Tuesday, July 17, 2007
L is for Leeks
We reached L for Leeks the weekend we all went to Wales. This was Freddie’s first visit, his first experience of a formal dinner party to celebrate my Aunt and Uncle’s Ruby wedding anniversary. Freddie wore his first suit and sat amongst the adults. There was nobody there to protect him from the menacing plates of green. It began well. They served him Welsh lamb and new potatoes. He flinched slightly at the mint sauce. The next vanguard of waiters sashayed towards him with the real test, the vegetables.The waitress smiled and presented him a platter of vegetables. He went slightly pink. “I’ll have a bit of everything please.” Everyone cheered. And not only did he invite the vegetables on to his plate: he ate them.
We came home with a bunch of welsh leeks and a new confidence. I remember leeks as a child were always served up in a slimy cheese sauce. Our first leek recipe was very different. I paired the leeks with Caerphilly cheese and put them in a puff pastry tart. There was no hint of sliminess. Freddie and Alex both scored this ten out of ten.
Leek and Caerphilly Cheese Tart
2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic
100g Caerphilly cheese
375g of readymade puff pastry
Balsamic glaze (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry to a 35cm x 22 cm rectangle. Place on a sheet of siliconised baking parchment on top of a baking sheet. With a knife, lightly score 2 cm in from the edge, all around the rectangle. This will rise to make a ridge when the pastry cooks. Top and tail the leeks and finely slice them. There should be 250g in weight. Add them to a frying pan with olive oil and sauté with a chopped clove of garlic. Stir all the time on a medium heat for about 3 minutes. Don’t let them burn. Scatter the leeks evenly over the pastry within the inner rectangle. Make shavings of Caerphilly cheese using a vegetable peeler or grater. Scatter the cheese over the leeks. If you can’t get Caerphilly Cheese, try any white cheddar cheese.
If you like you can drizzle a little balsamic glaze on top.
Put in the oven and cook for 25 minutes or until the pastry is completely risen, cooked and golden brown. Serve hot or cold.