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September 8, 2013

Having given Jamie Oliver’s first Money Saving Meals programme, despite my misgivings, a try there were a couple of things he did that I actually thought worth testing. Unfortunately they would mean a trip to a supermarket so I did my short list and prepared myself!

He suggested frozen spinach is much more economical and as I buy it fresh every week I thought I’d try it. Also frozen fish for a fish pie. Not something I’d normally buy but both the salmon and white fish were responsibly sourced and very much cheaper than fresh. I also bought a huge bag of frozen peas – again something we can’t buy from an independent locally (I’ve only seen them at Darts Farm near Exeter). I chose to make mine without the recommended prawns this time so increased the salmon appropriately.

It did involve an awful lot of pots and pans for the various stages so not the simplest of fish pies but it did make a really good sized family meal and was tasty – not reduced in flavour by the frozen fish and spinach. A squirt of lemon juice would also be more economical than using a full lemon.


1 kg potatoes
1 lemon
40 g unsalted butter
400 g frozen peas
2 carrots
2 onions
olive oil
500 ml semi-skimmed milk
2 x 150 g frozen salmon fillets
2 x 100 g frozen white fish fillets
65 g plain flour
100 g frozen spinach
125 g frozen cooked peeled prawns, sustainably sourced
1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
40 g Cheddar cheese


1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.

2. Peel the potatoes and cut into large even-sized chunks, then put them into a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes.

3. Drain and mash with a pinch of salt and pepper, the zest from the lemon and the butter.

4. Place the frozen peas in a colander, pour over some boiling water to defrost them, then drain well and pulse a few times in a food processor. Fold them through the mashed potato to create a rippled effect, then leave to one side.

Process the peas

Process the peas

5. Peel and chop the carrots and onions and cook them in a large ovenproof pan (roughly 30cm in diameter) with a tablespoon of oil for 15 minutes, or until softened but not coloured, stirring occasionally.

Sauté the carrots and onions

Sauté the carrots and onions

6. Heat the milk in a pan on a medium heat. Once simmering, add all the frozen fish fillets for around 10 minutes, or until cooked through, then use a slotted spoon to remove them to a plate, taking the pan off the heat.

Poach the fish in warm milk

Poach the fish in warm milk

7. Stir the flour into the carrots and onions, then gradually add the milk, a ladleful at a time, stirring continuously. Stir in the spinach until broken down, then season to taste.

Break down the frozen spinach

Break down the frozen spinach

8. Flake in the fish fillets (carefully remove and discard the skin if the fillets have it), add the prawns, mustard and the juice from half the lemon, grate in the Cheddar and stir gently to combine.

9. Top with the pea and potato mash and smooth out, forking it up slightly with a fork to give it peaks to crisp up. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until golden.

Sweet Pea Mash

Sweet Pea Mash

  1. September 8, 2013 6:40 pm

    Looks good.

  2. Yvonne permalink
    September 8, 2013 6:44 pm

    Looks good- I have tons of fresh spinach in my garden you could have had!

    • September 8, 2013 7:35 pm

      Thanks Yvonne – I’ll have to drop that salt in for you sometime and get some!

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