Next time you’re making a stew and casserole, double or triple your recipe – they freeze brilliantly. Once it is completely cold, divvy out into the required portion sizes and place in freezer. Then, once frozen cover with Clingfilm or put in Tupperware, date and label. These will last for six months with no detrimental effects on quality.
As with the Fish Pie, freeze the base in a casserole dish first, then add the cooled mash. It’s much easier and less messy.
When stuffing chicken breasts, pipe stuffing or duxelle into 4” lengths and freeze on silicon paper. Then pierce the breasts lengthwise and push in the frozen stuffing or duxelle before wrapping it all up and putting back in the freezer.
Dice the fish, poach lightly, cool and freeze on silicon paper. Then, when the fish is then mixed with the mash and the cakes are formed, it stays in decent pieces and shouldn’t break up.
The trick is to make the parts separately. If you’re adding prawns, just cook them for literally 3 seconds in simmering fish stock to seal them. The chucks of fish should be lightly poached. Then mix together in the cooled sauce and pop in the freezer. Then, once it’s frozen, add top of cooled mash and a sprinkling of cheese, and return to the freezer. This method ensures the fish holds together well and does not overcook. Don’t add eggs, however – they don’t hold up very well when frozen from cooked.
When it comes to freezing, dried egg pasta is far superior to fresh; it holds up really well and you can keep it al dente. Just blanch in boiling salted water for 3 minutes then immediately refresh under a cold tap until they are completely cool. Drain well and add a little splash of olive oil so it doesn’t stick together. Make your sauce as normal, but keep it nice and thin. It will look a bit odd mixed with the pasta and frozen, but when cooked the pasta will absorb the sauce to give you the perfect result.
If you’re making a pie that’s encased with pastry, freeze the cooked mix in a metal ring on silicon paper first. Then, once it’s frozen, pop it out and cover with pastry. This helps it keep its shape, as well as being a really easy and mess-free method.
Don’t boil or steam your vegetables before freezing; you’ll get much better results if you roast them (we use rapeseed oil, herbs and seasoning). Peppers, onions, aubergines, courgettes, squash, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms will all benefit hugely. Just 8-10 minutes at 180°c removes the excess water and concentrates their flavour.