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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A Week In France

What is with French toilets? I couldn’t believe when I pulled over into a service station that the ‘facilities’ were just a hole in the ground. Some had actual toilets but not once did I encounter a toilet seat and I felt like a kid at Christmas if there was toilet paper available. Anyway, enough about toilets.

I stayed in a gorgeous villa overlooking the French Pyrenees, which provided some lovely views for the duration of my holiday. I must say though, the Lake District on our own green and pleasant land is much more beautiful, at least in my opinion. We were blessed with amazing weather though which meant plenty of time sunbathing and splashing about in the pool.

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All the local restaurants were advertising their own version of cassoulet, a meat and bean stew rich with duck fat. I was desperate to try some authentic French food so ordered it one evening. This one had a duck leg, some pork belly, a local sausage and a garlic crouton. It was absolutely delicious, though completely inappropriate for the 30° heat.

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Of course I also just had to sample a crepe whilst in the land of the creperie. I was really boring and went for Nutella but it was yummy. I had this with an amazing hot chocolate.

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On the drive home we stopped at a restaurant called Poivre Rouge, which was a bit like an upmarket Harvester. The menu had lots of grill options but there was also a salad bar that you could pay once for then take as many trips as you like. I didn’t go for it, but saw the locals tucking into escargot and massive prawns from it. I had fillet steak which was amazing and the chips were these strange little curved tube type things.

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What I did like about French service stations, toilets aside, was the food options. They’re much better than the English counterparts. On one stop I had a really really good burger, and another had this hot dog with mustard, bacon and cheese which they served hot, with an apple tart which was very nice.

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Other than that, I ate a lot of pizza! The French seem to really love their pizza!

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: Greek Salad

So you don’t really need a recipe for a Greek salad. The ingredients, if the recipe remains true to it’s heritage, should always be the same. That is tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese, along with a dressing rich in olive oil. In my opinion it’s best served at room temperature or just under rather than straight from the fridge and makes a wonderful side dish to grilled or roast lamb. This is the way I make mine.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 350g good tomatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • A chunk of cucumber about 6 inches long, halved lengthways and cut into strips
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your prepared vegetables.
  2. Add in the feta cheese and sprinkle over the oregano.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the salt and pepper until combined. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, give it a good toss and take it proudly to the table.

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Perfect for an alfresco summer lunch!

What I Ate In A Day #12

I went to an amazing wedding on Saturday, probably the best wedding I’ve ever been to even though the lovely couple already got married officially abroad last month. The weather was gorgeous and set off the beautiful venue perfectly. Of course my main concern was the food. I’m pleased to say that it was absolutely delicious, all Indian in style and really tasty. I ate a lot and drank a lot of Pimms. Like, a lot. Naturally, I was feeling a little worse for wear the following day so dragged myself to my local Wetherspoons for breakfast. I went for the vegetarian option as I like the sausages better than ‘real’ ones and washed it all down with an ice cold apple juice which worked wonders for the hangover.

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Watermelon is also a pretty amazing hangover cure so I munched on some of that as an afternoon snack, followed by some cherries.

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It was another hot day on Sunday so we wanted a simple, light dinner that didn’t involve the oven as we just aren’t coping with the extra heat that generates into our kitchen. Lazy admission – we bought a ready cooked chicken and had that with new potatoes dressed in butter and lemon and thyme sea salt, mixed salad with Caesar dressing and a little bit of Blackstick’s Blue cheese. This cheese is amazing, a little goes a long way as it’s pretty powerful stuff but the taste is unlike any other cheese.

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After dinner I had a watermelon slushy made by whizzing some frozen watermelon chunks with a little sugar syrup and a splash of water.

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And then, my favourite part of any Sunday. Putting my comfy clothes on, tying my hair up and relaxing on the sofa with a naughty snack. Tyler and I shared this Cadbury Dairy Milk with Daim bar. No really, I honestly did share.

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I love a selfie me.

Recipe: Naughty Watermelon Slushie

‘Why is it naughty?’ I hear you ask. Well, this isn’t your everyday slushie, oh no, for this one has booze in it. It’s time to deny the kids and have some fun yourselves. Pull out a deck chair, relax in the garden as the sun sets and wind down your weekend in style.

Serves 1

What you need:

  • About 8 cubes of frozen watermelon
  • 1 tbsp sugar syrup
  • 1 shot of Malibu or other alcohol of choice

What you do:

  1. Sling the ingredients into a blender and whizz up until you have a thick, icy slush. Pour into a cocktail glass, chuck in a straw and enjoy.

How easy was that?

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July Roundup

July. The month that felt like the early 2000s with everyone talking about Pokemon and Blink 182. Not me though. I’ve been harping on about Celebrity Masterchef, the lack of decent strawberries in the supermarkets and how summer just doesn’t feel like summer when you don’t have a 6 week holiday.

Oh the good old days of school when life’s biggest worries were getting a ladder in your tights or not having a boyfriend like all the cool kids. I thought my teenage years were such a struggle. I knew nothing. I used to come home every day to my bed made, a home made dinner on the table and my washing done and ironed for me. Now, I come home to a messy house at whatever time the traffic allows and have to engage the brain enough not to mix my dinner up with the cat’s. I tried a cat treat once. It was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I’ve made some damn good food in July, though I do say so myself. I’ve recapped all of this month’s posts below in case you missed any or want to have a re-read.

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Recipe: King Prawn Linguine / Recipe: Steak’n’Stuff / Recipe: American Pancakes with Bacon / What I Ate In A Day #11 / Recipe: Masterchef Style Smoked Haddock / Top 5 Must Have Cook Books For Eating Well / Recipe: Peanut Butter Brownies / Recipe Review: Gordon Ramsay’s Bread and Butter Pudding / Recipe: Chicken Tikka Salad / How to be a Better Cook in 5 Easy Steps

See you in August!