Take a leek and bake a cake
Ilove leeks because they are so much more gentle on my system than their relatives, garlic and onions, almost as if they belong to a completely different family really (as far as my stomach is concerned anyway).
If you want to know what I mean, try making leek and potato soup with onion instead: not the same difference. This is currently one of Theo’s new 12-year-old catchphrases, and considering that he is the one who insists on making it (with leeks, Mum) as soon as the weather starts to get rainy and cold, I think he knows that they are definitely not the same.
I’ve probably chosen too strong a word when I say I hate leeks. After all, we can’t all be fabulously green-fingered, turning out leeks with an average diameter of two inches and so long that, from a distance, it appears to watchers that one is carrying a small tree instead of a leek.
My Mum grew leeks like that but sadly I didn’t inherit her leek-growing genes. I have resigned myself to being an excellent salad greens, herb, rhubarb, celery and silverbeet grower with the occasional success with broccoli. It’s a good thing that I am a keen forager and recipient of garden produce generously shared by my neighbours, otherwise I might not even be able to pluck up the courage to start writing about leeks.
Now this is not to say we haven’t tried our best, several times. They are a bit like carrots for me. People say 'ah, just chuck ‘em in the ground and leave them alone'. Nope, not for me. So far it’s been a few or no carrots, and very small leeks and given the quality and amount of compost I put into my garden, I know it’s not a nutrient problem.
I have even tried the broomstick method without success. This is where you poke a broomstick-like object into the ground and drop young leek plants in. No tamping down the soil or filling in the hole: just walk away and let the leek get on with filling the hole, and supposedly expanding. Sure enough, my leeks grew but they never quite got the expansion bit and although I harvested them and we ate them – little pencils that they were – and tried to be suitably proud of my small achievement, I couldn’t help comparing my puny little fellows with the greengrocer's giants.
I won’t give up though. There’s a wicked brew bubbling away out the back, containing all the usual suspects: fish heads, seaweed, nettles and comfrey with a good smattering of sheep pellets stirred in and this will feed my next lot of leeks.