Leeky vegetables with virus rant on the side

February left in a flurry. So much so, that when I potted my bits for the market on Friday, I set the sell by date for March, not April. I only realised as I was getting myself together on Saturday morning – after having posted this photo to Instagram!

Oops! Sell by date can’t be in the past…

February passed me by because I had a mission: finishing a course in teaching English as a foreign language. My goal was to have it done by the end of the month and I happily spent my birthday doing the final assessment. The results and certificate arrived at the beginning of what, so far, is a mad March. Not least because of the late autumn heat – not unusual – but extreme. Last week we had a few consecutive days of +38°C (+100°F) which makes for lovely balmy evenings. They are also good for bad sleep, marauding mosquitoes and mandatory showers under the open sky.

Add to all of that, a little Steem drama and the ridiculous, rising, rampant panic around the novel Corona virus, Covid-19. The world seems to have gone mad. As I write, I realise that The Sandbag House seems like a place of peace and sanity. Where, of course, The Cat’s Mother’s conversations with Gandalf are a major contributor to sanity….

A pretty nasty virus

On the issue of the virus, I give you fair warning, I’ve been itching to have a rant.

Sales of Corona beer have plummeted? Just because it’s called “corona”?

Shunning people because they’re Chinese?

Shunning people because they have had, or might have, the virus?

Panic buying of medical masks and hand sanitiser and food?

Yes, Covid-19 is nasty. And it’s killing people. So does influenza – about 1% of those diagnosed. These are usually patients at risk. In other words, people in a particular age profile and/or with other conditions which make them vulnerable to opportunistic infections. No, the authorities can’t actually confirm the mortality rate from Covid-19. For a whole range of reasons including the possiblity likelihood that mild cases may never have entered the health system and been reported.

Take a breath, Fiona….

If one listens to the messages, they all say that the virus spreads in the same way as influenza: droplets as opposed to in the air. Wearing medical masks doesn’t protect healthy people – one doesn’t inhale the pretty, round sun-shaped virus that’s part of the same family as the flu and common cold. The virus can only survive in damp, relatively moist conditions and not in perpetuity. More to the point, it can be washed away by following the traditional, tried and tested hygiene practice of properly washing one’s hands with old fashioned soap and water. Oh, and don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth if you think you’re in an area where there could be an infected person.


Whenever my Mum (whose 93rd birthday would have been as I started this rant), had a cold, she would reject her children’s good night kisses and cuddles in favour of their not catching that virus. The success rate was higher when she had the cold or flu. The Mum just does what comes naturally: wipes the snotty nose, comforts and cuddles.


Back to my point: hygeine is fact five of on the CDC’s list – on the bottom right of the page. Don’t they always say that prevention, which is not difficult, is better than cure?

Ok, I don’t want to make light of a disease that comes from an unknown source and which presents with symptoms from mild to severe, and from people have died died.


What I have read – from the appropriate sources, and shared here – leaves me asking, why the panic and paranoia?

Rant over

Getting to the leeky point

For a while, I’ve been working on a number of vegetarian recipes, including some that are entirely plant-based. I’ll return to those in time. This one has been “in development” for a while, and I’ve shared some of the progress via Instagram. At last, I think I have made it often enough to have the confidence to keep my promise to share the recipe for leek timbales. I also have to add that the dedicated carnivore I married, has declared leek timbales sufficiently edible that he looks forward to this main course with relish.

Leek Timbales

This dish, I admit, emerged from leftovers from a bunch of meals. I’m not good at letting food that’s edible go to waste. Some of our favourite meals are made with leftovers. So much so, that when we plan the week’s meals, we have these dishes in mind. Yes, I do that planning thing – I’ll tell you how – if you want – another time.

In this instance, the bunch of leeks lurking in the fridge was originally destined for a Sunday supper soup. No reservations meant I didn’t make the soup. There was also a gap in the weekly menu. After more ferreting in the fridge, I found the remains of a batch of onion sauce. In our house, this is a standard accompaniment to roast lamb along with mint sauce. You might suggest that this dish is a quiche in a different guise. I’ll admit that it was influenced by a herbed leek quiche recipe in one of my early vegetarian cookery books. However, given that the rise in gluten intolerance and that carbohydrates are not “in”, I tried something different.

I was very happy with what I came up with. The Husband and I decided that I should try to replicate the dish.


I hadn’t really paid attention. So, as they say, practice makes perfect and over the next few months I made them again. And again. Sometimes with leftover bits and at other times from scratch. Each time I made them from scratch I set out to do it “properly”… That meant measuring, writing down, recording what worked, what didn’t.


I really do make notes the old fashioned way: pencil and paper

With, of course, the odd photograph. Of the process.

Now, I’ve successfully made these leek timbales – from scratch – often enough to be confident with the ingredients, quantities and method. We’ve eaten them as a summer supper as well as in winter. They work very well with a side salad (green and/or carrot and olive) as well as with roasted vegetables – especially sweet bell peppers (capsicums).

It also occurs to me that to make this dish vegan, one could make it with vegan cheese and/or tofu. I guess I need to experiment with that. Let’s see.

So, if this dish rocks your socks, download it here. Do let me know how it turns out for you.

In the meantime, wash your hands, and don’t go invading anyone’s space – unless you must – and be healthy.

Until next time, be well
The Sandbag House
McGregor, South Africa

Photo: Selma

Post Script

  • I’m participating in blogpal @tracyork’s April challenge of sharing a post every day during April – on the Hive blockchain. I succeeded last year – on Steemit from which the new blockchain “hived off”…
  • It seems a good way to constructively use the time during a compulsory lock down, right? For more about this initiative, please check out Traci’s post.

  • If you’d also like to both join the challenge and post from the WordPress platform to the Hive blockchain, sign up here.
  • I’m still blogging on Steem and more recently share my burbling on Uptrennd.