I ate my first ploughman’s lunch last year. I’d seen other people with them on numerous occasions and they looked interesting – all that picky stuff to eat looked right up my street. Whenever I saw it on a menu though I always swerved it for a hot meal instead because who the flipping flop goes out to eat a bit of bread and cheese and pickle? Then one day last year I thought I MUST HAVE A PLOUGHMAN’S and off in search of one I went.
Man, it was disappointing. It was just a deconstructed cheese sandwich and once reconstructed it wasn’t even a good cheese sandwich. I decided ploughman’s (ploughmen’s?) were a con and I would never ever ever have one again. Despite proclaiming to never ever ever have one again, I’ve since had two more and both times I’ve felt conned at receiving a deconstructed cheese sandwich and in future I am going to stick to my vow to not have one again and if I want a cheese sandwich, I’ll just get a cheese sandwich and not have to make it myself.
The deconstructed cheese sandwich thing came to me as I was making a vegan fish finger pie. It occurred to me I wasn’t making a pie; I was simply assembling fishless fingers, mash and peas in a way they didn’t really need to be assembled. After all, children and adults alike have been perfectly happy with fish/less fingers, mash and peas separately on their plate for decades. So why assemble it into a pie? You can blame Captain Bird’s Eye for that, as I saw an advert where he made a fish finger pie and, after wondering what moisturiser he uses as he looks younger than he did 40 years ago, I thought I want to make a vegan version of that, oh yeah.
Although you may quite rightly be thinking why am I going to bother making a fish finger pie out of things that are perfectly fine un-pied, I can tell you that this vegan fish finger pie is definitely more than the sum of its parts. Having the fishless fingers, peas and mash all pied up together and covered in vegan parsley sauce was fab and definitely worth the £3 I spent on a pie tin in Asda especially for this recipe.
The only parsley sauce I’ve ever eaten was the one that came in the Bird’s Eye boil in the bag cod in parsley sauce, which was a staple of my diet growing up in the 70s. I have no idea if the sauce I made was an improvement on that sauce from the 70s but my vegan version came out better than I expected (to be honest, I had very low expectations) and so I’ll definitely be making it and this fishless finger pie again. Just like the Bird’s Eye boil in the bag cod in parsley sauce, this pie and sauce serves one, so increase the quantities as needed if you’re not a billy-no-mates-spinster-of-the-parish-with-just-a-cat-for-company like me who eats on her own every night.
- 5 vegan fishless fingers
- 85g frozen peas
- 350g potato
- Cook the fishless fingers according to the instructions on the packet
- Meanwhile, make the mashed potato as you usually would
- Boil the peas according to the instructions on the packet
- Lay the cooked fishless fingers in the bottom of a 8″ x 6″ pie tin
- Pour the peas evenly on top of the fishless fingers
- Fork over the mash
- Bake in the oven at 180C for about 15 minutes
- While the pie is cooking, make the parsley sauce (recipe below)
- 1 tbsp vegan spread
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- black pepper
- Melt the spread in a saucepan
- Add the flour and stir together thoroughly
- Add the almond milk and keep stirring until the sauce comes to a boil, thickens and there are no lumps
- Add the parsley, garlic powder, onion powder and ground black pepper and stir in thoroughly