Wormy’s kitchen: Seafood pie

seafood pie
Seafood pie, green beans, cherry tomatoes (sorry for blur)

Ingredients (Serves 4)
250g mixed fish
375ml semi-skimmed milk
50g button mushrooms
50g frozen peas
20g plain flour
40g low fat spread
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp chopped parsley
450g potatoes, cut into small pieces, boiled
2 hard-boiled eggs

1. We used salmon fillet, hake fillet and king prawns, but you can use whatever you like or you can get a mixed fish pack from the frozen section of most supermarkets, although we’ve only ever seen smoked.

2. Place the fish in a saucepan and cover with 350ml of the milk. Add the mushrooms and the peas. Bring to the boil, cover, and then simmer for 8-10 minutes, until the fish is tender.

3. Remove the fish, peas and mushrooms and transfer to a serving dish. Flake the fish roughly, removing any bones.

4. Blend half of the remaining milk (apx 14ml) with the flour and stir into the milk in the saucepan with a third of the low fat spread (apx 14g). Bring to the boil. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

5. Season and stir in the parsley.

6. Pour the mixture over the fish in the serving dish. Shell and chop the eggs and place over top of mixture.

7. Mash the potatoes with the remaining milk and half of the remaining low fat spread (apx 13g).

8. Pile the mashed potato on top of the mixture, flatten and make a ridged pattern with a fork, and dot with the remaining low fat spread.

9. If the pie has cooled, place it in an oven for apx 20 minutes, or until piping hot, on 170ºC fan. If the pie is still warm, place it under a hot grill until the potato is brown and the mixture is piping hot.

To serve
We served this pie with fine green beans and cherry tomatoes. It’s supposed to serve 4 and a quarter was enough for me. The poet, however, preferred half a pie.

Wormy’s kitchen: Boiled ham

boiled ham 3
Picture: Diane Wordsworth

One of the most popular features on both the blog and Facebook seems to be “Wormy’s Kitchen”.

The poet is a very good cook who loves to experiment. We also enjoy making a lot of our own meals from scratch so we know what goes in them. And we like to forage, and see what we can make with free ingredients.

He tends to make the savoury stuff and I tend to do the baking. But he likes to have a dabble in making the bread and pastry too, both of which I’ve supervised, of course. 😉

Eventually, there will be a whole series of entries for Wormy’s Kitchen, along with recipes where relevant, which we will hopefully turn into a book, with extras. We’ll have to cook it all again then to get some decent photographs too.

One of our regular staples is boiled ham.

Cooked ham/pork/chicken/beef/turkey/etc was on the shopping list every week, but it’s quite watery and seems to go off quite quickly. And we didn’t think it was that tasty either.

For the previous 2 Christmases my mother-in-law boiled us a ham joint. But last year the poet decided he’d have a go himself, and he got some practice in before Christmas 2015.

There are several types and sizes of ham we can buy, including smoked, unsmoked, bargain-buy, a half-a-joint and a round joint. We started with the half-a-joint unsmoked and he boiled it for 2 – 3 hours, or until it was tender.

After a few goes he started to wrap it in tin-foil, which keeps a lot more flavour and moisture trapped within the joint. Then at Christmas we bought a round joint, cut it in half (so we have round slices instead of half-round slices), and put one half in the freezer. We still have that half, waiting to be defrosted and cooked.

Boiling our own ham and then slicing it ensures that we have a good supply of boiled ham for at least a week, and when we can cut it in half and get 2 weeks out of it, for less than a packet of cooked ham, then we’re happy. It’s tasty, we know it doesn’t have any extra additives (or extra water), and it keeps well.

Product review
As and when we get a new gadget to try, I’ll include a product review here. As we happily use the bog-standard saucepan for boiling ham (is there another way?), I won’t bore you with a product review this time.

List alert: A bright new year

At Bempton Cliffs (Picture: Scott Wordsworth)

We had a fantastic 2015. In May we were married in Gretna Green, and had a wonderful honeymoon, first in Scotland and then in Cyprus. Our very busy life started to ease off a little, and my writing work was made much more businesslike. In November, of course, I finally completed my first ever NaNoWriMo, and my first full-length story since, well, Night Crawler.

The holiday has given me time to assess how the past year went and what I’d like to achieve in the new year – workwise and personally. But I’m not going to bore everyone with a list of so-called “resolutions”. Instead, I’m just going to cover some changes to Baggins Bottom.

I’d like to have a grid on the front page with just the opening of each post visible and a continue-reading/read more-type option. But this current theme is quite a new one, and one I quite like, and it doesn’t seem to be available. I shall, however, research it further, and change it if I find it.

In the meantime, here are some new regular features that may or may not eventually be turned into non-fiction books, with added extras, such as OS maps for a walking book:

  • Wormy’s kitchen – including recipes and gadget tests/reviews
  • Walk of the week – including gear reviews and product tests
  • Kitchen garden from scratch – including step-by-step projects
  • Our lane this month
  • My fat year (fitness diary)

Each of the posts will have the topic name at the start of the post title followed by a colon, like the list alert on this one. The first post in each category will be an introduction with background where necessary. Come June, I’ll have a good idea of how much material I have and whether or not some of them can be converted into book proposals that can then go on their merry way.

The writing work is being moved up a gear in 2016. I’ve pretty much decided that I don’t want to write articles or features any more, other than nostalgia pieces that insist on being written and maybe readers’ letters. I do have some writing projects already started and I’d like to polish or finish some of those. Then I’d like to concentrate on the non-fiction ideas above.

Here is what I’d like to achieve in 2016, writing-wise:

  • polish Mardi Gras (my 2015 NaNoWriMo project)
  • finish Catch the Rainbow
  • start The Beast Within (a Marcie Craig mystery)
  • write at least one short story a month for fave short story market (and so eventually lead towards Twee Tales Twee …)
  • write at least one piece of work a month for the fiction writing course the poet bought for my birthday last year

All of this will monitored and documented and added to a new blog, Words Worth Writing … (do you see what I did there?) There’s not a lot on there at the moment, although I did secure the url a long time ago. But here is where you’ll start to see Diary of a Freelance Writer too, although I’ll probably duplicate that for a while until everyone knows how to find it. In fact, I might duplicate this post over there too, to get us started.

And then there’s the editing/self-publishing side of my work. I have 4 books to republish in 2016, under the new by-line:

  • Night Crawler (a Marcie Craig mystery)
  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Books 1 & 2 (that’s 2 books)
  • Twee Tales

I still have the following to knock into shape:

  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 3

And I have this one to start collating:

  • Baggins Bottom Best Bits Book 4

And then in February … (joke!)

So that’s it for now. All that’s left for today is to wish everyone a very merry new year. Good luck for 2016!