I’m not a vegetarian and generally I tend to eat meat as a major part of most of my meals. However, I’ve always enjoyed vegetable lasagne so thought I would have a go at creating my own.
There are a couple of other reasons for creating this vegetable lasagne recipe…
I’m always looking for ways to sneak extra fruit and vegetables into my family’s food. By cutting the meat and making the dish all about the vegetables it gives me the perfect opportunity to cram in as many as possible (This vegetable lasagne contributes two of your five-a-day).
It’s that time again to launch the #FoodYearLinkup for February 2015.
Thank you to everyone who joined in last month, we had some fabulous recipes linked up. My favourite recipe from last month was this Pannetone French Toast for Breakfast Week from Laura at A Girl and Her Home.
Béchamel (white) sauce is a really versatile little sauce. I use this white sauce for lasagne, pasta bakes, cauliflower cheese, fish pie, there are so many possibilities.
It’s really simple to make at home with everyday ingredients. I use a roux base (butter and flour) and then add milk, cloves, bay leaves and a pinch of salt and pepper. Some recipes also add onion (which is removed before serving). However, I find it a little overpowering as the sauce has a delicate savoury flavour so I prefer not to.
Saltimbocca is a dish traditionally eaten in Italy, Spain, Greece and Southern Switzerland. It was traditionally made using veal. However, over time the recipe has been adapted to use other meats such as chicken, turkey and pork¹.
I was inspired to make a pork version after buying something similar ready-to-cook from Marks & Spencer, which I enjoyed. It’s so simple to prepare, theres really no need to buy something ready-made. I also make this recipe using turkey breast steaks instead of the pork loin which works really well too.
My mother-in-law makes brilliant carrot and swede mash and for a while I’ve been trying to emulate it. I always failed. No matter what I tried it just lacked the level of flavour she could get.
Masterchef to the rescue
Then just before Christmas I was watching an episode of Masterchef: The Professionals and one of the contestants was making mashed potatoes. Rather than boiling the potatoes before mashing them, he roasted them. Apparently this gives them more flavour. It gave me an idea. If you can increase the flavour in mashed potatoes by roasting, then surely the same approach would work for carrot and swede.
The great thing about this cottage pie recipe is that it’s so flexible. This is my favourite way to make it, but if I’ve got different vegetables to use up in the fridge then I’ll happily chuck those in instead.
The other great thing is that it’s packed full of healthy vegetables, so gives you two of your five-a-day. Serve it with lots of peas (as I like to do) then you’re up to three.
One of the meals that it’s guaranteed will always disappear from my boys’ plates is pizza (unless of course it’s experimental pizza with a cauliflower crust – that didn’t go down well at all!).
They also enjoy joining in with making the pizza – “helping” to knead to dough, spreading the tomato, sprinkling…
When I first started Charlotte’s Lively Kitchen it was very much my project. Something I worked on when my husband (he’s called Jon by the way) was at work, and the boys were busy doing other things.
However over Christmas, during his holidays, Jon started showing a bit more interest. Then a couple of weeks ago he announced the he wanted to have a go a creating a new recipe – apple crumble flapjacks.
Before I started cooking regularly I always thought that it was difficult to make custard. That if I attempted it I’d end up with something lumpy, with a slimy skin on top.
However, as with pretty much everything I thought was difficult to make, it turns out it’s actually really easy. There’s just one simple rule to follow – you have to give it your full attention. No attempting to cook the rest of dinner, looking after your children or cleaning up. When it comes to custard, it’s all or nothing.
When I first decided to try poaching an egg I searched online to find how I should go about it. I (wrongly) assumed that something as simple as poaching an egg would have a very standard method, and I was surprised at the wide array of possible approaches I could use. After lots of googling and some trial and error, I found that the method outlined below works best for me.