Emmet’s pie

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Before I offer up an explanation of the word Emmet, I managed to burn the top of the pie. In the past (as an ex-perfectionist) this would have got me annoyed, but I found the opposite in fact, I thought well I’ll just have to be careful when I reheat it, when the pie reaches it’s final destination. Anyway a stupido mistake which luckily did not spoil the taste when the pie reached the far end.

Image of James holding a box with a slightly burnt flakey fish pie. Still tasted good though

Oops… slightly singed… yes and I picked up the wrong spelling of Emmet accidentally from the net. I don’t think anyone noticed.

Here is a useful article about ovens temperatures which I accidentally found when looking for who it was who invented the fan-assisted/convection oven. In summary ‘ Know Your Oven!’

An image of James' father Ralph and stepmother Maureen with the Flaky fish pie he cooked. It has the words Emmett's pie on the pie which is an old saying (pre-Grockle)  tourist or holidaymaker visiting the westcountry

My father (Ralph) and stepmother (Maureen)

The Flaky fish pie made it’s journey down to Dorset some 2 hrs and 15 minutes from Surrey, where my father (Ralph) and stepmother (Maureen) live.

Maureen always prepares a great spread for when family come to stay, so I thought it would make a nice change if I bought a main course with me and took the hassle out of it.

And the link to ’emmet’… well emmet is an old english saying for grockle meaning tourist or holidaymaker visiting the West Country.

Grockle was one of the first words my father learnt as he was investigating the history of Dorset. He’s always been a facts man so I thought I would give him a twist.

I love this saying which I just picked up from the article about oven temparatures… Chef Auguste Escoffier said ” a recipe no matter how well composed or researched is no substitute for imagination, creativity and flair”

Here is the original recipe (below) but it would be fair to say that I did deviate from the instructions, as I always do after the first time.

My tweaks and creative bits

1. I used Coley and Haddock (smoked and unsmoked). Coley is cheap and you won’t notice the difference because there are so many other flavours going on in this dish you can avoid the more expensive varieties. I never use Cod as it’s too expensive, but I personally think its questionable on the sustainability front. However make your own mind up check out FishFight.net  and Marine Stewardship Council.

2. I always add about a 1/3 more fish than quoted otherwise I feel my diners are a bit hard done by. This means that you’ll used more milk and therefore create more sauce. I prefer the sauce to be thinner in this pie and more of it otherwise, when you come to reheat it, it can be a bit dry, but use your own judgement. Try it the Delia way first, then have a play!

3. I always cook this in a pie dish but top only rather than make it into a parcel. It just means I can cook it almost immediately rather than waiting for the mixture to cool.

Original recipe… Delia Smith

Flaky fish pie (from Delia Smiths Complete Illustrated Cookery Course book) produced in 1978 this book is fantastic. 

12oz white fish 300g


1oz butter (25g)

2 tablespoons plain flour

1 tablespoon capers, chopped

4 small gherkins, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and freshly milled black pepper

1 quantity quick flaky pastry  (I cheat and buy shop bought pastry but shortly I’m transferring over to making it myself)

To glaze

1x egg beaten

First place the fish in a medium-sized sauce-pan with just enough milk to cover, bring to the boil cover and simmer gently for about 5-10minutes. Now strain off the milk into a measuring jug and , when the fish is cool enough to handle, flake it into large pieces (discarding all the bones, skin etc)

Next, melt the butter in the same saucepan and stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes over a medium heat, then gradually add 10fl oz  (275 ml) of the milk the fish was cooked in, stirring all the time. Bring the sauce to the boil, simmer gently for 6 minutes, then take the pan off the heat and add the flaked fish, chopped capers, gherkins, parsley, and eggs. Season with salt and pepper and lemon juice. Cover and leave until the mixture is quite cold.

When you’re ready to cook the pie, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 7, 425F (220C and for fan assisted lower) . Roll out the pastry to a 12 inch (30 cm) square, trimming if necessary. Lift the square onto a greased baking sheet, then place the cold fish mixture in the centre. Glaze around the edge of the pastry with a beaten egg, then pull he opposite corners of the pastry to the centre and pinch all the edges together firmly, so you have a square with pinched edges in the shape of a cross. Glaze all over with a beaten egg and decorate with any pastry trimmings. Glaze these too and then bake the pie for about 30 minutes or until the pastry is well risen and golden.




This blog did originally start out life as ‘Best Martinis driven by, yes you guessed it, the best martini I’ve ever had, which incidentally was in Sardinia with K. However I knew the name wasn’t right for the blog, but I had to start somewhere you see. So with out further a do here is my first pie, and infact my first Chicken and Mushroom pie

Several things I changed (I always do unless it’s Delia of course well that’s not strictly true either, I know sacrosanct)

I didn’t want to smell of garlic the next day, so I dropped that

I roasted my chicken breasts rather than fry them, I think that make the chicken pieces slightly more juice

I used kerrygold Irish butter which is slightly creamier and a bit more salty.

Oh and I didn’t have time to wait for the mixture to cool down so just put it straight into a hot oven. It tasted fantastic, and this comes from someone who has never been a fan of chicken pies!

We gave it five stars which is complete unheard of at home. Most things, even the really good dishes only every reach 4.5

As you see can I always like to make a little image on top, I think it gives it that extra special bit of love

Here is a chicken and mushroom pie with shortcut pastry on the top and an image of an old salling ship with threesails

Chicken and Mushroom pie

Here is a link to the BBC website And here is the original recipe, enjoy!

Chicken and mushroom pie

Chicken and mushroom pie

This comforting, creamy chicken pie uses ready-made pastry for a quick and easy mid-week meal.


Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  2. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chicken and fry until the chicken begins to turn white.
  3. Add the mushrooms and continue to fry until the chicken is golden-brown.
  4. Remove the chicken and mushrooms from the pan and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the same pan and fry for 2-3 minutes or until softened. Remove from the heat and set aside with the chicken and mushrooms.
  5. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for about three minutes, stirring constantly until it has formed a thick smooth paste (this is called a roux).
  6. Mix the milk and stock together in a jug, then add the nutmeg, white pepper and salt, to taste. Pour the liquid slowly into the flour mixture, whisking all the time until smooth. Simmer over a gentle heat, stirring constantly, for about five minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
  7. Stir in the chopped parsley and pour the sauce over the chicken and mushroom mixture. Mix well, then spoon into a pie dish and leave until completely cool.
  8. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is the thickness of a pound coin. Brush the edges of the pie dish with beaten egg, lay the pastry on top, press down the edges and trim. Brush the top of the pie with beaten egg and cut some leaf shapes out of the left-over pastry to decorate the top of the pie.
  9. Make two or three slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape and then bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden-brown on top.