Thursday, May 17, 2012

Seafood and Dill Pies My Fourth Entry in the Garden Gourmet Blog Off/ Cook Off

Today I am going to talk about my number one cooking mother.  I grew up cooking at her knee.  I have talked on here about what fantastic entertainers my parents where and how they were both fantastic cooks.  But where did it all start???  

Well for my mother's part, she was not the kind to get married and have 3 kids hanging off her by the time she was 23,  oh no no no.  In 1954, as soon as she was old enough, she boarded a ship with her best girlfriend and headed for the UK.  They landed in London in late Autumn, just in time for the cold weather to hit.  In order to avoid paying rent and so as to have a comfortable warm abode for the harsh European Winter, she applied and got a job in a home in St Johns Wood London, as a mother's help.  Originally her job was to do housework and look after the 4 children of the house.  But one week, the Dr and his wife attended a medical conference abroad and my mum was left to look after the entire running of the house.  When the head of the house and his wife returned home, it happened to be mum's half day off.  She had left them a Steak and Kidney pie, which they thought was delicious and immediately offered her another 10 shillings per week to assume the role of household cook.

As Spring rolled around mum left the house to meet up with her girlfriend to hitch-hike around Europe for 6 months........which of course is a fabulous story in itself.

As the Winter rolled around again it was decided she and her girlfriend would apply for another cook's role, this time in a large country manor, so they could stay together.  They ended up in a large country house with their own apartment in Aylesbury.  Very English and actually very friendly.  They were cooking for an old couple.  One of their sons had been a fighter pilot, killed in the war and the other was  the headmaster at Cheam School, later attended by Prince Charles, who ate at home occasionally.  So you can imagine the standard required.

One memorable occasion mum said, was making and then handing round the fruit cake along with the whisky on the fox hunt held on the estate.  Anyhoo to say my mum is a good cook is an understatement.  It was a pleasure to grow up in a home where meals were almost always delicious and on many occasions an event.  My father would visit the Sydney fish markets every Saturday morning and Saturday lunches were big in our family.  Usually involving things like fish roe, octopus and shell fish, which was most unusual in an Australian home in the 1970's and early 80s.  My parents fostered in me, a love and inquisitiveness of food and its preparation, which I hope to pass onto my children.  And so today I give you my fourth instalment in the Gourmet Garden Blog Off /Cook Off Competition.  Seafood and Dill Pies. Again a tasty, quick and easy weeknight wonder, to be enjoyed by the whole family.

Individual Seafood and Dill Pies

1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of  plain flour
1 cup of low fat milk
1 onion diced
2 tablespoons of Gourmet Garden Dill
500g marinara mix (mixed seafood such as firm fish, prawns, mussels, scallops)
1/2 cup of white wine or rose
salt and pepper to taste
1 sheet of frozen puff pastry thawed
1 egg lightly beaten 

Saute the onion in some peanut oil in a fry pan.

To make the white sauce use a small saucepan . Melt the butter over a moderate heat.  Stir in the flour.  Gradually whisk in the milk until the flour is well combined with the milk. Whisking gets rid of any lumps.

Add the dill, sauted onion and white wine and allow to thicken slightly.

Add the seafood and cook for several minutes.

Once the pastry has thawed  up end the pie dish and place it on the pastry.  Cut  around the edge of the pie dish leaving a1cm over hang.

Spoon the seafood mixture into the pie dishes.   Top with the pasty cut outs.  Fold down the over hanging pastry and press the edges down with a folk and cut a slit into the middle of the pie.

Brush on the egg wash and bake in a moderate oven for 15-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.  Serve with garlic and rosemary potatoes and a simple green salad.

This mixture makes 4 pies in ramekin dishes or 2 pies in larger pie dishes.

For my other recipes go here for savoury and here for sweet

Today I'm partying here


  1. Everything you shared sounds so good. You are bound to win the cook off.

  2. Thanks LV, but the competition's pretty stiff so we shall see.

  3. Boy am I enjoying this week. If I hang around here all week I'll put on weight just reading - they all look so yummy, but easy. Love the story about your mum. I'm making your pies this weekend.

  4. The one thing I really miss about not being able to eat wheat is flaky puff pastry:((

  5. Looks real delish!
    I too am fortunate to have a mother who cooks hearty meals,
    oh we have friends hanging around the house all time especially during summer breaks.

  6. This looks fantastic!! You are a talented cook. Rachel x

  7. Fascinating story about your mom, Carolyn!!

    Also, I'm not the grammar police, but since you're entering a competition with these recipes (and presumably posts) - 4th is spelled "fourth" - you only take the "u" out for forty :)

  8. You are so right Susan Thanks

    1. You're welcome! Good luck in the competition, Carolyn!

  9. And change spring to 'she arrived in autumn' as I thought...what, spring? But probably could be!!! What a great story. There you go, how fantastic!! Didn't know any of that. Love finding out about you and mum ( and dad) via here. Nic xxx ps you are sooo going to win.

    1. Not sure what planet I'm on this week. I've got my seasons and my spelling all wrong. Thanks for the heads up darl. I guess it was our late Spring, so I am half right. But not really and I've made your suggested changes. Thanks Glad you like my mum's (and dad's) stories. I love my mum's sense of adventure. She had a remarkable life for the times. She was such a goer and very different for her day. She made the absolute most of here single life and encouraged me to do the same!!!!!!!


  10. Recipe? You wrote add seafood.
    But? Did not mention what kind.
    Fish? Shrimp? Lobster? Crab?


  11. Hi Erika

    We are able to buy something in Australia called Marinara Mix from fish mongers, which is a combo of freash prawns, fish pieces, mussels and calamari. But your idea of lobster, scallops etc sounds lovely too. If Marinara Mix is not available where you are, just make up a combo yourself according to the amount of people. eating . I allow about 200 grams per person. Hope this helps

    Warm Regards


  12. Just bought two fishing rods, so the poor guys I catch may end up in this recipe.


  13. How great is your mum! Thanks for linking this recipe up to teh weekend cookbook. Hope to see you there again some time.


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