… so i’m sitting in my kitchen on this sunny and far too warm Friday afternoon in late September, thumbing through the brilliant new River Cottage Veg Everyday cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, which I bought for The Viking for his birthday… what…?
… and lamenting that I have no vegetables in the house because i’m too lazy to get off my arse and do the weekly shop… when my lovely, if not slightly barmy neighbour June turns up at the back door with a bagful of bounty, freshly dug from her garden… at least a pound of carrots, 4 huge heads of lettuce and about 6 large, glorious leeks and even a bulb of fennel…
…I wonder if I start thumbing through my bank account book someone from the lottery might just show up?
… i’ve only… sorry… The Viking has only had the book since the weekend but i’ve pretty much thumbed through it twice and already bookmarked a dozen recipes that I simply have to make… and what’s brilliant about having so much veg delivered in one day is that I can look up leeks and fennel in the index and make that dish… right now!
Leek, Fennel and Summer Squash Cheesy Bake
actually its an amalgam of two recipes from the book but I doubt you guys, or even Hugh himself would protest too much… the squash is from the Gunby Hall garden and I wasn’t sure it would work but it adds a glorious nutty quality to the final dish.
1 squash – peeled and chopped into rough cubes
1 fennel – roughly chopped
6 leeks – halved lengthways and through the middle
6 cloves of garlic – un-peeled
1 glug of white wine
a small handful of thyme leaves
for the cheesy sauce
a large spoonful of butter (sorry not to have better measurements but I just used what I had left)
1 1/2 tablespoons of plain flour
half a pint of vegetable stock
half a pint of milk
another large glug of white wine
mustard powder (or any mustard to be honest)
– in a large oven dish, gently roast the squash, fennel and garlic in a little olive oil until they start to brown – roughy 30mins at 150c
– lay out the leek in another large dish, sprinkle with thyme, a splash of white wine and olive oil and cover in foil. Bake this gently too for about 30mins until barely tender… I did both roastings in the morning and let them cool in the oven, you don’t have to do this but it makes the whole dish seem less fussy to put together…
– meanwhile, make the cheese sauce by melting the butter in a heavy pan, take it off the heat and add the flour, stirring constantly until you have a smooth golden paste.
– gently add the milk/stock little by little, stirring all the time… I use the ‘on the heat/off the heat’ method, controlling the heat this way means less lumps and risk of burning – keep adding the stock until its all gone and then place the pan bak on a low heat and stir for a further 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens
– add a teaspoon of mustard powder, I used English mustard but to be honest any mustard would work
– add a decent amount of grated cheese, to your taste, and another glug of white wine, again this should all be to your taste.
– add the roasted squash, garlic and fennel to the leeks, squeezing the cooked garlic from their skins and then pour the sauce over the vegetables. I’ve sprinkled some breadcrumbs and extra cheese over the top
– roast for 20mins or until golden and bubbly
and seeing that this dish really couldn’t be any more seasonal if it tried dancing around with conkers swinging from it’s belt, I’m submitting this to two seasonal challenges; The Autumnal Baking Challenge over at What Kate Baked and The Simple in Season event from Ren at Fabulicious Food