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Seafood macaroni bake

If using frozen haddock, there is no need to defrost before using: after bringing to the boil in stage 1, simmer for a few minutes until thoroughly defrosted before turning off heat under pan.
If using frozen prawns, there is no need to defrost them before adding to the sauce.
Take care not to overcook the macaroni, as it will continue cooking in the oven. Rinsing it under cold running water after it has been boiled prevents it from sticking together.

ingredients

serves 4
350 g (12 oz) fresh or frozen haddock fillets, skinned
600 ml (1 pint) milk
1 lemon
1 bay leaf
3 whole black peppercorns
salt
50 g (2 oz) margarine or butter
250 g (9 oz) mushrooms, thinly sliced
250 g (9 oz) short-cut macaroni, boiled, drained and rinsed
150 g (5 oz) jar mussels, drained
40 g (1 1/2 oz) plain flour
250 g (9 oz) peeled prawns
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper
margarine, for greasing
extra lemon slices and unpeeled fresh prawns, to garnish (optional)

method

1. Put the haddock in a large frying-pan with a lid and pour in enough of the milk to just cover. Add 2 slices of lemon, the bay leaf, peppercorns and a good pinch of salt.
Bring gradually to the boil, then cover and turn off the heat under the pan. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then remove the haddock with a fish slice. Flake the flesh into 4 cm (1 1/2 inch) pieces, discarding any bones. Strain all the cooking liquid and reserve.

2. Melt 15 g (1/2 oz) margarine in the rinsed-out frying-pan, add the sliced mushrooms and fry for 2 - 3 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice and remove from heat.

3. Heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) Gas 4.

4. Put the macaroni into a greased large ovenproof dish with the haddock, mushrooms and mussels. Stir carefully to mix, without breaking up the fish.

5. Melt the remaining margarine in a saucepan, sprinkle in the flour and stir over low heat for 1 - 2 minutes until straw-coloured. Remove from the heat and gradually stir in rest of milk and reserved cooking liquid. Return to the heat and simmer, stirring, until thick and smooth. Remove from heat, stir in the prawns, nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste, then pour evenly over macaroni and fish mixture. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.

6. Garnish with lemon slices and unpeeled prawns, if liked, and serve hot, straight from the dish.

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