Warm winter recipes for January

Fish pie / Photo: Steve Baxter

Fish pie / Photo: Steve Baxter - Credit: Archant

Evelyn Curtis offers up some winter recipes to ward off the chill, including fish pie, citrus jelly and lemon sponge souffle

This month is the beginning of what I call ‘winter proper’ and usually heralds a long spell of cold weather. In fact January is reckoned to be the coldest month of the year, but lately our seasons and climates are changing and this month is one of the warmest Januarys I’ve known.

However, just as in summer, fruits and berries acknowledge seasonal temperatures, and the cold chills of winter remind us that it’s time to use the season’s special produce. Old-fashioned classics like steamed puddings, hot soufflés and bread puddings, as well as fruit pies, spring to mind.

So this month we have a fish pie and a citrus fruit jelly, which makes a light and refreshing dessert after the festive period of heavy eating! And, to round off, an easy warming sponge pudding.

FISH PIE Serves 4-6

Fish makes a welcome change after the festive season when we have had our fill of roast turkey and all its accompaniments. The recipe can be made up in advance, just cover and refrigerate, when needed, return to room temperature and bake in oven until piping hot.

Ingredients:

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675g cooked mashed potatoes;

1 fish stock cube dissolved in 300ml/10floz boiling water

150ml/1/5floz dry white wine

1 Bay leaf

900g cod or haddock

85g butter

45g plain flour

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

1 tablespoon chopped parsley

150g shrimps or prawns

3 hard boiled eggs

50g mature Cheddar cheese, finely grated

salt and pepper.

Method:

Pre-heat oven to gas mark 7/220C/425F.

Pour stock and wine into a pan, add Bay leaf and bring to simmer.

Poach fish in liquor for 5 minutes.

Strain and reserve liquor; leave fish to cool.

Melt half the butter, add the flour and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.

Gradually whisk in the fish stock and cook gently over a low heat for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, whisk in crème fraiche, salt and pepper.

Flake fish into chunks, fold into sauce with the prawns and chopped egg.

Spoon into a 1.5lts pie dish.

Melt the remaining butter and toss with the potato and half the cheese.

Sprinkle potato mixture evenly over the fish, then scatter over remaining cheese.

Serve piping hot.

CITRUS FRUIT JELLY Serves 4-6.

A sophisticated, light and refreshing jelly.

Ingredients:

700ml water

300ml lemon juice

5flozs sherry

225g caster sugar

50 gelatine

Rinds of 4 lemons

Whites of 2 eggs

Cloves

450g orange or tangerine segments.

Method:

Thinly cut lemon rind and add to water, lemon juice, egg whites, sugar and cloves in pan.

Bring slowly to the boil.

Strain, and to the liquid whisk in the gelatine dissolved in a little water.

Bring back to the boil and add sherry.

Pour a little into a jelly mould and leave to set.

Add a layer of orange segments, cover with more jelly and leave to set.

Build up several layers in this fashion until all is set.

Dip the mould in hot water to loosen jelly before turning out.

Can be decorated with further segments of fruit and served with cream or fromage frais.

Recipe can be varied with different fruits.

LEMON SPONGE SOUFFLE Serves 4.

This is a very old recipe I found tucked away into one of my ancient cookery notebooks. I sometimes use an orange instead, but find I like the tangy taste of lemon better.

Ingredients:

25g butter

1 teacup caster sugar

2 egg yolks

2 tablespoons plain flour

zest and juice of 1 lemon

1 teacup of milk.

Method:

Cream the butter and sugar together and stir in the egg yolks, zest and juice of 1 lemon.

2 tablespoons flour and the teacup of milk.

Beat remaining egg whites stiffly and fold into the creamed mixture.

Bake in pre-heated oven 190C/ 375F, Gas Mark 5 for 35-40 minutes or until risen and golden brown.

Bon appétit, and a Happy New Year to all readers.

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