Seasonal local food recipe No.380 – Nigel Slater’s bubble and swede


Some of our veg box members are getting restless. At the end of a long, hard winter they’re finding it hard to think of new ways to serve up the humble swede in our veg boxes.

Food writer Nigel Slater says this vegetarian dish is perfect for a warming midweek supper. He adds: “I am also tempted to introduce some crumbled sausage meat, fried until almost crisp in a shallow pan or, better still, a bit of black pudding.”

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: one hour

750g swede
2 medium leeks
60g butter
salt and black pepper

Peel the swede, then cut it into large chunks. Place the swede in a steamer basket over a pan of boiling water, then cook it for about 30 minutes until soft.

Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Meanwhile, trim 2 medium-sized leeks, slice them and rinse thoroughly in cold running water. Melt the butter in a pan, add the leeks and let them cook for 20 minutes or so until they are totally tender.

When the swede is soft, crush it with a fork, vegetable masher or wooden spoon, and season generously with salt and black pepper. Fold the cooked leeks and the melted butter into the mashed swede, then spoon into an ovenproof dish. Bake the mixture for about 35-40 minutes, until the top is lightly crisp.

Seasonal local food recipe No.376 – Creamy leek, potato and cheese gratin


This easy and very satisfying vegetarian gratin, good at lunchtime, is adapted from two recipes in Delicious magazine – one for a pastry-encased pie, the other for a pastry-based tart.

Serves: 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

400g leeks
3 large potatoes, thinly sliced
3 large eggs
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tbsp creme fraiche
1 tbsp grainy mustard
100g Gruyere cheese (you could use Cheddar)
Small bunch of chives or parsley, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/Gas Mark 5. Meanwhile boil the potatoes for 3-4 minutes until beginning to soften. Drain and set aside. Clean the leeks, halve them lengthwise and chop into large pieces. Leave them whole if they’re small, slim ones. Steam or boil for three minutes, then drain and pat dry.

Beat the eggs with the creme fraiche, cheese and garlic, then stir in the chives or parsley. Layer the potatoes in a greased gratin dish, arrange the leeks on top and pour over the egg mixture. Bake for 25 minutes until the filling has set and the top is golden.. Leave to rest for 10 minutes before serving.

Seasonal local food recipe No.350 – Nigella’s roast chicken with lemon, rosemary, garlic, leeks and potatoes

This Nigella Lawson recipe appears in 20 best one-pot recipes in The Observer’s Food Monthly supplement.  It’s easy to prepare and tastes delicious.

Serves 6

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour 20 minutes

4 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp rosemary needles, finely chopped, plus more to serve
1 bulb garlic, separated into unpeeled cloves
2 leeks
1 kg waxy potatoes, washed if necessary, but unpeeled
2 unwaxed lemons
1 medium chicken (approx. 1.4 kg)
sea salt flakes to taste

Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7.  Get out the biggest roasting tin you have, and pour all but a teaspoon or so of the oil into it.  Throw in the chopped rosemary needles and the garlic cloves.

Trim the leeks and cut each in half lengthways, then slice into half-moons and drop these leek curls into the tin too.  Cut the potatoes into 1.5 cm slices, then cut each slice into 4, or just halve them if the potatoes are small, and add these to the tin.  Quarter the lemons, then cut each quarter in half, take out as many pips as you can and toss the lemon quarters into the pan.

Now schmoosh everything to mix, and then make a space in the middle of the tin for the chicken to sit in.  Untruss the chicken, place it in the reserved parking place, pour the tiny bit of the remaining oil on top of it and sprinkle sea salt flakes on top of the chicken only.

Place in the oven for 1 hour and 10 minutes, and if the juices of the chicken run clear when you push the tip of a knife into the joint where the thigh meets the body, remove the chicken to a board to sit, letting the juices from its cavity spill back into the tin as you do so.

Then put the potato mixture back in the oven for 10 minutes until soft and golden.  If the chicken needs longer, keep everything in the oven until the chicken is cooked.  When it’s ready, and the chicken has rested, carve it or cut into joints as wished.  Sprinkle with 1/2 a teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary needles and sea salt flakes to taste.

Seasonal local food recipe No.315 – Leek, butter bean and parsley soup

I made this tasty soup recently, the recipe is from a Guardian feature where you cook a large quantity of a particular ingredient, in this case butter beans, and use it for four different meals.  You could easily use tinned butter beans if you prefer.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

1 Tbsp olive oil
500 g leeks, trimmed and sliced
500 g cooked butter beans
1.5 litres water
2 Tbsp Marigold bouillon powder
A small handful fresh parsley, roughly chopped

Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, add the leeks, stir, then cover and cook gently for 5-10 minutes.  Add the beans and the water, then bring to the boil.  Sprinkle the bouillon powder over the surface, stirring to disperse it, then leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, until the leeks are tender.  Add the fresh parsley, and blend the soup lightly with a hand blender to just thicken it slightly, but leave some visible pieces of bean and chunks of leek.  Check the seasoning and serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.312 – Nigel’s sausage meatballs with leek tagliatelle

This recipe is taken from The Guardian in Nigel Slater’s midweek dinner series.  I changed the quantities slightly as I find Nigel often uses too much cream for my tastes, missed out the dill as I didn’t have any and cut down on the amount of sausage.  Still tasted good though!

Serves 2

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

6 butchers sausages
1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes
2 heaped tsp chopped fresh dill
1-2 leeks, sliced into 1 cm discs
2 Tbsp olive oil
150 g tagliatelle
100 ml double cream
salt and pepper
a handful of chopped fresh parsley

Remove the sausage meat from the skins, place in a mixing bowl and mix with the chilli flakes and dill.  Divide the mixture into small balls (I aim to get 4 balls from each sausage) and flatten slightly.  Warm the olive oil in a shallow pan.  Brown the balls on both sides then leave over a low heat, covered, until cooked right through – about 4-5 minutes.

Remove the balls from the pan, then add the leeks and let them cook in the pan juices for 7-8 minutes until soft and tender.  Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, cook the tagliatelle until tender, then drain.

Stir the cream into the leeks, season with salt, pepper and parsley then add the drained pasta to the leeks.  Return the sausage balls to the pan and let everything bubble for a minute or so, then serve.

Seasonal local food recipe No.264 – Leek and butter bean stew


This is taken from a recipe by Rose Elliot. It was originally a recipe for a pie with a puff pastry crust but the filling is just as good on its own.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30-40 minutes

2 cans butter beans, rinsed and drained
25 g butter
225 g carrots, peeled and diced small
450 g leeks, cleaned and cut into 1 cm slices
125 g mushrooms, wiped and sliced
1 Tbs flour
1/2 can tomatoes
150 ml vegetable stock or water
salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a medium-sized pan, add the carrots, cover and cook very gently without browning for about 10 minutes.  Add the leeks and mushrooms and cook for a further 10 minutes.  Sprinkle in the flour then stir so it gets mixed with the fat.  Mix in the tomatoes and stock or water and cook gently, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until thickened.  Add the butter beans and season to taste.  Cook for a further 5-10 minutes until the beans are heated through.  Serve with a green vegetable and potatoes.

Seasonal local food recipe No.260 – Hugh’s squash stuffed with leeks

A big thank-you to CSA members Alex and Jeremy for recommending this recipe.  It is taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s book Veg every day.

Serves 4

Preparation time: 30-40 minutes
Cooking time: 50-60 minutes

35g butter
2 large leeks, trimmed and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon English mustard
4 tablespoons crème fraîche
125g Gruyère or other well-flavoured hard cheese, finely grated
2–4 smallish squash (400–800g each)
A handful of thyme sprigs
Sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper

Preheat the oven to 190C / gas mark 5. Heat the butter in a saucepan over a medium heat and add the leeks. As soon as they begin to sizzle, turn the heat right down and cover the pan. Sweat the leeks gently for about 10 minutes, until very soft. Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard, crème fraîche and cheese. Season the mixture well with salt and pepper, as it will be surrounded by a good amount of squash.

Cut a small slice off the base of each squash so it will stand up on a baking tray without wobbling. Carefully slice a “lid” off the top of each one too and set aside. Now, with a small, sharp knife, cut into the centre of each squash, then use a teaspoon to scoop out all the seeds and fibres.

Fill the squash cavities with the leek mixture – they should be about two-thirds full. Tuck a few thyme sprigs into the centre of each. Put the “lids” back on top and stand the squash on a large baking tray – there should be plenty of room for hot air to circulate around them.

Bake for 50–60 minutes – possibly longer if the squash are large – until the flesh feels very tender inside. Serve straight away.

Seasonal local food recipe No.258 – Leek and cheddar cheese crumble

This recipe is from via West Country Foodlover magazine.  Be careful not to overcook the leeks at the beginning as they cook some more as the sauce is made.

Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

30g butter
4 large leeks cut into 2cm slices
30g plain flour
400mls whole milk
175g cheddar cheese, grated
2 heaped tsp Dijon mustard
30g chopped parsley

For the topping
100g plain flour
100g rolled oats
75g diced butter
50g chopped hazelnuts
50g grated parmesan cheese
2 tbsp sunflower seeds
Salt and pepper

 Preheat oven to 190°C. Place the butter in a large sauté pan and turn the heat to medium. When melted, add the sliced leeks, stir around in the butter and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When the leeks are soft, add the flour and stir around in the leeks for a few minutes.

Now add half the milk, stir well and bring to the boil. When the sauce starts to thicken, add the remaining milk and repeat the process. Add the grated cheese, the mustard, the chopped parsley, season with salt and pepper and leave to cool.

Make the crumble topping by combining the flour with the oats before adding the diced butter and combining together using your fingers. Once the mix resembles bread crumbs, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Pour the leek sauce into a baking dish and top with the crumble. Place into a hot oven to cook for 30 minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve straight from the oven to the table.

Seasonal local food recipe No.253 – Nigel’s leek and taleggio risotto


I love risotto and its soothing texture.  If you can’t find taleggio, Camembert will do in its place. This recipe is from Nigel Slater’s Real Food.

Serves: 2 generously

Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 35-40 mins

50 g butter
2 large leeks, chopped and rinsed
2 large cloves of garlic, sliced
1 tsp dried oregano
225 g arborio rice
900 ml hot vegetable stock
225 g tallegio cheese, cut into thick slices

Melt the butter in a shallow, heavy bottomed pan and add the leeks and garlic.  Cook over a moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are soft (about 15-20 minutes).  Stir in the oregano and the rice.

Pour in three ladles of hot stock and stir.  Leave to simmer gently, stirring regularly, until the stock has almost all been soaked up by the rice.  Add more stock and leave to cook once more, at a gentle pace, then add more when that too has gone.  It will stick if you forget to stir it.

The rice should be plump and tender after about 18-20 minutes.  Taste it to see if it is done to your liking.  Stir in the cheese at the last minute – it will melt creamily.  Check for seasoning.

Seasonal local food recipe No.249 – Nigel’s leek and taleggio tart

I made this delicious tart for tea; it was easy to make as I used ready rolled puff pastry.  If you can’t get taleggio you can use fontina or Camembert.

Serves: 2

Preparation time: 40 minutes
Cooking time: 15-20 minutes

3 medium leeks, sliced
50 g butter
200 g puff pastry
120 g Taleggio cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves


Melt the butter in a shallow pan and add the sliced leeks.  Cook the leeks slowly intil they are soft but not browned, this can take up to 30 minutes.  Roll out the pastry until no thicker than a 10 p coin and place on a floured baking sheet.  Score a border 2 cm from each edge and prick with a fork.  Tip the leeks on to the pastry, pushing them almost, but not quite, to the border.  Brush the rim with some of the leek butter.  Slice the cheese thinly, then break it up into small pieces, tucking it in amongst the leeks.  Scatter over the thyme.  Bake in the oven at 220°C/Gas Mark 7 for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is golden and puffed and the leeks are browning.

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