In Catholic households, it's traditional to abstain from eating meat on Good Friday. This is because followers of the religion believe Jesus Christ gave his flesh for our sins, so mark the day by eating fish instead.
Even in non-religious families, this tradition has caught on, with many seeing the start of the long weekend as an excuse to enjoy a night off cooking and go out for fish and chips, or be a little more experimental than normal in the kitchen.
Fish is a brilliant natural source of omega-3, which has been proven to have myriad health benefits, from lowering blood pressure levels to soothing arthritis-related joint pain and even making your skin appear smoother.
Regardless of your beliefs, eating fish on Good Friday (this year, it falls on Friday March 30th) is a lovely healthy way to start the long weekend, before you move onto all of that Easter chocolate…
Here are a few ideas for how to prepare fish for a traditional Good Friday family meal:
Family fish pie
A classic fish pie is a beautifully hearty meal that's perfect for filling the family up. Using several different types of fish - we recommend smoked haddock, salmon and cod - in your pie filling will create a gorgeous taste full of flavour; using too much plain white fish may taste a little blander.
To make a fish pie, you need to fry off your fish in a little oil and seasoning of your choice. Parsley works wonderfully with fish, as does a sprinkling of black pepper. Frying a chopped onion and a clove of crushed garlic would add extra flavour too.
Then, leave the fish to cool in your pie dish while you prepare a white sauce. To do this, melt 25 grams of butter in a hot pan, then mix through the same amount of flour and 600 millilitres of milk until the sauce is thickened and cream in colour, stirring as much as possible.
Pour the white sauce over the fish and top with mashed potato, or even diced boiled potatoes that you've crushed a little with a fork. Sprinkle seasoning over the top and a handful of grated cheese for a gloriously golden topping and bake for around 25 minutes. Serve with spring greens.
Classic fish in parsley sauce
Parsley is a beautiful accompaniment to fish, so preparing a simple piece of cod or haddock and making a tasty parsley sauce to go with it makes a lovely Good Friday supper.
Image credit: Roxiller via iStock
A homemade parsley sauce is really simple to make; all you need to do is make a white sauce in the same way that we described above, but add extra seasoning, including generous handfuls of parsley.
Then, simply pour it over the fish and serve with a fresh salad, boiled new potatoes or even some herby rice, which would soak up the sauce wonderfully.
Homemade fish and chips
Fish and chips is always a lovely treat, but if you want to save your indulgences for all of the Easter eggs you're planning to eat over the long weekend, making your own healthier version is a great idea.
You could simply bake your fish with a little seasoning, or you could make your own 'batter' by blitzing stale bread in your food processor to make breadcrumbs, sticking it to the fish with some beaten egg.
Make your own chips to accompany your fish by parboiling sliced potatoes before covering them in just a drizzle of oil and baking in the oven until lovely and crisp. Serve with the traditional salt and vinegar, and perhaps a squeeze of lemon for a beautifully refreshing addition.
Don't let fishy smells spoil your Easter
The distinct flavour of fish means that it takes gorgeously strong, and that it smells pretty powerful too, especially if it's smoked. You don't want your home to smell overwhelmingly of fish at any time, but let alone ahead of the Easter weekend when you're expecting guests. Such is the staying power of the aroma of fish that even when you're getting your roast lamb out of the oven on Easter Sunday, you're likely to still be catching a sniff of it in the air.
But don't let this prospect put you off enjoying gorgeous fish recipes. At Heyland & Whittle, we know that, despite our best efforts to clean, unpleasant smells can linger in our homes from time to time.
We've designed our new Chef's Friend range of products in our Home Solutions collection with lingering cooking smells in mind. Available as a Candle in a Tin, Reed Diffuser and one of our brand new Room Sprays, this fragrance combines lemongrass and lime to overpower any unpleasant kitchen aromas with a refreshing burst of zingy scent.