The story of a leek pie.
Capelli la Vita is the most beautiful online ( digital) Lifestyle Magazine and I have the privilege to be part of the team and ,even better, with my own title: Savour with Bella.
And I love the way they introduce me!
Fashion and beauty editor…freelance fashion stylist on all the major magazines for 23 years.
Moved to the West Coast to live on a Dune in 2004…and slowly the high heels and designer outfits were replaced with Havianna’s (slip slops)…or as we call them in Afrikaans “visplakkies’ and sand on my toes. My interest in food started in 2010 when I launched a small food market in Vredenburg. This led to the opening of an amazing food market in 2012 in the beautiful Palms Centre in the heart of Woodstock….Market at the Palms. I managed this for 6 and a half years. It was also in 2012 that I started opening my home for Sunday lunches and my Langtafel of die Duin has become quite an institution…fabulous five course meals in an eclectic home environment on the edge of the beach!
Not a chef…just a home cook with a good palate and amazing passion for combining tastes. Creating good food. Using the best possible fresh produce. And with an enormous love for fresh seafood!
In 2019 I launched my first cookbook,Duinhuis. It was awarded a first in the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards for 2020. During lockdown I did a small digital e-book on mussels…one of my most favourite ingredients: Isabella’s Mussel Feast.
And today I launch the second digital e-book: Isabella's Pork Feast that I did in conjunction with SA Pork!
One of my most favourite recipes featured in my latest Savour with Bella on Instagram and on the Capelli La Vita website is a leek pie!
A Simple Leek Pie...Flamiche Aux Poireaux
It is exactly ten years ago that I hopped onto a fast train at Gare d’ Austerlitz in Paris for a four hour journey to Montlucon…a ride to Boussac and one of the most memorable lunches ever at the beautiful chateau of Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier: La Creuzette.
It is just like a fairytale. From the heavy iron gates that slowly open and then as you move through the trees the first sight of the chateau. The aristocratic dogs. The handsome owners.
Lunch was served in the summer kitchen. A table set with the finest linen , cutlery and glass. The meal: a leek pie from their book FESTIVE FRANCE and a small green salad. To drink :cold cold Rosé. Dessert: Charlotte de La Creuzette with berries and fruit.
For me it has become a custom to start baking leek tarts at the first real signs of winter. And today…wet and cold and with a another lockdown imposed on us, the sweet smell and taste of Flamiche Aux Poireaux is the perfect treat!
By the way…this easy pastry recipe is one to hold onto! I use it for almost everything I bake.
500 gr leeks
50 gr butter
salt and white pepper
a pinch of nutmeg
250 ml of cultured cream or crème fraîche
2 tbs of water.
Three or four dried apricots...I love the plum Turkish apricots from Woolworths.
For the pastry:
375 ml ( 11/2 cups) of flour
125 gr butter, grated
2 tbs of cold water
OR ...and I say this with a heavy heart: you can use store bought puff pastry
For the pastry.
Add the salt to the flour .Rub the butter into the flour. Don’t overwork. Now add the egg and water. Mix just until the dough comes together. Wrap in cling film .Let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
For the filling:
Chop the leeks into rings. Heat the butter and water in a pot, add leeks and simmer over medium heat with a lid on till soft. Once soft add the cultured cream and increase the heat. Cook until most of the moisture has evaporated. Now add the finely sliced apricots, salt and pepper and nutmeg.
Let it cool.
Prepare the pastry by dividing into two equal balls. Roll out into circles. Place a circle into your pie dish. Add the leeks and spread out. Now roll out the other ball of pastry and cover the leeks….folding the edges of the pastry together. Poke a few small holes in the pastry and brush with egg wash.
Bake at 180 degrees for 10 minutes. Turn the oven down to 160 degrees for a further 20 minutes till the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with a simple green salad and a perfectly chilled De Grendel Rosé
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I love the opening line of editor Garry Frasca: We will search the universe to bring you the best of living on the entire planet!