Saturday 1 December 2012

Five-a-Day Gratin

This post is aimed at all those gardeners and allottment-holders who currently have lots of lovely Winter veg available and are looking for inspiration about how to cook them. I love vegetables and I never have any trouble with eating my recommended five portions a day, but I know that not everyone is of the same opinion, so I have put this dish together to inspire any doubters. How could anyone resist something as yummy as my Five-a-Day Gratin???

Here are my five: Butternut Squash, Celeriac, Turnips, Parsnips and Potatoes. Actually, I'll let you into a little secret: I included some onions and garlic too! [P.S. an informed source (Jane) tells me that potatoes don't count, so we're back to 5 after all...]

Unfortunately the Parsnips were the only home-grown element of this dish, although the rest of the veg was from our weekly Abel and Cole veg-box, which I have no hesitation in recommending. The quality of their veg is always A1.

The first step in my recipe is to peel the veg and slice it thinly. Then put it into a big mixing-bowl with some crushed garlic, a 240ml tub of cream (we use Elmlea Light cream substitute), and some salt and pepper. Gently mix it all up with your hands, so that every piece of veg is coated with the cream.

Next step: tip the veg into a suitable (deep) ovenproof dish, press them down firmly and top with a neater layer of sliced potato dotted with small pieces of butter.

Then bake in the oven at 160C, for approx an hour or until a knife passes through the veg easily. If the top layer of potato hasn't gone golden brown by then, whack the oven temperature up to maximum for a few minutes.

This is the end result:

I served my gratin alongside lamb leg steaks with a savoury sauce made with shallots, Bovril and balsamic vinegar, but to be honest the veg was the star of the show and the meat was somewhat overshadowed.

OK, so what do you think? Are you going to knuckle-down and eat your five a day, or what???


  1. Looks delicious Hugh, sorry Mark (confused by the pictures), we are a family of vegetable lovers too.

  2. Looks great Mark but talk about rubbing salt in the wounds - you'll see why in one of my later posts. Bet you can't bear the suspense.

    The 5 a day rules are a bit bizarre for instance portion size comes into it and some sources say 2 of the five a day should be fruit. Then other countries have 7 a day! You need a degree to officially eat healthily!

  3. I don't have any trouble eating my five a day, I love veg. This looks great though, and it's one I may very well try.

  4. I never get 5 a day that is for sure. Normally I get one or two. Now on the "cream" what kind of cream is it? Is that whipping cream or sour cream or something else?
    I just bought a couple more squash today and one is a butternut and this looks really good. I would love to try it sometime or some version of my own of it depending on what vegetables I have on hand.

    1. Hi Becky; as I mentioned, we tend to use Elmlea Light which is a cream substitute with less fat (Google it), but if you want to use real cream you would need what we call Double Cream (I think you call it Heavy Cream?). I think my gratin would also be nice made with stock instead of cream.

  5. I managed in the summer, but I haven't winter veg. I may get kale and chard later and lettuce is in the greenhouse. Must watch for whitefly though. You dish looks delicious!!!

  6. A good idea Mark looks delicious will definitely give it a try - a good way to get rid of a few parsnips too.

  7. Nice Dish - thats' a great assortment of vegetables!

  8. The vegetable gratin looks delicious.


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