Here’s a simple 1960s fish pie recipe from Brookeborough in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland, for a fish pie named after a seaside town on the north coast of Kent.
Entitled ‘Whitstable Fish Loaf’, this easy recipe was published in the Aghalurcher Parish Church, Colebrooke, Co. Fermanagh 92 page cookery book. Unusually for a charity recipe book, there are no names credited to the recipes in this little book. In a foreword to the book, Rector W.F. Hayes tells us that the Parish of Aghalurcher is one of the older parishes of the Diocese of Clogher. The Parish covered a huge area of countryside, originally including Maguiresbridge, Lisnaskea, Cooneen, together with part of Mullaghfad and Fivemiletown. The Rector tells how the original Parish Church was in the western end of the Parish, near Lisnaskea. The ruins of the old church were said to date from the ninth century. This old Parish Church was evidently in great disrepair from about 1622, though it continued to be the Parish Church until 1767. A new church was built at Cooltrain in 1763. Before the Reformation the eastern end of this large parish was served by the Church of Tulnagoran in the townland of Tattynuckle.
I can’t pass by a piece of old history in a little cookbook without recording it. Mullaghfad and Cooneen were townlands I heard a lot about from my father as a child. My father was Humphrey Beacom, and his parents had farmed in these areas when he was a child.
There’s one other thing that is interesting about old charity cookbooks. The ads. The second page of this 1960 Brookeborough cookbook has 4 advertisements, with 3 more adverts at the back. Only 1 of the 7 businesses advertised is still in existence today – Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative, Agricultural and Dairy Society Ltd., now known as Fivemiletown Creamery.
The other Fermanagh advertisers were as follows:
- John Jeffers & Sons, cycle and motor cycle agents, 36 East Bridge Street, Enniskillen. They were stockists of the following motor cycles – Triumph, Ariel, James, Velocette, A.J.S. and Lambretta Scooters.
- S. Kyle & Son, Fivemiletown, who were general grocers, hardware agents and emigration agents. They were also house furnishers and agents for Spiller’s animal feeds.
- W. Chambers & Co., 19/20 Church Street, Enniskillen. Stockists of furniture, carpets and wedding presents.
- Mabel’s. Mabel Graydon’s Hairdressing, 6 East Bridge Street, Enniskillen. The slogan reads ‘ If your hair is not becoming to you you should be coming to us.’
- W.H. Cooper, 25 Townhall Street and 14 Darling Street, Enniskillen. Wedding, birthday and christening cakes made to order. Wedding bouquets and sprays, flowers, wreaths and fresh cut flowers.
- Enniskillen Savings Bank, Church Street, Enniskillen
The original recipe says to grease the loaf tin. Don’t do that as there’s a high chance the fish loaf could stick to the tin and fall to bits when you go to remove it. It only takes a few seconds to line your tin with baking parchment. It will make all the difference to your lovely fish loaf.