A blade shines in the darkest of the nights
I know I have been sadly neglecting my blog ever since I came back to Singapore (my 2nd home) and I'm honestly quite ashamed of it. Frankly I thought I would have more time to spent on writing and cooking for my blog but I was sadly mistaken. I had completely forgotten one very important factor: Little One is on summer vacation - that means she has no school 5 days a week for 2 months!!! And that means it's 'mommy! mommy! mommy!' from 7 am till 10 pm (strangely she can't seems to go to bed early like she did in France). Lucky me, I just happen to have a kid who is a morning riser no matter what time she goes to bed. Initially I thought 'no problem, I can occupy her, cook and blog at the same time. After all I did it before when she was little and she wasn't school then. It shouldn't be any different.' Ha! I found out the hard way that as Little One grows older, the more time and attention she commands of me. There goes my first-time mum theory of 'as they grow older, they'll be more independent and will play more on their own.' The first week in Singapore were new and exciting for Little One - language barrier didn't even posed a problem for her. Frankly she didn't even care if the other person or little kid didn't understand French. She just carried on blabbering to them, much to the amusement of the locals and kids. I have to say she did try her very best to think of French words in English and speak it but wasn't very successful. However within a week in an English speaking environment (or Singlish, depends on how one sees it), she now speaks English very fluently and can carry a long conversation with strangers on the street or train. I also encourages her to speak in French with me or Pierre so that she doesn't forget her other language.
As predicted, the excitement of being in a new environment quickly wore out and she got bored at home with no kids to play with (all the little kids in Singapore are either back in school or in full day care centre while their parents are at work). So I decided to enrol Little One in a local kindergarten for 3 hours each day so that she can at least play with little kids and at the same time, learn Mandarin (she's very keen to learn that) and English in an local environment. She loves her new school and looks forward to learning Mandarin every day, except writing Chinese characters which she finds it very hard and difficult. Who can fault her on that? Even I, at my age, find it hard to write certain characters. Learning how to speak Mandarin is a lot easier than learning how to write and read Chinese.
Now today's much awaited recipe was taught by a lovely Italian lady to Little One and her class during one of her many school excursions. The older kids visited the Chadieu Castle while the little ones like poppet got to learn how to make fresh pasta. We, the adults (teachers and parents volunteers for this outing) were frankly more excited than the kids! The kids were asked to of course wash their hands first, then each took turns to 'play' with the dough. Some cracked the nuts while others grated the cheese. And at the end, all the kids enthusiastically set to work, pinching, rubbing, churning out little pasta worms. (yes, we are horrible child labour exploiters!) Boy, did they do a very good job and they couldn't wait to taste their hard work. While the pastas were cooking, the teacher's assistant distracted the kids by asking each one to grace us with a song. You should have seen how every kid was tucking it in hungrily and savouring it to the last (not that they were hungry but they sure have gourmet taste buds). Little One loved it so much that she asked for another serving. All the kids went home all excited at the prospect of making pasta at home with their mum. The next day, some mum I met at school curiously asked me what exactly did their kid made during the excursion because she/he was excitedly talking about making something with flour, water, nuts, cheese etc. I guess this shows the pasta making session was a great success!
Made this delicious pasta with Little One I did, not once but twice at home. Well, Little One got bored pretty fast and I was left to finish the rest myself. Be warned, if you are doing it alone, it's quite labour intensive!
Making of Pesto Sauce
This home made fresh pasta is simply the best I have ever tasted - most notably their texture feels definitely better in the mouth. It is so good. I'm terribly lousy at describing taste and texture so you'll just have to take my word for it and try it yourself to believe it!
Bottled pesto sauce never really did a thing to me. Frankly I never cared for it... that is until I made and tasted home made pesto sauce - it ROCKS! So totally different from the flat taste bottled sauce. The home made pesto is strong and tasty (full of flavour).
The whole family (parents-in-law, sis-in-law plus Pierre & Little One) loves it very much. Everyone went for 2nd helpings until nothing was left in the pot.
For the pasta, I didn't think to measure the water volume when I made this as that is how I learned it from the Italian lady at Little One's outing. I'll try to measure it next time when I make this again.
For the pesto sauce, I didn't give an exact amount because I also forgot to measure it. In any case, this sauce is rather flexible. You add the garlic, parmigiano-reggiano, nuts & oil according to how much you want in them. Add more garlic if you want it more garlicky. You can also toast the pine nuts before blending them together with the sauce.
The 2010 March Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Eleanor of MelbournefoodGeek and Jess of Jessthebaker. They chosed to challenge Daring Cooks to make risotto. The various components of their challenge recipe are based on input from the Australian Masterchef cookbook and the cookbook Moorish by Greg Malouf.
For this challenge, we must make our own chicken stock and the risotto base. I was not worried about making my own chicken stock but more about making risotto. You see, I had only eaten risotto once in my life when my sis-in-law made it last summer. All I can remember was it tasted super delicious! Since then, I have been wanting to make risotto but was too scared to even start. I even bought ready packaged risotto (like those ready packaged rice) to start out but each time my courage left me. I sound very silly, don't I (even Pierre looked at me weirdly when he found that out). Those packets of risotto are still sitting in my garage. LOL! Now that the Daring Cooks had issued this challenge, I had to stop running and making excuses... however I did procrastinate on it until the last minute!
I had an idea of what kind of risotto I was going to make - Prawns & Mushrooms. Even watched a video on how to make basic risotto just to make sure I would not screw up on expensive prawns (I'm not even talking about fresh ones - the cheap frozen ones already costs about 12 €/kg). I had everything bought and ready to go, and then my laptop went belly up that very day (right after I got back from my grocery shopping). Arrggh! All my data, recipes, food pictures were in there! How can I cook when I don't have the basic risotto recipe to follow? How can I post on my blog? Yep! You got it right. FRUSTRATION is the word that described my state of being for the following days. As if it wasn't bad enough, someone up there decided to put the proverbial icing on the cake and the whole family got seriously sick with flu by late afternoon. Peachy or not, risotto was on tonight's menu. So I spat on my hands and rubbed them well for good luck like a baseball batter (Gotcha! Just kidding!), I went ahead and cooked it sans recipe, with just memories of how the guy in the video did it, crossing my fingers and hoping it would turn out good.
What do you think? Did it turn out good or bad? Did my ninja's training saved the day? Read further to find out!
Strike! I got it right - the risotto was done just right, the rice was thick and moist but not mushy, the prawns were cooked just enough to remain crunchy and flavorful, and go well with the mushroom. I can still see a possible improvement by using more refined mushrooms - morilles (morchella) or cèpes for example would probably make the dish a total bliss.
Don't be afraid to cook risotto like me. It's actually very easy - like cooking rice except one adds broth to the rice little by little until it is cooked. It's that simple. The great thing about risotto is that once you know how to make the basic risotto, you can make risotto with anything you have in mind or in your fridge.
To avoid having a very starchy or lumpy looking risotto, don't stir the rice constantly while it's cooking .
For the above recipe, I used my leftover frozen chicken stock from Poulet à la crème (Creamy Chicken). It's a very basic stock of water & chicken carcass without any extra ingredient. However you can also try making DC's Challenge Chicken stock if you wish.
For February, Daring Bakers' host Deeba of Passionate About Baking & Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen chose Tiramisu as the challenge of the month based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obession.
Et bien sûr, nothing is ever simple with Daring Bakers' (hence the name sake), this time around, we aren't taking the easy road like I did with my first Tiramisu in 2007 where everything was store bought and put together. The challenge is to make our own mascarpone cheese and our sponge fingers/ladyfinger biscuits, pastry cream and zabaglione (a cooked one) and piece it all together to make this pick me up dessert.
So what is this famous Tiramisu? As mentioned in my older post, it means "pick-me-up" (metaphorically, "make me happy") made of mascarpone cheese, sponge fingers or savoiardi & zabaglione.
When I first read what is needed to be done for this challenge, I nearly fainted on the spot. I assure you would too when you read the following list. But fear not, it's not as complicated and difficult as it looks. Once I got started, I got into the swing of things very fast and all jazzed up... all too soon, the fun ended and I felt a bit bereaved that it ended so fast.
Making pastry cream was a breeze since I have made it before for a Blueberry Tart last year. However I was unsure how a zabaglione should look like after it is done so I just relied on my ninja chef instinct.
For this challenge, I have split things into 3 posts for easy reference :
As we are making all of it from scratch, it's easier and less stressful if you make the sponge fingers first and mascarpone cheese, zabaglione & pastry cream another day or vise versa. Then assemble the tiramisu the following day. The mascarpone cheese needs to be refrigerated overnight while the zabaglione & pastry cream need to be refrigerated for at least 4 hours. Are you still with me after reading the long list of things to be done? OK, whenever you are ready, I'm ready. Let's go!
(Recipe source: Carminantonio's Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007)
For the zabaglione
For the vanilla pastry cream
For the whipped cream
To assemble the tiramisu
For the zabaglione
For the pastry cream
For the whipped cream
To assemble the tiramisu
It's great! Very creamy and sinful but surprisingly it
didn't taste as sweet as I expected it to be. There's not an incredible difference with the one made with your off-the-shelf ingredients, but this one is a bit more subtle and flavourful.
The next time I make Tiramisu, I wouldn't hesitate to make my own sponge fingers (ladyfingers) and mascarpone at home, but assemble it using the simpler version ie. make it with raw egg yolks and whipped egg whites. However if you or one of your guests is pregnant or has aversion about eating raw eggs, I would recommend making tiramisu using above methods with zabaglione and whipped cream.
Update: We defrozed one of the tiramisu totally the other day and found that it indeed tasted a little bit sweeter than usual. I have also just realized that I added all the mascarpone (180 g) I made in my tiramisu instead of the 75 g as required in the recipe. So if you are making this version, please reduce the quantity of sugar indicated in zabaglione and pastry cream or else your tiramisu will turn out to be very sweet.
Placing the bowl (in which cream is to be whipped) and the beaters of the hand held electric mixer in the fridge for about ½ to 1 hour before hand helps to whip up the cream whip very well.
As there were already sugar in pastry cream and zabaglione, I omitted sugar in the coffee as I didn't want the tiramisu to be too sweet.
You can assemble the tiramisu in wine glass, cups or verrines as you wish. Leave it to creativity and imagination. Obviously a transparent container will show it's layered structure better
The other not-so-secret ingredient needed for making Tiramisu (Daring Bakers' February Challenge by Deeba of Passionate About Baking & Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen) is home made Sponge Fingers, alternatively known as Ladyfingers or Savoiardi biscuits. It's a very simple and straight forward recipe to do. Nothing to be afraid of except maybe if you are afraid you can't get your whites to stiff peaks. A little dash of salt in your whites before you whip will do the trick. One of the little problems I encountered was controlling the batter coming out of my ziploc piping bag. I'm not very skilled at piping my batter yet. LOL! The other is that my sponge fingers were baked earlier than the time indicated. So do watch your savoiardi biscuits in the oven. Other than that, making these biscuits is a breeze.
The other thing I want to draw your attention to is CAKE FLOUR is not self-rising flour. Do not confuse these two. Self rising flour (known as farine à gateaux in France) has baking powder in it whereas Cake Flour has none - contains only plain flour & some corn starch/corn flour.
(taken from Cordon Bleu At Home)
Makes: approx 24 big ladyfingers
My sponge fingers turned out beautifully. It's very soft and spongy on the inside but not crunchy on the outside like it should be. Maybe it's because I didn't sprinkle all the icing sugar on top as indicated. (I only used ¼ of the quantity stated) The ladyfingers taste kinda flat/bland but tasty all the same. It's very eggy - reminds me of Chinese New Year cookies Kueh Bolu. I like to dip mine with tea. I'll definitely add vanilla extract or other flavours when I made these fingers again.
My ladyfingers are baked way before the indicated time in the recipe. Perhaps I made them smaller or maybe my oven is hotter. Anyway do keep a watch out on your spong fingers, if it's lightly brown on top and springy to touch before the time is up, you should take it out.
Making home-made cheese is something that I have always wanted to do but haven't got the guts for it - fear of failure I guess and wasting milk. So when Daring Bakers' announced that we have to make Mascarpone Cheese as part of their February challenge issued by Deeba & Aparna, I was excited but at the same time a bit apprehensive about it. I mean, making cheese sounds so professional. Can I do it? Will I succeed? Pushing my doubts aside, I said to myself: I've lots of time left before the reveal date. Well, time flies when you are having fun... and before long, the dateline for Dbs' challenge was staring at my face. Cornered, I had no choice but to face my fear. Frankly, it's just so ridiculous that I get all so stressed up about it. It's just making cheese, for goodness sake! If it didn't turn out right, it's no big deal, just try again, right?. But I guess we all have our own weird phobia of failures. LOL!
Facing my fear I did. Although I did try to duck out of it when seeing in the recipe that we needed pasterized cream and not ultra pasteurization or UHT (ultra-high temperature treatment). A search on the net gave me conflicting informations. Some sites claim that it won't give you cheese (can't remember the reasons behind it anymore) while others say that as long as you are making soft cheese like mascarpone, it can be done. Since I have only UHT cream with 30% fat in my pantry, I decided to just use it following Ninja's philosophy: if we don't experiment with it, we'll never know!
At first I tried Vera's method cooking the cream on skillet but after like an eternity, still no sign of any bubbles - a cue for me to add lemon juice (I don't have a cooking thermometer, you see... *hint*hint* to whoever wants to get me a gift). So I decided to switch to bain-marie - nope, still no bubbles. Anyway I decided to just squeeze a few drops of juice in the cream to see if anything happens...what can I lose, right? And the cream had been cooking for quite long enough. Well, NOTHING was darn happening! Arrgggh! Stir, stir, stir... can't tell whether it is milk scum or is it really thickening, but something was sure coating my spatula. LOL! I was getting pretty desperate at this point. I mean how long can I cook this cream? I decided to ditch the bain-marie method, put it on direct low heat and a few more drops of lemon juice for the road. Blink! Blink! Like magic, it was thickening. (yes, for a minute there, I doubted my own eyes) Hurray! Did a happy cheese dance 'I'm so excited. Yeah yeah yeah!'
OK, now that I had it thickened... How do I know what's the right consistency? Did a little stove dance: burner, off burner, back to burner as I wasn't sure if it was thick enough. LOL! Anyway, after a while, I decided to stop the musical stove with my mascarpone and let it cool for 20 minutes. Miracle! It had thickened. As I had to leave for grocery shopping, I put it in the fridge to cool while it was kinda warm. Came back a few hours later and found a nice thick textured mascarpone. Did a finger dip - tasted fantastic! I didn't have any water dripping from the sieve like some other bloggers did. By the way, I didn't use cheese cloth for this - don't even know where to buy it here in France so I used the alternative: hub's good old cotton handkerchief. And yes, it's a freshly cleaned one if any of you were wondering. It works like a charm.
(taken from Vera's Recipe for Homemade Mascarpone Cheese)
Makes: 12oz/ 340gm of mascarpone cheese
I like the tastes of home-made mascarpone better than the one bought from the store. It's creamy and silkenly delicious. I don't really know how to describe but it just taste differently good.
If the above method doesn't work for you, cook the cream on direct very low heat. But be careful not to burn it or else you will get a burnt flavoured mascarpone cheese.
If you don't have any cheesecloth at home, you can also use cotton kitchen towel, a big handkerchief or any coarse cloth. You can also use those newborn cotton nappy cloth that we often us as diapers, light blanket or wipers etc.
HAPPY NEW YEAR! May all of you be basked with joy, happiness, prosperity, health & laughter all year long.
Woohoo! 2009 ends today. Good riddance, indeed! It has been a long and hard year for not just me, but for everyone around the world. I'm so looking forward to 2010 - it sure looks promising with economy bouncing back more or less globally. Let's usher the new year with a big bang of our own - be it singing, cheering, horning, setting off fire crackers or fireworks or even popping champagne with our family and friends.
Like every year, we celebrate New Year's Eve together with my parents-in-law at their house. Mom-in-law has already prepared half of the dinner (Boudin Blanc and Potato Pie) and dessert (Cherries Clafoutis) for tonight. Mind you, sometimes I think my mom-in-law is Wonder Woman in disguise. LOL! Now she is off for a walk in the woods with Little One who is bouncing all over the house full of energy.
What is a festive celebration without chocolates and cookies (besides good wine and champagne) ? And cookies, we definitely have made. Together with my sister-in-law, we made Amaretti - an Italian macaroon over Christmas. It's incredibly simple to make... you don't even need any baking skills. So if you are a beginner and wants to impress your loved ones during this festive season, try this. It's quite fool proof!
Crunchy outside, soft inside with a strong flavor of almonds: just yummy! You can definitely put these in the "this time it's the last one" sort of treats - can't stop eating them!
The cookies tend to be soft when first taken out of the oven but will harden once it is in contact with air. Do know your oven well and adjust the baking temperature and timing accordingly. If your cooled cookies are not done in the middle due to oven not hot enough, you can always put the cookies back into the oven for a few more minutes.
I noticed that there are many version (with some slight variations of flavouring) out there for making amaretti but I like this recipe the best - it's simple and it tastes excellent.
I first heard about Daring Bakers a few months after I started my own food blog. I was intrigued by it and loved the monthly challenges they issue to participating bakers, bringing them to a new heights each month. But I felt intimidated as I was really a novice (and still am!). Now after two years of baking and cooking and lots of hesitation, I decided to just jump right on the wagon and learn how to swim with the experts if I have to. So here I am, my very first Daring Bakers Challenge.
For this november 2009 challenge, the Daring Bakers are taking out their woks: yes, we are frying. But all the same we still need our faithful rolling pin to do the hard work. This month's host, Lisa Michele of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drives chose the Italian pastry, Cannolo (Cannoli is plural) - a fried, tube shaped pastry shell filled with mixed creamy fillings of sweetened ricotta cheese, chocolate, candied fruit or zest and sometimes nuts. It can also be filled with pastry cream, mousses, ice cream etc. The origin of cannoli dates back to Sicily, where it was prepared during the Carnival season or Mardi Gras and it is said to be a symbol of fertility.
In all honesty, when it was announced that we would not be baking this month, I was very disappointed. But it wasn't long before the Cooking Ninja rose to the challenge and tackled it with a gusto. I did however run into a few problems with my cannoli, it wasn't going as well as I expected. In fact I almost throw in the towel on this challenge as I was going no where with my dough. It kept ballooning up like a little pregnant blob, while everyone else turned out beautiful except mine and I had no idea why. Using all my Ninja spirit I gave it one last try, and I'm glad I did as it finally turned out exactly how it was supposed to be. I wouldn't be that head banging frustrated while making this cannoli if I had only RTFM: the most important thing to remember when making this is to ROLL the DOUGH REAL PAPER THIN and make sure the cut out is 3" to 5" big. Duh! So now you know the trick, so please don't make the same hair pulling mistakes like I did.
Makes 22-24 cannoli
For Cut Out Shaped Cannoli
Filling the Cannoli
(The dough is not rolled thin enough and cut out is too small.)
The shell itself is very tasty - crispy, lightly flavoured with cinnamon & wine and only a hint of sweetness. Even without stuffing, it's quite addictive. With the filling, it brings you to another high in the taste department. Simply delicious!
Now if you didn't roll them thin enough like I did with my first 2 batch, your cannoli will taste like puff up deep fried pastry - like deflated donuts. They are still very good and addictive, just not crunchy.
You can replace the wine with fruit juice like grapes, orange, cranberry, apple juice etc (any sweet fruit juice) but add a little more vinegar, this is to ensure that there is enough acidity to relax the dough so that it is easier to work on.
No Cannoli tubes? No problem! Just saw off a few sticks off a broom or mob handle. Voilà, you have cannoli tubes. Or you can wrap your dough around pasta shapes like penne or rigatoni or cannelloni - this works too.
Tomato has always been my favourite fruit, or more precisely favorite veggie until I learned it was actually not one. So what makes a fruit a fruit and a vegetable, a vegetable? Basically if it has seeds, then technically (botanically), it's a fruit. So does that means cucumbers, green beans and walnuts are all fruits? Yes. And the rest of the plant where the fruit is from like the leaves (spinach), stems (celery), roots (carrots) and flowers (cauliflower) are referred as vegetables.
For the record, tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C, A & K, molybdenum, potassium, magnesium, dietary fiber, chromium, and vitamin B1,B2 & B6, folate, copper, niacin, iron, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, vitamin E and protein. With all these healthy benefits, we should eat more of this fruit. Don't you agree?
Tomatoes are sensitive to cold, so don't put unripe tomatoes in the refrigerator as the cold temperature will impede their ripening process. It is best to store them at room temperature and out of direct sunlight. However, if the overripe tomatoes are not ready to be eaten, keep them in the refrigerator (it will keep for another one or two more days). Tomatoes stored in the refrigerator tend to lose flavor but they will regain maximum flavour and juiciness if taken out 30 minutes before using them. To hasten the ripening process, place tomatoes in a paper bag with a banana or apple.
As you might guessed it by now, today's recipe is all about tomatoes, lots of it. Today I'm introducing a very popular Italian sauce called marinara sauce. Why is it popular? Simply because it is very quick and easy to prepare and the simplicity of this sauce makes it a very common and versatile base for many Italian dishes. The word marinara derives from the Italian word for sailor, marinaro (please correct me if I'm wrong). This sauce dated back to the 16th century, originated from Naples - back then, it was a very popular sauce to cook by the cooks on board sailing ships as it is easy to whip up, meatless and the high acid content of the tomatoes makes the sauce last longer.
This is my all time favourite pasta sauce. I have tried so many times to replicate this sauce sans success until my mom-in law gave me this book recently. All that went wrong with my 'tryings' is simply I didn't add enough tomatoes. Duh! Something so simple yet has such big enough impact on it. Amazing, isn't it.
Taken from Cooking Light - Pasta
Obviously it's very tomatoey, and you'll taste the difference if you use quality tomatoes. I only had dried basil and persil but this was so flavorful and "sunny", just imagine using fresh ones! Little One loves it and so did the adults who had 2nd and 3rd helpings.
Normally I cook a big batch of it and freeze the sauce in small batches - it comes in handy on days when I don't know what to cook or run out of food in the fridge or a very hungry kid or adults who can't wait for me to slave over the stove to present a big meal.
For some kick in the pasta, add some dried chili when you are cooking the garlic. You can either remove them before adding the tomato or just leave them in. If you have little mouths, scoop up some sauce aside for them and throw in some freshly cut chilies to the rest of the sauce for adults.
Score a small 'X' with a knife at the bottom of each tomatoes. Place them in boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and quickly plunge them in iced water to stop the cooking. The skin is easily removed once the tomatoes are cooled.
Peachy! that's exactly how I would describe Little One, in spite of the fact that she is currently having a bad case of flu. One would think a child this sick would sleep through the night. No, not my daughter. She has to be special... waking up every few hours through out the night. I don't know which is scarier - being caught in a nightmare or being woken up from a nightmare with sound of your bedroom door opening, someone calling out 'mommy' sending your heart 'boom boom boom' hurling off your chest. Oh mind you, she wasn't cranky with sleepy eyes, she was in fact very much wide awake like 'ok, I'm done with sleep. Now it's time to get up and play', even talked and joke with me while I accompanied her several times back to bed. Heaven above, give me strength!
Now the other reason for her present state of euphoria : PRESCHOOL! She LOVES it, BREATHES it and EMBRACES it totally. Today, we enter the 3rd week of school and one would think her enthusiasm has worn off... no, no, no. She is excited about it as she did on her 1st day. At the sound of activity in the kitchen in the morning, she would quickly hop out of bed, come down with a keen look on her face: 'mommy, time for school?'. Just last Sunday, she got up early, we were having some quiet time together when suddenly she said: 'Mommy, it's time to dress me up for school or we'll be late..' When I explained to her that there is no school on Sunday, she was crestfallen but immediately cheered up when I told her she has school the next day. I have to say that her enthusiasm for school is quite infectious.
Cute and great as her eagerness might be, it's wearing her parents off. Ever since school started, no ever since she turned 3, she explodes with boundless energy - no matter how little sleep she seems to get. Don't tell me she inherited from her paternal grandfather who needs only 5 hours of sleep. If that's really the case, we are in for a very rough ride. For my sanity sake, I hope it is just a passing phase.
To celebrate the state of Miss Little Peachy, here's a simple recipe taken from Cuisine Vénitienne.
Making the Pastry
Making the tart
Obviously a fruity dessert - if like my other half you are more into creamy, rich desserts this will probably not be your cup of tea. I personally love this tart, the flaky crust, the light sweetness and the peaches whose flavor stays true to the fruit.
It's funny how I have thought for years that lasagne were difficult and complicated to make - I mean, looking at the multiple layers of pasta and tomato sauce oozing out with the cripsy cheese on top etc. I thought only chef could whip that up... definitely not for the layman I used to be.
Now you would have thought that since I have now done quite a few dishes, making lasagne would be child's play for me... well, a few days ago I was still thinking that making lasagne was really complicated and beyond my cooking capability. Why in the world do I still think that way, I have no idea. It's strange, isn't it. However after making these lasagne the other night, I realised that sometimes something that may look complicated sometime isn't. You should have seen my jaw dropped on the floor when I was preparing them - it is really is child's play: a layer of this and a layer of that, repeat it a few times and top it with grated cheese. Et voilà !
For this post, I really have Pierre and Michèle to thank for. Why ? If not for him thinking of his mom's lasagne and requesting for it, I wouldn't have overcome my cooking shyness. And thank you Michèle for sharing your recipe with us.
Serves : 6
Making Meat Sauce (Bolognese)
Making Béchamel Sauce
The flavour of meat sauce and béchamel blend so nicely together giving these lasagne a rich and creamy taste that makes you long for the next bite, just to get more of the flavour. It is so good that you can easily over-indulge yourself. So be warned! The texture is a bit rich because I put a lot of béchamel sauce, you might want to put a little bit less of it if you like your lasagne to feel less creamy.
This is a great dish to prepare in several quantity and freeze it to be baked later whenever you wish.
Btw: In the US, this dish is commonly known as 'lasagna' (singular) while the rest of the world refer it as 'lasagne' (plural).