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Homemade Vegetable Lasagne (gluten & lactose free)

Homemade vegetable lasagne, just as it should be; hot, oozy and messy, with garden peas & chunky chips!

I don’t have the inclination to let it rest long enough for the layers to firm up properly. That’s just because I’m greedy and by the time it comes out of the oven I want to just put my face in the lasagne pan.  This is a vegetable lasagne without any weird mycro-protein-whatever-textured-stuff… just vegetables & tomatoes, with a homemade white sauce (made with lactofree milk & cheese, and gluten free flour).  I have been known to make my own pasta sheets for this but tonight I used sainsburys gluten free pasta sheets (dry).

Ingredients:

  • for the vegetables…

2 small yellow onions, finely chopped

1 small red pepper, finely chopped

2 good sized courgettes, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced / finely chopped

500g carton of tomato passata (sieved tomatoes)

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp oregano

1/4 tsp mustard powder

  • for the sauce:

20g plain gluten free flour

200ml stock (COLD!)

200ml lactofree milk

knob of ‘butter’ (or dairy free spread)

100g grated lactofree cheese

black pepper & parsley to taste

  • also…

250g dry lasagne sheets

100g grated lactofree cheese for the top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and start with the vegetables…

  • in a large pan, heat the onion and pepper in a little oil until they start to soften
  • add the courgette and heat for around 5 minutes until it softens
  • add the garlic, stir through, and then add the passata
  • stir in the basil, mustard and oregano, and add the whole bay leaf
  • bring this to a simmer and heat for 10 or 15 minutes before turning off the heat

Meanwhile sort the cheese sauce…

  • add a little milk to the flour and whisk until there are no lumps, then add the rest of the milk
  • mix in the stock, and pour it all into a cold saucepan
  • add the butter to the pan, and heat very gently, whisking, until it comes to a simmer
  • stir in the cheese before adding the parsley and black pepper to taste
  • keep it on a gentle heat, and keep an eye on it while you begin to assemble the lasagne

To layer the lasagne…

  • oil / grease a lasagne pan (24x28cm works well) and cover the bottom with the pasta sheets
  • onto that add a layer of vegetables, then a little cheese sauce on top of that
  • repeat the pasta – vegetables – cheese sauce layering until you come to your last sheets of pasta
  • top the final sheets of pasta with a thick layer of cheese sauce, then sprinkle over the grated cheese
  • pop this in the oven for 30 minutes

Once it’s cooked and the cheese is golden brown, take it out of the oven, and ideally let it rest for 20 minutes – this will allow the layers to firm up and it will be easier to cut and serve… me, I don’t have the patience for that, but if you’re cooking for guests you might want to.

This is one of those dishes that’s so tasty and satisfying, it really doesn’t need meat (or ‘fake’ soya-protein-pretend-meat).  This recipe might come in useful to any omnivores looking to give up meat for lent! :)

MeatFreeMonday: Chilli Sin Carne

Meat-Free Monday: Chilli Sin Carne – with fluffy rice & chunky chips… delicious!

Recipe here – it’s different every time I make it, but that’s the general idea :)

savoury rice

OnePotWonder: Chinese flavour ‘savoury rice’…

Today, I needed carbs. Just a bowl full of carbs.  I fried some chopped red pepper, a little ginger, a few spring onions… then threw in 225ml veg stock, 75g long grain Thai rice, a handful of spinach, a handful of cashew nuts, one small potato, quartered and sliced, a pinch of Chinese 5 spice, pinch of black pepper, pinch of ground coriander and a splash of tamari sauce.

Tasted surprisingly amazing! If you’re thinking the potato is a bit of a wild card, it’s really there to represent the slices of waterchestnut I would have added if I’d had them here… and to carb it up a bit more!

SomethingForTheWeekend: Homemade Katsu Curry (gluten & dairy free)

Katsu curry is always someting I’ve loved at Wagamama’s – but theirs isn’t gluten free and always results in me going home doubled over in pain! Here’s a recipe for you to try that won’t leave you in pain and is seriously less complicated than it looks!

The original recipe I used is here: katsu curry, but below is my adapted recipe, to make it gluten free as well as dairy free, and I’ve halved the quantities because I was only cooking for me and hubby (and to suit what I had in the cupboard)

For the sauce:

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp coriander seeds

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1 cardamom pod

1/2 tsp ground fenugreek

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1 onion, sliced

1 green pepper, chopped

2cm piece ginger, chopped

1 clove garlic, sliced,

1 green chilli, sliced

200g chopped tomatoes (from a tin)

125ml free range chicken stock

1/2 tbsp honey

1/2 tbsp GF tamari sauce

2 spring onions, chopped

For the Katsu:

2 free range chicken breasts, cut into strips

75g gluten free plain flour (rice flour or any GF flour)

100g gluten free breadcrumbs (I used mrs crimbles)

1 free range egg (lightly beaten)

4 tbsp vegetable oil

(and some long grain rice – 75g per person – for serving with)

Method: (it’s easier than you think!)

  • Toast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and cardamom for 1 or 2 minutes (until they smell amazing) and then finely ground in a pestle and mortar, and add the turmeric and fenugreek
  • In a large pan, heat the onion, pepper and ginger in a little oil for 6-8 minutes, untl softened.
  • Add the garlic and chilli, stirring through and allowing to heat for no more than 30 seconds, or the garlic will become bitter.
  • Add the ground spices and tinned tomatoes, followed by the stock
  • Simmer genty for 20 minutes

Meanwhile…

  • Get your flour, breadcrumbs and egg laid out in separate plates / shallow bowls
  • Coat your chicken pieces firstly in flour, then in egg, then in breadcrumbs, and set aside on a clean plate

Back to the sauce…

  • Once the sauce has been heating for around 20 minutes, turn off the heat and allow to cool for a few minutes
  • Transfer to a blender and blend until smooth
  • Pour back into the pan and mix in the honey and soy sauce
  • Keep it on a very low heat until ready to serve

To Finish…

  • If serving with rice, add it to boiling water now (long grain rice, depending on the type, takes between 10 and 20 minutes)
  • Add a few tbsp oil to a frying pan, heat, and add half the breaded chicken (not to overcrowd the pan)
  • Cook the chicken for 3-4 minutes each side,until golden brown & coked through ( cut a large piece open if you’re not sure) then put aside on kitchen towel to drain the excess oil (and repeat for the rest of the chicken)
  • At the last minute, add chopped spring onions to your curry sauce and turn off the heat
  • Serve, a mound of rice, pour over the curry sauce and top with the breaded chicken.

Yum.  It looks like a lot of work, but it’s not if you follow the steps in the right order. It’s such a satisfying curry, perfect for a Friday Night, and who’s to say you can’t change the chicken for another meat… or vegetables (Wagamamas do a fantastic veggie katsu curry with breaded sweet potato, squash and aubergine!) Go on, give it a try!

MealForOne: Tasty Thai Style Rice (gluten & dairy free)

This is pretty much effortless to rustle up when you’re just cooking for yourself – but would make an awesome side dish too. It’s a one-pot-wonder that’s healthy and tasty. Quantities below are for one person, scale up if you’re feeding more mouths.

Ingredients:

75g Jasmine Rice (dry weight)

1 red pepper (chopped)

1 stick of celery (finely chopped)

1/2 tsp chopped fresh ginger

2tbsp green peas (I used frozen)

1 lemon grass stalk

225ml (approx) hot vegetable stock

1/2 tbsp GF tamari sauce

To Make:

  •  In a small saucepan, heat the pepper, celery, ginger, peas and lemongrass in a little oil for a few minutes until everything begins to soften
  • Add the stock, followed by the rice
  • Stir, then cover and allow to simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, until all stock has been absorbed and the rice is tender
  • Stir in the tamari sauce, and serve

I used Jasmine rice because it tastes amazing, and cooks really quickly.  You could make this with another type of rice, but remember to allow longer for it to cook.

masterchef synesthesia

Masterchef Synesthesia!  this never fails to make me smile :) I like the base, base base… I like the buttery biscuit base…

Foraging!… sort of… Making do…

When you’ve eaten your cupboards bare of the gluten free bread and cereal, and anything else remotely convenient, and your stomach starts to shout at you, foraging instincts kick in. Not literally the instinct to go out into the forest to find breakfast, but the instinct to rustle something up from bits & pieces that you have to hand.  Today’s rustle of choice was sliced bananas, glace cherries, dairy free yoghurt topped with chopped brazil nuts and a drizzle of honey.  Not exactly food porn, and I probably would have preferred an obscene amount of peanut butter on gluten free granary, but this was delicious nonetheless. And it stopped my belly shouting at me for now.

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