Tuesday, 8 April 2014


I often get corrected on my spelling, but I make lasagne, not lasagna. I have nothing against lasagna, but I met lasagne first, so that's what I make.

Lasagna originates in Italy, and although the version most people outside of Italy is slightly different, it's based on a recipe of a tomato-based sauce, usually with meat, and a soft cheese, interlayered with sheets of pasta.

On its travels from Italy lasagna went through France, where a different way of doing it arose. It got a new spelling, courtesy of the French, and then it travelled onwards to Britain. And, the big flat sheets of pasta were sold there in the 1970s with the French recipe on the box. Which was where we met, you see. That's where/when I learned to cook.

When I make lasagne for my Canadian friends, they seem to really enjoy it, and some have copied it for variety. So here's what we do in this house:

First we make a meat and tomato sauce, adding any vegetables we happen to have. For example last night we used green peppers and mushrooms. Zucchini is very good in this, as is spinach, but frankly you can use anything.

What Tom did last night was typical:

Brown ground beef, pour off the fat, add diced onions and garlic, green pepper and mushroom, sauté until veggies are tender then add tomato sauce (plain or flavoured, whatever you like) along with some black pepper, and Italian herbs. As its April and I don't do dried basil we also added some pesto. You can add a glass of red wine at this point, if you like.

Then make a fairly thick béchamel and add a goodly amount of grated cheese. Last night we used all old cheddar, but you can use a blend, and do include some parmesan or romano (we were out).

Layer so that you end up with the cheese sauce on the top and bake until it looks like this

ALWAYS make more than you need because something magical happens to leftover lasagne. When reheated for lunch the next day it's not just better but ten times better.

Opinions of what salad to serve with lasagne vary, but I prefer to serve a garden salad with no dressing. Yes, you heard me, no dressing. Lasagne is so rich I like that freshness to counteract it.

Saturday, 5 April 2014


I can't believe I haven't already done this.


Quiche is a staple food in my family, and we eat it year-round. I do mini quiches when I'm entertaining, in a muffin pan. You can too, but here I'm showing you regular pie-sized quiches.

Now the thing about quiche is that it doesn't matter what the filling is. You can use anything. Seafood is good, veggies are good, spicy sausage is good, etc etc.

But my default quiche is bacon, onion, mushroom, and tomato. As follows:

First you need a pastry crust. I have Tom, who makes the best pastry outside of France. You can make it, buy it pre-made, buy it frozen, or whatever, but you need a pastry case. Tip: roll it out slightly thicker than usual as the filling is runny to begin with.

Use any type of pie dish you like:

The nest step is to fill it with whatever you like. I begin with cheese. When I say cheese I mean old cheddar, that's my default cheese:

Then add onion, we used a mixture of white, red, and green:

Bacon, partially cooked:


And now we need the substance of the thing, which is a custard of egg and milk, with salt and pepper to season. There is no absolute amount here, the object is to cover the other ingredients, just remember to use 3 eggs to every cup of milk. (But, cream is better, use any cream you have. If it's the thickest types, add another egg). DO NOT fill it right to the top. Egg rises.

Finally, top with tomato:

And put it in the oven (175C, 350F, I have no idea what that is in British gas). Cook until top is golden, and filling is set (test with a skewer). It will set a bit more as it cools, but don't take it out of the oven if it's still runny. It can take up to an hour, depending on how deep it is, but we cook 4 at a time, after 20 minutes we swap them around in the oven, top to bottom and vice versa. After 40 minutes, check for "doneness".

Quiche is intended to be served COLD, but I have family members who prefer it warm, so I humour them. I like it next day, fully cold, and served with a salad. It gets better with age, within reason, and I'm told it keeps for 5 days in the fridge, but it never lasts that long here.