Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Ophelia's lasagne

There is an expression used for things that are missing an essential element - they are like Hamlet without the Prince. If that is the case I have been making Ophelia's lasagne as it has no pasta. Some time ago I made lasagne as a party dish and realised that it had so many colourful and delicious vegetables there was no point in adding pasta to it. When I first made that particular recipe I needed a lot of mushrooms and didn't have enough so topped up the volume with butternut squash. It was a wonderful addition both in flavour and texture so now I always put butternut squash into the mix. There is also eggplant (aubergine) and red peppers. I steam the veg, then layer them in a baking dish with onion and garlic passata. The topping is quark (any fat free soft cheese would do) mixed with chopped spinach, and a little parmesan for flavour - you don't need much. I think I might experiment in future using spinach or kale leaves to create a pretty layer with the other veg, and maybe broccoli steamed and chopped would mix well with the quark.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Morocco bound

I love the warm spicy flavours of Moroccan food. Recently the spice mix harissa has become more available but usually it is in oil. I have found that Sainsbury's now do a dry mix, harissa and rose rub. Hopefully other stores will catch on that not everyone wants their spices in an oily paste. I find adding a teaspoonful when making a vegetable soup really gives it a lift! The ingredients are coriander seed, dried red pepper, garlic, cumin seeds, caraway seed, paprika, chilli, sea salt, black pepper, dried rose petals and mint. Lovely stuff for those cold winter days.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Scary movies

The scariest things I have seen in a long time are the cookery videos of Paula Deen. There was the pie filled with melted chocolate marshmallows and cream and topped with a huge cone of whipped cream which Paula said was ‘so light’ you could almost believe it had no calories. Gosh really?
Then there was the French toast made from croissants dipped in eggs and heavy cream and fried then covered with bananas in syrup. ‘Makes you almost weep, doesn’t it?’ said Paula. Well, yes it did. For ultimate ghastliness however, the video of her eating a burger, fried egg and bacon between two iced donuts really takes some beating. The amazing thing about these recipes is that people are commenting on the food network website saying that they have tried them and they are now a family favourite.
I have to say when I first saw Paula I did wonder if she was for real. After all there is the redoubtable Jolene Sugarbaker and her trailer park cookery – now Jolene is the alter ego of a male comedian and great fun to watch as long as you don’t try the recipes (I think some people do) - but I can find nothing to suggest that Paula is anything other than a real person who actually means us to eat her sugar cream pie and fried butter balls.
This really is the Texas Cholesterol Massacre.