Thursday, 24 April 2014

Alea iacta est - Avocado Salad with Egg and Salmon

No, don't expect any kind of history lesson, although this was one of my favourite subjects before I went to school and maybe the first few years while in it. That would be ancient history then with the pyramid building Egyptians and the Romans, yes, even Julius Caesar.
Indeed, 'alea iacta est' - 'the die has been cast'. Apart from that phrase and a few others, my Latin isn't that good anymore. Another one of my favourites is ... you probably think 'veni, vidi, vici', but no, it's 'mihi equus est', although that has never been true for me. I never had a horse.
'Alea iacta est', but not in the meaning of 'I have reached the point of no return', although that might be more true than the horse thingy. I guess, I better get on with my point then. 'Alea iacta est' can only mean one thing in my case: 'the die has been cast' and that in a literal kind of way. It's time for random recipe again. For that I always use my 100-sided die to determine a random cookbook. 
However, it wouldn't be random recipes, if there weren't another trick to come. Well, it would be random recipes, too, but it's more likely it comes with an additional twist.
This time it is that Dom has teamed up with Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes. The result of that is a random recipes and AlphaBakes combination. According to that we are heading for a random recipe starting with the letter 'A'.
Well, the first book that came up, didn't have any recipes with a letter 'A'. So I decided to roll the die again. Once more 'alea iacta est'. The second book was one that features dishes for 1 person. At least that would help not to eat too much this time, but would it be something lovely? Edible, sure, but would it be delicious and enjoyable?
There were indeed four recipes starting with the letter 'A', two sweet one including apples and two savoury ones. Fine, one of the savoury ones included apricots, but the die stopped on the final one ...

... Avocado Salad with Egg and Salmon. Oh, I might try that book again. The avocado salad was good and there was really not much effort involved to prepare it. In fact it took longer to randomly pick a recipe than actually making it.
You just have to have a hard-boiled egg and cut it into small pieces, peel and cut an avocado, cut some smoked salmon into stripes and whip up a dressing with a tbsp. of oil, the juice half a lemon, one tsp. of mustard, a pinch of cayenne pepper, a tsp. of rosemary and salt and ... there you go, a quick and light lunch, kind of.

I have another one for you ... 'errare humanum est' ... wait, one more ... 'in vino veritas', not that I am suggesting you are having some wine with the salad or that you I am going to reveal all my secrets, when you fill me with a bottle of wine.
Enough then with our Latin lesson, although you might need one or the other word of Latin in your life at some point.
Anyway, AlphaBakes random recipes ... I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did or ... well, it suffices already, if I enjoyed it, but there is no harm in making others enjoy things ...

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Warning: Extremely Delicious Vegetable Lasagne

Ha, you weren't expecting this. You thought this crazy guy would give you another one from his loose bottomed tart tin. Nope! Instead I give you something from the bottom of my heart and i hope you will love it too. Today I have a vegetable lasagne for you. 
Simple? Yes, but be warned, in my opinion this vegetable lasagne tastes extremely delicious. Of course, I have to say this, but there is only one way to prove me wrong. You would have to try it for yourself. Besides that, you will also find some ... eh ... what to call them ... eh ... let's try ... twists and an unexpected ingredient.
Less talking more cooking ...

6 lasagne sheets
1 medium aubergine
2 small courgettes
A few splashes of olive oil
1 large tomato
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp. tomato puree
100 ml water
50 ml red wine vinegar
A few basil leaves
Salt and pepper
200 ml crème fraîche
1 egg
A hand full of grated parmesan
3 tbsp. grated radish

The times I made a vegetable lasagne before, was to cook all the vegetables into a kind of sauce. However, we are not doing this today. We like to preserve the pure individual tastes of the single vegetables ... at least most of them. I was inspired to do it in a different way by watching an episode of MasterChef Australia.
Therefore we cut the aubergine and the courgettes in a way they fit to the lasagne sheets, that is they are going to be cut into fine slices. Then get a baking tray ready with some grease proof paper and heat up your oven to 180 ºC.
Be generous with salt to the sliced vegetables. Off into the oven they go for about 15-20 minutes. Just make sure, they don't get burned.
Meanwhile get your tomato sauce ready. Get a pan ready on heat. Be generous again. This time with olive oil in the pan. The ancient principle 'those who give bountifully, will receive bountifully' still applies.
Cut the tomato in small chunks and throw them into the hot oil to let them sizzle away. Finely chop your clove of garlic and toss it into the oil as well. When you start to smell the beautiful odour of the garlic on your kitchen add the tomato puree, the water and the red wine vinegar. Go through the sauce with a spoon and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. On a low heat reduce the sauce for a while. When the sauce is thick enough and you are almost finished use the basil leaves to finish off the sauce.
Before we can start putting the lasagne together we have two more jobs to do. The fist one is to pre-cook the lasagne sheets in boiling salted water for about three minutes. The second job is to prepare some kind of white sauce to put between the layers.
For this white sauce we simply ... yes, very simply ... spoon together, the crème fraîche, the egg, the parmesan and the grated radish. Well, I suppose you could use horseradish, too. 
Anyway, I used to have radish when I was way younger and then ... didn't have it for a long time. Due to the fact, that radish is in season right now, I thought I give it a go again. For sure I had something in mind for it, but I just ended up eating most of it raw. So far I never had used radish in cooking. Bravely I decided to grate some of it into my white sauce for my vegetable lasagne. Well, it worked ... well.
After this brief detour into my use of radish we get back to our lasagne. We are almost there.
Now get yourself a 20 cm x 20 cm oven-proof dish. Remember that the oven is still at 180 ºC. We start the lasagne with a splash of olive oil that you rub onto the bottom of your dish. Then a few slices of aubergine follow, two sheets of lasagne, white sauce, courgette, white sauce, lasagne sheet, aubergine courgette, white sauce, lasagne sheets and white sauce.
Well it all depends on the amount of sliced vegetables you have. Feel free to change things a tiny little bit. Just make sure, you have three layers of lasgane sheets.
Before the vegetable lasagne goes into the oven, grate some extra parmesan on top and while you are at it allow some olive oil to be drizzled on it, too.
The lasagne should go into the oven for about 15-20 minutes. It may look like this afterwards ...

You see, there is a bit of colour on it. If you want more, you have to give more. This vegetable lasagne will make for four humble portions, but be warned ... I said it before ... it tastes extremely delicious. So you might want to plan ahead for this.
Whatsoever. serve the lasagne with a few spoons of the tomato sauce on top.

You know, if you add more sauce there is more of it to enjoy and it will all drip onto your plate and you might want to do something with the plate later.
In my opinion, this vegetable lasagne was the best I had so far. You can still taste the aubergine and the courgette individual and you have a gorgeous tomato sauce, too.

I can only recommend to try it for yourself. I might be wrong here, but ... you'll never know if you don't go for it.

Speaking of going for it, this post will go to some blog challenges in no particular order ...

Elizabeth's No Waste Food challenge hosted by Ness at Jibber Jabber UK this month. Fine, I would never have thrown the remaining radish away, but here I used the left over radish in a delicious way.

Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays. Check it out for yourself!


Helen's and Michelle's Extra Veg Blog Challenge. If I haven't used some extra veg here, I don't know and then again, I used the radish as I have never used it before.

Extra Veg Badge-003

Camilla's Credit Crunch Munch. Having a vegetarian meal with vegetables either on offer or in season or both will help you to save some money.

Credit Crunch Munch

Manjiri's and Jacqueline's Pasta Please challenge. The theme for April is Olive Oil. No, I wasn't especially generous with it because of this challenge. I just wanted to and found it necessary for the sauce to work properly.

pasta please

The Four Seasons Food April Challenge from Delicieux and Eat Your Veg. The goal was to celebrate vegetables. In my opinion ... again ... this is what this very vegetable lasagne is doing.

Then we have the Simple and in Season challenge from Ren. Do I have to say it again that radish is in season?

Simple and in Season NOW OPEN

Just because I can, I add this post to Recipe of the Week from Emily, too.

Link up your recipe of the week

Last but not least we have Karen's Cooking with Herbs challenge. Guess why?

Cooking with Herbs Challenge for April