bruit” community cookbook:

      1 lb cod fillets
      1/4 cup butter
      1/4 flour
      1 tsp salt
      1 small onion, finely chopped
      1/2 cup bread crumbs or cracker crumbs
      1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

      Preheat oven to 375. Place cod in greased baking dish. In heavy saucepan melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth and remove from heat. Gradually stir in half of the milk. Return to heat; beat until smooth and shiny. Gradually add remaining milk, salt, pepper and onion. Cook, stirring, until smooth and thickened. Pour over fish. Sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, until sauce bubbles and fish is baked.

      • Thanks for posting the recipe! I did already do my entry for Eastern Canada (I chose a salmon pie recipe) but I would still love to try this one, and maybe do a quick additional entry. Thanks for sharing!

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