Cheesy,  Pleasey Lasagne

This lasagne got all round ‘mmm’s’ and ‘ah’s’, from the willing testers I cooked it for. They said things like ‘its better than a meat one’, ‘I bloody love it more than my husband, you’re the best.’ OK, the second comment isn’t real, I put that in, but the first one was real. I always think it’s a test of a winning recipe if meat eaters love it too. Blimey, this was so cheesy and tasty, that you’d be hard pushed not to want more.

A show off guest, said that that he does a similar recipe, but with 3 different types of cheeses. I then felt threatened, and made the other guests rate mine out of ten, and also after some interrogation, I found out he used a shop bought cheese sauce, the cheek of him. So if you want to turn this a bit fancier, you could add 3 types of cheeses, swit swoo.

Don’t be scared about making you’re own cheese sauce, it’s actually fairly simple, and I’ll walk you through it on here, and then you can knock up some cauliflower cheese. The key is to keep taking it off and onto the heat at certain points.

Cheese Sauce (exact amounts in the recipe below)

  • Start with a large dollop of butter and melt it slowly on a low heat. Once melted, take it off the heat and then add plain flour, until the mixture turns into a play dough type creation. So add a tablespoon of flour at at a time, and keep stirring it until you get the play dough, takes about 1 minute. You may have to add to the heat again to get the play dough consistency, so this is where you do a bit of an ‘okey cokey’ with the pan and the heat.
  • Then, add a splash of full fat milk (other milks will do even coconut) and sort of knead it with a wooden spoon, add a few more splashes of milk and any lumps, don’t panic, just keep kneading with the spoon. Then add back to the heat, and stir, which will thicken it also. Add a bay leaf. This takes about 2 minutes.
  • Then add the grated cheese, and stir in again. Add some more milk if it goes a bit thick. Then warm gently, don’t allow to boil. This whole process takes a few minutes.

 

Serves 6

Oven: Gas Mark 190 deg C, or 375 deg F

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic

Handful of rosemary

1 onion

300g mushrooms, I love button mushrooms, but you can use a mixture

200g spinach

200g fresh lasagne sheets

50g pine nuts

Teaspoon of nutmeg

For the cheese sauce

1.2 litres (2 pints) whole fat milk

Fresh bay leaf

50g (2oz) butter

50g  (20z) plain flour

250g (8oz) mature cheddar cheese, grated

Salt and pepper

Method:

Preheat the oven, 190 deg C.

Use a 4 pint lasagne dish.

Toast pine nuts for no longer than a minute, on a low heat, until they are browned. Place to one side.

Fry the onions, crushed garlic, rosemary, mushrooms, and stir through. When the mushrooms are nearly cooked add the spinach in batches, it seems alot, but it cooks down. drain some of the juice.

When you have done this, add the mixture to the pine nuts.

Make the cheese sauce using the ingredients above.

Save a 1/4 of the cheese sauce for the top of the lasagne.

Add the spinach, mushroom etc to the cheese sauce and stir in. Get the bay leaf out, and place to one side.

Add the lasagne sheets to cover the bottom of your dish, then add a layer of the cheesy sauce mixture, then repeat 3 times.

Finally, add a final layer of lasagne sheets. Then add the final layer of the cheese sauce, and grate some cheese over the top. Bury the bay leaf in the top layer, in the middle.

Place in the oven for 35- 40 minutes, until its all golden, like Donald Trump’s fake tan.

 

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Fire Cracking, Chocolate Chilli Con Carni 

Chilli con carni hasn’t lost it’s appeal, ever since I was a little rip. This is the perfect dish to serve up on bonfire night, with a jacket potato or rice, for me nothing could be nicer.
But I think the best thing about this chilli, is all of the beans and veg that goes into it. You can sneak this in by grating or chopping it up into really small pieces, so that if you have a fussy eater, then hopefully they won’t notice as they are shovelling it into their gobs. The sweetness of the peppers and paprika make me start to dribble, and then the rustic lovely courgette just finishes it off. So, actually if you sell it to your daft children that this has chocolate in it, then they will glaze over that you will really be giving them 6 different vegetables, plus pulses, kapow, take that kids!

Also *cue dramatic music* this recipe actually doesn’t have any meat in it. You can of course add some mince if you wish, but there really is no need.

Serves 4:

1 onion finely chopped

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

1 grated courgette

1 red or yellow pepper, chopped up finely

1 tin of kidney beans

1 tin of white beans

1 can chopped tomatoes

Handful of frozen sweetcorn

1/2 teaspoon of cumin

1/2 teaspoon of paprika

1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg

6 squares of chocolate

1 stock cube

Method:

Finely chop the onion and grate all of the vegetables.

Add to a small amount of oil in a frying pan and along with all of the herbs and spices. Mix well and make sure that the vegetables are coated in the spices fully. Cook on a medium heat for 5 mins, continually stirring.

Add the chopped tomatoes, beans, sweetcorn, stock cube and stir. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Then add the squares of chocolate and stir it into the sauce, which will make it thicker.

Then simmer on a low heat for 15-20 minutes.

 

Halloween Chicken Stewooooooo

Basically, this is my never fail recipe for soulful chicken stew. If you’re ever ill or sad, then pop this in your belly for instant happiness, and I swear it’s better than any medicine for colds and flus.

I’ve added purple carrots, which you can get from most supermarkets these days, and local fruit and veg shops always seem to have them. They turn the chicken broth purple, and it looks all spooky and delicious. My kids love this, as they dig for the ‘spooky’ purple carrots, like treasure.

You can chuck in any left over veg that you have really, and especially any root vegetables. I usually add a broccoli towards the end as well, so that is still has some crunch. Or even sweetcorn, peas, whatever you have to be used up.

Ingredients:

2 thighs (boneless and skinless), chopped into bite sized pieces

1 onion, chopped finely

Handful of rosemary

Teaspoon of nutmeg

1 celery, chopped finely

2 orange carrots, chopped into bite size chunky pieces

2 purple carrots, chopped into bite size chunky pieces

10 new potatoes, or 4 roast potatoes cut into bite sized pieces

1 parsnip

10 mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces

800ml chicken stock

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 deg C.

Fry the onion, celery, chicken, mushrooms, rosemary and nutmeg. There is no need to add oil as the chicken will produce oil as it starts to fry. Cook until the chicken is cooked, about 5-7 minutes.

Add all of the root veg that takes a while to cook, and stir and coat in all of the juices and herbs. Add the potatoes and then add the chicken stock.

Transfer to an oven proof casserole dish and pop in the oven for 30 minutes.

Serve with cheese on toast.