Those Were The Good Days

When I was still living in Singapore, MS and I would meet up somewhat regularly over meals to catch up on each other’s lives. Up till then, I was a poor-student-turn-recent-graduate trying to pay off my education loan. So meeting her at restaurants was a lot like buying lipstick during the economic recession. One of the restaurants she introduced me to was The Marmalade Pantry tucked at the beginning of Orchard Road, right before the hustle and bustle of Singapore. I remembered walking over to the place feeling like I was about to be let into a secret. And it was. It was a nice down-to-earth place. Simple and unpretentious. It was there where I had my first fish pot pie. It remains the only place I ever had fish pot pie though I don’t remember if their bigger, flashier joints still have it on the menu.

Over the course of my kitchen escapades, I have prepared chicken pot pie several times. But this particular day, I thought of her and the many hours we spent talking about everything and nothing and the fish pot pie. And I was so happy that this one tasted like one I had back then… I felt as if I found the elixir, the fountain of youth, the time door that I can open and re-open again whenever I want to reminisce those days.

p.s. their fish pot pie didn’t come with ham, used puff pastry but heck, I like my woven lattice. Prettier.

FISH POT PIE
(Adapted from Fifteen Spatulas)
serve 2

2 fish fillet
1 tbsp OO
1 large carrot, diced
1 stick celery, chopped
half medium onion, diced
1 medallion of ham, diced
half cup frozen peas
3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 fresh bay leaf
1 tbsp butter
1.5 tbsp butter
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cube chicken bouillon
500 ml water
salt 
pepper
Grated cheese – I use Edam
1 egg yolk, whisked
1 recipe of pate brisee 

  • Season the fish fillet with salt & pepper, and dust with flour. Pan fry on both sides till done. Using fork, roughly seared the meat into chunks.
  • Heat up the oil, add in the carrot, celery, onion and cook till soft. Add in the frozen peas, ham, cooked fish, thyme and bay leaf. Stir and let it cook for another 2-3 mins.
  • Add in the butter, let it melt and stir to distribute. Add in the flour and repeat.
  • Add in water and the chicken bouillon. Bring the mixture to a simmer while continue stirring. Break any lumps if you have.
  • Add in the cream, season with salt and pepper. Grate some cheese inside and continue stirring till they melt.

At this point in time, you can keep the fish stew for another day. Let it cool down before keeping in fridge. Otherwise, chin up, shoulders straight, take a glug of wine, pre-heat the oven to 175 C and prepare the Pate Brisee.

  • Once pate brisee is done & oven temperature is nicely sitting at 175 C, set out your ramekins.
  • Dust your work area with flour and flatten the dough to 3-4 mm thickness using rolling pin. Carefully lay the dough over the ramekins and shape using your fingers. Cut off extra dough hanging off the ramekins.
  • If you’re doing a lattice (a woven top lid), make sure you’re working on top a parchment paper, so you can transfer easily. Otherwise, do another sheet of dough for the top.
  • Fill in the ramekins with the fish stew and cover with lid. For a normal lid, poke with a knife couple of times to create slits (to release steam).
  • Brush the lids with egg yolk and bake for 40 mins or till top turns golden. Serve immediately!

Note: I shouldn’t have put ham. I think the taste is too empowering and the fact that you need to chew the ham, it’s a turn-off especially when the fish stew slides down swimmingly down the throat.

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