Leek & cheese muffins

Leek and cheese muffins
Leek and cheese muffins
Leek and cheese muffins

Muffins seemed like a good idea until I realised I’d have to turn the oven on in my already stiflingly-hot flat. What the hell was I thinking? It’s 30°c in London today, I should be lying under a tree somewhere, sucking on a Calippo and reading a sonnet. But no, instead, I’m angrily chopping leeks and grating cheese in a bid to jazz up my breakfasts. Was it worth it? Well, it was for Jamie. I’d only eaten one before he got to them – they never had a chance.


Leek & cheese muffins
Makes 6 large or 12 regular muffins / Hands on time 20 mins / Total time 45 mins + cooling /
Dry: 
2 leeks (150g) finely diced
100g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
Few sprigs of Thyme, leaves picked
¼ tsp Nutmeg
½ tsp dried parsley
½ tsp herbs de Provence
1 tbs pumpkin seeds (extra for sprinkling)
200g spelt or wholemeal flour
50g oats
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
Wet:
2 large eggs
250g semi-skimmed milk
4 tbs rapeseed oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard


Method
1. Preheat an oven to 200°C/180°C fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Line a tin with muffin cases and finely dice your leeks – put both to one side. Combine the dry ingredients together (excluding the leeks and a small handful of grated Italian hard cheese) in a large bowl and give it a good mix.
2. In a separate smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients until fully incorporated.
3. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir with a wooden spoon until roughly combined, being careful not to over-mix. Add the diced leeks and stir until evenly distributed.
4. Evenly spoon into the muffins cases and top with a sprinkling pumpkin seeds and a little parmesan. Bake in the oven for 20 mins for 12 muffins or 25-30 mins for 6 large muffins. The muffins are cooked when a toothpick is inserted and comes out clean. Leave to rest in the tin for 5 minuets before turning out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm with butter or leave to cool completely and enjoy on the go.
STORE: Either in an airtight container and gobble up within a couple of days or freeze and defrost on demand (that’s what I do).

Leek and cheese muffins
Leek and cheese muffins

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


❄ To freeze, cool fully before wrapping individually in a few layers of clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months.
*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Leek mac and cheese

Leek mac & cheese
Leek mac & cheese

This was actually suppose to be a jalapeño mac and cheese, but the ones I had in my fridge had gone all manky, and there appeared to be a jalapeño shortage in north London. I was a bit peeved about this, until I spoke to my friend, Abbie, who informed me that the best mac and cheese she had ever eaten was Delia’s leek and bacon. I pondered for a moment – maybe I didn’t need jalapeños. I certainly didn’t need bacon. Maybe I just needed leeks. Leeks and cheese make excellent bed fellows, so why not throw them together to make hot, passionate cheesy love?
Gosh, where did that come from? Anyway, enjoy – I certainly did.


Leek mac and cheese
Serves 4-6 / Hands on time 30 mins / Total time 50 mins
You’ll need: Deep casserole dish and a food processor (if making breadcrumbs)
250g macaroni
2 tbs unsalted butter
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 large leek, roughly chopped
3 tbs plain flour
400ml semi skimmed milk
250g vegetarian cheeses (you can use a mixture of any cheeses you like as long as it melts easily. I used a mix of Emmental and cheddar)
Breadcrumbs 
50g of stale bread
1 garlic clove
1 knob of butter
30g vegetarian Italian hard cheese or *Parmesan, grated
To serve
leaves and pickles

Method
1. Preheat your oven to 200°C/180°fan/400°F/gas mark 6. Cook your macaroni according the the packet instructions, drain and put to one side. Meanwhile, make your breadcrumbs by blitzing up 50g of stale bread in a food processor, put to one side. Add a knob of butter to a large frying pan along with a crushed garlic clove on a medium heat. Once melted add the breadcrumbs and fry until golden brown. Put to one side.
2. In a large saucepan add the butter, crushed garlic cloves and dijon mustard on a medium heat. Add the roughly chopped leek stir until well coated in the mix. Put the lid on and allow to sweat for 10 mins, keeping an eye on the mixture to make sure it doesn’t burn. Meanwhile, use this time to grate the cheese.
3. Once the leeks have softened, add the the flour, stir and continue to cook for a minute stirring continually. Add the milk bit by bit and incorporate into the leeks stirring well until smooth (well as smooth as it can be with the leeks in it). Season well with salt and pepper and take off the heat.
4. Add the cheese a handful at a time and stir after each addition, until you have a thick, silky cheese sauce. Stir in the macaroni and pour into an oven proof dish. Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs, grate over the Italian hard cheese. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Once cooked, leave to stand for 5 minutes before serving with a simple salad and few pickles.
Leek mac & cheese
Leek mac & cheese

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


*Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiani) is always made using animal rennet, therefore it is not vegetarian. Substitute for Italian hard cheese if applicable.



Leek, potato & chive soup

Leek, Potato & Chive Soup
Leek, Potato & Chive Soup
Leek, Potato & Chive Soup

Why is leek and potato soup always a gross white colour? Aren’t leeks green? I know the bottom part of them is white and potatoes are white but unless it’s yogurt, I tend to have a bit of a problem with white food. Anyway, feeling nostalgic, I bought a can of leek and potato soup recently and was bitterly disappointed. What a horrible bowl of white grainy slop! I should have known, canned soup can never compete with homemade, with the exception of Heinz Tomato Soup of course, it’s the best.
So I came up with this rather GREEN version and added some chives and cheddar cheese (because everything in life can be improved with a bit of cheese – that’s just a fact.


Leek, potato & chive soup (As featured in Families First Magazine)
Serves 4 / Hands on time 25 mins / Total time 40 mins / V Gf 
You’ll need:
A food processor or hand blender
3 leeks, roughly chopped
½ large onion, roughly sliced
350g baking potatoes (roughly 3 big ones), peeled and roughly chopped
25g chives, chopped
Knob of butter 1 ½ litres vegetable stock, I use Knorr
150g plain yogurt
Mature vegetarian cheddar cheese, grated
Pomora extra virgin olive oil


TIP: This soup also works well as a broth, so if you don’t have a blender or simply prefer a broth, then chop everything up nice and small and follow the recipe without blending.


Method
1. Sauté the onions in the butter on a medium to low heat whilst you wash and chop your leeks. Add the leeks and sweat down for 10 mins. Meanwhile, wash, peel and chop your potatoes. Roughly chop most of the chives (saving a small sprinkle for decoration) and add to the pot. Give it a good stir and cook for a further 5 mins.
2. Pour in the stock, season generously with salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Once boiling bring down to a simmer and cook for 15 mins.
3. Take off the heat and blend with either a hand blender or a food processor. Once blended add the yogurt and blend again until smooth. Season to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve topped with a handful of grated cheese, a sprinkling of chopped chives, a swirl of extra virgin olive oil and a good crack of black pepper.

Leek, Potato & Chive Soup
Leek, Potato & Chive Soup

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.


V– Vegetarian    Gf– Gluten free
– Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Consume within 3 months.


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Valentines Day Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash

VALENTINES DAY: Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash

It’s Valentines Day tomorrow. Does anyone care? Thought not. Now I don’t have a problem with flowers, chocolates or even ugly bears with hearts sewn to their paws but I do have a problem with couples who shell out on real gifts. There is just something inherently pushy about Valentines Day and the presumption that you would buy anything other than flowers and chocolates deeply offends me. I mean who does that? If Jamie bought me a fancy Jo Malone candle for Valentines Day I’d be very cross. That money could have gone towards a very affordable microwave.

Anyway, I did actually make Jamie a romantic dinner a few weeks back because I’m nice like that. The velvety breton sauce is the key to this dish, it’s easy but takes about an hour to make. Once made though, the rest of the recipe is quick and simple. I tend to make the sauce the night before and pop it in the fridge until I’m ready to use it. Breton sauce is not traditionally vegetarian being French but I was determined to create a vegetarian dish that could stand up in a French restaurant. Oh and if you’re not keen on the idea of chickpea mash then normal mash will suffice. Bon appetite mon amie.

Leek and Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
Serves 4 / 1 hour 40 minutes 

You’ll need: a hand blender or a food processor for the mash but if you don’t have either then substitute the chickpea mash for regular mash.
Sauce:
1 carrot, peeled and roughly chopped
1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 celery rib roughly chopped
85g unsalted butter
40g plain flour
1 litre vegetable stock ( I use 2 knorr vegetable stock pots)
2 large crushed garlic cloves
1 bay leaf
Half tsp black peppercorns
1 tbs Worcester sauce
100ml red wine*
2tbs tomato purée
Vegetables:
2 large Leeks
2 Carrots
5 chestnut Mushrooms
Fresh parsley
Mash:
3 cans of chick peas drained
3 large garlic cloves crushed
Half an onion
Knob Butter

*Most wines are unfortunately not vegetarian or vegan, due to products used in the ‘fining’ process. Wine makers are also under no obligation to disclose if they have used animal products on the label. Vegetarian and vegan wines are available in most supermarkets. 

Method:
1. Melt the butter in a large heavy bottomed pot and add the roughly chopped onion, carrot and celery .Cook on a low heat until soft for around 10 minutes.
2. Add the flour and stir into the carrot and onion mixture. Add a litre of vegetable stock in a fast stream and whisk to get rid of any lumps.
3. Add garlic, bay leaf, red wine, salt, peppercorns, Worcester sauce, tomato purée and bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and simmer gently for 40 minutes. Give it a mix every now and again to get the skin off the top and to prevent it sticking to the bottom of the pot.
4. Sieve the sauce into a bowl. The sauce will be thick so I use a wooden spoon to squidge it down before leaving it for 10 minutes to strain by itself. You want to try and get as much sauce out as possible. Disregard the pulp and either refrigerate the sauce over night like I do or pour back into the heavy bottomed pot and bring to the boil.
5. Add the chopped mushrooms, leeks and carrots to the sauce and simmer until vegetables are tender (around 15 Minutes).
6. Meanwhile in a large saucepan, add half a chopped onion, 3 large crushed garlic cloves and a knob of butter. Heat until soft (add a bit of water to help the onions cook in their own steam).
7. Once cooked add three drained cans of chickpeas. Heat through, season with salt and pepper and shmush with a hand blender until you have mash. If you don’t have a hand blender then use a food processor.  Finish with a generous knob of butter and a good season of salt and pepper.
8. Plate up your mash, cover with the Breton sauce and serve with a sprinkle of chopped fresh parsley.

VALENTINES DAY: Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash
VALENTINES DAY: Leek & Mushroom Breton with Chickpea Mash

If you’ve had a go at making my Leek & Mushroom Breton or any of my other recipes I’d love to hear about it @corrieheale corrie.heale@gmail.com