By Richard Caley

Recipe for a leek soup
By Richard Caley

It always intrigues me the way that over time different key ingredients become synonymous with a certain country or culture. None more so than the humble Leek.

A peppery member of the Allium family, the Leek has been recognised as the national vegetable and emblem of the Welsh since the mid 16th century. But did you know that it first came to represent the Welsh spirit in 633 AD when whilst in battle with the Saxons, the Welsh were persuaded to wear a Leek in their caps so they could tell who their enemy was. St. David, the patron saint of Wales who died on 1st March 589 A. D. was the inspiration behind this. St David, was a monk who lived principally on bread, water, herbs and leeks.

Made highly visible in the mid 1970's by the comedian, singer and rugby fanatic, Max Boyce, the Leek takes pride of place in the Welsh store cupboard. Did you know that another plant linked to Wales is the Daffodil? In Welsh, the humble but iconic daffodil means type of leek.

So what better way to celebrate St David's day than a classic Welsh favourite - CAWL CENNIN, but with a little contemporary twist.


Ingredients - Serves: 4

  1. 1 tbsp olive oil
  2. 1 medium sized finely sliced
  3. 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  4. 1 Shallot or small onion finely chopped
  5. 150ml/ ¼ pint hot vegetable stock
  6. 1 tbsp double cream
  7. 1 teaspoon Cumin
  8. Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


● Heat the oil in a small saucepan, add the leek, garlic, onion and Cumin. Sauté gently for 3-4 minutes. Add the stock and simmer for five minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

● Pour into a blender, add the cream and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Blend until smooth.

● To finish off the dish, add a little chopped parsley for garnish (apparently a favourite of St David).

I hope you fully enjoy your St David's day this year. If you make this dish as part of your celebrations, or just if you fancy making a cracking good soup, let us know how you get on. Perhaps you can make some adaptations of your own. The great thing about cooking is no-one can tell you what is right or wrong. It's all about what works for you. Who knows, one day your dish might be as institutional as Cawl Cennin.

Happy cooking and go for it!

Written by Chef Richard, Community Chef from East London

Like this article? Share it...