Flavour of the moment: Cheese. Cheddar, Parmesan, cheese sauce by the spoonful, smoked cheese. I can’t get enough of it.
Cook book of the moment: Bread– Paul Hollywood. One of my most used cookbooks, you can tell by the most loved recipes being covered in doughy remnants. Yum.
This weekend I had some friends and their little girl over for dinner. A dinner party you might say. I decided on lasagne and garlic bread as a family friendly and tasty meal. This wasn’t just lasagne and garlic bread, it wasn’t even M&S lasagne and garlic bread, it was home made pasta, sauces from scratch (both meat and cheese) and home made caramelised roasted garlic baguettes.
The pasta recipe I used was from Gwyneth Paltrow’s book ‘Notes from my kitchen table’ and it was decadent. 300g of 00 pasta flour, 2 eggs and 10 (yes 10!) egg yolks. It is going to be meringue central around here for a while. It did make a gorgeous and rich pasta but it needed handling carefully with a lot of flour as it was a tad sticky.
As for the meat sauce, I didn’t use a recipe but to make a good Bolognese sauce start by frying onion and plenty of garlic in olive oil. Olive oil is a must for a good Bolognese. Add the mince and brown followed by a good splash of red wine. Then add any vegetables you want and just lightly brown those too. I like to add peppers, mushrooms, grated carrot and grated courgette to mine. Then add a tin or two of chopped tomatoes (depending on how much sauce you need / how many you are feeding), some tomato puree, vegetable stock powder or cube, your favourite Italian herbs and a teaspoon or two of cocoa powder. Reduce on a low heat for about two hours.
As for the garlic baguettes, well, they were to die for. I got the recipe from the Paul Hollywood Bread book mentioned above but what you do is roast the cloves (skin on) from a whole head of garlic in some olive oil and caster sugar for 20 minutes in the oven at about 200°C. Then squeeze the cloves out of their skin, mash them up and knead them into your baguette dough after you’ve knocked the dough back from the first rise and then let the dough have its second rise and that delicious garlic flavour infuse.
The cheese sauce was a wing it kind of affair but I aim for about 50g of butter, 50g of flour, 500ml of milk and as good handful or two of grated cheese. I used cheddar. (To serve 6 approx).
It was a very lovely dinner with very lovely people and even better is that there was left overs too! I made one large and one small lasagne. Pictured here is the small one as the big one got demolished before there were any photo opportunities. Such is the risky business of making tasty food.