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Feed my Army Leek Tart

There’s a tradition in The Royal Welsh regiment of wearing leeks on St David’s Day, and

also eating the leeks – raw! I’d heard of this tradition from other wives whose partners were

with the Royal Welsh, but when my husband started a job in Wales as a permanent staff

instructor with a reserves unit; they also had a tradition on St David’s Day to get any new

members of staff or recruits to eat a raw leek. Let’s just say he was happy that he only had to

do it once as an initiation and not every St David’s Day.

In honour of this tradition, here’s a delicious tart celebrating the leek in all its glory. It’s

a light and refreshing dish, perfect for lunch or supper served with a fresh and peppery

watercress salad. I’m cheating slightly by using shop-bought puff pastry, but you can, of

course, make rough puff pastry if you prefer. (See recipe page 105)

prep: 25 minutes, cook: 30 minutes

Ingredients (serves 6)

1 tbsp oil

a knob of butter

4 large leeks

250g ricotta cheese

75g Parmesan cheese, grated

100g baby leaf spinach

zest of 1 lemon

salt and pepper to season

300g ready-made puff pastry, either rolled or in block form


1. Wash and thinly slice the leeks. Heat the oil in a medium pan and

sauté the leeks with a good pinch of salt over a gentle heat until soft.

Pop the lid on so that the leeks sweat, stirring occasionally so that

they don’t catch on the bottom of the pan. They should take about

10 minutes to cook until soft. Taste to check the seasoning, adding

salt and pepper if needed. Remove from the heat.

2. Add the butter, spinach and a drop of water to a medium

saucepan over a medium heat. Stir and pop a lid on to wilt the

spinach. After 1-2 minutes remove from the heat, drain away the

liquid and leave the spinach to cool.

3. Preheat the oven to 180°C fan/200°C/gas mark 6 and roll out the

pastry onto a greased or lined baking tray and bake in the oven

for about 10 minutes.

4. While the pastry is cooking, put the cooled spinach into a bowl along

with the ricotta and 50g of the Parmesan cheese.

Add the lemon zest, taste and season with salt and pepper.

5. Once the pastry has baked for 10 minutes, remove it from the oven

and fully press down the middle, leaving a 1cm border all the way

around. Spread the ricotta and spinach mixture evenly from the

middle, right up to the border. Add an even layer of the leeks and

sprinkle over the remaining Parmesan cheese. Pop the tart back into

the oven and cook for a further 8-10 minutes.

Serve with a watercress salad.

Taken from Feeding My Army, a new recipe book in whichmilitary wife and TV cook Beca Lyne-Pirkis showcases delicious food designed to keep us all going. From wartime hardship meals to fayre fit for a prime minister, every page delivers recipes inspired by her family’s experience of over a hundred years of army life. Published by Gomer Press.

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