A blogger from Butleigh in Somerset has won a national cookery competition run by the British Leek Growers’ Association and Nunhems Seeds. The ‘Love my Leeks’ competition was featured on Twitter and challenged bloggers from across the UK to create a delicious, seasonal leek-based recipe and photograph it.
The winning dish, ‘Laconic leeks and an open bottle of red,’ was created by Judy Bown. A design and marketing consultant, Judy is also hooked on gardening and her blog, www.digmyveg.com, shares her gardening adventures and recipes featuring fresh vegetables.
Judy explains how she created her recipe: “My cooking tends to revolve around what ingredients I have to hand. When you grow your own vegetables, they taste so good on their own that simple is often best!
“With this recipe, I happened to have some lovely local steak, and some just-picked fresh leeks. Steak with red wine ‘goes.’ I had an open bottle, so I thought I’d cook the leeks in it instead.” The full recipe can be found here: www.digmyveg.com
The competition was judged by Tim Casey, Chairman of the British Leek Growers’ Association, and Robert Murison of Nunhems Seeds. Commenting on Judy’s dish, Robert said: “Judy’s blog is a great story of plot-to-plate cooking. We were impressed with her approach to cooking and the way in which she used what she had in her garden and kitchen to create a new dish, a lovely winter warmer that people can try at home.” Judy grows her leeks in raised beds, which she says are easy to maintain: “The leeks went in early in the year. They take a long time to grow, but with good quality soil they just get on with it.”
Judy won £500 in the Love my Leeks competition, which she will spend on a new camera to take photographs for her blog and will put the rest towards some cold frames to extend her growing season.
Leeks are very nutritious, with many natural health benefits. They crop throughout the winter in the UK and are perfect to add into pies or soups or eaten as a side-dish.
Laconic Leeks in red wine (with beef and potatoes)
Put some potatoes on to cook (I steam them, with just a little water in the bottom of a lidded pan). These are my first earlies ‘Arrow’ variety, which still taste amazing.
Meanwhile, heat a good tablespoon of olive oil in a pan, add the chopped leeks and simmer until they start to go a little brown at the edges. Add some vegetable stock (I stirred in a heaped teaspoon of Bouillon powder, with a little water to dissolve it). Add a large glass of red wine, and simmer down for 10 minutes, or until the leeks are cooked. Stir in some freshly chopped herbs (parsley and thyme, in my case) and keep somewhere warm.
Wipe the pan clean, and reheat. Dab the steak dry, brush both sides with olive oil, and add to the hot, dry pan. Cook for about 4 minutes each side for a large steak. Remove and leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, add the drained potatoes to the pan, sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper, and toss them around in the lovely steak juices. Serve it all up on hot plates.
We’ll shortly be announcing our competitions for 2016/17... watch this space!