Vegetable Laden Lasange 

Laden? – heavily loaded or weighed down.  Synonyms:  loaded, burdened, piled high, fully charged, encumbered, oppressed, taxed, hampered. But by no means will this veggie packed lasagne make you feel like these words described above.

INGREDIENTS:

  • coconut oil for frying
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons crushed garlic
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and grated into long slices
  • 2 baby gems or baby marrows, cut into thin slices
  • 2 leeks, chopped
  • 1 small-medium butternut
  • half a packet spinach
  • 1 large brinjal
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 200gr cheese + extra for topping
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • sheets lasagne
Thanks to my KitchenAid, I love making my own pasta.  So in this recipe, I used fresh lasagne.

METHOD:

  1. Prepare your vegetables.  Get your Mise en Place in order, as this lasagne needs you to be quite prepared and calm, or it may make you feel you took on too much.
  2. In a medium – large pot, heat about 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the onion until they’re soft.  Once transparent, add in the butternut, carrot, brinjal, baby marrow, leeks and brinjals. Lastly add the spinach.  Cover the pot and cook on a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the cans of tomato, nutmeg, oregano and season with salt and pepper.  Allow to cook for about 25-30 min.  The vegetables should be cooked enough not to be raw, but should hold its shape. Switch off the heat and leave the vegetables in the pot.
  4. Now it’s time to make your béchamel sauce.  In a small pot, melt the butter on medium heat, then add the flour while whisking to prevent clumps.  It should form a ball and move away from the sides of the pot.  Once it has done that, gradually add the milk.  Don’t stop whisking.  Your sauce should be smooth and thick. Now add the mustard and the grated cheese.  Give it a good stir and switch off the stove.  Remember to have a taste, as you may need to season with salt and pepper.
  5. In a large oven proof dish, start the layers……..as follows: vegetable, pasta, béchamel, pasta, vegetable, béchamel and grated cheese.  (Basically two layers of each, except the cheese topping).
  6. Allow the dish to rest.
  7. Bake in the oven at 180-200degC for about 25-30 minutes, or until the topping is golden brown and bubbling with cheesy love.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 15 min before serving.

You may have noticed I have mince in my photos, but I didn’t mention it in the ingredients or method sections.  That’s because this is actually a vegetable lasagne recipe, but I added mince as an extra added bonus for my husband.  If you are planning on adding mince, add one layer of it in between the béchamel and pasta layer; vegetable, pasta, béchamel, mince, pasta, vegetable, béchamel and grated cheese.
  

Cooked veg


First layer of vegetables

All the layers are in and it’s ready for baking.

     

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to comment below or on Facebook.

MuchLasangeLuv

Sandy Nouwens

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FOCACCIA 

Focaccia time!

I’m all for easy bread recipes, and here is another one!  You’re welcome!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 205-230gr organic flour
  • 3ml salt
  • 5ml sugar
  • half a sachet instant dry yeast (±5gr)
  • 15ml olive oil
  • ±100ml warm water

TOPPING:

  • 80ml olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon flaked salt
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic
  • sundried tomatoes or peppers
  • fresh rosemary
  • olives

METHOD:

  1. Sift the dry ingredients together in an electric bowl.
  2. Add the olive oil and warm water and slowly mix together for about 5 min.
  3. If it looks too runny, add tablespoons full of flour.  It should form an elastic and pliable dough ball.
  4. Cover the bowl with cling wrap and a kitchen towel and allow to double in size.
  5. Remove the dough from the bowl and knock it back on a lightly floured surface.  Using a rolling pin, roll it out about 1cm thick.
  6. Place onto a baking pan. (I used my pizza pan).  Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and allow to rise again for about 20 min.
  7. Make indentations with your fingertips and then add your toppings.
  8. You don’t have to use all the toppings mentioned above, however sticking to THREE, would be a good choice.  A focaccia isn’t a pizza.
  9. Pour only about 2/3 of the olive oil when adding y0ur toppings of choice.
  10. Bake in the oven at 200degC for about 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
  11. Serve straight out the oven!

Enjoy!

 


  

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MuchFocacciaLuv

Sandy Nouwens

Roti Flat Breads 

Roti Flat Wraps

Normally Roti is associated with a chicken curry, but I had left over chicken (not curry) and I wanted to use it to make a wrap.  Roti wraps were the answer.  I don’t know about you, but I enjoy left overs.  Especially if I can make something different with it again.

INGREDIENTS:

  • ±140gr flour, preferably organic cake flour
  • ±15ml cooking oil
  • ±125ml boiling water
  • melted butter or oil for frying

METHOD:

  1. Sift the flour into a mixing bowl.
  2. Add the cooking oil and boiling water and kneed for 5 minutes, until elastic and starts forming a dough.
  3. Turn onto a floured surface.  Dust your hands and roller, as the dough is still quite sticky.
  4. Roll out a about a plate size and brush with melted butter. Divide the dough into 4 pieces and cover it with a clean kitchen cloth.
  5. Prepare your filling.
  6. Roll out the dough portions on a lightly floured surface into a thin later, almost the size of a side plate or larger if possible.
  7. Lightly drizzle a pan with some oil on medium heat.
  8. Lightly brush the rotis with melted butter or oil.
  9. Fry until golden brown on both sides.
  10. Fill with your chicken filling and fold in sides.

  

TIPS:

I had made a sweet and sticky chicken ‘stew’ before.  So I removed the meat, after which I  heated it up with the sweet sauce, mashed pumpkin and I then added peas and corn for an added texture.

I topped it with feta cheese and basil.

Remember to add enough salt to your filling, as the rotis contain no salt.

MuchFilledLuv

Sandy Nouwens

Homemade Honey & Syrup Marshmallows

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons gelatine (granulated)
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup regular syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • maizina (corn starch to coat)

METHOD:

  1. Prepare a tray or flat cake pan with non-stick spray, then add baking or wax paper.  Allow to stick over the sides, so that it’s easier to remove the set marshmallow once done. Spray non-stick again over the paper, and sprinkle generously with maizina (corn starch).
  2. Pour 1/2 a cup of water into an electric mixing bowl with the 3 tablespoons gelatine.  Leave to soften.
  3. In a medium pot, stir the other 1/2 cup of water, honey, syrup, essence and salt together.  Allow to get to boil on medium heat, and let it boil for  about 8 minutes.
  4. Set the mixer on low  with the gelatine still in the bowl.  Slowly pour the hot syrup mix while the mixer is on.
  5. Once it’s all incorporated, set the mixer on it’s highest speed for 10 minutes.
  6. The mixture will go from a sloppy golden brown mixture to a thick, white fluffy bowl of awesomeness.
  7. Using a spatula, spread the mallow mixture into the prepared dish and allow to set for a minimum of 6 hours.
  8. Once set, remove and generously sprinkle with maizina.  Slice with a sharp knife and keep coating the sticky sides.
  9. If you have coconut flakes, roast in a pan and coat the sticky mallowy sides with the roasted coconut.
  10. Enjoy!

    
  

   img_2226

MuchMallowyLuv, BeBlessed

Sandy Nouwens

Raisin & Yogurt Bread Loaf

Bread! 

There probably isn’t a food out there equally loved or hated as much as bread.  It’s the source of most internal questioning.  “Should I have a slice, shouldn’t I?”  “Is it really good, or bad for me?”

 There is something wonderful about baking your own bread.  This recipe is extremely simple and easy, so give it a go!  You’ll feel like a star baker when you see this golden loaf of love.

img_2071-1RAISIN & YOGURT LOAF

INGREDIENTS:

  • 280gr organic cake flour
  • 150gr organic wholemeal flour
  • 15ml baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 45ml brown sugar
  • 80-100gr raisins
  • 500ml yogurt (low fat)
  • 60ml milk
  • 45ml cooking oil

METHOD:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180degC.
  2. Sieve the flours, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. (Some whole wheat husks and sugar don’t go through the sieve, just throw it all in.)
  3. Now add in the raisins.  Give it a quick mix with a spoon or spatula.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk and oil.  Add it to the dry ingredients and mix it all together.
  5. Prepare a bread pan with non-stick spray.  Scoop the batter into the pan and bake in the oven for about 55 minutes.
  6. Voila!

img_2066-1img_2068-1img_2070-1img_2069-1

TIPS:

Serve with fresh farm butter.

If you don’t have raisins, don’t worry.  Chop up some dates or figs and use that instead.

I know the recipe asks for organic ingredients.  If you can ’t find any, you can use regular flours.  But try to find ingredients that aren’t genetically modified.

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MuchBreadyLuv, BeBlessed

Sandy Nouwens

🍷 Red Wine Pears 🍐

What better combination other than red wine, sweetness, pears, pastry and mascarpone?

Feast your eyes on this dessert and enjoy this gastronomic deliciousness.

Red Wine Pears

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6-8 Pears (1 pear per person)
  • 1 bottle red wine (fruity, not dry)
  • 100ml honey
  • 100gr brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or 2 whole cinnamon sticks

METHOD:

  1. In a large pot, mix in all the ingredients together besides the pears and bring to a boil on medium heat, until the sugar has dissolved.
  2. While that’s on the go, peel the pears, but leave the stalks on.
  3. Reduce the heat to low.  Add the pears into the wine mixture, allowing them to stand upright.  Poach in the sauce for about 15 min.  Softly lay them on the sides rotating them every 15 minutes.
  4. Normally recipes say you should poach pears for about 15-20 minutes all together.  However, I feel you should rotate the pears in the sauce very gently on a very low heat for at least an hour.
  5. The sauce has to reduce to a syrup.  (You can leave the pears in or remove them.  But place them back in to reheat them before serving.)
  6. Cut circles out of thawed puff pastry, brush with milk and egg and bake in the oven until golden and crispy at 180degC.  Remove and allow to cool slightly uncovered.
  7. Once the pears are done, start setting your plate.
  8. Cut the puff pastry circles in half.  Place the pear on the puff pastry bed.  Add a generous dollop of mascarpone on the top.  Place the “lid” on the side.
  9. Drizzle some of the reduced syrup over the dessert and serve with a knife and fork.

 

  

TIPS:

Rotate the pears whilst cooking in the wine sauce as to coat the whole pear and give it an even colour.

You can prepare this dessert a day before or early on the day you’re planning on serving it. I leave the pears in the sauce until it has completely cooled down, and then reheat before serving.

Serve warm.

The longer you cook them on low heat, the better. An hour all together at the very least!

MuchWineLuv, BeBlessed

Sandy Nouwens

 

Stuffed Chicken Breast (version 1)

Stuff your chicken breasts with the filling of your choice.  In my case, I made it with ingredients I found in the fridge.

INGREDIENTS:

  • chicken breasts
  • mustard
  • olives, pitted
  • danish salami
  • mature cheddar cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • twine

METHOD:

  1. Slice the chicken breasts in half, but not all the way through.  Place onto a chopping board, cover with cling wrap and flatten it with a rolling pin.
  2. Spread the mustard on the inside of the breasts and add about 2 pitted olives, 2 slices of salami, ±2 slices cheese, season with salt and pepper.  Fold over and tie each stuffed breast with twine.  Season on the outside too.
  3. Fry in a pan on medium heat on all sides for about 15 min.  Cut through the thickest part and check that the chicken is cooked.  Cooking time varies depending on the size of the chicken breasts.
  4. Serve with vegetables and plain yogurt mixed with some lemon rind for a refreshing taste.
  5. Remember to remove the twine before serving.


  

  

TIPS:

Remember to always flatten the halved breasts to ensure even cooking.

Experiment with different stuffing flavours.

Always remove the twine before serving.

I find this method keeps the chicken tender and moist, whereas frying a whole breast as is can easily cross over that line of tenderness to dryness.

MuchLuv, BeBlessed

Sandy for Sandy’s Food & Baking Blog