Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Fish stew from a potted garden

Four gardens beds around the house aren't quite enough, so I grow a lot in pots. And wheelbarrows. And the occasional baby bath. Herbs, flowers, greens, beetroot and carrots are in pots chez moi.

Some of it works – my hydrangea is happy as is the sage and flowering thyme. And some of it doesn't – if the strawberries, mint and rocket were people, they'd be a sour-faced dour bunch of grumps.*

My tarragon, which shares its garage-sale pot with oregano, is probably more like a 1960s Julie Andrews. Chirpy and oh so sprightly.

Which is just as well, because it's my favourite herb. Have I ever mentioned I could eat béarnaise with a spoon?

This afternoon, after I'd worked at the computer all day and with under half an hour to spare before I had to pick the boys up, I realised I'd cut it too fine to make fish pie with Graeme's leatherjacket. Time for something quick, so I wandered into the garden and picked sprigs of tarragon and thyme and a couple of bay leaves.

A summery fish stew is what I made. I sautéed 1 chopped onion and 2 garlic cloves in some coconut oil for a few mins, then added 3 chopped anchovies, 2 chopped tomatoes (from my FIG box this week!) plus the thyme and tarragon and let it all soften a little longer. Next, I added a good splash of white wine and let it bubble away for a few mins before adding roughly 350ml of stock and the bay leaves. I brought it to the boil then added enough couscous to soak up most of the stock. I let it simmer gently, then stirred through around 500g of white fish – cut into chunky pieces. Another 5 mins and the fish was cooked. I took it off the hob, checked for seasoning, put a lid on it and rushed out the door to fetch my little rascals.

A one-pot dinner in under half an hour and both boys loved it. (OK, so one really enjoyed it and one just ate to fill the tiniest bit of his tummy. But I can live with that.)

* These grumps in the garden are the reason why I'm doing Nicola Chatham's next online course: Grow Organic Food in Pots. Wherever you are in the world, if you want to learn more about Nicola and her lovely way, you can get her free (yes, free) video on 'The 5 Secrets to Growing Organic Food in Pots'. Maybe I'll see you in the 'classroom'?


  1. I wish I had the knack for growing things in pots but they are always the one thing I end up killing.

    Nina x

    1. It's certainly hit and miss with me too. That's why I've booked myself onto Nicola's course. I learnt so much and the garden benefited hugely from her first course, so I know it'll be good...

  2. love your potted hydrangea- so very pretty! will have to check out the video, i have an appalling track record with pots ;)sarah

  3. Sorry, I just vagued out when I got to the bit about a day at the computer while your boys were out. Jealous!!! xx (PS Stew sounds delish x)

  4. I would love to learn your secret to growing tarragon. Something just devoured my second attempt at growing it, and it is so very hard to come by. You have my mouth watering with your stew. x


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