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What could be more English than a recipe using Cheddar Cheese? Cheddar Cheese originated in England, in the fifteenth century, it was stored in Somerset's Cheddar Gorge caves to mature. The Welsh might claim the Leek as theirs, but it's got a long English pedigree too. This is what I would describe as a 'mid-week' supper dish. It's a no-frills sort of meal, but extremely tasty and easy to make. The grated cheese topping, looks wonderful straight from the oven, golden brown and bubbling. But if you think it needs a bit of 'dressing up', add a sprig or two of parsley before taking this pie to the table. If you're really really really pushed for time, use bought white sauce and ready grated cheese.
- 100 g breadcrumbs
- 100 g ground almonds
- 50 g walnut pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for greasing the pie dish)
- 50 ml water
- 2 large leeks
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 25 g butter
- 2 tablespoons cornflour
- 300 ml milk
- 75 g cheddar cheese, grated
- seasoning, and (a pinch of dried dill works well) or herbs (a pinch of dried dill works well)
- Preheat the oven to 350F, 180C; lightly grease an 8 inch pie or flan dish.
- Place the bread crumbs, ground almonds and walnut pieces in a food processor and 'pulse' together until the walnuts are chopped small and an even crumb mixture is achieved; with the processor running slowly, pour the olive oil then the water down the feeding tube; process until the ingredients are well mixed and start to ball together as a 'dough'.
- Spoon the mix into the pie dish and using the back of a spoon, press the mix evenly over the base and up the sides; bake for about 10 minutes, until the crust starts to brown.
- Meanwhile, clean and slice the leeks (I like them cut in half lengthways then sliced 1/4 inch thick); in a large pan, cook the leeks gently in the oil, until they are just tender; spread the leeks evenly over the baked base.
- Next make a white sauce: melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and mix well together (a balloon whisk is great for this); slowly add the milk and keep stirring until the sauce thickens and starts to bubble; season the sauce.
- Pour the white sauce over the leeks then sprinkle the cheese over the top; return the pie to the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and bubbling.