Tuesday Tutor: Featuring Lavender and Lovage

Potato and Fish Pie, Overhead
Old-Fashioned Fish Pie with Cheesy Mash

Every Tuesday I choose a different friend to be my tutor for a day: I select one of their original recipes, I make the recipe following my friend's instructions, I snap a multitude of pictures, I scarf down as much as my belt-line will permit - and then I share everything I love about my friend's recipe. Learn More

Today's Tuesday Tutor: Lavender and Lovage

My tutor today is Karen from Lavender and Lovage, a prolific blogger from across the Atlantic celebrating traditional British cuisine, feasts and festivals. Karen breathes a tremendous amount of energy into the food blogging world, participating in all manner of food challenges, hosting multiple food series of her own (including Tea Time Treats and Herbs on Saturday), often posting multiple times a day, and somehow still finding time to write a cookbook and teach cooking workshops.

One of the things I love most about Lavender and Lovage is the incredible variety of comforting fish and seafood recipes. I don't eat nearly as much seafood as I should given all the wonderful health benefits, and Karen's blog has helped nudge me in the right direction. When I spotted this old-fashioned fish pie with cheddar mashed potatoes, I couldn't resist attempting. If you're intrigued by this recipe, pop over to Lavender and Lovage for even more amazing seafood.

About the Author
  1. "I PREFER savoury things to sweet, although I have a weakness for Victoria Sandwich Sponge Cake!"
  2. "I was a vegetarian for 3 years as I HATED modern animal husbandry practices, but I just couldn't resist bacon, so I fell off the veggie wagon! But I ONLY eat meat once or twice a week now and only if I know the provenance."
  3. "I LOVE food styling and photography and my "prop box" is now not a box, but a small room!"
  4. "I have only been blogging for one year! I am loving it though and especially the contact with other food bloggers, many of whom I have met."
  5. "I am British, but was born in South Africa on a Royal Naval Base, so I have HMS (Her Majesty's Ship) on my birth certificate!"
Photo Courtesy of Lavender and Lovage

Original recipe courtesy of Lavender and Lovage

Whole Milk
This is a great recipe to make on a lazy weekend because there are a number of steps and a
bit of waiting time during the cooking of the fish and the baking of the pie. The good news is,
if you plan to be around the house, none of the steps are particularly difficult. It all starts with
making a fish sauce that begins with 1 1/4 cups milk

Pouring Milk into a Sauce Pan
Add the milk to a medium sauce pan and set over medium heat to begin warming while you
prepare the other ingredients.

Halved and Peeled Medium Onion
Peel and halve one medium onion

Thickly Sliced Medium Onion
Then thickly slice the onion...

Onion and Bay Leaves Added to Milk
...and add onion slices to the milk. Add 2 bay leaves (I find organic bay leaves have WAY
more flavor than the non-organic kind, so I recommend picking up organic bay leaves)

Salt and Pepper Added to Milk
Season the milk and onions with salt and pepper. I used about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Frozen Salmon, Hake and Shrimp
Next comes the seafood. I used frozen salmon, hake and shrimp (peeled and deveined but not
cooked). I left these in the refrigerator to defrost overnight.

Hake Added to Pot of Milk
Add the hake to the pot

Salmon Added to Pot of Milk
Add the salmon to the pot

Milk and Fish Simmering
And give everything a gentle stir to combine. Try not to break up the fish. Bring to a simmer
and let cook for 2 minutes.

Covered Milk and Fish
Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let steep for 30 minutes while you prepare the other

Pot of Water Coming to the Boil
Bring a big stock pot of water to a rolling boil

2 Pounds Potatoes
While the stock-pot comes to a boil, you will have time to prepare your potatoes. You will need
1 1/2 to 2 pound of potatoes (it really depends on how much potato mash you want)

Potatoes Peeled
Wash, peel and trim the poatoes

Potatoes Diced
Dice the potatoes - try to keep your dice relatively uniform in size so that each piece cooks
in about the same amount of time

Potatoes Added to Boiling Water
The stock pot should be to the boiling point by now, so carefully add your potatoes (and
watch out for splashes while adding!)

Potatoes Cooking
Bring the potatoes back up to the boil, partially cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until a fork
easily slides in and out of the largest potato chunks

Aged English Cheddar Cheese
While the potatoes cook, you will have time a chance to prepare your other ingredients, starting
with the cheese. Since this is a British dish, I specifically selected an aged English cheddar

Grated Aged English Cheddar Cheese
Grate the cheese

Pile of Grated Cheese
You will need about 4 oz of cheese (or more if you're like me)

Snipped Fresh Chives
Next prepare your chives. I used a pair of kitchen sheers to snip about 2 tablespoons of chives.
I recommend adding about 1/4 cup of snipped chives for more flavor

Fresh Flat Leaf Italian Parsley
You can also add chopped parsley. I used flat leaf parsley because that's what I keep in my
fridge, but Karen's original recipe calls for curly parsley

4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter
Next comes melted butter for the potatoes. You will need 2 oz or 4 Tablespoons

Unsalted Butter, Sliced
I like to melt the butter in the microwave and it melts faster if I slice it first

Unsalted Butter, Melted
20-30 seconds in the microwave and one arrives at melted butter...

Peeled and De-veined Shrimp
Your steeped milk is probably about ready to be strained, so it's time to add the shrimp.
Actually, you should add the shrimp after you strain the milk and have removed the fish, but
I mis-read Karen's recipe and stirred in the shrimp before straining the steeped milk

Shrimp Added to Fish and Milk
Add the shrimp to the pot

Shrimp Stirred Through Fish
Give everything a stir and let sit while you drain the potatoes

Drained Cooked Potatoes
Drain the potatoes and shake off any lingering water

Adding Melted Butter to Cooked Potatoes
Add the potatoes to a large bowl and pour in the melted butter

Mashed Potatoes
Mash with a potato masher until smooth and fluffy

Kosher Salt and Cracked Black Pepper Added to Potatoes
Season generously. I used about 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked black
pepper. Be careful with pepper as it can overpower the cheddar cheese you're about to add

Grated Aged Sharp Cheddar Cheese Added to Poatoes
Add 3/4 of your grated cheddar cheese

Potatoes and Cheese Mixed Together
Stir together and set potatoes aside while you strain the milk and prepare your roux 

Removing Fish and Shrimp from Milk
Scoop out each piece of fish from the milk and place in a separate bowl

Straining Onions and Fish Bits out of Milk
Strain the milk to remove the bay leaves and onion (and pieces of shrimp or fish you missed)

Fish, Onions and Shrimp
Discard the bay leaves and set seafood aside while you prepare your roux. I decided to
include the onions with the seafood as I hate to waste anything edible...

Strained Fish Milk
You should be left with about 1 1/2 cups of strained milky stock. You're ready to make roux.
Preheat your oven to 400F

Melting 4 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter in Pan
For the roux, add 4 Tablespoons of unsalted butter to the pot (you can use the same pot that
you steeped your milk and fish in)

Melted Butter in Pan
Melt the butter over medium heat

4 Tablespoons Flour Added to Melted Butter
Add 4 Tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour

Whisking Butter and Flour into Roux
Whisk the butter and flour together and continue to cook the roux until it changes from a pale
tan color to a deep sandy color, about 8 minutes

Continuing to Mix Roux
Keep whisking while the roux cooks to keep it from scorching

Roux Darkened to Sandy Color
See how the color has darkened substantially? That's what you're looking for.

Whisking In Strained Fish Milk
Slowly pour in your steeped milk while whisking continuously

Whisking Sauce Until Smooth
The roux will quickly form a thick sauce. Remove from heat and whisk until smooth

Salt and Pepper Added to Sauce
Season with salt and pepper. I used about 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon cracked
black pepper.

Chives and Chopped Parsley Added to Sauce
Add your chopped chives and parsley

Whisking in Chives and Parsley
Whisk everything together - you're now ready to assemble your fishy pie with mash

Corning Ware French White F-2-B 2.8 L Roaster
For this pie, you want an oven-safe baking dish (broiler-safe is best) that is just large enough
to accommodate all the ingredients. I used my Corning Ware French White F-2-B 2.8 Liter
roasting pan for this pie. It was just about the perfect size. And since it's pyroceram, it was
also safe to use under the broiler if I chose to brown the top of the pie

Spreading Layer of Sauce in Bottom of Roaster
Add about 1/3 of your sauce to the bottom of the baking dish and spread in a thin layer

Added Fish and Shrimp Over Sauce
Layer your seafood over top of the sauce - try to keep it as even as possible

Spread Remaining Sauce of Fish and Shrimp
Next, cover the seafood with the remainder of your sauce, smoothing it evenly over the top

Topped with Mashed Potatoes
Add your mashed cheesy potatoes

Spread Mashed Potatoes Evenly
Smooth out the potatoes in an even layer

Using a Spoon to Create Scale Pattern in Potatoes
Use the back of a spoon to make a fish-scale pattern over the top of the potatoes. If you want
the pattern to the visible after baking, be sure to really make deep indentations

Scaled Pattern Over Top of Potatoes
Your pie should now look something like this

Topped Potatoes with Grated Aged English Cheddar
Sprinkle with the remainder of your grated cheddar and bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbling
around the edges. 

Baked Potato and Fish Pie
Here's how my pie looked after baking 30 minutes. For a more browned top, place under the
broiler for 1 minute or so, then serve.

Potato and Fish Pie Wide Angle
This was such a comforting meal and I discovered a new favorite combination of cheddar
with hake and potatoes.

Serving of Potato and Fish Pie
And the good news is, there's still plenty of comfort left for another meal...

Thoughts while scarfing...
  • I had never tried hake before and now I'm a big fan. It's such a mild flavor, very meaty in texture, and it pairs wonderfully with cheddar cheese and potatoes. At least in fish pie, I would eat hake over tilapia or whiting any day. I'm definitely adding hake to my list of must-eat-more-of-this-fish list.
  • I know some celebrity foodies poo-poo combining fish and cheese together - I guess they've never tried fish pie with hake and cheddar because these flavors were meant to be together. The cheddar is subtlety accented by the hake and the texture of the mashed potatoes somehow enhances the texture of the fish. Cheese with fish - delicious.
  • Don't skimp on the chives. When I make this again, I plan to add more chives (at least 1/4 cup chopped). The brightness of the chives and parsley really perk up the flavor of the pie without overpowering the fish, but they're so subtle they may get lost if you skimp.
  • I wasn't a huge fan of the salmon and shrimp with the hake - both were delicious, but salmon tends to overpower other flavors and really completed with the cheddar flavor. Next time I plan to try using just scallops and hake.
  • You might want to leave a bit of a lip on your baking dish or place the dish on a baking sheet - once the pie heats through and begins to bubble, it may dribble over the lip of the dish and leave some memories on the bottom of your oven...


  1. Happy to know a new blogger - nice to meet you Karen! JW, you picked the great recipe for us! I love potatoes and this dish looks YUM! It looks tedious, but I know, to get the delicious flavor, no short cut. It looks wonderful and I even like the fish scale pattern - so cute! Great recipe and now you made me very hungry... :-)

  2. loving these Tuesday Tutorials and lovely that you've highlighted one of my favourite bloggers (and people), the wonderful Karen!... I also love your fish pie, it looks incredible... love the step by step too... really excellent post!

  3. WOW! I feel like a celebrity now JW and what an amazing post - you have made my day and indeed you have made my week! My recipe in your hands has turned out PERFECTLY and I LOVE the step-by-step photos too......with your permission, I would like to add a link from my original post and recipe to your EXCELLENT tutorial here, as well as feature you in a blog post later this week, when I write about fish! Your post is beautifully written and the pie looks simply superb! I am so PLEASED that I inspired you to try hake, which, is also a favourite fish of mine too! JUST great! THANKS again and a BIG thanks to Dashing Dom, and a hello to JustOneCook too.....your blog content continues to inspire me, and these Tuesday Tutorials are a innovative and excellent idea - well done you! Karen PS: THANKS for your VERY kind words too!

  4. I wrote a long comment and cannot see it now - will check if you have comments approval before I write another comment again if my original one was lost! Karen

  5. WOW! I feel like a celebrity now JW and what an amazing post - you have made my day and indeed you have made my week! My recipe in your hands has turned out PERFECTLY and I LOVE the step-by-step photos too......with your permission, I would like to add a link from my original post and recipe to your EXCELLENT tutorial here, as well as feature you in a blog post later this week, when I write about fish! Your post is beautifully written and the pie looks simply superb! I am so PLEASED that I inspired you to try hake, which, is also a favourite fish of mine too! JUST great! THANKS again and a BIG thanks to Dashing Dom, and a hello to JustOneCook too.....your blog content continues to inspire me, and these Tuesday Tutorials are a innovative and excellent idea - well done you! Karen PS: THANKS for your VERY kind words too!

  6. I have never had a fish pie - but I wish I could have some of yours, it looks SO GOOD! And great feature, I love Karen's blog! :)

  7. I'm so happy you've had a chance to meet Karen - she's a wonderful blogger with a tremendous amount of energy so I know you'll enjoy her posts. Thanks for your kind words and it was a tasty pie!

  8. These Tuesday posts are always a lot of fun for me as well and Karen's fish pie was a great choice. I'm glad you enjoyed, Dom...

  9. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Karen! And I'm always happy when I discover new fish I enjoy, so thank you for introducing me to hake. Of course you have permission to link back or feature this post - I would be very honored... Thanks so much for being my Tutor today!

  10. It looks like both comments were finally showing up - I'm not sure what happened, but thanks for taking the time to re-add your comment...

  11. Thanks Heather - it was very tasty! And I'm so glad you enjoyed the feature with Karen...

  12. What a great post! I love the step by step pictures and the fish pie look delicous. I didn't realise you should cook a roux until it goes that colour. I usually add some soft boiled eggs to my fish pie which is great too.

  13. What an interesting dish ... So glad I stopped by :-)

  14. I'll have to try adding boiled eggs to the pie the next time I make it - this is my first real exposure to fish pie so I'm excited to try different options. And I really cooking the roux depends on the flavor you want to get. The longer you cook the roux, the more nutty the flavor. And since it's one of the major components of the pie, I suspect that's why Karen's recipe calls for a darker roux...

  15. Thanks for dropping my CJ - Karen has all kind of delicious and interesting dishes on her blog!

  16. I love fish pie and this looks amazing - must try this recipe next time. Excellent tuesday tutor post as always - love Karen's blog which never fails to amaze and inspire me.

  17. It was very tasty, Ros - the only major change I'd make is swapping out the salmon for either another white fish or more hake. And Karen is amazing - so much energy every day!

  18. mjskit @ mjskitchen.comJuly 17, 2012 at 11:19 PM

    Thank you so much for introducing us to Lavender and Lovage! I did not know of her blog and it's lovely! Thanks also for introducing me to hack! I've heard of it, but had no idea what it was. What a process!!! I'm sure it's delicious but I'll wait and try it once someone else cooks it for me. Having a dinner party any time soon Javelin? :)

  19. Lorraine @ Not Quite NigellaJuly 17, 2012 at 11:24 PM

    Thanks for introducing us to her blog! The sponge cake at the bottom looks so delicious as does this potato dish! :D

  20. I'm so happy you had a chance to discover Karen's blog, MJ. She's wonderful and I've learned so much about British food and festivals by following her posts. And if there were enough folks who lived close enough for a dinner party, I'd totally throw one! You'd be invited of course...

  21. You're very welcome, Lorraine - I've never made a Victoria sponge before, Karen's is just gorgeous...

  22. Just wanted to stop by and say a BIG thanks again to JW and also all of you who left such LOVELY comments here - I am thrilled that my humble and VERY traditional fish pie has caused so much interest! Karen

  23. Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday!

  24. It was such a pleasure having you, Karen - thanks so much!

  25. It was very tasty and I'm so glad I could share - thanks for hosting!

  26. Lois ChristensenJuly 21, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Love how you made the design in the top of the mashed potatoes! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Don't forget to come back tomorrow and VOTE for your favorite three! www.wifeofthecolonel.blogspot.com

  27. I'm so glad you enjoyed and thanks for hosting Foodie Friends Friday!


Post a Comment