1. Tip the rice into a sieve and rinse well under cold water. Tip into a small pan and pour in 150ml boiling water. Add a pinch of salt, cover and bring to the boil. Turn the heat right down and very gently simmer for 25 mins till the rice has absorbed the water and is tender. Take the pan off the heat and leave the rice in the pan, lid on, to steam it and finish cooking.
2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Warm a pan over a medium heat for 1 min, then add ½ tbsp oil and the onion. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Fry, stirring every so often, for 5 mins till the onion starts to soften and look glossy.
3. While the onion fries, roughly chop the tomatoes and halve the olives. Stir the tomatoes and olives into the onions. Pop on a lid. Fry for 10 mins, stirring every so often, till the tomatoes break down and are pulpy.
4. While the veg fry, peel and crush or grate the garlic. Halve the chilli, scoop out the seeds and white pith and finely chop the chilli. Pick the oregano and thyme leaves off their stalks and roughly chop them. Set a pinch of chopped herbs to one side for garnishing.
5. Stir the garlic, chilli, oregano and thyme into the veg. Drop in the bay leaf. Cook and stir for 2 mins till the pan smells sweet and fragrant.
6. Crumble the stock cube into the pan and swirl in 300ml boiling water. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down a little and simmer for 10 mins. Stir every so often.
7. After 10 mins, when the sauce has thickened a little, add the fish pie mix to the pan. Pop the lid on the pan and simmer for 5 mins till the fish is cooked through – it will be opaque and flakes easily when pressed with a fork.
8. Taste the braise and add a little more salt and pepper if you think it needs it. Fluff the rice with a fork and divide between 2 warm bowls. Ladle over the fish and Veracruz sauce, discarding the bay leaf. Garnish with the chopped herbs to serve.