Monthly Archives: February 2016

Lentil Moussaka

7Leonardo Di Caprio won the Oscar for sleeping in a horse’s carcass. That alone, no matter how truly amazing he was in the movie (I can’t tell you, I haven’t seen it) makes us want to steer clear of meat for at least a few days, even if I have honestly been #teamLeo, ever since the Basketball Diaries, I swear.

We had some potatoes and some eggplants in the fridge, so Mr S and I looked at each other and telepathically decided to make a veggie moussaka.

I have had this book for a while, it is called The Hungry Student Vegetarian Cookbook and have only tried a few recipes, which turned out pretty good. It is a vegetarian book, one of those “Hungry student” things, and, honestly, I didn’t know what to make of it. But my first couple of efforts turned out ok, so I decided to give it another go.

Lentil Moussaka was right in there, so I thought “why not?”

Now, this recipe asks for a lentil moussaka without potatoes. Keeping in mind that recipes are merely suggestions, I tweaked it a bit, and I hope the author won’t mind. Because, honestly, I don’t know why anyone would skip the potatoes.

All the rest was awesome, though, so thumbs up, book!

 

Lentil Moussaka

6

1 large potato, cut in thin slices

For the filling

1 onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves

about 200gr lentils (more, less, I always opt for more) [See Note 1]

2 eggplants, sliced thinly (not paper-thin, let’s not go crazy. Normal) [See Note 2]

Cinnamon

Oregano

One can chopped tomatoes or about 1 – 1 1/2 cup tomato passata

Salt and pepper

For the topping

300gr full-fat greek yogurt

60gr flour

2 egg yolks

Grated cheese of your choice

 

Preheat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius

1

While the oven is preheating (seriously) place the sliced potato in a pan and stick them in there, seasoned with salt and pepper. Leave them there while you’re preparing the rest, making sure you don’t burn them. If you see them start to brown, take them out, we just want them to be nice and tender.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onion. Cook for five minutes, add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes more.

2

Add the eggplant and cook for about 15 minutes, until soft and starting to shrink. When you see that happening, add the tomato, the lentils, the cinnamon and oregano and season it well. Let it bubble.

While it is bubbling, add all the ingredients for the topping save the grated cheese in a bowl and whisk. Be careful because the flour will go everywhere! Do it slowly!

Once everything is done, it is time for the assembly. In a large baking dish, first layer the potatoes.3

Follow that with the lentil – eggplant mixture and then the topping. To make the topping go everywhere, just smooth it with the curved side of a large spoon towards the edge of the dish.

4

Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and put it in the oven. Bake for 35-40 minutes (depending on your oven).

5

We ate it so hot, I can still feel my tongue as we speak.

I hope you like it. Let me know what you think.

 

Note 1: I am really not used to canned lentils. I don’t get them. If I want lentils, I make them. That’s what I did here. I boiled about 200gr of lentils, a garlic clove and half an onion until they were done, and used that. But if you want to use canned lentils, by all means.

 

Note 2: I sliced the eggplants, but you can also cut them in small squares or rounds, whatever you like. Like I said, recipes are mere suggestions. Just make sure they are cooked.

 

Note 3 (unrelated to cooking): Out of all the gorgeous dresses from last night, Kate Blanchett completely nailed it. That dress on her, oh my, it was like Mother Nature hugged her, blessed her and sent her off to the Oscars. Good job, my lady.

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Oscar night

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It’s Oscars night tonight and here at camp Chez Nous we are all very excited to once again celebrate that glorious fest that is this yearly ceremony.

We have The Booze, The Coffee, The Blankets and, naturally, The Food, that promises to get us through the small hours and keep us awake until Chris Rock says “Goodnight” and makes it yet again “legal” to yawn and fall asleep on the couch.

Of course, this year things will probably be different. My friend, A., my partner in Oscars-crime, lives hours away (by plane, mind you) and I have a class early in the morning, so it will be long before Chris Rock says “Goodnight” that it will actually be okay for me to shut my eyes and ZzzZZzzZZZzzZzZZzZZzz in front of the TV.

One thing won’t change: the food.

Since we will be catching the whole red carpet action before the actual awards (yasss!), I am sure to get The Guilt – you know, that feeling you get when Anne Hathaway looks gorgeous in a dress even your hanger doesn’t fit in, and you’re there, fingers yellow with Cheetos residue, mayo sandwiches and kreatopitakia winking at you from the end table, your pyjamas’ waistband leaving its mark on your skin.

So, this year we are going “light”.

No Cheetos, no kreatopitakia, just some salad, oven roasted potatoes and a steak. Yes, a steak.

And Spritz, of course, because, yeah… eh… it helps me sleep!

That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

 

So, this is what will be happening in our apartment, about an hour before the red carpet starts. You can do it along with us and share your results

 

Oven Roasted Potatoes

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About ½ kilo baby potatoes

2 garlic cloves

A few TBs olive oil (A few does not mean 20, it means about 4 – I may have used less)

Salt, pepper

Grated cheese (Parmiggiano is awesome, but, honestly, use the one you like best. Parmiggiano is the one I like best)

1 lemon

 

Preheat your oven at 200 degrees Celsius (400 Fahrenheit).

Make sure your potatoes are clean. I wash them, then scrub them, make sure there’s no dirt on them. That’s because we won’t peal them. If you peal baby potatoes, seriously, why? Why?

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Cut them in half and put them in a bowl. You want to choose the bowl wisely, because you will be serving your potatoes in that bowl. Toss them with the oil, the garlic cloves, salt and pepper and make sure every little potato-half is covered with that nice, garlic-y goo.

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Place them on a rack, cut side up and put them in the oven, on the upper third. Bake them for 25-30 minutes, depending on how big your potatoes are.

Do not wash the bowl, you’ll need it. I saw that part on Epicurious, that guy was a genius.

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When they are nice and golden, take them out and place them back in the bowl. Toss them with the the cheese of your choice and put them back on the rack and back in the oven for another 10 minutes, or until your cheese is nice and melted.

Take them out, put them in the bowl and toss them in some lemon juice. Taste one for seasoning. Then steal another one before anyone sees you.

Serve.

If you want some extra heat, I suggest adding some red hot chili pepper along with the garlic and the oil, the salt and the pepper. Yum.

 

Steak

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About 450-500gr beef steak

Rock salt

Some olive oil

Pepper (optional)

 

This is the easiest thing ever. Our goal was to do “Bistecca alla fiorentina”, which is a T-bone steak grilled over a wood or charcoal fire, seasoned with salt and a little bit of black pepper, and olive oil, applied immediately after you take the meat out of the heat. Unfortunately for us our butcher shop was out of T-bone steaks when we went there, so we had to settle for a no bone steak. But we made sure to get a pretty thick and large cut so that it would be as close as possible to the “real thing”!

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So, no salt, no pepper, no nothing! Just place the meat on the grill and let the heat do its job. Cook the steak to your liking (5 minutes on each side did the job for us). Take the steak out of the fire, put it on a plate, season with some rock salt (you know, the one with the large sized grains, some black pepper and some olive oil and let it rest for a couple of minutes. That’s it!

rosemary

Some like to add herbs, after the steak is done, so rosemary, thyme, maybe some garlic (don’t overdo it). The secret is to let the herbs accompany the taste, not cover it! It’s all about the meat!

Enjoy it with some beer. Or some wine. We’ll be having both!

So that will be our Oscars feast. Let me know what you think – or what you made!

 


New beginnings

This is not a recipe post. This is a new adventure post.

I have been in Florence for a while and will stay here for a while, until I leave – the decision to keep moving, you know,  keeps me moving! 🙂

So this is what we ate here today. Street food in Florence is out of this world!

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One is a veggies, scamorza and pesto toast and the other one is a bacon, cheddar and scrambled eggs toast. Both from I’Tosto, right under the Duomo!

I hope everyone is okay and everyone always tries new things! I will be cooking and #fooking soon!

 

 


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