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    Sunday, July 13, 2014

    Best Meatless Lasagne - Thumbs up from my Dinner Guests

    I don’t know how I found this site Moodie Foodie and decided to keep this recipe, but I’m so glad I did
    It made the tastiest sauce.
    Jay The Blogger said it fed 6... there were only 4 of us and we ate it all
    Jay is more about lighter calorie food than me.

    I have upped the fat content, but I still think it is pretty healthy
    If you want to be gluten free, use eggplant or potato instead of pasta
    And cornflour instead of wheat flour

    Also there was plenty of sauce.
    Enough for me to freeze for another day
    So for Vege Sauce
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    400g field mushrooms, finely chopped
    160g (1 large) onion, chopped
    200g (3) celery stalks, finely chopped
    180g (1 large) zucchini, finely chopped
    100g (1 large) carrots, finely chopped
    2 large garlic cloves, minced
    2 cans diced tomatoes
    2 tbsp tomato paste
    1½ cups stock, chicken or vege
    60g (1/3 cup) red lentils
    2 tsp dried oregano
    2 bay leaves
    1 tsp sugar
    1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
    Salt & pepper

    Bechamel Sauce
    50 gms butter
    1 small onion, finely sliced
    50 gms flour
    1 cup stock
    1 cup whole milk

    1 packet lasagne sheets, preferably the no pre-cooking kind
    ½ cup grated tasty cheese

    For the best result with the vegetables, I chopped them in the food processor
    I also do this when making meat sauce, particularly when cooking for kids who are a bit fussy.

    Spray a largish rectangular casserole dish with oil.
    I used a 30 x 20 cm dish this was perfect for the lasagne noodles that I used
    Heat oil in a large non-stick frying pan and add mushrooms, onion, celery, zucchini, carrots and garlic with a pinch of salt.
    Cook on a medium-low heat for 8 minutes until softened.
    Add tomatoes, tomato paste, stock, lentils, oregano, bay leaves and sugar
    and bring to the boil.
    Check for seasoning,
    Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes until fragrant.
    Remove bay leaves.
    Stir through parsley.

    While vege sauce is cooking, make the Béchamel:
    In a non-stick (if you have one) saucepan, heat oil on low.
    Add onion with a pinch of salt.
    Cook for 6-8 minutes on low until onion is softened.
    Add flour and continue to cook for a minute or so until flour has been incorporated. Remove saucepan from heat and slowly whisk in stock and milk.
    Return pan to the heat and bring to a simmer,
    Simmering for about 5 minutes until sauce thickens.

    To assemble lasagne:
    Slap a good couple of spoonfuls of the sauce in the bottom of the prepared casserole dish and top with a layer of lasagne sheets.
    Top with 3 large ladlefuls of the sauce, This should cover the dish
    Add another layer of lasagne sheets,
    Then half the Béchamel.
    Another 3 large ladlefuls of the sauce
    Another layer of lasagne sheets
    Top with the remaining Béchamel

    Heat oven to 200°c

    Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes.
    Remove the foil, sprinkle over the cheese 
    Continue to bake a further 20 minutes until golden and bubbling.
    Serve with a big salad and you’ll be happy all night long.

    I reckon some Garlic bread would also be a great accompaniment
    And that way you could feed 6 people.

    For great Garlic Pizza Bread  click here

    Pizza at it's Homemade Best

    I decided to repost this Pizza recipe, as the other day I made some wonderful Pizza Bread
    It is really simple and perfect to having with lovely comforting soup with this miserable weather we are having here in Auckland.
    When I looked for this post for the recipe, I noticed there were the photos of our time on the boat.
    Definitely worth a re-post
    Wonderful Summer weather.
    Not too far away...only a couple of months...oh maybe 3
    So here we go
    Hi my first post for 2008 
    This my version for the easiest So Simple Pizza
    We are still on board Cajun Moon where we have spending the last month in the sunny and not so sunny (as it turned out this year) Jewel of the North Whangaroa Harbour. A beautiful and unique place.

    How's this for a sunset?
    But back to Pizza
    Step by step
    You don’t have to get up at the crack of dawn for this bread
    Max time: 1 hour 15 minutes... from whoa to go
    I have this down to a fine art and feel really confident that anybody could get the same results.
    i.e. to get the water to the correct hand hot temp 2/3 cold water 1/3 just boiled water.
    This is the right temp for our granddaughter’s mouth and perfect for bread making
    You learn something everyday

    ! cup high grade flour (if you have Italian 00 more’s the better)
    1 pkt 8g dry yeast
    1 teaspoon sugar
    1 teaspoon salt

    Approx 100 mls warm water prepare 200 mls just in case…some days it may take more
    It’s important that the dough is not dry

    Place flour in a large bowl
    Add sugar, yeast and salt
    (making sure the salt and yeast are not together
    Salt kills yeast)
    So add about 100 mls of water and mix till the dough comes clear of the bowl
    Turn out onto floured board and knead about 1-2 minutes
    Till dough is smooth
    Place back into the bowl which you have oiled and toss around to coat the dough
    Cover with tea towel or plastic wrap.
    Leave till doubled in size about 30 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature
    Pull away from sides of bowl

    Turn back onto floured board and knead it well about another minute
    Flour the rolling pin and roll into shape and place in oiled pizza pan
    Now I do have a stone and a peel on board
    and they have been well used, particularly by our son when he is on board but I think to myself… the pizza shop guys use these pans…why not me.
    I sit the pan on the stone though to get maximum heat
    On this occasion I just wanted to make pizza bread so I brushed an excellent olive oil
    Over the top
    Into a very hot oven and it should take anywhere around 10 minutes

    It doesn’t need to be brown that makes it too crispy this is just perfect
    Sliced into 6 pieces and served it with some beautiful tomatoes seasoned with sea salt and pepper and a drizzle of the good extra virgin olive oil
    Some nice soft Castello cheese white and blue. Glass of crisp white wine.Lunch fit for a king.
    To make Garlic Pizza Bread
    Before you place it in the oven make a paste
    Using 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    A slosh of olive oil
    Sprinkle with sea salt
    Again about 8-10 minutes in a very hot oven
    Perfect to have with anything really

    Of course most times we add toppings.
    This pizza I topped just simply with
    Fresh tomato sliced
    Spring onion chopped
    Grated cheese (your choice...this was a mix of mozzarella and cheddar)
    3-4 artichoke hearts
    And few dashes of hot chilli sauce

    It's so good I am going to make it again today

    Friday, July 04, 2014

    What to Do with Mushrooms - Make Soup of Course

    It's Saturday and fine... but windy and cold

    A sandwich just won't do and also we have some muffins left over from the other day
    In the fridge were some Mushrooms
    Ooh, Mushroom and Bacon Soup seems like a good idea
    Warm buttered Muffins on the side
    What could be better than that

     First you need to render some streaky fatty bacon
    To get the fat to sauté the onions and also to have some tasty bacon bits to top the soup

    To make a good hearty lunch for 2

    4 rashers streaky bacon
    1 red onion chopped
    200 gms mushroom
    Chop 2/3 of them and keep the rest to slice and add at the end

    Freshly ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon dried Italian Herbs
    100 mls white wine
    1/4 cup flour

    2 cups chicken stock  (I used low salt)
    50 mls cream (optional)

    The sliced Mushrooms
    Slurp of Olive Oil
    S & P
    Chopped Parsley 

    Into a cold pan add the bacon
    and cook over medium heat till the bacon gets crispy
    and the fat has rendered out
    Add onions
    Cook till soft not brown
    Remove bacon, chop and set aside for garnish
    Add chopped mushrooms
    You won't need any salt at this stage the bacon will cover that but a
    Good grind of Black pepper is just perfect
    Plus add the herbs
    Toss in white wine and simmer till it is nearly all absorbed
    Takes about 10 minutes
    Add flour
    Stir well to combine
    Cook gently for about 3-4 minutes to get rid of that raw flour taste
    Add chicken stock stir well and bring to boil
    Transfer to a pot
    Simmer for about 15 minutes

    Saute the sliced mushrooms in olive oil
    Set aside

    Put soup into Blender
    Whiz till smooth
    Return to pot
    Add cream

    Bring back to boil and then
    add reserved mushrooms

    Ladle into bowls
    Garnish with chopped Parsley and Chopped Bacon

    Thursday, July 03, 2014

    Best Hot Pumpkin Soup, with some Tasty Courgette and Carrot Muffins

    It’s Winter...what is better for lunch on a bitterly cold day but
    Hot Soup and Muffins straight from the oven

    I have been making this Pumpkin Soup for years... got it out of the Triple Tested Cookbook
    Of course I had to play with it a bit... using the ingredients I had in my kitchen
    With a little curry and chopped bacon, it just really gives ordinary old Pumpkin Soup a lift

    I like to use Buttercup Squash, a nice dry pumpkin, you don't have to peel it
    the skin is really tasty and it’s very orange
    But you could use butternut or any other pumpkin

    This amount will serve 4 for a good hearty lunch
    6 as a starter

    500 gms squash cut in small chunks and seeds removed

    Pop into micro wave for about 4 minutes to start cooking process
    Or you can bring to boil in salted water and simmer about 10 minutes
    You can then use that water as your stock

    1 tablespoon olive oil
    3 rashers bacon chopped
    1 large onion peeled and chopped
    1 kumera, peeled and chopped
    1 tablespoon curry powder
    Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Water or stock

    Add oil and bacon to a medium pot
    Cook until bacon starts t crisp
    Add onions
    Season well with S & P and curry powder
    Cook till translucent
    Add chopped kumera
    Stir well
    Add the pumpkin which should have softened nicely in the microwave
    Mix up so that all the vege are covered with the spice
    Add a little more S &P
    Cover with water or stock

    Bring to boil
    Simmer till all vege are soft
    Into a blender
    Back into pot
    If too thick add more water to your liking
    Check for seasoning and adjust if needed

    So this morning, I decided toast wasn’t good enough to have for this lunch
    Some Courgette Muffins would be good
    so I looked up a recipe on the net and found this one on
    The recipe is attributed to Nick Coffer,
    Thank you Nick, this is a keeper

    Absolutely delicious
    What a good way to get vege into kids

    Makes 10-12 muffins (dependent on the size of your muffin tins)
    Preparation time: 10 minutes
    Cooking time: 20-25 minutes

    125g extra-mature grated cheddar cheese (worth
    buying extra mature as it adds to the flavour)
    225g self-raising flour (I used high grade flour with 1 heaped tsp of Baking powder
    175ml milk
    55ml olive oil
    1 egg
    Salt and pepper to taste

    1 large carrot, grated
    1 large courgette, grated

    Note: make sure you squeeze out the courgettes and carrots to remove any excess liquid
    Preheat your oven to 200ºC/ 400ºF/ Gas Mark 6

    In a bowl, mix together the dry ingredients - flour, cheese, carrot, courgette.  
    Add in the oil, milk and egg and
    stir it all together to form a smooth, slightly gloopy batter.
    Lightly grease the muffin tins with oil and spoon the mixture in evenly,
    about 2/3 the way to the top of each tin.
    Bake in the middle of the oven for 20-25 minutes.
    The muffins are ready when they are risen, golden on top and fairly dense to the touch. Leave them to cool for a few minutes before serving them warm.

    They keep well in airtight containers and can be warmed through in the microwave for 15 seconds before eating.