By: Gerry Jacobson (Canberra Organic - Spring 2019)

in the garden
this sunny windy
spring morning
planting the leeks
for autumn soups

Fifteen years of successive leek harvests at the Cotter garden. Sometimes two crops a year. But January and February are so hot now that I can’t get out there on the bike to water and weed. This dodgy heart doesn’t cope with days over 28 degrees, of which there are many. I let the plot go and with it the potatoes and the leeks that I planted in spring.

I’m not sure how I fell in love with leeks. They weren’t part of my childhood. Perhaps it was the recipe for vichyssoise in the “Passionate Love Cookbook”. I cooked it occasionally when we had children at home. But it wasn’t till after they left home that I took on an allotment and grew the leeks. This autumn I’ve been buying leeks for the first time, and preparing beds in the home garden, to plant next spring.

The cookbook is tattered and torn: its title is actually ‘The Encyclopedia of World Cookery’ by Elizabeth Campbell, published in London. It carries a faded handwritten inscription dated 1962: “To darling R, with all my love, C”. I call it the Passionate Love Cookbook. It’s been in our kitchen a long time and I’ve found it useful. Reader, I married R and I think this book was part of her dowry along with a record player and a slide projector, important in the student households of the 1960s.

for better
for worse … sometimes richer
often poorer
often rough … sometimes smooth
never plain sailing

Recipe for Vichyssoise

3 medium leeks, sliced finely
1 large onion, sliced finely
4 medium potatoes, sliced finely
1 tbsp olive oil
1 litre vegetable stock
handful parsley, chopped

Fry leeks and onion, until transparent.
Add potatoes and stock.
Simmer until potatoes cooked.
Zap, and stir in parsley.