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Archive for the ‘tomatoes’ Category

Baked Lasagne


Lasagne is a favourite with a lot of people including our family.  Being a tad lazy I usually just throw it together with my quick fire bolognaise sauce which I have perfected to about 10 minutes preparation and then simmering till required for spaghetti or as a lasagne filling.  
Sometimes however it is nice to spend some time and really develop the recipe.  This is not a quick fix for a week night tea.    It takes a seriously long time to prepare and cook the elements before even considering the putting together and final cooking.   The final dish is most certainly worth the effort and the dish does not hang around long in our household.
Ingredients 
Beef Mince
Vine Tomatoes 
Bacon Lardons
Onion chopped finely
Celery chopped finely 
Garlic chopped finely
Carrot chopped finely
Sugar 
Red Wine Vinegar
Red Wine
Beef stock
Mixed Herbs 
Bay Leaves
White Sauce 
Parmesan Cheese

 It might seem a strange start but wash your mince through in a colander – it helps break up the strands and allows each bit to cook and become crispy.  
 
Lay this mince, which is now quite waterlogged, on a flat baking dish and cook in the oven for 40 minutes (190°c)
 Prepare the tomatoes.  When investing the time and effort in a meal like this it is worth getting good tomatoes (and good quality mince if you can).   Cut the tomatoes in half and lay on another baking tray.  Sprinkle with salt and sugar; these both bring different qualities of taste to the forefront and transform a good tomato sauce into a fantastic one. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until they are charred and very soft –  this may take longer if they are at the same heat as the mince.
Begin to prepare the rest of the sauce.   Fry the bacon lardons till they are turning crispy.  Add the onions and garlic.  I like to get vegetables into the family and have long used carrots, celery and sometimes even peas in dishes like this. None of which are strictly Italian.   Add any carrots and/or celery at this point (peas can be added shortly before putting the dish together)
  
Cover the mix with a large spoonful of sugar followed by a good slug of  Red Wine Vinegar.  These work as a great combination together.
Follow with a large glassful of Red Wine.

Heat through allowing the liquid to be soaked up by the vegetables.  


If the tomatoes are not ready, remove the mix from heat and let the flavours marry together in a fusion of hits and delicious blends.   

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When the tomatoes are soft and charred add beef stock to the mix with the mince and tomatoes, also add the herbs.  Italian herbs are great, or a mixture of  oregano, rosemary and thyme.  My mother always added a couple of bay leaves to any Italian dish and I follow the tradition popping them in now.





Let the mixture bubble away for a while before layering with pasta sheets.  There needs to be some juice still in the mix but not too much as it will seep out during the baking process.  


 
  


Layer pasta, sauce, pasta sauce, finish with a layer of pasta.





Top the lasagne off with a layer of white sauce (I don’t add any cheese yet) which I had also added a sprinkling of mustard powder to add depth to the sauce.   I like to let the white sauce cool slightly before pouring over the top of the lasagne.  

Then finish with lots of grated Parmesan cheese.  This is one recipe where it is worth getting the real cheese and grating over.  Remember though, Parmesan is strong so you may need less than you think.
 Pop back into the medium oven for about 30 – 40 minutes and serve to a hungry crowd
 It is your choice how you serve this, garlic bread, green salad, glass of red wine or even chips but the dish can hold it’s own in the centre of your table.  
  
Enjoy and let me know the occasion you might serve this dish.   The wait is certainly worth it but I say again this is  not for a speedy supper, so enjoy the meal.    
Tiggy 

Take a look at my day to day blog on Tiggy Hayes
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Caramelised Onion and Tomato Tart



Some times you have a glut of something left in the fridge and nothing seems to use these particular ingredients so they sit around waiting to go off.   That is when I try to create something and regular dishes find themselves having added ingredients.

We had a surplus of tomatoes and onions having been given a whole load of each.    I was not going to waste them. In this instance I had made my own pastry but bought would work just as well.

Ingredients 
Pastry
Onions lots and lots sliced thinly
butter (butter is best for caramelising but you could use oil if necessary)
brown sugar – I use muscavado and probably not as much
Spinach – I always have this in the fridge and it lines the dish giving it a rich colour but you don’t have to use it.
Tomatoes – lots again sliced 
Mozerella cheese –  roughly  torn into small chunks 




Melt the butter and fry the onions very gently, stirring often so they don’t burn.



when they are really soft add the brown sugar and stir in well.


initially it will liquify but keep stirring to coat the onions really well and continue on a really gentle heat. 



When the sugar has all evaporated and the onions are almost golden in colour take it from the heat and allow to cool slightly.   We are now ready to put it all together.



Roll out your pastry and line your dish


you can build your layers however you want; I like spinach on the base, onions in the middle with the tomatoes spread over the top.  This could be repeated if you had enough of the fillings.


It was after the tomato layer I threw in some salt and a good helping of pepper but that is a matter of choice



a good covering of mozzerella cheese and the tart is ready for the oven.

A hot oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is melting, bubbling and turning golden.  The smell of fresh tomatoes wafts through the house and the children miraculously appear demanding food.


This makes a great lunch dish or if you have to take a dish to some buffet event, you don’t have to eat it hot.   

Enjoy and let me know if you have any recipes for using up extra.

Tiggy 


Check out my other blog at Tiggy Hayes


Tomato Pasta



This is such a great dish for the family.   It uses up all the old veg that didn’t quite make it into something else.  It is packed with vegetables including the ones no-one likes and the children love it.  How better to sneak some good wholesome food onto their table.

Ingredients 

Oil – just a dash
Onions 
Vegetables chopped to smallish sizes – celery, leek, carrot, pieces of squash, courgettes, whatever you have in the fridge.  Not too much of anyone thing
Tinned Tomatoes –  the plum ones are good for this (2 tins at least for  people)
Dash of Red Wine Vinegar 
Generous spoonful of Brown Sugar


Heat the oil and begin by gently frying the onions and veg such as celery or leek.





Add the other vegetables, toss together




Throw in the tomatoes, they can stay whole for the moment.



Add the red vine vinegar, you only need a little. Then sprinkle liberally with the brown sugar.  This gives a slightly sharp tang then sweetens it which makes it appealing to the children.






Bring it to the boil and leave to simmer so that all the vegetables are cooked through.    If you are adding spinach, kale or other green leaves that do not need much cooking add them at the end just before you puree the mix.
When the root vegetable are softened, but still remain firm add the green veg and then liquidise.  This should be fairly roughly done so there are a few bits of crunch left in the sauce.   I blitz quickly once and then leave.

Serve immediately with fresh or dried pasta and plenty of hard grated cheese.   A chunky fresh bread also goes well with this.  

This is so difficult to replicate as the ingredients change each time; sometimes I add a few fresh herbs or even dried.   The delight is seeing them polish of the plates no matter what is in the pot and they think it is just tomato sauce.   I have added ginger and garlic as well to give it a little more umph.  I should rename it “Mothers Prayer Answered” with all the disguised goodness in there.  It is quick and so easy.

Enjoy 

Tiggy

Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Dawn Chorus

Chorizo Pasta



My children are all passionate about pasta, but sometimes it is great to have a change from bolognaise.   This is a bit of a cheat but it is quick, easy and incredibly popular.

Ingredients
Tiny amount of olive oil
Onion chopped
Peppars chopped
Chorizo sliced into large bite sized chunks
Jar of pasta /tomato sauce
Pasta
Cheese – parmesan or a good mature cheddar



You need the smallest amount of oil just to get the onions starting to sweat.




Add in the chopped peppar and let them begin to cook stirring for only about 5 minutes.


Add the chorizo to the pan and cook till the chorizo is browning, turning occaisionally.







Then add the jar of sauce.  As I am feeding lots of hungry boys I used two small jars of different tomato sauces and rinsed them with a small amount of water. 

Bring to the boil whilst cooking the pasta. I start to let the sauce really thicken before serving.



In this case I used a fresh spinach ravioli so layered them on the plate but normally I use a dried pasta and mix it in to the chorizo pan before serving.

Serve with cheese, fresh bread or garlic ciabatta and a green salad.

This is fantastic as you can add peas, sweetcorn, mushrooms, even extra tinned tomatoes into the dish or as I often do spinach leaves as you bring it to table.   This is a great way of getting the children to eat some vegetables without serving any.

It is a really popular meal on our table and so easy to add to if you have an unexpected guest, just add an extra jar of sauce or a tin of tomatoes and you have enough to go round.



Enjoy, let me know how the children like this one.


Tiggy


Find out what I am up to in my other blog  Tiggy Hayes

Cupboard Turkey

This came about by accident, one day being organised I had got out some thin turkey fillets to defrost and then slice up into a sauce.   As it was the middle of the holidays and we spent most of the day out we ended up eating out and the forgotten defrosted fillets sat forlornly in the sink waiting for cooking. 
I cooked them in the tomatoes that night.  The following day I added the rest of the ingredients and we ate them.  If I was planning the meal I would do it all in the one day.

Ingredients
Turkey fillets
Tinned tomatoes with herbs (you can add a few extra mixed herbs)
Peppers sliced and pre-roasted
Cream
Buttery mashed potato


Cook the fillets in the tinned tomatoes.  


Add the peppers or anything else in the fridge you want to use up, broccoli, spinach, chopped carrots.  You could even add sweetcorn or peas at this point.

I had some old double cream that needed using up so covered the dish with this.


Some mashed potato made with loads of butter and really mashed up well spread over the top and scored with a fork.



Into the hot oven for a good 20 minutes to half an hour until the potato is deep golden and the filling is bubbling. 

I had added a dash of water to the fillets as the tomatoes had dried out a little overnight.  This meant they were still incredibly moist. You wouldn’t need this if you were doing it all in one day.


This dish went down surprisingly well for a grab what’s in the cupboard meal.  Some meals are obviously hits as this one was but not all mine are so popular.


Give it a try and see what you think, be sure to let me know how you get on, what else could we add to develop it?   Do you have any store cupboard meals?

Enjoy



Tiggy


Check out my other blog at Tiggy Hayes

Cauliflower Cheese

Sometimes I like to serve something healthy and nearly vegetarian. 
Totally vegetarian dishes in a house full of growing athletic boys creates a feeling of  scarcity and hard done by.
I find bacon lardons or pancetta a fabulous addition to many dishes which otherwise could be vegetarian.  If you do not eat meat please leave out.
My husband and I had served cauliflower cheese as a side dish at our wedding because we both really like it and we had both chosen it on our first meal date.  Seventeen years later and he still loves my version of this simple dish adapted to allow it to be the star of the show. 
Ingredients
Bacon lardons / pancetta
Cauliflower /Broccoli  broken into spears
Spinach – I had a bag of baby spinach leaves in the fridge.
Tomatoes – I used small Vine cherry tomatoes and sliced them
Butter  / Milk  /  Flour
Mature tasting cheese – I used cheddar – grated
Bread – 2 slices  crumbed – a good use of crusts if you have some that will not be used
Firstly fry your bacon lardons using a tiny bit of butter if required until crispy.
Add butter, milk, flour and half the cheese to make a cheese sauce with the bacon in it.
Meanwhile  boil some water and put cauliflower in for a few minutes until just beginning to  soften.  Remove, leave to drain then add the broccoli spears to the water for a couple of minutes only.   Both these vegetables need some crunch left in them.  
Lay the spinach in the bottom or the dish.
Add cauliflower and broccoli to the dish and cover with the cheese sauce.
Top the dish with the sliced tomatoes.
I crumb my bread slices and then add the grated cheese to the mixed crumbs – this mixes them really well together.  Sprinkle liberally over the tomatoes.
Cook on high in the oven till the cheese sauce is bubbling and the breadcrumbs have turned golden brown. 
Serve with fresh crusty bread or in this instant I served garlic bread. 
It goes down a treat and if in the unlikely event there is any left over makes a great lunch dish the following day.
Everyone will have their own method of making this dish from pre-cooking the vegetables to how to create the perfect cheese sauce.  How do you serve yours?   As a main dish or as a side, do you add broccoli or spinach or do you keep it true to the name?   We think the garlic bread compliments the meal really well but what would you like to serve with alongside the dish?
If you enjoyed this meal, check out my mumerings and comments on life by reading Tiggy Hayes.

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