Monday, 20 September 2010

Home-grown bliss

My dad is the best. Of course, I would say that! But as well as his general amazing dadlike qualities, he loves gardening; growing food and almost ordering people to eat it : )

I've been enjoying the fruits (and vegetables) of his labour for months; from asparagus to soft fruit, peas, beans, carrots, courgettes, cauliflower, you name it.

He's not into growing flowers but some of the veg, like this red cabbage and these unusual-looking but great-tasting carrots, are so beautiful, he doesn't need to!

But the part of his garden I've had my beady eye on for weeks is this...


As a serious butternut addict, this is the vegetable equivalent of some hard stuff... : ) 
And it's not just butternuts; he's sown loads of different seeds, with a "let's see what they are when they grow" approach, woop!

I don't really eat potatoes, as I can never be bothered to cook them! But recently, I've been using squash almost as a potato equivalent. This fact, and the fact there was some salmon in the freezer which needed eating, led me to last night's dinner - colouful fish pie...

350g-ish fish (I used 260g salmon and a random fillet of something white from my freezer! It was probably pollock, which is like cod, and probably about 90g at a guess. But more fish and of any type would also be great)
Few bay leaves, etc
About 450g or more veg (I used about 320g butternut and 120g carrot) cubed
Pinch of garlic powder
Plain yoghurt (I used about half a 170g pot of total 0%)
1tsp wholegrain mustard
1 egg yolk
Splash of milk
About half a leek

Preheat overn to about 180C. Spray a roasting tin with cooking spray and put the fish in, with the bay leaves. I also used some lemon thyme, given to me by my neighbour.
Cover with foil and bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until fish is cooked.
While it's in, cook the squash and carrots until tender.
Remove fish and put on a plate. Pour any juices into a bowl with the yoghurt, egg yolk, milk and mustard and mix.
Put fish back in the pan and pour in the "white sauce", mixing it in with the fish. Sprinkle chopped leeks on top.
Mash the cooked squash and carrots with the garlic and spread over the fish. Return to the oven for about 15 minutes, then grill at about the same temperature for another 5-10 minutes.

It was so nice! It was one of those recipes I thought might not work at all, as the mashed veg was obviously a lot less "solid" than potato mash but it tasted delicious! For more substance, I think a small potato or two mashed in would be great and actually I'd use a bit more mash next time anyway, as this amount made quite a thin layer.
It might also be nice to sprinkle on some grated parmesan before it goes in the grill, or to add some prawns and chopped hard-boiled eggs to the fish. If more fish/prawns etc was added, I'd use the whole pot of yoghurt too for more creaminess.
But definitely a winner overall. So much flavour and it looked much nicer than a boring white/yellow fish pie (in my humble opinion!) especially served with a rainbow of vegetables.

And talking of vegetables and home-grown joy, I couldn't end without sharing this dude, dug up last week.

Childish - but very entertaining! : )


  1. That carrot is ridiculous!! haha, your dad really is quite the gardener :P
    The fish pie is so creative!! I never would have thought to combine it with squash. lately I've discovered I don't hate squash after all, though - and am sure I have a lot of butternut in my future :)

  2. That is so cool that your dad is into gardening. I'm jealous! :) Love the cute sweet potato.. or carrot.. or whatever it is. :P

  3. Thank you! I've really got into the "just chuck it in and see what happens" way of thinking lately and it seemed to work...! I used to hate squash too and I now eat it almost every day so definitely give it a go; spaghetti squash is delicious too :)

    I know, bless my dad and it saves me a fortune on food shopping, as well as producing carrots like that!

  4. I want a garden so badly! But your dad's looks amazing :) I love that little carrot dude. He is so cute! I don't think I could bring myself to eat him!

  5. It's brilliant; the only one not as impressed with the garden is my mum because she has to pick and cook it all (although I do my best to help out *sigh*!)

    And I couldn't either; he's looking a bit shrivelled now :-)

  6. Awww its like a little person-vegetable.
    Did you feel a little guilty eating him? D:

  7. I didn't eat him! Would have felt far too guilty... :-)