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Leek Puffs, Smooth Salsa & Roast Creamed Potatoes

My teenage daughters like my cooking but think it veers between salads and stodge. Both have their place, but they seemed very appreciative when I came up with this light, bright meal. It’s more difficult than some recent ones, but have a go.

You will need a food processor for these recipes – you could probably mash the potatoes if one isn’t available, but the leeks are too fibrous to purée by hand.

Start with the salsa as it can be reducing on the stove whilst you prepare the other dishes.

The potatoes should be next as they take longer to cook than the leek puffs.

Ingredients for the Smooth Salsa:

§ 2 red peppers
§ 1 large onion
§ 400g tinned plum tomatoes
§ Mushroom ketchup
§ Hot chilli sauce

Method

Blend the peppers, onion and tinned tomatoes until smooth.

Add 2 tablespoons of the mushroom ketchup (you could use soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce) and 1-2 teaspoons of hot chilli sauce to taste.

Bring to the boil on the stove, then turn down as low as possible and leave with the lid off. Check the flavour after 30 or so minutes and adjust with pepper, salt, sauce as desired. If you think it needs to thicken more just keep it uncovered on a low heat. Otherwise reheat it just before you need it. Any that isn’t eaten can be stored and eaten cold with natchos.

Ingrediants for the Roast Creamed Potatoes:

§ 750g-1kg Potatoes
§ Fish sauce (optional or use any sauce you prefer)
§ Tahini (optional, you could also use peanut butter)
§ Extra virgin olive oil § 200ml double cream
§ Herbs and black pepper

Method

I do these with the skins on so use organic potatoes. If you use ordinary potatoes then peel them as legislation on pesticide residues assumes that everyone always peels everything – remember that when you next bite into an apple. You will need to peel the potatoes if you intend to mash them rather than blend them.

The oven needs to be preheated to 200°C. They should turn out as soft fondant cream potato in a crispy shell, so you may need to turn the oven up to 250°C for the last five minutes or so if they are not browning.

Half or quarter the potatoes, then boil or pressure-cook the potatoes until soft. Blend in a food processor until smooth.

Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of fish sauce, the cream, 1 tablespoon of Tahini, season and add herbs to taste. Blend again – then taste and adjust the flavour if you need to. Either pipe (if you have the will, strength and an industrial icing bag) or simply spoon (if you value your sanity) out the mixture onto an oiled baking tray. They should be about 4-5cm in diameter.

Brush each one with some olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes until golden and crisp on the outside.

Ingredients for the Leek Puffs:

§ 2-4 leeks
§ 3 free-range eggs
§ 50ml double cream
§ 500g puff pastry
§ Black pepper
§ Mixed herbs

Method

Preheat the oven to 200°C

Boil, pressure-cook or microwave the leeks until they are very soft. Leave to cool

Meanwhile roll out the pastry to about 0.5cm and cut into eight equal rectangles. Fold the edges over about 1cm all round so you have very shallow boxes with 1cm wide walls (score the inside of the folds and dampen with milk to make the stick down). Set the boxes out on an oiled baking tray.

Blend the leeks in a food processor until completely smooth.

Separate the eggs and put the whites in a bowl to whisk. Add the cream and yolks to the leaks and blend in.

Remove the blade from the processor or transfer to another bowl.

Whisk the whites until they stand in peaks and immediately fold into the leek mixture. Spoon the mixture between all of the boxes and place in the oven. These are mini-soufflés in puff pastry cases, so they should rise and then turn golden-brown in about 20-25 minutes depending on your oven. You may need to turn the oven up to 250°C for the last 5 minutes to brown them – cook them for too long and they will become tough.

They can be frozen, and will rise again when reheated.

Dave Wardell

 

 

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