Recipe: Chorizo and Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

How does one improve on a lovely vegetable lasagne? You add chorizo of course. There is nothing in life that isn’t improved by that spicy little sausage. I love it in all it’s paprika spiked glory. Of course you can just leave it out if you are a vegetarian, it’s still delicious. (you are missing out though)

Serves 4-6

What you need:

(for the roasted vegetables)

  • 1 aubergine
  • 2 courgettes
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 tsp herbes de provence
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

(for the chorizo and tomato sauce)

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 100g soft cooking chorizo, finely chopped
  • A pinch of chilli flakes
  • ½ tsp herbes de provence
  • 700g tomato passata
  • A pinch of sugar

(for the white sauce)

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp plain white flour
  • 200ml warm milk
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 100g cheddar cheese, grated

(for the lasagne)

  • One packet of fresh egg lasagne sheets
  • 1 ball of mozzarella
  • A few tablespoons of grated parmesan
  • Some extra grated cheddar cheese

What you do:

  1. Slice the aubergine, courgettes and pepper into rounds or strips and toss in a bowl with the oil, herbs and some salt and pepper. Roast in a moderate oven for about 30 minutes, turning halfway.
  2. Meanwhile, make the tomato sauce. Heat the oil in a pan and add in the onion, garlic and chopped chorizo, stirring regularly until the veg is soft and the chorizo is cooked. Next, add the chilli flakes, herbs and tomatoes then season well with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar. Leave to simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring every now and then until it is thick and richly flavoured.
  3. To make the white sauce, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat then whisk in the flour to make a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the milk until you have a thick, creamy, smooth sauce. Season well and add the nutmeg. Off the heat, add the grated cheddar cheese and stir well to melt.
  4. To assemble, put a tablespoon of the tomato sauce in the bottom of the lasagne dish then top with lasagne sheets. Next, add a layer of roasted vegetables and top with some nuggets of mozzarella and a grating of parmesan before adding a generous layer of the tomato and chorizo sauce. Continue with some more pasta sheets then repeat the vegetables, cheese and sauce layers. Once all is used up, add a final layer of pasta then top with the cheese sauce. Finish with some more grated parmesan, some torn up mozzarella and an extra grating of cheddar cheese.
  5. Cook at 180°c for around 35-40 minutes, until bubbling and golden.

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You only need a lightly dressed green salad alongside this rich, tasty lasagne dish. It’s also lovely cold for lunch the next day!

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My Weekend Food Diary

Tyler and I took a trip down to Eastbourne last weekend for the annual nerd fest that is the air show. As much as I’m terrified of flying, I love planes and get fan girl excited over the Red Arrows. As we stayed over for the night I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share a food diary with you. It didn’t quite go to plan as I was really unwell on Sunday and ended up eating nothing all day so my weekend food diary ends on Saturday night!

Friday 9pm – Dinner at Zizzi’s

Starter: Arancini with tomato sauce

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Main: Chicken and vegetable skewer with potatoes, slaw and a lemon and parmesan sauce

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Dessert: Mango and coconut sundae

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Saturday 11am – Breakfast at Wetherspoons

Vegetarian breakfast

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Enjoying the lovely weather and planes!

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Saturday 3pm

Tango Ice Blast, mixed cherry and raspberry. So refreshing in the heat!

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Saturday 3.30pm – Lunch from a Thai street food stall

Tempura prawns with sweet chilli dipping sauce

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Saturday 9pm – Dinner at home

Crispy chilli beef, plain chow mein, chips and curry sauce from the Chinese takeaway. Too exhausted to cook!

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I’ll try and get a full weekend of food in next time I try this! Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend too!

 

Recipe: King Prawn Linguine

I have a vivid memory of eating a dish similar to this in Zizzis once when out with friends. It was a lovely summery evening and I was enjoying a catch up with two friends I hadn’t seen for a long while and decided to order outside of my comfort zone. This was a few years ago when I was still a little on the fussy side and had only just started to venture into the unknown world of fish and seafood. I’ve still only dipped my toe in but I do enjoy a good prawn dish. The king prawn linguine I had at Zizzi was rich, flavourful and a little spicy and it was a really memorable dinner, surprising as it was only in a chain restaurant. I’ve wanted to recreate this dish for a long time and think I’ve pretty much nailed it. Though I do say so myself.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 a fresh red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp herbes de provence
  • 180g cooked and peeled king prawns
  • 200g linguine

What you do:

  1. This is a really quick recipe so get everything out and ready to go. Start by heating the olive oil in a pan with the fennel seeds, chilli and garlic. Sizzle away for a minute or so then pop in the tin of tomatoes and the herbes de provence (or any other mixed herbs) with some salt and pepper and let this cook for around 10 minutes until it has thickened and the sauce is nice and rich.
  2. Whilst the sauce is blipping away, cook the linguine according to the packet instructions and reserve a small cupful of the cooking liquid.
  3. At the end of the cooking time, add the prawns to the tomato sauce and stir gently to heat them through. Drain the pasta and add it to the prawns and tomatoes along with the reserved cooking liquid. Stir until well combined then serve in big deep bowls, ready to dive in.

 

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NERDY TIP: Using the pasta cooking liquid in a sauce helps the sauce stick to the pasta due to the starch that has released into the water. It’s a good one to remember for pretty much all pasta dishes.

I really enjoy this dish, it’s super quick, really easy and relies on a lot of things you probably already have in the cupboard. It’s lovely with a crisp green salad and some garlic bread, because, let’s face it, who can eat pasta without garlic bread? Not me.

Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs

Want to know how to feel like an Italian goddess of the kitchen? Look no further than my spaghetti and meatballs. Every time I make this I transform from plain old Tania living in Rochester to Sofia who lives in a chic apartment overlooking central Rome who cooks in lingerie and a silk robe whilst her hunky husband Marco pours the red wine and lights the candles ready for dinner. I quickly come back to reality when I have to squish the mince up with my hands, running to the sink for fear of puking.

On that lovely note, on to my recipe!

Serves 2, greedily, which is really the only way to eat pasta, but would likely stretch to feed 3-4. I just wouldn’t want to.

What you need:

  • 250g minced beef (I use 10% fat)
  • 1 tbsp breadcrumbs
  • 1 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (how authentically Italian of me)
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch of dried thyme
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 rashers streaky smoked bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • A splash of marsala or wine (optional)
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • Enough spaghetti to feed an army, or about 100g per person
  • More parmesan, for grating over the top

What you do:

  1. In a bowl, combine the minced beef with the breadcrumbs, parmesan, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, paprika, thyme and some salt and pepper. Mix it up well using your hands then form into smallish meatballs. You should get around 12 meatballs out of this amount. Don’t make them too large, no-one wants a large ball of meat in their mouth at dinner time. You can keep the meatballs in the fridge if you want to make them in advance.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pan and fry the meatballs off, turning them until they are nicely browned on all sides. This takes about 5 minutes, but you can just check inside one to make sure it’s cooked. Remove them from the pan and set to one side.
  3. Finely slice the bacon and add this to the same pan that you have just removed the meatballs from along with the chopped onion, pepper and garlic. Cook this until the vegetables have softened and the bacon is starting to crisp. Splash in a bit of booze. I always use marsala as I use it in everything but a trickle of red wine would do the job. Cook this off for a minute or two until it no longer smells like a brewery in your kitchen.
  4. Add in the tin of chopped tomatoes, the sugar and plenty of salt and pepper and cook the sauce for about 10 minutes until the tomatoes are rich and have lost their rawness. Whilst the sauce is bubbling away, cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions.
  5. Add your meatballs into the sauce and stir well, but gently, to immerse them in all the yummy flavours. Cook the sauce and meatballs together for a few minutes before draining your spaghetti and adding that to the pan also. Toss everything together well, transfer to large waiting bowls and top with some extra grated parmesan. Now get stuck in and earn your spaghetti stained smile.

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