Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Thursday, June 12, 2014

    A Particularly nice Lasagne

    Our friend Mary was coming around to watch the rugby
    What better to eat out of a bowl on your lap but Lasagne
    Also, I had all of the ingredients handy
    Which is excellent when one is housebound

    I actually went to quite a bit of trouble with the components and it paid off
    Ready to go into the oven

    The Meat Sauce
    One of the tricks for this very rich sauce was the addition of 250 gms of mushrooms
    Also another,  was I whizzed up all of the vege in the  food processor
    This is a great idea to disguise vege for the fussy kids in the family
    And a secret extra... a dollop of ketchup

    Added to the meat sauce, I also went to a little bit of extra trouble and instead of just dumping in a tin of tomatoes
    I turned it into my special tomato sauce
    One other difference was the addition of Buffalo Feta instead of Ricotta
    I bought this from a local market
    Actually it is from Bulgaria

    What a stroke of genius
    Salty sharp
    You can use ordinary soft feta of course
    By the way
    There was enough meat sauce to set aside and freeze for another day

    So you will need these ingredients
    Meat sauce
    500 gms Mince
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 medium onion peeled and rough chopped
    1 carrot roughly chopped
    2 sticks of celery roughly chopped
    250 gms mushrooms roughly chopped
    Red wine1/2 cup
    1 Cup beef stock, I used a stock cube
    2 tablespoons of your favourite ketchup

    Tomato sauce
    Olive oil
    2 garlic cloves
    1 can tomatoes
    Sea salt and black pepper
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

    Bechamel sauce

    75 gms butter unsealed
    1/4 cup flour
    750 mls whole milk, infused with a bay leaf
    Sea salt and freshly grated black pepper
    1/2 cup grated cheese

    150 gms Buffalo Feta

    Packet lasagna sheets

    Meat sauce
    In a pan on medium heat add olive oil
    Meanwhile throw all of the vege into the food processor and whizz till they are finely chopped
    Add to olive oil season with S&P
    and sauté till soft

    Meanwhile in another pan over high heat
    Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and brown the mince
    Season with S&P
    Add to the vege
    De-glaze the meat pan with red wine
    Add to vege
    Along with beef stock

    Tomato sauce
    Sauté finely chopped garlic in olive oil
    When soft add the tomatoes
    Season with S&P and sugar
    Simmer for about 5 minutes to develop the flavour
    Add red wine vinegar

    Add to the Meat  Sauce and simmer everything for at least 30 minutes
    The sauce will be very rich and dark
    Add the ketchup and you will be amazed at the little lift it gives the sauce

    Put aside

    Make the Bechamel Sauce
    Warm the milk with a Bay leaf and some freshly ground black pepper

    Melt butter in a pot
    Add flour
    Sir and cook out the flour for about 2-3 minutes
    Season with sea salt
    Add all of the warm milk and stir till sauce is thickened
    If there are any lumps don't panic just whisk and they will disappear

    Don't forget to remove the Bayleaf
    Take off the heat and add grated cheese

    In a gratin dish
    Spread 2 tablespoon of the cheese sauce
    Place lasagne sheets
    Add meat sauce
    Sprinkle over 1/3 of the feta
    Lasagne sheets
    1/2 of the Béchamel
    Lasagne sheets
    Meat sauce
    Then 1/3 of feta
    Lasagne sheets

    To the renaming Bechamel add a beaten egg and the remainder of the feta
    Pour over the top

    I made this the day before and popped into the fridge, covered with foil
    Take out of the fridge about an hour before you need to cook it
    Pre heat oven to 180C
    Bake for about 30 minutes
    Take off foil and cook for another 30 minutes
    Till golden and bubbling

    Let sit for about 15 minutes before serving
    This makes it easier to cut

    Guaranteed to please
    Now I used the remaining Meat Sauce
    For a Pasta dish for dinner last night

    Just topped with grated Parmesan Cheese

    Tuesday, June 03, 2014

    Ginger-Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cookies - Something different

    What I love about these cookies, is the classic combination of Chocolate and Ginger
    and then... the addition of the tang of the craisins
    So full of chocolate
    They are so moreish
    I just ate 2 in a row

    Bit piggy, but I couldn't help it
    This recipe, I have stolen from Ming Tsai and his Simply Ming Programme where he combined Ginger and Cranberries
    This is a keeper
    With your favourite Coffee

    There is also a yummy fried rice, using this combo 
    I will post that later

    Makes approx 24 cookies

    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
    125 gms butter
    1 extra-large egg
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons minced ginger
    1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    225 gms chocolate chips
    1/2 cup dried cranberries


    Pre-heat oven to 165C degrees.

    In a large bowl, cream together sugars and butter. 
    Add egg, vanilla and ginger and mix until combined.
    In a large bowl, combine flour, salt and baking soda. 
    In a second large bowl, combine cranberries and chocolate chips. 
    Starting with flour, alternate flour and cranberry mixtures until dough is thoroughly combined. 

    Using a tablespoon, portion cookie dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased bake sheet
    (you can line with parchment, if you like).

    Bake for 10-12minutes, or until cookies are golden brown and underside is the same.
    They will feel moist on top, but will harden as they cool.
    Let cookies cool on bake sheet for 5 minutes, t
    hen remove to a rack to finish cooling.

    Monday, June 02, 2014

    Carrot and Mango Soup? Who would have thought?

    One of the things that happen to you when you are a bit housebound.
    You improvise.
    I had a look in my fridge and found a couple of carrots, a kumara (sweet potato) and 1/2  mango
    I make Carrot and Orange Soup frequently. That is a good match
    "Why not Carrot and Mango?"
    It really was delicious and will be a keeper in our family.
    I decided that I would also add a potato just for a little extra body
    This amount served 3 people

    50 gms unsalted butter
    1 med onion peeled and chopped
    2 carrots washed and chopped
    1 small Kumara, peeled and chopped
    1 med potato peeled and chopped
    1/2 mango peeled and chopped
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon ground coriander
    1.5 Litres Chicken stock

    Garnish  (optional)
    Chopped parsley 
    Little Cream

    Melt the butter in a pot
    Add onions  season with S & P
    and cook till translucent not brown
    Add the carrots, kumara and potato
    Season again with S & P and coriander

    Gently cook until they start to soften a little
    About 5 minutes
    Cover with Chicken stock

    Bring to boil and simmer for about 30 minutes
    Till Vege are tender

    Transfer to a blender
    Add Mango to the mix
    Whiz till smooth
    Back into pot
    Serve and garnish with chopped Parsley and a tablespoon of cream

    Guaranteed excellent, with some toast or as we did with some fresh Ciabatta