Wednesday, 10 January 2007

What's For Tea?

A 2 mile run today was on the cards, and it was freezing. The chill was catching my lungs worse than any pub smoke could and I found it pretty hard. Only 2 miles too. Oh well, long way to go yet and it is only the 2nd week of January after all. But I do have a good idea for fellow waddlers to let the time fly by. It's a guessing game called What's For Tea?.

During these runs I have to drift off into a dreamland otherwise the pain of carrying 14.5 stones around the block becomes paramount. I highly recommend anybody similar to me to do this. As a terrible runner it seems to work. Well, for 2 miles anyway. Therefore my thoughts usually drift onto my favourite subject, surprise surprise, food.

Wondering what to do for tea this evening I had the challenge of having not much of a clue what I had in the fridge. We haven't done much shopping this week and we are both trying to be good, so I knew there wasn't much to get excited about. No meat, no fish and no poultry. Just vegetables. I remember seeing a bag of spinach and a few chestnut mushrooms lurking around the bottom of the fridge. Spinach and mushrooms. Not too inspiring but a start. There are always tins of beans and tomatoes and there is always some form of pasta. Aha! I had it. Ideal for a carbo hit after a run, a lasagne was the order of the day.

Lasagne is so simple, but people often just think of the Italian classic of layers of pasta, meat, sauce and béchamel. I often do a vegetarian version involving all kinds of non-meaty things, the kind of concoction that would have me shot by the Food Police over in Italy I'm sure. But when you are running low on ingredients and there is no meat around, why not? This evening I knocked up a butter bean, spinach and mushroom lasagne. Layers of goodness, hot and filling, it was seriously good. The nipper downed two lots of it and we finished the rest. My energy levels returned. And it only takes half an hour to prepare. If only I could run 2 miles in that time......

300g of spinach, well washed
250g mushrooms of choice
1 tin of butter beans (or 4 handfuls of dried, soaked overnight, boiled fast for 10 minutes then for a further hour)
2 onions
2 cloves garlic
2 tins of tomatoes (please don't be snobbish about this, tomatoes aren't in season anyway and if you can get some good Italian plum tomatoes they take some beating)
Red wine vinegar
Sheets of dried lasagne
Olive Oil

For the Béchamel
1 heaped tablespoon flour
25 g butter
500ml milk
200g cheddar cheese

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees C, GM6.
2 - Chop the onion and garlic, soften in olive oil. Slice the mushrooms and add stirring until softened and coloured.
3 - Add the tomatoes, a splash of red wine vinegar and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes. Taste for seasoning.
4 - Place the washed spinach into a large pan on the heat and stir until well wilted. Drain, cool slightly then chop roughly. Add to the sauce.
5 - Drain the butter beans and add to the sauce.
6 - To make the béchamel, melt the butter and add the flour, continually stirring for 1 minute to cook the flour out. Gradually add the milk bit by bit, again stirring continually, until you have a thick and creamy rich sauce. Grate the cheddar cheese and add to make your cheese sauce.
7 - Layer the tomato sauce with two layers of lasagne sheets in an ovenproof lasagne dish (or any suitable ovenproof dish of choice). Finish off with the cheese sauce and a grating of Parmesan.
8 - Place on the middle shelf for 30-35 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes, portion and serve.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting recipe. Made tonight. Was lovely.