Thursday, 21 January 2010

Winter Vegetable Cobbler

Leeks are recognised as the national symbol of Wales. Baby leeks used to be worn by patriotic Welshmen and women on St David's Day on the 1st March. But have you ever wondered why the Welsh have embraced this strong smelling Allium plant as their symbol? Yes – No, well as a Welsh born person I had often wondered of the connection between leeks and Wales. There are many legends, some show that the leek was used by the Welsh as a 'cap badge' to distinguish friend from foe. Others state that the leek was associated with St David the Patron Saint of Wales who died in 589 AD and another says it predates this to a time when people praised the medicinal properties of plants, and the leek apparently had a reputation to cure a variety of illnesses. The leek was also given magical and mystic qualities. Apparently, it could offer protection against wounds in battle, ward off evil spirits or be used as a means of fortune-telling, for example it was claimed that by placing a leek under a pillow, in their dreams young maidens could see the features of their future husbands. Awwww.

Back to the present, on St. David's Day the leek is still worn in the cap badges of every soldier in every Welsh regiment. However, outside the army, many Welsh people have replaced the leek with a daffodil, perhaps because it looks more attractive and smells better. I am not 100% sure of the reason, but what is interesting, one of the many Welsh names for a daffodil is Cenhinen Bedr or Peter's leek. So it seems somewhat poetic.
Onto food, the leek is also a delicious and healthy ingredient. In the past, the leek was a common part of the Welsh diet, as it was used in traditional meat based broths such as cawl, but this is not that popular today unless of cause you are a tourist in certain parts of Wales, where it is being served at local pubs and B&Bs. I think leeks make a delicious soup too, for example I would never turn my nose up to a good 'leek and potato' soup, especially on a cold day like today. If this has got your juices flowing for soup, check out my ‘Leek, rosemary and chickpea' soup. I think you will like it. But if you are looking for something a little more substantial, this 'Winter Vegetable cobbler' with leeks should hit the spot.

This is also my entry for this weeks Weekend Herb Blogging, which celebrated its fourth Birthday last year. WHB was started by Kalyn, and now run by Haalo. I think this is a wonderful way to get food bloggers to cook with what is in season and growing locally in their region. This weeks WHB No. 217 is being hosted by Anna from Anna’s Cool Finds.
I made this dish once before in 2004, with red onions as I had no leeks. But not this time, remember those leeks I pulled on Sunday, well this is what I did with them all. I had roasted the vegetables for this dish a day in advance and made the rest including the cobbles when I got in from work.
Winter Vegetable cobbler
Serves 6
Ingredients
4 small leeks or 2 large ones, thickly sliced
4 – 6 small carrots, sliced into coins
6 small parsnips sliced
1 teaspoon of dried sage or 4 fresh sage sprigs
200ml vegetable stock
142ml carton double cream
1 tablespoon of mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
For the cobbles
180g self raising flour
½ teaspoon salt
Generous pinch of cayenne
30g butter
70g mature cheddar, finely grated
1 medium egg
3 – 6 tablespoons milk
Method
Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6. Place the vegetables and age in a roasting tin, drizzle with oil and season to taste. Roast for 30 minutes until the vegetables are done to your liking.
Meanwhile, place the flour, salt, cayenne, butter and three quarters of the cheese either in food processor and whizz until blended, or by hand (which is what I actually did). Beat in the egg and enough milk to form a smooth soft dough. Set aside
Mix together the stock, cream and mustard and pour over the vegetables. Ten with floured hands, roll the cobble mixture into 6 even sized balls and flatten a little with the heel of the hand. Carefully place the cobbles on top of the vegetables and sauce, scatter with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 – 30 minutes until risen and golden brown. Serve immediately. Adapted from Ainsley Harriots Gourmet Express 2
Source: http://www.historic-uk.com/HistoryUK/Wales-History/TheLeek.htm

12 comments:

  1. This looks delicious. I will definitely give this a go at some point.

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  2. This looks super tasty! Almost like little biscuits on top!

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  3. Thanks Jo.


    Thanks HaymMarket8,
    I am sure the cobbles can be veganized. The cream is not necessary either as I have made it without in the past.

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  4. Any country that has a delicious, versatile and useful vegetable as its national symbol deserves the utmost respect. Cymru am byth.

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  5. Thanks for droppingy by!!! You have a lovely blog:)

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  6. Oh yum! This dish looks delicious.

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  7. I am sure this tasted wonderful with roasted veg - and I love the leek lore - vegetables have some interesting pasts! One of my favourite ways to have leek is quite appropriately in welsh rarebit!

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  8. This looks incredibly delicious! A lovely way to make root vegetables the star of the dish, and those cheddary cobbles on top...what can I say they look absolutely heavenly!

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  9. Your Veggie Cobbler looks absolutely wonderful!!! It's so amazing that you turned the veggies from your garden into a beautiful meal, I'm so impressed!

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  10. Thank you Choclette,
    Cymru am byth.
    It' been awhile since I've read that (Long Live Wales or Wales Forever)

    Thank you for coming by Rachana.

    Thanks Rose.

    Johanna,
    D eats variations of Welsh Rarebit all the time, I need to be in the mood for it.

    Thank you Nancy,
    My favourite part were the cobbles.

    Thank you Oraphan.

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  11. On georgous festive vegetable dish!!

    I so love the spiced cheddar dumplings on top!

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  12. Thank you Sophie,
    the cheddar cobblers aka dumplings were a nice change from potatoes.

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