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Archive for the ‘Vegetarian’ Category

Introduction
You do not need to be an accomplished chef to attempt to construct this dish. In fact, you do not need to know anything about cooking at all. It would probably be better if you were a simple bricklayer. Just follow the instructions, stay true to your quest, and you shall be rewarded with the finest lasagne in all the land. Good luck.
Ingredients
6 sheets fresh lasagne
1 aubergine
1 bag spinach
300g asparagus
1 large red onion
100g sun-dried tomatoes
300g mozzarella
200g mexicana cheese, or substitute cheddar with chilli flakes
1 large jar white lasagne sauce (700g)
1 bag fresh basil
1 bag fresh coriander
3 cloves garlic
soy sauce
freshly ground black pepper

Tools
ovenproof rectangular dish – 12″ x 8″ x 2″ deep
a second dish of similar size for holding hot water
large non-stick frying pan
small shallow pan
plastic potato masher
garlic press
steamer, grill or microwave for softening asparagus
colander
spatula
kettle
knife and chopping board

Preparation
These can be done simultaneously depending on your competence and number of helpers. When each bit is done you can simply set it to one side until needed. If you are really motoring this can all be done in 30 minutes. Give yourself 40 and enjoy a nice glass of wine while you do it.

1. Press the garlic into a small shallow pan. Chop the onions and sun-dried tomatoes and add to the pan. Add a bit of olive oil if your tomatoes are not already drenched in it and fry on a low heat until the onions are soft but not brown.

2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan on a high heat. Slice the aubergine into half-centimetre slices and add to the pan in a single layer. Douse with soy sauce and after a few minutes press the aubergine using a plastic potato masher, being careful to hold the pan steady. You should be looking to gently crush the aubergine so that it gives up its moisture and starts to fry in its own juices. Flip the aubergine slices as necessary and fry until browned on both sides. Continue until all slices are done.

3. Steam the asparagus for 5 minutes to soften it up. Alternatively, put under a grill for 10 minutes. As a last resort, microwave for 3 minutes. If you have bought fine asparagus then this step is not necessary.

4. Wash the spinach and place in a colander. Pluck the leaves from the basil and mix with the spinach. Pour over a litre of hot water from the kettle and mix gently with a spatula so that all of the spinach wilts.

5. Slice the mozzarella and mexicana – the mexicana needs to have enough area make a single layer in your dish and the mozzarella, two. You might find the mozzarella doesn’t look enough – don’t worry, you can leave gaps and it will melt.

6. Roughly chop the coriander.

7. Fill the second shallow rectangular pan or dish with hot water from the kettle, and dunk your fresh lasagne sheets in there to make them malleable.

8. Preheat the oven to 180C.

Construction
This is from the bottom up. At each stage you should be looking to minimise the amount of air in the dish by packing the ingredients tightly together. After each layer of lasagne you can even press down evenly across the whole dish to squish everything together. Shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.

1/4 jar of white sauce – spread evenly
2 sheets of fresh lasagne side-by-side but overlapping
spinach and basil
1/2 of the mozzarella
generous black pepper
1/4 jar of white sauce – spread evenly
2 sheets of fresh lasagne side-by-side but overlapping
tomatoes, garlic and onion
coriander
aubergine – lay slices flat, try to fill the available space
other 1/2 of the mozzarella
generous black pepper
1/4 jar of white sauce – spread evenly
2 sheets of fresh lasagne side-by-side but overlapping
asparagus
1/4 jar of white sauce – spread evenly
mexicana cheese

If you have any ingredients left at this stage, you have failed. Go back to “Introduction”.

Cooking
Put it in the oven for 40 mins at 180C. If you like the top layer a bit browner and crispier, turn it up to 200C with 10 minutes to go.

Serving suggestion
Trust me, you do not need chips. A nice green leaf salad with a simple balsamic and olive oil dressing, and maybe a halved tomato or two should be ample.

Variations
Try adding any of the following:

  • pan-fried courgettes or peppers
  • broccoli
  • black olives
  • sliced artichokes in oil
  • stir-fried Mexican chicken (caution: may not be strictly vegetarian)

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Another great recipe from delicious Magazine..

Mom, I think you’ll like this one.. yummy roasted garlic and beets. Two of our faves!


Roasted Garlic, Thyme and Beetroot

I made this recipe a few months ago but it was so good I have been meaning to add it here for ages. I thought the flavours worked really well, and a bit of roasted garlic never goes awry.

I hadn’t used beets in quite a while and had forgotten how wonderful they look on the inside. I couldn’t resist taking a picture of them before I cut them up. Since I had the camera out, I thought I’d document the pan before and after it went in the oven. Unfortunately, they looked so good when they came out of the oven that I completely forgot about taking a picture and served them up immediately.

Click here for recipe @ delicious

Beets with magical colours.

Beets with magical colours.

All ready to go in the oven.

All ready to go in the oven.

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I forgot about this recipe for years but it has become a new favourite. I’m not a big fan of raw mushrooms, which might be the reason I haven’t made this salad in ages, but believe it or not, it doesn’t taste like mushrooms! It is still great if you don’t have time to let it sit for 2 to 3 hours, but it definitely becomes better with a bit of time for the mushrooms to fully absorb the dressing. Fresh and zingy, I think this salad is perfect for summer BBQs or enjoying on the patio.

Fast + impressive + different + doesn’t taste like mushrooms! Have with an omelette or quiche for lunch or supper.


Mushroom Salad

Make 2-3 hours before serving.

1/2 lb mushrooms (any edible variety)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
Fresh ground pepper
1/2 – 3/4 C olive oil (a lot!)
Salt
Fresh herbs, especially parsley, basil, marjoram, thyme, sage

1. Wash mushrooms gently. Trim stalks and cut in thin slices up and down, through stalk and cap. Put them in a medium to large non-metallic bowl.

2. Squeeze a lemon over them. Stir in minced garlic. Grind lots of pepper on them. Mix. Pour olive oil over
all.

3. Let sit 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally if you’re home.

4. Just before serving, add a little more olive oil if mushrooms are dry. Add salt to taste (up to 1 tsp). Add chopped herbs and mix again.

Mushroom Salad

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I discovered this recipe from Masterchef: the Best of British Cooking a few weeks ago and it has quickly become a new favourite. Although it says it serves four people I always have leftovers which are great reheated in the oven or microwave the next day. I typically use more garlic than is called for here and substitute black pepper for white. I haven’t managed to take a picture of it yet since I’ve always made it for guests and didn’t want them to wait while I faffed with photography.


Dauphinoise Potatoes

Serves 4.

3 cloves garlic
1 tsbp sea salt flakes
300 ml (1/2 pint) double cream
300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
freshly ground white pepper
1 kg (2 1/2 lbs) potatoes, peeled and finely sliced
butter, for greasing
50g (2 oz) grated Parmesan

1. Crush the garlic into a paste with the salt. In a large pan, combine the garlic paste, cream, milk and white pepper.

2. Add the sliced potatoes, turning into the cream mixture to ensure all the slices are evenly coated. Bring to the boil, then simmer for 15 minutes until the potatoes are tender and the mixture has thickened.

3. Butter a ovenproof dish (9×13 or bigger). Gently pour the potatoes into the dish and level the top. Sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and place in a preheated oven at 150°C (300°F) for about 1 hour, until the top is nicely golden.

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Gratineed Gnocchi with Spinach and RicottaI made this yummy recipe from Gourmet magazine the other night with a pack of store-bought gnocchi in my cupboard. I had been struggling to come up with what to do with them and was drawn to this recipe because it wasn’t gorgonzola or tomato based as most gnocchi recipes seem to be.

I followed the recipe on the Gourmet site except for two substitutions. I used a few tablespoons of single cream topped up with milk because I didn’t have any double cream on hand and because it was healthier. This did make it a bit more watery though and I had to cook the cream sauce for a bit longer. I also didn’t have any mozzarella, strangely I find it hard to get in the UK because all the stores seem to have is fresh mozzarella, so I substituted some grated cheddar.

The recipe says it serves four, but I had half of it the first night with a green salad and the rest for supper the next night.

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Delicious Big Bowl – Quinoa

I’m moving out of my flat in a few weeks and I’ve been trying to use up some of my many opened bags of grains in the cupboard. I have paella rice, risotto rice, wild rice, basmati rice, long grain brown rice, buckwheat groats, quinoa, millet and bulghur. I made kasha for breakfast the other day and today I decided it was a day for quinoa so I had a quick search on 101cookbooks.com for quinoa. I have previously made Heidi’s Lemon Scented Quinoa Salad and it was fab so I had high hopes for the Delicious Big Bowl – Quinoa. And let me say, it did not disappoint.

I substituted some green beans and a courgette for the asparagus, toasted some pine nuts and for the dressing I used lemon juice, parmesan and freshly ground pepper. I wouldn’t normally think to put potatoes with quinoa, but the textures and flavours in this recipe combined wonderfully. I’ve just eaten a big bowl for supper and am looking forward to eating the rest for tomorrow’s lunch. It was one of those meals where I constantly thought” wow how good is this”. Thanks Heidi for another great recipe. You’ve really perked up my day.

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Mustard-crusted Tofu with Kale and Sweet Potato

Mustard-Crusted Tofu with Kale and Sweet Potato

I came across this Bon Appetit recipe in my weekly Epicurious Recipe Flash a few weeks ago. I’m always looking for new tofu recipes and I had some wholegrain mustard in the fridge that I needed to use up so I thought I’d give it a try. I made sure to dry the tofu well as recommended by lots of the reviews on the Epicurious site to make sure the mustard would stick. Some of the mustard seeds did fall off, but I just poured the crispy seeds from the pan on top at the end and they were great. I thought this recipe would have a strong mustardy taste, but there was actually very little mustard flavour in the end. I thought the lime juice went really nicely with the kale but next time I would put the kale in nearer the end. By the time the sweet potato was cooked the kale was overdone. The recipe says to grill the tofu for 2 minutes on each side but I found that to get a nice crust on it took at least 5 minutes a side. Although the recipe says it makes four servings, I only had enough kale and sweet potato for two servings using their amounts.

In short, interesting flavours and good way to eat kale, a source of calcium, iron and lots of other minerals.

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