Tuesday, July 17, 2007

L is for Leeks

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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
250g leeks
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.
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  1. Charlotte Wathey4:48 PM

    Well done to you both, Freddie & Charlotte, what a triumph! In the long run, that's partly what this is all about. Freddie: even if the vegetables weren't your favourite thing, you were able to tackle them and even, maybe, find that you enjoyed them just a little bit. What a star you are.
    And the leek tart looks great, we shall certainly be trying that.


  2. What a triumphant moment for you both!!! The sweet smell of success indeed - what a great photo.
    And this tart looks so good that when I saw the words "caerphilly" and "balsamic glaze," I let out an involuntary sigh.
    By the way, I posted my nominees for Blogging for Positive Change as well as a great big thanks to you!

  3. Hi guys

    I've emailed you my 'famous' leek pud recipe that you have to try. it is superb with a good beef stew (made with Newcastle Brown Ale of course!).

    This tart looks gorgeous by the way.


  4. That tart looks great! And hasn't Freddie come on leaps and bounds. You must be very proud of him and a little tearful about his first suit!

  5. I've just re-read the start of your blog - is this the same Freddie who said "If I eat two peas is that enough?" only 8 months ago?

    The leek and cheese tart looks very very scrummy - perfect for picnic!


  6. Thank you Holler,David, Figs Olives Wine and Charlotte. I was very proud of him and his sister who looked just as smart and enjoyed every moment of that meal. I have also noticed we are all eating together as a family more and more often - there is no dual menu in place anymore - one for Freddie and another for the rest of us. It is so much easier to cook when everyone can join in.

  7. Great Big Veg Challenge10:43 AM

    Magic Cochin - it is the very same Freddie. Amazing. But we have been doing this now for 9 months and the progress is very gradual and not always consistent but I just dont get stressed about it anymore. I know he is changing slowly on his terms so long as we keep things interesting and tasty.

  8. *GASP* I LOVE LEEKS! THis looks so good! My god, I wish I lived with you whenever I read this blog. LOL.

  9. Freddie has to be added to the list of "new food triers". What a great blog you have to interest the veggie phobic!!! This tart looks delicous with it's flaky layers. Can you suggest a substitution for Caerphilly cheese??? I am not familiar with it living in Canada.

  10. Valli,
    Caerphilly cheese is a white crumbly cheddar I suppose. Do you have anything like that in Canada?
    If not, you could actually make a lovely version with feta cheese crumbled or even goats cheese if you like the flavour.


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