The picture really does not do justice to the energy and effort that went into making this dish from Prue Leith's 'Step-by-Step Cookery' book. My copy is inscribed by my parents dated Christmas 1993, so I've had it for coming up to 27 years. I've made a fair few of the recipes over time, and its techniques section remains a constant reference point for me, from cooking times to boning and preparing fish and meats.

Watching series 11 of the Great British Bake Off, I was prompted to flick through some of Prue's recipes again and I settled on this one.

While I've tried my hand at shortcrust pastries, suet pastry and choux, before today I'd yet to make a puff pastry. I decided to give the chiller cabinet at the supermarket a miss and have a shot at making my own pastry for our salmon en croute.

No quick and easy alternatives in the way of rough puff either. I was going the whole hog. Given puff pastry's billing as the most tricky pastry to tackle (Prue alludes to its potential to be tear inducing), I gave myself plenty of time, worked methodically and was consequently happy with the results.

It took me longer than Prue's suggested 1 hour + chilling time to make this evening's meal (and my pastry making exceeded the additional 50 mins + chilling time), in fact I was probably in the kitchen for about 5 hours (including all the cleaning up), but the satisfaction of having made the pastry along with decorating my fish shaped dish with pastry scales was reward enough. Fortunately it tasted good too.