A “fishy” challenge at Ronald McDonald House, Auckland

Life is full of challenges – and through MasterChef NZ I faced many little daily challenges that had to be met – one way or the other.  Last week, I had a momentary regression back to that “foodie” challenge, when faced with the extraordinary donation of 80kg of snapper to Ronald McDonald House in Auckland.

The team at the House, were delighted to give me an opportunity to shine.  Meantime, I spent a day wondering how I was going to feed this delicious fresh fish to 100 people – and keep it perfectly cooked and superbly tasty.  I also wanted to ensure that I was able to cook enough, that some could be put away for the weekend, to alleviate the necessity for families to have to cook again.

Personally, I love fish pie.  I love the homely comfort of it.  What I dislike is when it is heavy and ruins the flavour of the fish.  So I decided to do a light and luscious pie, topped with crinkled filo pastry.

Firstly, we poached oceans of snapper fillets in a mixture of milk and cream.  After gently removing the fillets, I was able to use the seafood infused milk mixture to create a creamy white sauce.  The fish, along with softened onion and celery and baby green peas, were gently folded with the sauce, before being topped with the filo.  The pie was a huge success.

Another portion of the generous donated fish, was used to create an ultimate kid friendly fish cake pie.  Poached fish, flat leaf parsley and onion were combined and topped with potato mashed with egg and cream.  A topping of breadcrumbs and the subsequent pie was comforting and hearty (and a kid + Dad favourite)

Our final batch of fish was treated with Asian flair.  Covered with coriander, chilli, garlic and ginger, the fish was steamed inside baking sheet parcels with a special Asian marinade.  The aroma as we opened the bundles at service was divine.  The treat was welcomed and all of the fish was devoured.


I love to be a part of the process of providing meals for Ronald McDonald House.  Any wonderful donations of food would be so welcome – and I am always up for another ‘food creation’ challenge…………………….

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