Sunday, July 4, 2010

Home cooking traditions

There is nothing that creates peace and harmony within your soul and family than providing an all natural home cooked meal. the more of the produce you can pull from your back yard the better it gets. And though I have spent nearly ten years in the cooking industry a wealth of my recipes are so very simple. i will try and share some with you on a regular basis. Lets kick it off with a time honoured tradition LASAGNE! my version anyways

You shall need for the meat sauce
500g of some good quality beef mince
2 x tins of crushed (preferrably roma) tomatoes or the same amount of a tomato base recipe made from fresh tomatoes. (will show at later date.)
fresh garlic
fresh basil and parsley
olive oil

for the white sauce
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of corn flour
2 cups of milk
more fresh parsley
salt n pepper

for the pasta sheets
plain flour
a pinch of salt

The pasta

I go by feel here. Mix about 2 cups of flour with a good pinch of salt. Poor it in a bigg heap on your nice clean bench :D . Make a well in the centre and break a couple of eggs. With the tips of your fingers incorperate the eggs into the flour. Keep doing this until you have formed a nice sticky dough. Now you can knead your face face off. Lett all the days crankiness, hell even the week's crankiness out. The more you knead the smoother the dough. The smoother the dough the better the pasta. I usually go about 20 mins. Wrap her up in some cling film and pop in the fridge for about 15 mins.

The white sauce

Melt your butter in a saucepan. Stir in your cornflour to make a stiff roux. Slowly stir in your milk bit by lil bit. Take the time for a nice smooth sace . Trust me you shall be glad you did. Chop in a good handful of parsley in and add salt and pepper to taste. Your sauce should be nice and thick much like custard.

The meat sauce

Dice onion and grate garlic into some oil in a nice deep frying pan. Gently cook so the onions become clear.Add your mince, crank the heat and cook stirring until mince has browned. Add your tomatoes ( or home made tomatoe base). Chop in your fresh herbs, a nice big handful of basil, and a couple of handfuls of parsley stalks and all. Simmer gently for about half an hour. Don't cook too long or your herbs will go all yucky and become black specks instead of lovely green flecks.

Divide your pasta dough into 3 and get rolling. you want it to be lovely and thin. Nothing more unpleasant to eat than stodgy thick pasta. So once you have 3 lovely thin flat sheets of pasta we are ready to build mr lasagne!

Heres how it goes. White sace on the bottom to stop any sticking then........ pasta sheet, white sace, meat, pasta sheet, white sauce, meat and tada!  Put your last pasta sheet on top cover with the last of your white sauce and smother with a generous helping of grated mozzerella. Cook at about 170 - 180 until brown. 45ish minutes.  Enjoy!


Fresh herbs in your garden are so easy. You need no space at all. Even a nice bright sunny window sill will do. So give it a go. It is the middle of winter here (gets down to 0 at night) and I still can get some decent staple herbs up in the garden so please really do try.