I know, I know, Stash may laugh at me, do I call that chopping? But I thought it was funny that Shopping just happened to be the song that was going round my brain. Without even realising I bastardised it to Chopping.
I'm making fish pie and so far I'm loving it, who would've thought? I'm taking some liberties with the fish, although the base is still a couple of filets of fish and some prawns, but within that scope I'm adding what I happen to have lying around (Dutch prawns, pangasius, victoria bass, some smoked salmon, and a couple of small smoked mackerel fillets).
The prep amounted to roughly chopping a carrot, a stick of celery, a couple of small onions and a bunch of parsley, I didn't even have to peel or cut the potatoes because I bought them - partially - pre-cooked (it was that or carrying a big bag of spuds back home, with no prospect of eating them all). But apart from chopping it was all pretty much uncharted territory for me.
Today I made my first roux, my first bechamel sauce and even - I've been singing The Monster Mash too - my first mashed potatoes from 'scratch'. My family don't eat mashed potatoes, you see, there's no tradition of it. I wasn't much of a fan before today anyway and there's the whole carb thing. But now I discovered how nice good mash can be, I may have to be very disciplined... (See? Good thing I didn't buy that 2 kilo bag of potatoes!)
I got all my timings almost exactly right, had a bit of a scare when adding the milk to the roux, because my recipe said that after adding one third of the milk it should end up like a very thick sauce. Mine was still at the paste stages... But in the end it seems to all have worked out fine.
I'm not just happy that it went well, but that I was confident enough to change a few things yet perform the main points of the recipe without panicking.
One question, though: the recipe called for a bunch of parsley to be chopped and added to the sauce. I duly chopped up a bunch I bought at the supermarket and started adding. Are British bunches smaller than Dutch ones? Or was I stupid for stopping when it looked pretty much saturated with parsley?