Chicken and leek pie

We still had a handful of leftover chicken to use up… we throw NOTHING away food-wise!

Today I decided to send it out in style, by transforming it into a chicken and leek pie… so simple, but so delicious.

First up, I heated a little oil and butter in a pan and tossed in two cloves of finely chopped garlic. I added a couple of sliced leeks and a good glug of white wine. After the wine had cooked off, I added a good glug of cream and the leftover chicken. We also had a handful of leftover onions and roasted purple sprouting broccoli from the weekend, so that all went in too. Once warm, I spooned the mixture into a pyrex dish, rolled out some puff pastry and made a lid. This I brushed with beaten egg so it will go lovely and brown.

I then cooked for about 35 minutes at 180 – just until the lid had puffed up and was brown.

Verdict? Delicious!20170412_120832[1]

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Carrot and lentil soup

Another concoction using fridge leftovers – scrummy!

You’ll need:

Knob of butter
1/2 large onion
1 washed, chopped leeks
4 peeled, chopped carrots (medium size)
4 dessert spoons of dried red lentils (about 75g)
Vegetable stock cube
Salt and pepper to season

I use a soup maker, but a large pan does just the same job – you’ll just have to transfer to a blender after it’s cooked and cooled down a bit.

What to do:

Put the knob of butter in the soup maker on ‘Low’, add the onion and leek, stir and leave to sweat for a minute.

Add the carrots and lentils, and add enough stock to make 1400 ml.

Simmer for half an hour, then blend until smooth

Season with a little salt and pepper just before serving.

Optional extras

Give a bit of a chilli kick by adding half a chopped red chilli pepper at the same time as the onion and leek

Stir in a little cream or creme fraiche just before serving

Bon appetit!

Carrot and lentil soup

Carrot and lentil soup

Leek and potato soup

I’ve never made this before, so thought I’d give it a go. Just had a taste, and it was blooming delish – so definitely worth a blog…

You’ll need:

Knob of butter
3 washed, chopped leeks
2 medium-sized peeled and cubed potatoes
a vegetable stock cube
a good glug of cream
Black pepper and salt to taste

I use a soup maker, but a large pan does just the same job – you’ll just have to transfer to a blender after it’s cooked.

What to do:

Put the knob of butter in the soup maker on ‘High’, add the leeks, stir and leave to sweat for a minute.

Add the potatoes, and add enough stock to make 1400 ml.

Simmer for half an hour, then blend until smooth.

Stir in a dollop of cream, and season with some freshly ground black pepper and salt.

Enjoy!

Leek and potato soup

Leek and potato soup

Gearing up for the village veg show

How exciting – The category list for the Earl Shilton Vegetable, Flower and Produce show on 4 August plopped through my door this week – I’d better look after my plants and grow some good stuff!

As a child I had two uncles who lived in the North East, and for them, the local vegetable show was the highlight of the year. Both of them had turned their entire back gardens into prize leek factories, save for an area just big enough for a couple of deck chairs outside the back door.

I recall one uncle did it all by the book, with pristine row upon row of leeks, which he fed and watered diligently.

The other, being mildly more competitive, devised weird and wonderful inventions and contraptions to ensure that his leeks would scoop the grand prize and glory. One of these involved a tank in the garden which was rigged up to the plumbing system and filled up gradually with each flush of the toilet. You get the picture – it was quite stinky to say the least. The contents were then fed down a length of drain straight to the root of each leek. It probably produced massive vegetables, but knowing their history I wouldn’t fancy them on the side of my Sunday roast.

Anyway, scanning down the list, there are a good few categories I can enter, if indeed I manage to keep my crops alive and well for that long. Each entry is only 20p and First Prize is worth a whopping £3 – so a chip supper may well be on the cards for after.

I entered my blackberry jam in the last show, and it actually waltzed off with the third prize. Not an experienced jam-maker, mine was in an odd collection of recycled jars. Whilst collecting my winnings, the judge kindly offered me some feedback, along the lines of, “great jam, rubbish container”. If I enter again, I’ll try to make sure it looks as good as it tastes.

I learned that presentation was key in the vegetable category too. There I was, arranging my runner beans on a paper plate, only to find they were right next to a pristine display of immaculate beans on a backdrop of black card.

In the vegetable section, I can enter everything from onions to beetroot, and from potatoes to radish. I must check if ‘6 peas’ means six individual peas rolling around on a plate or six pea pods. I don’t want to miss out on a technicality.

There are also categories for flowers, home produce and crafts, and there’s even a section for children to enter their wares. The show should prove to be a cracking day out, as it falls on the same day as ‘Shilton by the Sea’.

If you’ve not got a produce list, contact the Earl Shilton Town Clerk: clerk@earlshilton-tc.gov.uk or call in to the Earl Shilton Town Council office on Wood Street.

 

This appeared in the Hinckley Times on 19 April: