As the days become colder and the evenings become darker, there is one tasty consolation that we can draw from the arrival of autumn, and that is that Sundays become roast, hotpot and stew days once more. The barbeques have been packed away for another season (unless you are an unusually hardy individual) and the Bisto is back in the cupboard. Hurrah!
British food is often chided for its lack of variation and flavour. Well Marcus Verberne, Head Chef of Roast in Borough Market might have something to say about that. He will be publishing the restaurant’s first cookbook titled Roast: A Very British Cookbook in November. It is set to contain over 100 British recipes, including breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks. Recipes range from toasted crumpets with poached eggs, pan-fried gurnard fillet with clams in cider and wild boar pancetta and anchovy-rubbed, hay-baked leg of mutton with parsley and caper sauce. Sounds good to us!
If you think the recipes, though delicious, sound a little out of your range of expertise, then fear not. The cookbook sets itself apart with its QR code technology that, once scanned, provides readers with step by step videos of Marcus’ own demonstrations. So we have absolutely no excuse for going wrong!
Here just one of the mouth watering recipes that feature.
Mum’s Fish Pie (serves 4-6)
Introduction by Marcus Verberne
This was one of the dinners I most looked forward to as a child. There’s something wonderfully comforting about a rich creamy fish pie on a miserable rainy day. The fish species can be varied in accordance with season, availability, sustainability and value. However you should always include something smoked for depth of flavour. Mussels are also a welcome addition. To make it more luxurious, why not add some prawns or even some lobster meat.
300g white fish fillet (haddock or pollack are ideal)
100g undyed smoked haddock
300g salmon fillet
2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley leaves (reserve the stalks)
1 bay leaf
40g plain flour
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp anchovy sauce (Watkins is a good brand)
11/2 tbs English mustard
3 hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters
juice of 1/2 lemon
For the topping
700g floury potatoes (Maris Piper are ideal), peeled and halved
80g softened butter
100ml warm whole milk
80g fresh white breadcrumbs (not dried)
80g grated Cheddar
Preheat your oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4. Slice the half onion and place in a large saucepan along with the three types of fish, the parsley stalks and the bay leaf. Cover with milk, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and rest for 1 minute or until the fish is almost cooked. Strain through a sieve, reserving the milk, and flake the fish into 3-4cm pieces. Cut the remaining onion into small dice, place in a large saucepan with the butter and cook over a low heat until soft. Add the flour and stir constantly for about 1 minute, before adding the warm reserved milk a little at a time, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Cook the sauce for 3-4 minutes, stirring regularly until you can no longer taste the flour. Remove from the heat and add the Worcestershire sauce, anchovy sace, mustard and chopped parsley. Lay out the flaked fish evenly in a baking dish. Place the egg quarters among the fish. Finally pour the sauce over the fish and eggs to cover and allow enough room for the topping. Place in the fridge to cool and set. For the topping, place the potatoes in lightly salted cold water and bring to the boil. Cook for about 15-20 minutes, until well cooked, then drain and allow them to release some steam for a couple of minutes. Mash the potatoes using a masher or even better, a potato ricer. Gently fold the warm milk and butter into the mash until smooth. Spread an even layer of mash over the pie and drag the prongs of a fork across the top creating grooves, which will help to form a crust when baked. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until hot through. Mix the breadcrumbs and grated Cheddar in a bowl, then sprinkle over the top of the pie. Bake for a further 5 minutes until the topping is golden and crispy. Finish under the grill if necessary.
Roast: A Very British Cookbook by Marcus Verberne (Absolute Press), available 7th November 2013, £25.00.
Roast, The Floral Hall, Stoney Street, London, SE1 1TL, Roast-restaurant.com.