You may be forgiven for thinking this is simply a pie. For an allotment geek like me - it is nothing less than a way of life. Leeks are wonderful, relatively easy and useful things to grow in your garden or allotment. I can understand why the Celts thought they were sacred plants.
It doesn't matter if they don't look pristine. It doesn't make any difference to the taste (see yesterday's comments). Anyway - don't worry - I'm coming back to the subject of growing veg in general and leeks in particular in future posts.
It's a passion of mine now- the challenge of growing and storing food easily especially in the cold seasons of the year. That inner Anglo-Saxon peasant?
Leeks are incredibly nutritious. And 'Allotment Party Pie' beats the credit crunch too. One of my favourite occupations these days - (she really doesn't get out much, you're thinking ) - is walking past the fruit and vegetable aisle in the supermarket - not buying anything anymore - but noticing how expensive everything is - and feeling smug. It's one of the best reasons to get growing.
I worked out that if I had made this huge 9 inch pie with organic leeks from the shop it would have blown our budget. Home made, with organic flour on special offer it cost me no more than £3.50. It serves twelve adults with baked potatoes and/or a salad. That's less than 25p a portion isn't it? And you could make a budget version if you wanted which would be even cheaper than that.
What else might be important for you, the person reading this blog? The recipe has undergone tough consumer testing which includes:
TEST NUMBER ONE:
I took it to a 'bring-and-share' bonfire party this week. Put it on the table. Went out to look at the bonfire. Returned five minutes later and it was GONE. I mean, the people at the party ATE IT ALL STRAIGHT AWAY. Plainly quite rude some might say. I was just happy they enjoyed it - but I did feel I had to make another one the next day for our own household.
TEST NUMBER TWO:
My little girl (aged 3) will eat it in her lunch box (only if it is freshly made) and this isn't a problem as the pie doesn't usually hang about in the fridge that long.
See what I mean by tough? So here's what you need to make it:
Allotment Party Pie - Ingredients:
1. Enough shortcrust pastry for your pie tin. (I make this one with a organic self-raising four and a pie tin that is large, metal and sturdy enough to crisp the pastry nicely) but you could make it with gluten free flour if you wanted to.
2. One packet of organic mature cheddar. (That's for the party version as it tastes fantastic) - but you could try mild, vegetarian, non-organic...whatever you have or what needs using up)
3. Five or six largish leeks, sliced fairly thinly and washed well.
4. Two fresh eggs if you like - I've made it without and tastes lovely without them too it just means more of a sauce for your baked spuds.
5. Some organic butter to fry the leeks in (lightly, you don't need to cook them much as it is going in the oven anyway).
6. Pepper. (I don't put any salt in as the cheese is so flavoursome)
7. You can add a little yoghurt if you like, or use more yoghurt and less cheese if you want to cut calories.
Make the pastry and place in pie/flan dish. Cut the cheese into very rough slices. Wash the leeks. Sautee them (fry them lightly until they are softening but NOT brown, stirring them round with wooden spoon. Take pan off the heat, add eggs/yoghurt and layer this mixture with the cheese in the pie dish, ending up with a layer of cheese on the top. Place in oven - medium heat until cooked through and lightly browned on top.
Finally, and back to my mission with this blog, making life (and food) easier - here is a time saving tip for the pastry:
Make a large batch of home made pastry mix and freeze it in bags or lunch boxes. That way, whenever you want to make a flan or pie you can take a few cups out of the bag - add the liquid and away you go...
Don't forget to let me know what YOU think of all this....a blog isn't a blog without a community, now is it?