Happy Sunday everyone!
Today, I have had a relaxing walk through Lincoln City. My partner and I visited a new restaurant which has recently opened. Although, I shall not be talking about this today as I am still in the process of editing the picture. However, I will give you a hint, I was very impressed!
Anyway, back to todays post. Lasagne! I have had a pretty stressful week with exams and essays to contend with. To unwind, I find there is nothing like enjoying a home cooked meal. This is my partner’s favourite meal that I make so I always enjoying making it for him to enjoy. The mince meat to the cheese sauce is all made by my bare hands!
Usually I try to buy the leaner variety of beef. I have tried using turkey mince before as it is far healthier than beef but personally, I don’t find you achieve the same texture and taste and it is a little more expensive. Therefore I tend to stick to the traditional beef mince. Firstly, I brown the beef mince and then add a handful of diced mushrooms, a whole pepper, one whole white onion and a handful of basil! I do not oil the saucepan before adding the meat as I find that beef is an oily meat on its own and tends to cook in its own fat!
Once the main ingredients start to cook I add the crucial seasoning. I don’t really measure how much I add to the meat and veg but it is around a teaspoon. I usually add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, mixed herbs, ginger, garlic and mixed Italian spices. The addition of these adds a fiery kick to the mince. The spicy heat combined with the creamy cheese sauce is a wonderful combination! Finally, I added a whole carton of tomato Passata and then turn the heat to a lower setting to let it gently simmer.
Whilst the meat is cooking gently, I whip up the cheese sauce! A good cheese sauce is very simple to make and it uses very basic ingredients. Yet again, I don’t measure the ingredients! I place about a tablespoon of butter in a hot saucepan. I turn the heat down as it is the sauce can easily burn or split! Straight away I add 2-3 teaspoons of flour and give this a mix with a wooden spoon. Then I add about 300ml of skimmed milk (any type of milk is fine) and pour it in slowly whilst stirring the mixture with a whisk rather than a wooden spoon. The whisk is used to combine the ingredients more effectively and take out the lumps of flour! Once all the ingredients are combined and simmering, I add the most important ingredient; the cheese! I prefer using extra mature cheddar as this is a lot stronger but any cheese will work fine! I add about 150 grams of cheese but you can change this according to preference. The cheese is the thickening agent which creates the thick, sticky and gooey texture! My partner and I love it really cheesy! Finally, I add pepper to season and it is ready to serve!
By the time the cheese sauce has been made, the mince should have simmered down into a herby, spicy, tomatoey, mincey deliciousness! Then its just building your perfect lasagne stack. I use a large deep Pyrex dish and add a layer of mince, a touch of cheese sauce and then finish with a sheet of pasta. I repeat these stages until I have filled the dish and then I pour over the rest of the cheese sauce on the top and place it into an oven for 35 minutes! About 30 minutes into baking, I add a sprinkling a cheese to the top just to make it even cheesier!
To compensate with the unhealthy overload of cheese we have a side salad of fresh spinach leaves, onion and tomato. This isn’t the healthiest of meals but sometimes on a cold winters evening after a stressful day you just need something stodgy and satisfying!
Please keep a look out for my upcoming post on the delicious lunch I had today!