Roasted cod, potato and squash bake

Only 2 weeks left to go until I start maternity leave. I've taken the unusual steps of taking my maternity leave as early as possible, which when at the sicky stage of pregnancy seemed like a fine idea. I had visions of a long, hot summer wearing flowing maternity dresses and chasing Charlie around a park, laughing and flicking my hair. I'd have one of those bumps that looks like a basketball grafted onto my stomach, with thin arms and legs and that elusive pregnancy glow.

Cut to me with pregnancy spots, what can only be described as a fat arse and a bump that isn't so much a hard ball of baby but more a squidgy wrap around bump that manages to almost extend around my back. So more of a Zeta Jones pregnancy than a Gisele one.

None of this actually matters of course. What does matter is that as maternity leave approaches I am starting to worry about how I'll fill it and I'm pretty sure that's not normal. Scrap that, I'm slightly terrified. You see I've never spent 'proper' time with my son. I went back to work when he was 11 weeks old for various reasons. I'm wondering how to entertain a toddler who loves rough and tumble games with Daddy for a whole week without the company of my husband. I guess we'll find our way but I am alarmed at how to fill 7.30am to 6pm everyday. Answers on a postcard. (I have already paid up for an annual zoo and science museum pass so any other thoughts gratefully received.)

One thing's for sure, it won't be with cooking if I continue making meals like this recipe. This was so easy I almost forgot it was in the oven. Perfect after getting home a bit late and finding a fridge half empty.


- half a bag of Anya potatoes (Don't these look like knobbly old hands or is that just me? You could of course use any old potato, I just liked the look of these in Sainsbos.)
- half a butternut squash

- olive oil
- dried sage
- two pieces of cod (fresh or defrosted frozen fish is fine)
- black pepper

As you might ascertain from the ingredients list the fridge was almost bare when our tummies started rumbling. Faced with half a bag of funny looking potatoes, half a butternut squash and two cod fillets I decided a roasted fish bake type thing would be a good call before some serious internet shopping to replenish the bare cupboards.

So... Preheat the oven to Gas 6 and then cut the potatoes up into 2 inch long pieces (some will stay whole as they're too little which is fine) and do the same to the butternut squash being careful to cut off all the hard skin. I know you can roast it in the skin but leaving it off means eating this is easier, which counts for something in my book, especially on a Monday night. I also scoop out the seeds and throw them away. I recall reading that a member of Take That (maybe Howard?) likes to roast them in spices and honey and eat as a snack but I prefer Malteasers.

Place the potatoes and squash into an ovenproof roasting tin or dish and add a splash of olive oil, some black pepper and a shake of dried sage. Then shake the pan until all the veggies are covered and place on the top shelf of the oven for about 30 mins. Just enough time to bathe a toddler or make up tomorrow's lunchboxes or even pour a nice glass of red wine and sit on the sofa in complete silence.

Check the veggies after half an hour and push a knife through to make sure they're cooked. They should be fine but if not pop them back in for another blast. When almost done put the cod on top of the veggies and back in the oven for just over 5 mins. Be careful not to overcook as cod seems to go all rubbery and hard if it is. Ergh.

Be careful when transferring it onto a plate as the cod has a tendency to break up easily. You could eat it out of the pan to alleviate this problem. A friend from university (who shall remain nameless) used to sometimes eat her spaghetti hoops out of the pan when the washing up was out of control. One day she emerged from the kitchen brandished a very large, yet clean ashtray. She looked at me for reassurance, I shook my head and she returned to the kitchen. We both knew the washing up situation had gone too far.
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