Living abroad sounds like it should be glamorous and exotic, especially in a place like Hong Kong. Weekends should be spent lounging on beautiful beaches and enjoying the impressive skyline from roof-top bars. Alas, the weather is a bitter disappointment these days and such activities are not entirely possible. There’s a general pattern of sun and sweltering heat Monday to Friday, then a drastic turnaround so that Saturday and Sunday are full of black clouds and torrential downpours. This is not what I signed up for, Hong Kong! In fact, this is exactly the kind of dismal British weather I was trying to escape.
It’s the sort of weather that compels you to stay indoors, in which case you at least need to make it worth your while with some good company, good entertainment and hearty, grey-weather grub: things that make you feel that staying in is not a punishment, but a treat. This is a perfect rainy Sunday pie. It’s got all the naughty, comforting elements in it (bubbling cheese, tender potato, crispy pastry), and makes you feel right at home.
As good as this pie is…I don’t want another rainy Sunday at home. Come on weather gods, nice weather for next weekend please!
Leek, Potato & Gruyere Pie
Adapted from BBC Good Food, serves 4
500g potatoes, sliced (peeled too, if you like)
2 leeks, sliced
knob of butter
4 tbsp half-fat creme fraiche
100g Gruyere, grated
1 sheet puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and cook the potatoes for about 5 minutes until tender. Drain and cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 200C. Heat the butter in a pan and cook the leeks for about 5 minutes. Leave them to cool slightly.
3. Stir the creme fraiche and Gruyere in to the leeks, and season well.
4. Tip half the potato slices into an overproof dish, then spoon over half the cheese, leek and creme fraiche mix. Repeat with the rest of the potatoes and cheesy mixture.
5. Brush the edge of the dish with a little water, then fit the puff pastry sheet over the top of the dish, pressing down firmly at the edges and trimming as needed. Brush with beaten egg, then bake for 30-35 minutes.