Today is a big day for me, very exciting. Firstly, I’m going to post my own recipe. Now, don’t go and get all excited, it’s incredibly simple, probably one that you all know like the back of your hand. I know I do anyway, I’ve been cooking it for as many years. But I thought I might share it anyway, just on the off chance that somebody might get some use out of it. And secondly, wait for it, I’ve got followers! Not very many, but a few. If it’s you that’s reading it I just want to say (this is going in caps because it’s so important) THANK YOU! Whether I know you outside of the blogging world or not, I really didn’t expect anyone to be interested enough in what I have to say to click that little button up in the top left corner of my blog. And to those of you who liked my posts I say the same 🙂 When I got that first email from WordPress saying ‘~~~~~~~~~~~~ followed your blog’ I did a funny squeal and started dancing around the house. My mother can verify that one for you if you wish. I haven’t decided yet If I’m proud of my weirdness or terribly embarrassed. So you’re lucky to be hearing that particular titbit of information.
I’m sitting here in front of the fire writing this. There’s been a complete turnaround on the weather front today. It’s hard for me to believe that just yesterday I was lying out in the garden under the blue sky reading a book and soaking up whatever small bit of vitamin D that I could. Though I was still in a jumper it was the warmest I’d felt in a weeks. And now again today the storms have returned. Rain and wind pound on the windows and the sky is a not particularly unpleasant shade of grey but grey all the same. That’s Ireland for you. It feels like a Monday.
However, the smell radiating from the oven of second night lasagne and first night garlic bread is sure to cheer me up. I’m going to go and set the table now. Dinner, here I come!
Monday blues banished I’m back to fill you in on all the ins and outs of my:
Simple Vegetarian Lasagne Recipe. For 4 people. (or dinner the next night for 2!)
For the Lasagne (tomato part):
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 large white onions
- 3 cloves of garlic )either crushed or cut small)
Assorted veg, here are some suggestions:
- 2 bell peppers (whatever colours you prefer)
- 3 carrots (medium)
- A very small head of brocolli
- 8 (or so) white mushrooms
- I have even on occasion even added turnip!
- 10 green olives, sliced in 3
I would use all of these (excluding the turnip) to my lasagne sometimes. It just depends on what veg you like, and feel like at the time you’re cooking.
- A jar and a half of Dolmio or other pasta sauce
- 1.5 tablespoons of tomato purée
The richer you like you lasagne the more purée you add. I like mine quite rich to make up for the lack of meat so I add a bit extra.
About a teaspoon each of:
- Extra basil
- And (optional) thyme
- 2 tins of tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons of tomato purée
- A teaspoon of sugar
1 tablespoon each of:
- 1 teaspoon of (yet again optional) thyme
- A dash of salt and pepper
For the Béchamel (or white sauce):
- 40 grams of butter
- Just under 1/3 of a mug (this is an Irish mug so about the size shown in the picture below) of plain or all purpose flour
- 2.5 mugs of milk
- A sprinkle of basil
- A dash of pepper
- Red cheddar cheese
- GARLIC BREAD
- And last but not least, the lasagne sheets.
- You will also need a 20 x 20cm tin.
An Irish mug measured up against a DVD case, and a very good one too!
- Add the olive oil to a wok or deep frying pan on medium heat until hot.
- Throw in your onions and fry until translucent.
I like my onions quite big, just cut in half and then down across 5 or 6 times, as shown in this pic. They break down a lot while cooking.
3. Then add in your veg in this order: (depending on what you’re using frying time will vary slightly)
- Carrots- Fry for about 3 mins
- Brocolli- Fry for another 3 mins
- Bell Peppers and garlic- Fry for 2 mins
- Mushrooms- Fry for another 2 mins until most of the veg are softened
You can always add a splash of water during the frying process if it begins to stick.
4. Pour in the Dolmio or tinned tomatoes with 3 table spoons of water that’s been shaken around in the jar to clean it, add chopped olives, and herb accordingly. Add the olives to the sauce now.
5. About now, preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius or 375 degrees fahrenheit.
6. While the sauce is simmering away start to make the béchamel.
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan on a low heat.
- Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it congeals (I really don’t like that word but that’s what it is) together.
- Keep this on the heat while stirring for about 2 minutes.
- Then add in the milk slowly while stirring. At first it will keep coming back into a paste, that’s ok. Persevere. Add more milk.
- You will have to stir this over a heat for about about 10 minutes (don’t worry if you need an extra 2) until it thickens. Once it boils take it off the heat.
- If you like a thinner sauce, add a bit more milk!
- Add your pepper and basil. (Some salt too if you wish)
I cannot stress enough with this recipe to do what feels right for you. This is only a guideline. What veg are you in the mood for? Turnip, sweet potato? (please just be aware of cooking times). Last night I wasn’t in the mood for carrots, I left them out. I enjoyed the lasagne much more because of it. Do you like parsley more than you like basil? Add extra. Have a weird aversion to olives that I really don’t understand? Throw them up in the air in celebration! You don’t need them!
7. Now that the béchamel is made, and the vegetables are relatively soft (the carrots don’t have to be 100% cooked through, they’ll cook more in the oven) it’s time to put it together. You can grease the tin with a small bit of oil if you want but I never do.
- Put half of the tomato mix on the bottom of the pan.
- Cover in a layer of lasagne sheets.
- Then pour half of the béchamel over that. Spread this around to cover the lasagne sheets.
- Put the second half of the veg down.
- Then another layer of lasagne sheets.
- Then cover it with the second half of the béchamel.
- Grate cheese over the top which gives it this gorgeous crispy topping.
8. Put it in the oven for 30 minutes if your oven is fan assisted. If not, it will probably take a bit longer. About 35 or 40. My oven only took about 25 minutes but it happens to be exceptionally fast, it was a shock for us when we first moved into the house, we kept on burning stuff!
9. With about 12-18 (oven variations! You know your own) minutes left, pop the garlic bread into the oven if it’s frozen and shop bought. If it’s home made, put it in with abut 5- 7 minutes left. The garlic bread is not, I repeat, not, optional!
Note: Keep an eye on the cheese, if you see it beginning to over crisp throw some tin foil over it.
And this is just about what it should look like at the end of this not so long, not so gruelling process. 🙂
Now take into account that my photography skills are well, how to put it delicately? Atrocious, that’s the word! And my camera is not that much better. This lasagne is a staple in our house. It’s quick, easy, vegetarian and I can assure you that we’re never adverse to eating it again for dinner on day number 2, or lunch on day number 3 if there’s any left, which there rarely ever is.
Birds eye view now, just in case you haven’t seen enough of it already!
Hope this recipe is helpful to someone out there, but I must abscond (to use the words of an old friend) to eat some more of Sally’s delicious muffins!
P.S. I apologise if the layout of this post isn’t completely up to scratch. I’ve been sitting her on the floor with it for nearly an hour after I’ve finished writing it up trying to get it to publish in the right format. It’s getting nowhere. So if it doesn’t work this time I’m going to leave it for tonight and maybe come at it with some fresh initiative tomorrow. I really am no good with technology. So basically, sorry to anyone who sees this before I try to fix it again. Although, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for good luck on this last shot.