Tuesday, 23 February 2010

today was a busy cooking day. i made a vegetable lasagna, mango sauce and a banana bread.
mango sauce is super easy. they've been on sale at aldi recently for like 39p or something stupid. buy them in a regular grocery store and they will set you back like £1.75. my son and husband love mango sauce mixed into plain yogurt. it's also way better for you and much cheaper than buying massed produced mango flavored yogurt.
so mango sauce- i just use a regular veg peeler to get the skin off. i carefully slice the flesh off the pit. i chop up the flesh and just toss the chunks in a pot to simmer with a little water. when the mango is cooked a bit i puree it with a stick blender.

vegetable lasagna
i chop up half an eggplant, a small onion, half a bell pepper, some white mushrooms and a small zucchini. all that gets tossed in a pot and sauted  with some dried basil, oregano, garlic powder and onion powder. cook until the veg is soft. i let the veg mix cool for a bit.
i use jar sauce. i usually make lasagna once a week and i really don't have the time and energy to make a pot of homemade sauce for that. so jar of sauce and some ricotta cheese, pasta sheets- uncooked, fresh mozzarella- sliced thinly.
dump the ricotta into a bowl and mix with about a 1/2cup of sauce. should be a nice pink color and easy to spread.
get your oven proof casserole dish, put a layer of sauce in the bottom. this helps keep the lasagna from sticking, making it easier to get out of the pan. so layer of sauce and then first layer of pasta sheets- straight out of the box. even if it doesn't say- no need to precook, i still don't bother cooking them. my casserole dish takes two sheets side by side. on top of the sheets i spread down a layer of the ricotta and sauce mix. on top of that i dump some of the cooked veggies. i spread the veggies out. on top of the veggies i put a couple tablespoons of sauce. after the sauce i put a few slices of mozzarella spaced around the sheets. then you just repeat the process. i make sure to alternate the direction of the layers. one layer -, next layer | so the layers are +. i usually get about 4 layers before i run out of veggies. on the last layer i do pasta, ricotta, dump the rest of the jar of sauce out, spread around. i put on whatever mozzarella is left and sprinkle some parmigiana cheese. now if you have time, it's really great to let the whole thing sit in the fridge for an hour or so. since i'm a slacker i usually don't have time for the thing to sit, so i just cover the dish with foil and bang it in the oven at 350 for an hour. there is enough moisture in the sauce, ricotta and steam from cooking covered that the pasta gets cooked nicely and is not soggy or over done.if you have time to let the lasagna sit for awhile before cooking there is not much need to cook it covered since the moisture leaks out when it rests. also if you cook it covered you might want to save the mozzarella and parm to about 15min before the end of cooking time before putting it on, the cheese has a tendency to stick to the foil.
banana bread
family recipe, super easy. instead of greasing and flouring the loaf tin i use those paper inserts, they rule.

1 1/2cups flour
1 teaspoon each of baking soda/salt
2 large eggs
2 ripe bananas- mashed
3/4cup brown sugar packed
1/3cup each veg oil/milk
1/2cup chopped nuts

1] heat oven to 350
stir together floor, baking soda and salt in small bowl, set aside
2] stir together eggs, banana, brown sugar, oil, and milk in medium bowl until well blended.
add dry ingredients and nuts to banana mixture. stir to combine
3] pour into greased and floured loaf pan. bake until wooden pick comes out clean- about 1hr
use wooden spoon to mix things

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