My acupuncturist, affectionately termed the Ol’ China Hand, despite the fact she is not old (but she is wise), recently advised me that I have slightly stagnated Qi. Don’t panic. It sounds a little odorous, but it’s not. Stagnant Qi basically means the energy isn’t flowing through my energy channels (the Meridians) as freely and easily, as it could, or indeed should.
Accordingly, the Ol’ China Hand has advised that I increase my intake of green and other colourful vegetables. It seems this is a recommendation upon which old wives (the more colourful food on your plate, the better), Chinese medicine (colourful vegetables lead to more free flowing Qi), and conventional nutritional science, all agree. Colourful vegetables are apparently like jumper leads for Qi, restarting and revving the engine.
As we picked the last of our carrots and beets around a week ago, our fridge is fall of home-grown, quite misshapen, colourful vegetables. No excuses then! Ol’ China Hand suggested beetroot juice, but as I’ll do anything to avoid cleaning the juicer, including most often, avoiding using the juicer, I’ve taken instead to adding beetroot to everything I can think of.
When Kristoph suggested I make a very herby fish pie, as comfort food to help him recover from his cold, I promised to make a pie like he had never tasted before. In my mind’s eye I’d already added beetroot, carrots and kale – comforting and healthy.
I came up with a three layered very colourful pie that works surprisingly well. The bottom layer includes the fish, kale and eggs. This is followed by a creamy vegetable sauce of carrot, beets, parsley and lemon juice. The pie is then topped with a layer of roughly mashed new potatoes, seasoned and mixed with parsley.
According to Kristoph this is the best fish pie I’ve made. It does look quite startling – the middle layer is a deep fuchsia colour thanks to the beets, but don’t be put off. It’s rich, rustic, jam-packed full of flavour, and certain to help your Qi flow more freely.
Here’s the recipe:
500grams new potatoes, roughly chopped. If they are organic don’t bother peeling. If not, peel them.
Two large handfuls of chopped kale
Two large handfuls of chopped parsley
250grams undyed haddock, boned, skinned and chopped
250grams smoked salmon, chopped
3 free-range eggs
Juice of two lemons
1 medium brown onion, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, grated
1 medium beetroot, grated
200mL double cream
200grams mature Cheddar, grated
2 tea spoons of wholegrain mustard
Salt and pepper to season
Step One: Preheat the oven to 210C
Step Two: Add the potatoes to boiling water, and boil until soft, then drain them, mash them roughly (there’s no need to make them smooth, the rough edges provide a lovely texture). Mix in one handful of parsley, season and set aside.
Step Three: Hard boil the eggs (you can drop them in with the potatoes – they’ll take around 8 minutes). Once done cool under cold running water, peel and then break them up. Set aside
Step Four: Steam the kale and set aside.
Step Five: In a medium pan heat a dash of olive oil and fry off the onion. Once it’s softened add the carrots and beetroot. Add the cream and bring to the boil, then remove from heat. Gently stir in the cheese, lemon juice, wholegrain mustard, and the remaining handful of parsley.
Step Six: Construct your pie, layer by layer. Line the pie dish with the haddock, followed by the smoked salmon, then the kale and the broken up eggs. Next pour over the fuchsia sauce. Then add a layer of roughly mashed potatoes. Cook in the over for 25-30minutes. You know it’s done when the tops of the potatoes are golden and crispy.
Et voila, enjoy!
BTW it's UK National Fish Pie week from 4-11 March, so here's wishing you happy fish pie week!