Now in my house there is always an argument over which to have on those lazy (hungover) days at home. Both Lasagne and Moussaka are rich, delicious and make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. My preference is Lasagne, my wife Jen’s is Moussaka – and our cats (Fleetwood and Mac) don’t get a vote! So we tend to alternate.

Lasagne

My Lasagne recipe is something that I have been developing over a few years, and I have to say it is now pretty damn good. Maybe not quite as good as my Mum’s (will any ever be?) but it is delicious and always goes down well. My recipe is as follows – (please be aware this is an all day job!):

Ingredients

1 large white onion

100g Pancetta

1 Carrot

1 stick of celery

Glass or 3 of red wine

1 tin chopped Tomatoes

1 tin Plum tomatoes (whole)

Small Jar of Passata

Tomatoe Puree

Tomato Ketchup

500gm Lean Beef

Basil (lots) torn or chopped

Lasagne Sheets

Butter 65g (+ some for initial frying)

40g Plain Flour

Milk 610ml

Parmesan – lots

Cheddar Cheese grated

Nutmeg

Bay Leave

Mozzarella (1 big ball) cut into small cubes

Salt and Pepper

 

  1. Start by melting a good knob of butter in a large pan over a medium heat, add in the onions, celery, carrot and pancetta and fry until golden and the onion is clear
  2. Turn the heat up, add in the beef and brown
  3. Now pour in the wine – the more the better and boil until it has reduced by half
  4. Add in the tins of tomato and the passata, and the same volume of water (don’t worry it will look pretty waterlogged, but this will cook off).
  5. Add in a good squeeze of puree and ketchup. Add in dried herbs of choice (I usually do mixed, basil, oregano and parsley). Season well and stir thoroughly
  6. Bring to the boil, reduce temperature to a very low simmer and cook for 4-5 hours or until you have a thick sauce with little to no excess liquid. Check and stir regularly.
  7. Now on with the béchamel. Melt the butter in a small pan over a medium heat.
  8. Add in the flour and mix until you have a paste
  9. Take the pan off the heat and add in the milk slowly, mixing well at each stage
  10. Once you have added all the milk, put the pan back on the heat, add in a good handful of cheddar cheese and of Parmesan, a good grating of nutmeg and simmer slowly until the sauce has thickened.
  11. Cover in Clingfilm and leave to cool
  12. Once the meat is done stir in the basil,
  13. Now you can start to build
  14. Put a little meat at the bottom to cover the dish
  15. Sprinkle some mozzarella cubes over the top and place an overlapping layer of lasagna sheets on top
  16. Cover with the Béchamel sauce and sprinkle a good helping of Parmesan on top.
  17. Repeat the layers, finishing with the béchamel and Parmesan at the top
  18. Place in the oven at 180 uncovered for 30-40 minutes until golden brown and crispy on top.
  19. Leave for 10 minutes then serve – we do a nice green salad and some garlic bread – and the rest of that bottle of wine of course!

This is a rich, cheesy lasagne – not healthy (at all) but tastes delicious,  well worth the hours of work in my opinion!

Moussaka

With the Moussaka I use the recipe from the Delia’s complete Cookery Course book. I urge you to get this book, it is an absolute kitchen essential!

I follow the recipe for this one down to the letter as I really don’t see much room for improvement, the only thing that I would change is baking the Aubergines rather than frying as per the recipe as this is a pain and also always sets off all the fire alarms in the house! This tastes fab, the cinnamon adds a beautiful flavor to the overall dish and the topping is crisp on top but light and fluffy. Great as a winter warmer or summer dinner with a salad.

I found the recipe on this blog (with a great title – wish I had thought of it!) WTFdoieattonight.com Moussaka. I really recommend trying it, its not hard, but is a real showstopper.

n.b This has nothing to do with Coffee Shops, but its about food so thought I would share anyway!

Enjoy!

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