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Saturday, 22 August 2015

I do like real food!

22 August 2015
 Don't wait - life goes faster than you think!

Yesterday seemed to be a really long day, which is good when you're having some quality time with those you love!  After a quick trip to the vets and some computer work, I finally logged off at 12 to have some WW free time.

I fancied making a lasagne and when I googled a few recipes, Nigella's one caught my eye, I do love her food, although it does work out really high, so I tweaked her recipe and it was delicious!   The original recipe worked out at 19pp per serving if making 6 portions.  I've got it to a total of 69pp, so even serving on 4 that's 15pp but serving 6, it's 12pp and worth it.  There's no white sauce in this dish it uses the mozzarello instead, not sure if I'd change that to a cheese sauce instead, the one I use from co-op on comes to 6pp a sachet made with skimmed milk.


1tablespoons olive oil (plus more for greasing)  4pp
1 small onion (peeled and chopped)
1 teaspoon sea salt flakes (or 1/2 teaspoon pouring salt, or to taste)
500 grams minced beef (extra lean = 16pp)
60 ml red wine or vermouth (1pp)
1 litre tomato passata (plus 1 litre / 1 quart water)
2 balls mozzarella (not buffalo) (each 125g / 4 oz drained weight) (17pp)
250 grams lasagne sheets (dried not fresh) (24pp)
4 tablespoons grated Parmesan (7pp)
  1. Warm the oil in a large, heavy-based pan (that comes with a lid), then add the onion, sprinkle with salt, and let it cook for a few minutes until it begins to soften.
  2. Add the meat and turn it in the pan just long enough for the raw red colour to turn brown.
  3. Add the wine or vermouth, then the passata, pouring the water into the empty passata bottle or carton and swilling it out into the pan. Bring to a bubble, then put the lid on the pan and cook at a robust simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Finely slice the mozzarella; then put a deep, greased lasagne dish, measuring approx 34 x 23 x 6cm / 9 x 13 x 2 inches, onto a baking sheet and get ready for the grand assembly.
  5. First, put a ladleful or so of very runny meat sauce into the bottom of the lasagne dish, to line the base, then arrange a layer of lasagne sheets  to cover the sauce - don't worry about a bit of overlapping.
  6. Add another ladleful of sauce, just to wet the sheets, before dotting with a third of the mozzarella slices.
  7. Now add a second layer of lasagne sheets, then a couple of ladlefuls of sauce, followed again by a third of mozzarella slices.  Repeat until lasagne sheets used.
  8. Pour the remaining sauce over the top, sprinkle with the Parmesan and cover with foil - making sure the edges are sealed - and put in the oven still on the baking sheet, for 1 hour.
  9. When the hour is up, remove the foil, to reveal the top layer runkled like a Shar Pei made of pasta, and push a knife point through the lasagne to check it is soft - if not, re-cover it and return to the oven for about 10 minutes - then let it stand uncovered, out of the oven, for 15-20 minutes
I've never been a tomato based meal fan but I've realised that if I use passata instead of tinned tomatoes, it makes it better, so I might start trying other dishes now. 

This however will still always be one of my favourite lasagne recipes;

Cheese & Bacon Lasagne, Serves 6 - 10pp each Prep: 35m, cook: 40m.

This freezable, family-friendly recipe is economical and has a wonderful comfort-food feel about it and recipe can easily be doubled.

3 large onions, halved and thinly sliced
3 tbsp olive oil (12pp)
1 tsp dried oregano
300g pack lean smoked back bacon, chopped (17pp)
2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes in rich juice
20 basil leaves, roughly torn, plus extra to serve if you like
250g pack fresh egg lasagne (check pack for cooking instructions) (10pp)

For sauce
600ml skimmed milk (6pp)
50g each butter (5pp) and plain flour (5pp)
generous grating fresh nutmeg
50g grated Parmesan (6pp)

Fry the onions in the oil for about 15 mins until golden. Add the oregano and bacon and fry for 5 mins more, stirring frequently. Tip in the tomatoes, season and bubble uncovered for 5 mins. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. PTO
Meanwhile, make the white sauce. Pour the milk into a pan and tip in the butter and flour. Whisk continuously over a moderate heat to incorporate the flour, then simmer, stirring until thickened. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Spoon a third of the tomato sauce on the base of a lasagne dish. Top with a third of the lasagne sheets. Then top with a third sauce, a third lasagne, the last of the tomato sauce and finally the last sheets of lasagne. Pour over the white sauce and scatter with the cheese and an extra grating of nutmeg. Chill. If eating straight away, bake at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 40 mins until golden and bubbling. Scatter with basil, if you like, and serve with a salad and garlic bread.
To freeze, cool completely, then wrap in cling film, then foil. Will store for 3 months. To serve, thaw for 6 hrs in a cool place. Unwrap and bake at 190C/170C fan/gas 5 for 50-60 mins until thoroughly heated through

That's me off to get ready for my meeting this morning, only two weeks to cover at the leisure centre, then I open my own Saturday morning meeting on September 5th, can't wait, we'll have our own kitchen there for tea and toast, no better way to start your day ;)

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