I’m a big fan of the weekly veg box. There’s something quite exciting about not choosing your own produce but simply going with whatever is in season and is in good supply.
The veg box didn’t always suite my lifestyle though. Back in my crazy 20s when we lived in Bristol, in the days before children, when I was working full-time yet still partying hard, I first ventured down the veg box path.
It was around the time that I was just beginning to develop an interest in food and cooking, and the idea of a weekly delivery of fresh organic vegetables seemed a right-on thing to do.
Problem was the vegetables would arrive and I simply had no idea what to do with them, or indeed what some of them actually were. I’d get home from work, wanting to make a quick supper before meeting friends at the pub, and end up just staring blankly into the fridge at a gnarly celeriac or pile of sweet potatoes and having not the slightest scooby what to do next.
And eating greens week-in-week-out just wasn’t turning me on. It took me right back to my Cranks childhood…
But life is very different now that I’m all grown up. The veg box suits me and my family. As you have probably spotted already, I’m rather into meal planning. Each Sunday night I sit down at my laptop surrounded by recipe books, plan out my family’s meals for the week, and place my online order for all the groceries needed.
No meal makes it onto the plan though until I’ve consulted the Riverford website, where they list the contents of the coming week’s veg boxes. I love reading through the list of produce and letting my brain whir into action as it comes up with meal ideas.
But sometimes inspiration doesn’t arrive of its accord and the Riverford website itself is a marvellous treasure trove of recipe ideas for every vegetable (and fruit) under the sun. And because I was running short of ways to cook leeks, I came across a Riverford recipe for Flamiche, which turns out to be a Belgian leek pie.
I don’t think I’ve cooked a Riverford recipe yet that has disappointed, and this was certainly no exception. The creamy, buttery leeks combined with tarragon and nutmeg, encased in a light shortcrust pastry made for a tasty supper on one of our regular Meat Free Mondays. We ate it cold for lunch the next day and it was equally good, so I reckon this pie would be great for a picnic.
So here is my slight variation on the Flamiche, which has some spring greens thrown in, just because I happened to have those in the fridge too. It’s ever so easy to make, particularly when you use ready-made pastry. And no it’s not cheating – everyone does it!
Leeks and greens springtime pie
500g ready-made shortcrust pastry
600g leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced
200g spring greens, washed and shredded
6 tbsp creme fraiche
60g parmesan cheese
1 tbsp chopped tarragon leaves (I couldn’t find fresh so used dried, which worked perfectly well)
nutmeg, freshly grated
salt and pepper
1 egg yolk, beaten
Preheat the oven to 200ºC/gas mark 6.
Gently cook the leeks in butter until soft and translucent. Add the spring greens and stir into the leeks until the greens wilt.
Pour the leeks and greens into a large bowl and allow to cool.
Butter a quiche dish. Halve the pastry and roll out one half into a large circle and line the dish. Prick the bottom with a fork. Roll out the other pastry half into another circle the same size and cover with clingfilm for later.
When the leeks and greens have cooled, add the creme fraiche, nutmeg, parmesan and tarragon. Season well. Spread the mixture evenly over the pastry base.
Next brush some egg yolk over the exposed edges of the pastry, and place the other pastry circle over the pie filling and pinch the edges to seal.
Brush the top with more egg yolk and use a sharp knife to make a cross-shaped slit in the middle so that steam can escape.
Bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 30-40 minutes until the pastry is golden. Serve warm or cold with a side salad.