Thursday, 13 February 2014

No Idea Lasagne

You know the feeling; you have had a hard day at work and you just want to chill out when you get home.  Yet you know that a really good plate of food will do just the trick in turning the day around for you; if you could only be arsed to cook it.  

That was the scenario that faced me last night.  I stared at our weird assortment of vegetables (aubergine, cabbage, a red pepper, carrots, onions, a few mushrooms, home grown lentil and mung bean sprouts and avocado) and nothing immediately sprang to my tired and lazy mind that I fancied eating.  Then I started to rummage in the store cupboard and found lasagne sheets, a can of chopped tomatoes and that vegan store cupboard must; nutritional yeast.  Another glance at the vegetables started to back up the plan of a lasagne and I set to work, after checking that I had plain flour and enough soya milk for a white sauce.  I was suddenly on a ‘ready, steady, cook’ mission!

The first step was to fry up the onion.  Often I start with this stage not knowing exactly what I’m eventually going to be cooking but my mind was already in multi-tasking mode as I simultaneously chopped up the aubergine, de-seeded the pepper and started on the white roux sauce.  The aubergine was then tossed in to cook away with the onion whilst I placed the whole pepper on a baking sheet in the already heated oven to roast.  I had plans to place the chopped up roasted pepper on the top ‘cheese’ sauce layer of the lasagne rather than lose its flavour among the main layer of veg.

With the white sauce (oil, flour, nutritional yeast and soya milk) now bubbling and thickening, I then added a dash of balsamic vinegar and a quick grate of nutmeg to finish it off.   I then halted suddenly wondering whether the aubergine mixture was enough to fill out the lasagne before I realised that I had the few mushrooms to use and that can of chopped tomatoes.  It still felt like it just needed something extra to bulk it out so I investigated the freezer and discovered a part bag of veggie mince left over from Christmas.  Perfect.  With a dash of veggie Worcester sauce, a spoon or two of tomato puree and a sprinkle of herbs the veg layer was complete and I was layering it all up into a loaf tin (complete with the roasted red pepper and a bit of vegan cheese on top) just before I had finished my first cup of tea since getting home.  It had been a fast and furious mission and the fact that the kitchen suddenly looked like a whirlwind had hit it was beside the point.  A 'reasonably healthy but proper winter stodge' meal was on its way! 

There was however now time to add a bit of a virtuous vibe to proceedings.  The cabbage and carrot provided the basis for a quick coleslaw made with a left over quarter pot of vegan sour cream, a scattering of hemp seeds and a dash of cider vinegar.  The sprouts and avocado would also feature on the team of raw side dishes.  All that was left to do was a quick tidy and wash up before I was sat in front of the roaring open fire waiting with chilled anticipation for my well-earned plate of comfort food to finish cooking.

It made me think that sometimes you just have to get on with it.  It’s a bit like going for a run.  You waste so much time dreading the run but once you are up and doing it you feel okay.  Then afterwards you feel pretty damn pleased with yourself for making the effort. 

There is no photo though as that was far too much effort last night!

Be bothered, be adventurous and enjoy!

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