But I love it most when November comes around and fresh leeks are in season so I can use them in my cooking again. They are brilliant in so many homely hearty autumn and winter dishes - just think of how amazing mash tastes with sauteed leeks mixed into it. Think of all those creamy warming dishes and sauces that are made perfect with leeks.
Here's a simple, yet very tasty, recipe which gets the leeks tasting all zingy and zesty with some flavours less often used with leek but which really go well together.
Zesty Leek Puff-Pasty Pizza
(serves 4. Timing approx 35-40 minutes in total)
splash of olive oil
2 fresh British-grown Leeks
small piece fresh ginger
1 clove garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
half tsp ground coriander
quarter tsp paprika
quarter tsp cinnamon
zest and juice of half a lemon
quarter red pepper
quarter yellow pepper
quarter orange pepper
1 pack (320g) puff pastry
30g feta cheese
green salad to serve
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C. Lightly brush a baking tray with olive oil.
2. Unroll the puff-pastry and place onto the baking tray.
3. Wash the leeks well and finely slice. Sauté in a little olive oil for a few minutes until softened. I happened to buy trimmed leeks, but even if you buy leeks which are green and leafy then as long as you wash them well you can still use the whole leek as the vibrant green will look great in this dish.
4. Grate in a little fresh ginger (approx half a teaspoon). Crush and add the garlic clove. Then add the cumin, coriander, paprika and cinammon.
5. Add the zest and juice of half a lemon. You may not need all the juice as you don't want the mixture to be too wet. A couple of squeezes of lemon is usually enough.
6. Finely slice the peppers and add in. Saute for a couple more minutes then turn off the hob.
7. Tear the mozzarella into small pieces and scatter onto the puff-pastry, leaving the edges clear to allow space for the pastry to puff up. The mozzarella is in place of using a 'sauce' on the pizza base.
8. Spread the leek mixture on top of the mozzarella then sprinkle on the crumbled feta.
9. Brush the edges with a little olive oil.
10. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry starts to brown a little.
Serve with a green salad.
This is my recipe entry into the #LoveMyLeeks competition at British Leeks. Find out more about the competition here.