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From Ruth, YMCA Isle of Wight’s Head of Catering

Children’s stomachs will be rumbling with delight at this simple and tasty meal. If you don’t want to use meat, just use any vegetables you like to make a vegetable crumble instead. My family love sweetcorn so I always add that in!

Dairy free and gluten free adaptations are also easy: just replace the plain flour with gluten free flour and the milk with soya milk and omit the cheese! I have a few children with allergies in the nurseries that I do this for and they all still enjoy this dish.

You will need:

For the crumble filling

400g cooked ham cut into small pieces
2 leeks
500ml milk
50g butter
50g plain flour
Mixed herbs
½ tsp salt (omit if serving to young children)
A handful of grated cheese (optional)

For the crumble topping:

500g plain flour
250g butter
Dried mixed herbs
½ tsp salt (omit if serving to young children)


Preheat the oven to 170 C / Gas mark 5 and grease an oven proof dish.

Make the crumble mix by mixing the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs and then add mixed herbs, salt if using, stir in and leave to one side.

Make the sauce by melting the butter gently, then add the flour, stir continuously until it forms into a paste, continue cooking on a low heat for a couple of minutes. This is called a roux mixture and is used to make thick sauces.

Gradually add the milk to the roux mixture, stirring as you go to get a smooth sauce. Cook gently for another 5-10 mins until the sauce has thickened, season to taste.

Cut the leeks up into small pieces, cook gently in a pan to soften and then add the ham to this before then pouring the sauce in.

Transfer to an oven proof dish, sprinkle with the cheese if using, then put the crumble mix on top.

Cook the oven for approximately 25 mins until the crumble mix is browned and the filling is bubbling.

Leave to cool a little before serving, it will be extremely hot for a while!