The first cookbook I ever bought was in 1999, believe it or not, it was 'New British Classics' by the ridiculously coiffured chef, Gary Rhodes.
Naff haircuts aside it's still one of the best recipe books I own, and trust me; I own a lot. It's just so comprehensive, a real celebration of British Food. Everything is covered in there, from 'rack on black' to 'spotted dick'. If you don't own it, I suggest you pick it up - and if like me, you're a bargain hunting frequenter of charity shop bookshelves, there's a good chance you'll come across it at some point, so snap it up!
I still cook from it often, and one of the best recipes is a cheddar, leek and mushroom tart (Errr, but in the book it may be Gruyere, and it may be described as a flan or quiche - my copy is currently languishing among many identical boxes of unpacked cookbooks after my recent move to Bristol). In any case, it's a cracking recipe and I made it again just the other day. I found this more or less identical version of the recipe online here - and have amended it with the substitution of cheddar cheese and addition of cayenne pepper.
Cheddar, Leek and Mushroom Tart.
You'll need: -
4 leeks , washed and sliced
250g pack chestnut mushrooms , sliced
284ml double cream
140g Strong Cheddar Cheese, coarsely grated
Large pinch Cayenne Pepper
FOR THE PASTRY
280g plain flour
140g cold butter, cut into pieces
First make the pastry, tip the flour and butter into a bowl, then rub together with your fingertips until completely mixed and crumbly. Add 8 tbsp cold water, then bring everything together with your hands until just combined. Roll into a ball and use straight away or chill for up to 2 days. The pastry can also be frozen for up to a month.
Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a round about 5cm larger than a 25cm tin. Use your rolling pin to lift it up, then drape over the tart case so there is an overhang of pastry on the sides. Using a small ball of pastry scraps, push the pastry into the corners of the tin. Chill in the fridge or freezer for 20 mins. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6.
While the pastry is chilling, heat the butter in a pan and cook the leeks for 10 mins, stirring occasionally, until they soften. Then turn up the heat and add the mushrooms. Cook for 5 mins more, then turn off the heat.
Lightly prick the base of the tart with a fork, line the tart case with a large circle of greaseproof paper or foil, then fill with baking beans. Blind-bake the tart for 20 mins, remove the paper and beans, then continue to cook for 5-10 mins until biscuit brown
While the tart case cooks, beat the eggs in a bowl, then gradually add the cream. Stir in the leeks, mushrooms, cayenne pepper and half the cheese. Season, then tip the filling into the tart case. Sprinkle with the rest of the cheese, then bake for 20-25 mins until set and golden brown. Leave to cool in the case, trim the edges of the pastry, then remove and serve in slices.
I love this tart, it's so rich and creamy - obviously its probably got about a million calories in it, for the waistline watchers amongst you, but hey who cares when it tastes this good. We ate it along with a beautiful looking tomato and mixed herb salad knocked up effortlessly by the extremely talented 'E'.