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Leek, pesto and olive tart

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We eat this tart a lot. It basically involves frying up some leeks and thyme and then piling the leeks with pesto, grated cheese, and olives on top of ready made puff pastry and popping it into the oven. We have eaten it so much I could probably make it blindfolded, it’s one of our real staples. I’ve served it with a salad, or when we are hungry with jacket potatoes too. It looks good enough to serve with friends. But if it’s just Dave and me it’s great reheated the following night – just cover it with foil and put it in the oven at 200 C for 20 minutes to heat through. If you are starving and can’t wait for the oven you can heat it in the microwave and although you’ll end up with soggy pastry, it’s still very edible. I love recipes that feed Dave and I for two nights.

The first thing I do is to take the pastry out of the fridge and out of the box so it can come up to room temperature which makes it less lightly to tear. Then I get the leeks frying away, they take about ten minutes to become sweet and silky. I fry them in butter for the taste and a drizzle of oil to help stop the butter from burning. While they are cooking I unroll the pastry and lay it out. I always use the ready rolled pastry in baking paper which makes it easy to place the paper and pastry straight onto a large baking sheet. I cut the sides of the pastry to make a little ridge.

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Then I coat the pastry inside the ridge in the pesto. Dave isn’t a fan of green pesto, so I always use red and generally sun dried tomato pesto, but it would work well with green, or with whatever pesto you have in the cupboard. The cooked leeks go on top of the pesto. Then I top with the olives and grated cheese and pop in a preheated oven. That’s it!

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Once cooked, I give it ten minutes on the side to cool a little before serving as this enables the full flavour to develop.

Leek, pesto and olive tart

1kg or 8 smallish leeks – cleaned and top and tailed and sliced into 0.5cm coins
25g butter
A drizzle of oil
10g fresh thyme, remove the leaves from the stalks
⅛ tsp salt
Black pepper
375g ready made pre-rolled puff pastry, unrolled and lying on the baking paper that it came with
4 tbsp your favourite pesto. I like sun dried tomato
100g olives
100g mature cheddar, finely grated

Serves 4
Carbohydrate per serving – 40g
Preparation time – 25 minutes
Cooking time – 30 minutes

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/180 C fan/ 400 F/ Gas mark 6 and take the pastry out of the fridge.
2. Heat the butter and oil in a saucepan with a lid and when hot add the leeks and the thyme, salt and black pepper, stir well and put the lid on. Fry the leeks for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they will become soft and silky.
3. Cut a 1 cm strip off each edge of the pastry and lay this strip on top of the edge to make a ridge. Cover the base of the tart with the pesto. Top with the leeks leaving any liquid in the saucepan. Put the olives on top of the leeks and scatter the grated cheese over the top of the leeks and olives. Put the tart in the oven for 30 minutes until lightly browned.

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