Monday, 5 June 2017

SPINACH, RICOTTA & PESTO LASAGNE

It was awful on Sunday to wake up to the news of yet another terrorist attack, it is so devastating. It certainly makes me wary about going into central London and all I wanted to do on Sunday was hanker down with my family at home. We decided to cook this lasagne as it sounded a little healthier and lighter than a normal lasagne which was just what we needed after a week of indulgence.

It took about 45 minutes to prepare and then 45 minutes to cook and it is freezable.

Ingredients for 8 people:

100g butter
100g plain flour
600ml semi-skimmed milk
400g ricotta
100g Parmesan, grated
2g ground nutmeg
200g spinach, washed and roughly chopped
2 bunches of spring onions, sliced
Roughly 225g dried lasagne sheets
190g pesto
2 heaped tbsp pine nuts
(I also added some grated cheese as I am a cheese addict but it probably wasn't necessary)


Melt the butter in a large pan, then stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk gradually, one splash at a time, to make a smooth sauce. Bring to a gentle bubble while still stirring, then cook for a couple of minutes until thickened.







Turn off the heat and whisk in the ricotta and half the Parmesan until smooth. Season and add the nutmeg. Spoon out a couple of ladlefuls of the sauce and reserve for the top of the lasagne. Then stir in the chopped spinach and spring onions into the rest of the sauce.









Preheat the oven to 180 C / fan 160 C / gas mark 4.

Spread a third of the spinach sauce over the bottom of a large baking dish. Add a layer of pasta, then spread over a third of the pesto. Top with another third of the spinach sauce, followed by pasta and pesto and then repeat one more time. Add a final layer of pasta, then spread over the reserved white sauce. Scatter with the remaining Parmesan and the pine nuts (we also added some extra grated cheese). (At this point, if you are freezing rather than cooking, pop in the freezer now). Otherwise bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until bubbling, browned and crisp on top.











A lot of pictures there!! This recipe is quite full on to make, but then lasagnes always are, however it was totally worth it and we really enjoyed this. I am a huge lasagne fan so it was nice to have one that is slightly different to normal plus it felt almost healthy with all the green vegetables. Having said that, both my husband and my daughter recommended we should have had some mince on the side....I reckon a tomato and onion salad would do the trick. I am already looking forward to reheating our leftovers although not this week as it is diet time again (boo)!

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Sunday, 4 June 2017

SUMMER SALAD WITH MANCHEGO & CHORIZO

We have just had a wonderful holiday in the Caribbean and now it is back to reality with a bump....piles of washing, tight jeans and post holiday blues. Despite definitely gaining a few pounds, the diet isn't going to start until Monday so we decided to cook a couple of nice meals over the weekend starting with this salad which we had as a side with a barbecue. It took about 20 minutes in total but was very easy.

Ingredients for 4 people (as a side):

350g broad beans
210 peas (frozen or fresh)
150g chorizo
100g rocket or watercress or lambs lettuce
100g Manchego cheese, cubed
10g fresh mint, sliced
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon


Start by podding the broad beans - I found this to be a brilliant job for my daughter Arabella. Meanwhile as I was using frozen peas, I began by cooking these in boiling water for 4-5 minutes (according to the packet's instructions). Once ready, drain and then refresh under cold running water. If you are using fresh peas, these will only take 3 minutes and so you could cook these with the broad beans (however I did mine separately). 

If like me you are using frozen peas, cook the broad beans next in boiling water for 3 minutes and then rinse with cold water once again.




Add the broad beans and peas to a large bowl with the lettuce, mint, lemon juice and lemon zest and season.



Meanwhile either barbecue the chorizo or cut it into slices and fry it in a pan until cooked through.



Cut the cheese into cubes and then add the cheese and chorizo to the salad, mix and serve.





This tasted really fresh and summery and was the perfect accompaniment to a barbecue lunch. My husband Pascal reckoned it tasted "too healthy" and would have added a dollop of olive oil or a portion of pasta. Personally I wasn't complaining, I loved the lemon and mint as it was a reminder that winter is over (although according to the weather forecast it might be back next week)! This is a great side and even though I don't like to tell my husband he is right (ever), I think it would also taste great with some pasta and a good glug of olive oil mixed in.

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Saturday, 3 June 2017

KID FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS - MUDDY STILETTOS

I recently worked with the lovely Joanna at Muddy Stilettos Wiltshire to create an article on the best kid friendly restaurants in London. It is not always easy eating out with kids, and if you are like me and want to branch out from the usual Pizza Express and Wagamamas, this should give you some inspiration.

In hindsight I should have posted this before half term but I have been away - my first sunny holiday with the baby. It wasn't as relaxing as previous holidays but it was lovely to have sunshine and family time and we discovered Olympia LOVES watermelon so expect some watermelon based recipes to come up!

https://wilts.muddystilettos.co.uk/health-fitness/food/perfect-eats-town-mudlets/