Leeks Vinaigrette with Chopped Egg – Mince and Potatoes – Slow Baked Rice Pudding and Soft Prunes

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This was a meal we had last week when I was hell-bent on being acetic and old school. My brother appreciated the meal’s ‘aesthetic’, and flavours.

Leeks Vinaigrette with Chopped Egg and Herbs – for four as a side or a starter
Trim 4 young, firm (if possible) leeks down so that almost just the white part remains and wash. Boil in salted water until tender – 6-10 minutes depending on the size of the leeks. When they are cooked, drain and refresh briefly in cold water.
In the meantime, hard boil 1 egg/person (around 8 minutes boiling) then peel and finely chop.

For the dressing: in a bowl mix 1 tablespoon of Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon of wine vinegar (red or white), and 1 tablespoon of water, and a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix well. Then very slowly add 2 tablespoons of flavourless oil, then 2 of olive oil, while whisking all the time.

To serve, lay out the leeks, either left whole or cut into 2 inch sections on a plate, cover with the dressing, the chopped egg and a good sprinkling of chopped chives or parsley or chervil.

Mince and potatoes (serves 4 as part of a larger meal)

1 carrot chopped very finely
1 onion chopped very finely
100g smoked streaky/fatty bacon, chopped finely
3 tablespoons, concentrated tomato paste
450g lean beef mince
2 tablespoons Worcester sauce
1 tablespoon, vinegar
180ml, white wine
180ml, water
180ml, milk

Cook the carrot, onion and bacon in a knob of butter until the onion is soft and slightly browning. Add the mince and stir well, breaking up the mince. Brown all over. Add the tomato paste and the Worcester sauce and stir in. Add the wine, vinegar and water and cook for 5 minutes. Add the milk. Simmer on a low heat for an hour, until most of the liquid is gone. Season very well with salt and pepper.

For the potatoes: Pre-heat the oven to 150celsius (a low heat). Peel and quarter a waxy variety of potatoes so that they are the same size. Bring to the boil in a pan of salted water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and then replace the lid of the pan and put in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked all the way through. Their steam cooks them with this method and it produces a wonderful texture. My mother showed it to me, and it’s a revelation.

I like a bit of tomato ketchup as a condiment with this.

Baked 3-hour rice pudding with soft prunes and cream


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Add 100g pudding rice, 600ml whole milk, 2 tablespoons caster sugar, 1 vanilla pod cut in half, a good grating of nutmeg to an ovenproof dish and bake at 150 degrees celsius for 3 hours. It is ready when the top is a browned skin and the rice is soft. Check its progress after 1hr30.
Serve with single cream and prunes that you have soaked for 30 mins in hot, slightly sugared water to plump up.

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