Cook what you grow ... Pitman’s Soup or Crème Vichyssoise

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THIS basic recipe comes from the Second World War, when my grandad was billeted at RAF Acklington, in Northumberland.

My gran christened this Pitman’s Soup, as the miners from the surrounding collieries were always bringing in leeks and potatoes to the pub where she played piano.

During my research, I found an almost identical recipe from the 1970s, but “poshed up”, with the addition milk or cream and chives, blended and then chilled, to become Crème Vichyssoise.

Either way, it’s ideal for using up the last of your leeks and freezes well. As ever, my gran measured nothing and you can add or alter amounts according to what you have.

I tend to serve it in between the two recipes – blended, with milk, but served hot.

3 medium leeks

1lb/500g potatoes, skins on or peeled (if using unpeeled, soup is better blended)

1oz/25g marg or butter

1.5pints/750ml home-made chicken stock

Salt and pepper

Cut off roots and green tops from leeks and wash thoroughly. Cut into half-inch rings. Melt butter in shallow, wide pan and cook leeks gently until soft.

Cut potatoes into 1” dice.

Add potatoes and stock and simmer until potatoes are cooked but not broken.

Season well.

* For Crème Vichyssoise, add a little milk or cream, chill and sprinkle chopped chives on top to serve.