Friday, June 29, 2007

Leeks a la Grecque and other Inspirations

From The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen

picture photograph leeks a la grecque 2007 copyright of sam breach

Leanne Kitchen. What a great name for the writer of a recipe book. And what a great book too. I was given it (thanks Fatemeh) less than three weeks ago and already it looks well lived in. (Probably something to do with the fact the lid jumped off the blender as I was making lettuce and lovage soup, and totally splattered the open book. But that's another story for another day since the soup was otherwise nothing to do with this particular tome).

On the surface The Produce Bible didn't grab me as anything extraordinary. I flicked through it few times without really thinking too hard or paying it too much attention. But the next thing I knew, after a trip to the market, where I was pretty much buying ingredients on a whim, this book was suddenly my new best friend helping me form ideas for the week's meals from my random selection of produce. First I found myself prepping ginger ready for pickling and next up I was making Leeks a La Grecque, barely stopping to wonder why. Not only did they taste good on their own, the leeks were fantastic mixed with leftover chicken and stuffed into a toasted pita for a packed lunch.

Two days later there I was, leafing through the Bible again, this time in order to make what turned out to be a very tasty Aloo Gobi which was especially good served with a cool cucumber raita. I thought that was it for the book for one week, but the next night I arrived home from work after 8pm with an overwhelming desire to make some kind of deconstructed lasagne from scratch. I kneaded up a small batch of pasta dough which I cut into large sheets and then simmered until tender before using them to sandwich togther a satisfying mix of shiitakes, more of that left over chicken, finely chopped onion, garlic, sherry and a dollop of creme fraiche. It was fairly impressive for a late evening meal and I was ready to congratulate myself on my inventiveness before the bible fell open on a page entitled "open lasagna of mushroom..." Although I hadn't even realised the Bible contained such a recipe, mine looked exactly like the lasagna in the book's picture. It's funny how things you don't think you are paying any attention to at all stick firmly in your consciousness sometimes.

Since it makes such a good companion to my vegetable shopping, I am pretty sure that from now on I will be making a conscious decision to stick The Produce Bible in the most-used section of my recipe collection too.

2006 | How to Make Bakewell Tarts

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Leeks a la Grecque and other Inspirations


  • At 29/6/07 04:38, Blogger sallywrites said…

    When I was a child we genuinely ahd a milkman called Mr. Buttermilk!

  • At 29/6/07 08:46, Blogger Kyla said…

    Looks gorgeous - I can never think of things to do that would feature leeks on their own, not in a soup or risotto. Love your blog.

  • At 29/6/07 12:12, Blogger Monkey Wrangler said…

    Sam, thanks for the tip!
    As a father of two, with a somewhat amorphous spiritual practice, I've been wondering what the first "Bible" I share with my children should be. A stained, beat up, source of vegetable bliss sounds perfect.

  • At 29/6/07 12:43, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks great. I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

  • At 29/6/07 21:43, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    that lasagne sounds amazing! and your energy to do it at that time of night ... even more so!

  • At 29/6/07 22:05, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Sam, those leeks are killing me. There are few things better than a slow-cooked leek, and to use something so good as a condiment on a sandwich is inspired. It's a novel way to use leftovers that I'll have to try sometime.

  • At 1/7/07 22:37, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hmmm... I guess I WILL go back and pick myself up a copy! I love the idea of an "open-face" lasagne. I rarely have the patience for a multi-layered, 2-hour-cooked traditional lasagne.

  • At 2/7/07 11:19, Blogger shuna fish lydon said…


    How do you think the fruit section of the book rates? I'll have to check it out when I go to Powell's this week. Thanks for the head's up! I always do the same thing with veggies-- I get stuk in a vegetable groove.


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