Long time no blog. The week I spent in Sweden at the beginning of the month left me inspired to continue the slow-paced life I had picked up on while there, but uninspired to get behind a computer and write. That calming week was spent resting, walking, eating, playing, cooking and eating and although I had tons of recipe ideas when I returned, nothing felt right. What did feel right was this potato and leek bake that I had been making every week since my return, that felt far too simple to blog but that, without even realising, reflected the pace and flavours that had been present during my week in the countryside: different types of alliums, potatoes and dill. Humble, easy, delicious.
The Mighty Allium
Onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, leeks, ramsons and chives are all part of the allium genus. They usually take the form of ‘base’ in my cooking, and I’ve only recently realised their ability to stand as a real component of a dish on their own. There’s a whole world of allium out there, but this dish uses the milder members of the family in a sweet caramelised bake. Leeks are baked with crushed potatoes, ramsons, olive oil and salt, making every bite sweet and melty. Dill was also heavily introduced to me while in Sweden, where its complex and fresh flavours brighten up even the most humble foods. I decided to mix it into a creamy béchamel-like cashew sauce, transforming the already cosy dish into comfort food at its finest.
Potato and Leek Bake with Cashew Dill Cream
Serves 4 (as a side)
Potato and Leek Bake
10-12 new potatoes, scrubbed
3 large leeks, chopped into 2-inch chunks
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
6-7 ramson leaves
Pre-heat your oven to 170˚C. Boil the potatoes on their own and drain when tender. Using a spatula, lightly crush the potatoes, until they are flat but retain their shape. Place the potatoes on a baking tray with the leeks, and coat with the olive oil and sea salt. Top the potatoes and leeks with the ramson leaves. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Cashew Dill Cream (makes 1 cup)
1 cup cashews, soaked for at least 30 minutes
1/2 cup non-dairy milk
Juice of 2 lemons
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp fresh dill
2-3 tbsp water (to adjust consistency)
Blend the soaked cashews, non-dairy milk, lemon juice, sea salt, dill in a blender or food processor. Check the consistency- if the cream is slightly too thick for your liking, add the extra water.
Put it all together and enjoy!