Thursday 24 February 2011

Celebrate St David's Day - Welsh cheese and leek bake recipe

Aaahh I received a press release that made me all smiley this morning because it reminded me of my fab three years in Swanswea as a student. It's also great because it answers one of the questions my pupils always ask me at school and that I never know the answer to - why is the leek the symbol of Wales ? I'll definitely be cooking up this recipe as it sounds delicious and leeks and cheese just go so well together. Enjoy ! And Happy St David's Day for next Tuesday !


Celebrate St David's Day With The Food That Saved Wales

The humble leek has a distinguished history. It was eaten by the Egyptians, Ancient Greeks and the Romans - in fact, the cultivated leek was almost certainly introduced into Wales by the latter, who considered it to be far more refined than the stronger flavoured onion.

The leek's association with Wales can be traced back to the battle of Heathfield in 633 AD, when a celtic monk named David persuaded the Welsh army to distinguish themselves from their Saxon enemies by wearing a leek in their helmets. The army went on to win the battle and David the monk became St David, or Dewi Sant as he is known in Wales.

Leeks were the original "superfood", high in not only fibre but also heart protecting substances such as flavonoids and polyphenols, which help to prevent our blood vessels from damage, and folate, a B vitamin which also supports our cardiovascular system.

St David's Day is on 1st March so to celebrate, the Flour Advisory Bureau has created a delicious Welsh cheese and leek bake recipe which uses the best ingredients to produce a simple, yet attractive meal.

Individual Welsh cheese and leek bake

Servings: 4 individual bakes


• 2 medium locally sourced leeks, chopped and rinsed

• 1 tbsp vegetable oil

• 12 slices of thick sliced white bread

• 300g/10½oz Caerphilly cheese, grated

• 1 medium egg

• 300ml/½ pint milk

• ½ tsp English mustard

• good pinch cayenne pepper salt and black pepper


Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4. Lightly fry the leeks in oil until soft. Cut one circle from each slice of bread using a metal cooking ring (make croutons to use in at a later date with any scraps by drizzling with oil and chopped rosemary, sprinkle with salt and bake in the oven till crisp and golden). Place four slices of bread inside rings in the base of a large ovenproof dish. Add a layer of leek and a layer of cheese, repeat and finish with a circle of bread, reserving a little cheese to sprinkle on the tops. Whisk the egg, milk, mustard and cayenne together and slowly pour in the egg mixture. Sprinkle on the remaining cheese and leave to stand for 30 minutes so they can absorb more of the egg mixture. Bake for about 25- 30 minutes until golden and lightly set. Serve with a green leaf salad

Cook's Note: Cooking rings are available from all cookware shops or you could make your own by removing both ends from small tins such as baked bean tins. They are great for making individual servings look very fancy

PER SERVING: 731 Kcal, fat 32.2.g, saturated fat 16.9g, salt 3.1g, carbohydrate 80g, sugar 9.3g, fibre 4g

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