Saturday, 25 February 2012

Recipe - Roasted Vegetable Lasagne with Fennel Salad

'I was the glue that kept my friends together, now they don't talk and we don't go out.' I used to love Brand New so hard. (I still sort of do, embarrassing.) Anyway, this little quotation has been chosen for my opening gambit because it's kind of true regarding Birmingham friends. Except it's more that I don't talk to any but a smattering anymore for a combination of reasons culminating in this. But before it all went awry, we had a great time! And I was quite frequently events organiser because organising is probably my favourite functional way to pass the time. But that meant that I got quite obsessed with the concept of functioning groups. That is, a group which functions. I wasn't very good at arranging such groups. What I tended to do was throw everyone I wanted to see together. Awkward at the time but it meant that at some point all the people I liked became friends. Which was lovely! Until two of them became too well acquainted for my liking. But that wasn't what made the functioning groups start disintegrating. That we can attribute to a mass exodus from the oppressive hole that was my secondary school. Which was closely followed by the break-up of the Power Couple. Awk. Functioning groups have started appearing in my Mind Palace again because now all the New People aren't really new anymore because we've known each other for nearly 3 years and that's plenty of time to have made terrible mistakes and screwed each other over. I think this is a good way of charting progress between me (and probably most people) at 15 and me at 20 though. Because making groups function remains easy(ish) even though lots more has passed which I will attribute to an improved ability to bite the bullet, swallow the involuntary shudders and move on. There have been several meals this week which exemplify this principle but this one had the most interesting recipes attached to it.

Fennel Salad
Half bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
Handful of parsley, finely chopped
Handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Juice of half a lemon
1 bulb of roasted garlic, crushed to a pulp

Very simply just combine the ingredients.
Roasted Vegetable Lasagne
2 red peppers, deseeded and cut into large chunks
3 aubergines, cut into  ½cm thick slices
100g forestiere mushrooms, halved

Season the vegetables and toss in olive oil. Roast in the oven for 25 minutes at 220. 

1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tin plum tomatoes
A liberal handful of basil, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

Fry the onion and garlic on a medium heat until the onions are very soft but not coloured.
Add the plum tomatoes and half a tin of water.
Mash up the tomatoes to make a smooth paste.
Season with salt and pepper. 
Turn the heat up to make the sauce boil then turn down to a simmer for 20 minutes.
Stir in the basil 5 minutes from the end of the cooking time.

50g butter
50g plain flour
100ml milk
Black pepper
100g cheddar cheese cheese

Melt the butter on a medium heat.
Stir in the flour to make a paste.
Add the milk slowly, stirring constantly to make a smooth sauce.
Keep on a low heat for about 10 minutes to let the mixture thicken. 
Stir in the cheese, a dash of nutmeg and lots of black pepper.

125g ball mozzarella, sliced
Handful cherry tomatoes, halved
Lasagne sheets

Arrange a third of the vegetables on the bottom layer of a lasagne dish.
Then half the tomato sauce.
Then a layer of lasagne sheets, being careful to avoid overlapping.
Then half the bechamel sauce.
Then a third of the vegetables.
Then the rest of the tomato sauce.
Another layer of lasagne sheets.
The rest of the bechamel.
The remaining vegetables.
Top with the sliced mozzarella and cherry tomatoes.

Look, I wrote a poem!

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