Tag Archives: lasagne

Lasagne mark two (and it’s almost vegan)

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If you were to scour the recipes on this blog with a keen eye, searching for elements of other people’s work, you may well find the odd dish that has taken inspiration from a particularly good book or TV show (although I will never steal from Rick Stein – there’s something about the way in which he treats people around him that I don’t like). I can say however with great confidence that this one is unique. No one has ever cooked this dish before (please don’t google it, I don’t want my bubble burst). And it could very easily be vegan if you wanted it to be – you just have to leave out the butter, cream and parmesan. Although I didn’t.

Tomato, sweet potato and watercress lasagne

So here goes – start by making your tomato ragu. Fry a finely chopped onion along with 5 cloves of garlic and a small red chilli in a pan and once soft, add 4 finely chopped tomatoes, a load of tomato juice (or tomato puree) and a slug of red wine. Season well and then add the chopped stalks of a large bunch of basil. Once the sauce has reduced and has a rich flavour, take it off the heat and once it has cooled a little, add a handful of small yellow plum tomatoes chopped in half. Set aside.

Now make a bechamel with soy or almond milk (or cow’s milk if you prefer) by melting a huge lump of butter, incorporating plain white flour and adding the milk gradually over the heat constantly stirring until you have a silky smooth sauce. Add a 100ml of double cream, lots of grated nutmeg and season well. Set aside.

Take a large bunch of watercress (as with spinach you’ll need more than you think) and heat in a pan with butter. Once it starts heating through, add a couple of large spoons of cream cheese or ricotta. Set aside.

Now to assemble it all. Take a large oven dish, put half of the tomato ragu into the bottom and top it with a full handful of fresh basil leaves followed by a layer of lasagne sheets. Spread a thin layer of bechamel over the lasagne. Now thinly slice (a mandolin is good here) a raw sweet potato, skin and all, and places the slices over the bechamel. Spread another thin layer of the bechamel over the sweet potatoes and then spoon the watercress mixture over the top. Place another layer of lasagne sheets, followed by the remainder of the tomato ragu and finally the rest of the bechamel. Grate parmesan over the top and you’re done. You can now store the lasagne until you’re ready to eat.

To cook it, place in a preheated over at 180c for 40 mins and then get it out and let it rest for a few minutes before serving with a loaf of your very best sourdough

 

 

 

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The Week, Enfield and Lasagne

We did it. We finally did it.
Kerin, Alex, Paul, Tim, Matt, Michael, Xandie, Paul, Harry, Jon, James, William, Carlos, Clare, Laura, pugpig and many others worked together for 5 months to develop something beautiful and truly unique. And so there we were at the launch party, glass of champagne in one hand, phone In the other, talking to Apple in the US and making the last few adjustments before Alex was able to hit the button, bringing our little baby, neither kicking nor screaming, into the app world. This was a good week indeed. If you have an iPad go and check it out. Download it. Read it. Rate it 5 stars on the App Store.

And now I sit here on a beautiful Saturday morning in Enfield and realise how much I love living here. It’s a little surprise in the North of London – with Tottenham and Edmonton on one side and the M25 on the other, you’d be forgiven for expecting it to resemble an inner city warzone packed with hooded youths stalking the streets (actually, one Sunday night a few months ago that’s exactly what it resembled). But in fact it’s rather leafy. Went for a run this morning and within a few minutes I found myself in the midst of fields and views of the London skyline – Hampstead eat your heart out…

Anyway, I suppose I better do something foodie. I took a photo of this a few days ago after cooking it for the shorts and thinking I’d add it to a post I had written earlier. As it turns out, I hadn’t written about it, so here goes:

Lasagne

I know it’s an easy one and everyone knows it well, but I’m going to quickly do this, just for the record. Please, please, please do not use Delia Smith’s recipe – if I remember correctly, for some bizarre reason she puts chicken livers and bacon in hers – nutter.

So there are two things to do – the ragu and the bechamel. Start with the ragu –
Take 500g of beef mince and fry in batches until it caramelises and then stick it in a large saucepan with a tin of chopped tomatoes (and a little extra water). Now gently fry a finely chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic in olive oil and again add to the saucepan. Deglaze the frying pan with a glass of red wine, and into the saucepan with it. Now season with salt and pepper and and a big handful of finely chopped fresh basil and/or oregano.

Now make the bechamel. in another saucepan melt a large knob of butter (25g) and add four tablespoons of plain flour, mixing it well, Gradually add milk constantly stirring until you have a thick smooth paste. Now, keeping it on the heat, add more milk and single cream until you have the consistency of thick double cream (as you cook it, it will get thicker). grate in a third of a nutmeg and again season with salt and pepper. The sauce should taste rich and creamy.

Now assemble the dish. Start with a very thin layer of ragu, then the bechamel, then a layer of lasagne sheets, then ragu, bechamel, lasagne, ragu, bechamel… you’re done. If you like, grate parmesan on the top.

You can now leave this as long as you like in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, stick it in the oven preheated to 180c, leave it for 40 mins, get it out and eat it…