I vowed not to grow them again. They were a pain to plant (a daunting number of tiny fiddly seedlings) and an even bigger pain to transplant into the wheelbarrows (sometimes I lack vision and fail to see that 60 leeks will eventually outgrow a small plastic pot).
Then the aphids came along and threatened to destroy the whole lot. I caught them just before they sucked the life out of the slender stems. Blasting them with the garden hose and squirting with garlic spray seemed to get rid of them. I had another job when Mum reminded me shortly afterwards to earth up the stems to keep daylight out and blanch them, which means more of the finer tasting stuff.
I was waiting for fatter stems, but there I was standing, as I do, in front of the fridge staring at a nice piece of pumpkin and a few slices of smoked free-range ham.
It had to be quiche for dinner. I announced to Luca that we could finally go out and pick some leeks. What the picture doesn't show is how long the white parts were.
I will grow them again. I know now what to do (and what not to do!), but more than that, I love that feeling of pulling my own vegetables out and taking them straight to a chopping board. Pure joy.
And this quiche... I've made a lot of quiches, and this one with its raggedy edges is the finest of them all. And with two children competing for my attention, I cut corners. Pastry made in seconds in the Thermomix and I didn't even bother filling with baking beans or trimming my edges – my editors in days gone by would balk at this.
But I'm not working on a magazine shoot; I'm making a meal for my family.