Leek Tart recipe, Manuka Honey and taking honey to combat Hay Fever

One of my favourite cookery writers is Tamasin Day-Lewis – not so easy to find her books, but well worth the effort because her recipes are divine and the photography is gorgeous.  I particularly like her little introductory comments with each recipe.  This is from her book “The Art of the Tart”.

George Morley’s Leek Tart – serves 6-8

3lb leeks,  about 4oz butter, 7fl oz sour cream, 2 beaten eggs, salt, pepper, paprikia.  For the cheese pastry: 3oz strong grated cheddar, 3oz butter, 8oz plain flour, pinch of salt, beaten egg for brushing

For the cheese pastry, process the cheese and butter into the flour with the salt.  Add iced water slowly until the mixture comes together.  Leave to rest in the fridge for at least an hour, then roll out and line a 10″ tart tin.  Preheat the oven to 200c, 400f or Gas Mark 4.  Brush the pastry with a little beaten egg and bake blind (no need for baking beans) for 15-20 minutes.  Turn the heat down to 180c, 350f or Gas 4.

Slice the leeks and rinse if gritty, discarding any really tough dark green bits.  Sweat the leeks in a generous knob of butter until completely softened, but do not let them brown.  Leave to cool slightly.

Mix the sour cream with the beaten eggs and add the leeks.  Season with salt and pepper and shake in enough paprika to turn the mixture a very pale rusty pink, about 1/2 tsp.  Pour into the pastry case and bake for about 20 minutes, or until just set.  It should be wobbly in the middle.  Best served about 15 minutes after it emerges from the oven; still warm but not piping hot. 

One good deed deserves another; I shall be making this Leek Tart for my friend Sarah; she helped me with my Fundraising Curry, so I am helping her out at the local Point to Point on Sunday.  If our naughty little Jack Rascal wins a terrier race, I shall be even more delighted!

Keeping to a culinary theme, The Daily Telegraph had an article this week witten by Stephen Adams extolling the medicinal virtues of manuka honey.  Scientists at Cardiff University have confirmed what New Zealanders have known for generations; smearing manuka honey on wounds can help protect against bacterial infections.  The Manuka tree/bush is part of the tea tree family and has long been recognised for its antibacterial qualities.   Professor Rose Cooper is quoted as saying “Our findings suggest that manuka honey can hamper the attachment of bacteria to tissues”.

White Cloud Lavender scented Pillows incorporate dried Manuka bark – it has cleansing and healing properties, and mixed with Lavender it provides a lovely calming fragrance which helps sleeplessness.

Last but not least, our youngest son suffers from hay fever and we have always  encouraged him to take a spoonful of honey every day, but it must be local honey made from local bees.  It provides a natural antidote, and, yes, it does work!!

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