Hello, and happy new year! Did you start the year with a hangover? Drink much champagne? Make any resolutions?
I know a lot of people think resolutions are pointless, because they only ever last a week, but that only happens when you do it wrong. Of course you’re not going to last long when you decide that
“This year, for real, I am going to eat healthy, go to the gym, go to bed earlier, meditate regularly and take better care of both my body and my spirit. Also, drink less alcohol.”
Yeah, of course that’s not gonna last longer than a month. Partly because that’s not a resolution, that’s 6 of them. And some of them are so vague that you don’t even know what they involve. Resolutions like these are impossible to live by for any significant amount of time, and no sane person would ever manage it.
So instead, why don’t we make a single resolution on which we can focus all year. Something like “See at least two new countries”, or “overcome my Facebook addiction”. Here’s mine: make more quiche. Because quiche is fucking awesome, dead easy, pretty cheap and I’ve lived without it way for too long.
I blame British shops for this lack of quiche in my life. I’ve never been able to find the sort of puff pastry in the UK that I always use back in the Netherlands: neatly sold in separate square sheets, 10 in a pack. The only puff pastry I can ever find in Glasgow is sold as one huge great brick of dough, which is impractical because it takes forever to defrost, and then you can’t refreeze what you have left.
Also, the separate sheets they sell in the Netherlands are thin already, so you don’t necessarily need a rolling pin. I don’t own a rolling pin and on the few occasions that I tried to roll out puff pastry with a bottle I got bits of label stuck to my dough or the lid came off and I spilled precious drink all over myself, the table and the floor.
But I suppose that’s really my own fault: should’ve just bought a rolling pin. So that’s the first thing I’m going to do when I get back to Glasgow. And then I’m going to make my famous preitaart – or leek pie.
For a leek pie with a diameter of 24cm, you will need approximately:
- 7 leeks, or a kilo and a half
- 7 puff pastry sheets, or 3/4 of a block – better just buy a whole and use the leftovers for something else, or just make the bottom thicker if you fancy it
- 4 eggs, plus one for glazing
- 3 tsp of single cream (you can leave this out if you think what’s left of the cream will go to waste)
- 100gr of ham (of the York ham kinda type) and 100gr of grated cheddar,
OR, if you’re making the veggie version
- 200gr mature cheddar
- salt and pepper
Chop up all of the leeks and wash them, taking care that all sand and dirt comes off. Now fry them in enough butter.
Meanwhile, roll out the puff pastry so that it covers your cake tin. Grease the cake tin and put the puff pastry in, then poke little holes in the bottom with a fork.
With some left-over dough, or some that you’ve deliberately kept aside, make a little decorative thingy to go on top. You can easily make this yourself by cutting slits of equal length and at regular intervals into a piece of puff pastry that you’ve rolled out to the length of your cake tin:
Beat the eggs and add in the cream, salt and pepper. You can add other spices if you like but I don’t think it’s really necessary.
Once the leek has gone soft, add in the ham (sliced up into thin strips) and the cheese, or just the cheese if you’re going for the veggie option. Then throw all of the leek into the cake tin.
Pour over the egg mixture, make sure it’s distributed evenly, then cover with the decorative dough thingy, which you can glaze with some egg for a shiny effect. Then stick the leek pie in the oven on 200°C for about 50 minutes. Leave to settle for 10 minutes afterwards, then serve still hot, warm-ish, or wait till it cools down completely, this thing is delicious at any temperature.