With a crunchy top and a creamy center, Lasagna Bolognese is the king of baked pastas. Our version adds fontina cheese to the béchamel with adds to the earthy richness.
Greetings, rebel scum!
Before we get into this week’s recipe, I want to make a clarification about last week’s post: the chocolate babka. You might remember that one of us (okay, it was me) declared it to be an excellent treat for either Easter or Passover, whichever was your preference. We were inundated with literally several letters pointing out that the babka is yeasted, and a traditional Passover, one might say, tends to skew towards the unleavened. The Hebrews fleeing Egypt weren’t, after all, told “Take what you have and scarper, there’s no time to let your bread rise, oh, unless you’re making babka or something, that would be awesome, oh, good work on the pyramids btw”. So, my apologies for that slip, and please tell Uncle Mort it won’t happen again.
This week’s dish is so much recipe – very so much recipe, wow – we actually had to enlist the help of a third Nerd, our most excellent and game friend Heather, who stayed with us this weekend and whose initial idea it was to make lasagna. Now, I made lasagna at uni – I think we all did – and it’s the easiest thing imaginable, you buy your jar of Ragu and a good cheap packet of dried lasagna, bit of cheese of some kind, Double Gloucester probably, cheddar will do at a pinch, bit of milk, nutmeg, there you have it, one lasagna, lovely.
(That sound you hear is Emily retching and then fainting).
Chocolate babka: a sweet bread treat made with enriched dough and layered with chocolate – a weekend project you’ll be glad you made.
Greetings, Easter (and Passover***) bunnies!
***This babka is leavened and therefore not suitable for Passover, if your family, unlike ours, cares about such things. Read Matt’s full, sincere and amusing apology at the bottom of the post.
It may have slipped out in the course of this blog that one of us is Jewish, and the other of us is English. These are not, frankly, genres that strike awe into the hearts of home chefs (although Nigella Lawson does pretty well for herself) . When our best friends in town got married, they catered the reception with dishes from Italy (his family heritage), and soul food from New Orleans (hers). It was awesome. A Jewish-British catered wedding? Maybe not so much.
An Easter/(not)Passover*** dessert option, though? Now you’re talking.
Tender boneless chicken, spinach, mushrooms and leeks cooked in a creamy wine sauce. This looks and tastes fancy, but it’s a quick and easy weeknight dinner.
In our ongoing quest to resurrect interest in under-appreciated vegetables, I present this week’s subject: the leek.
We don’t get too excited about leeks in the U.S. but we should. They’re healthy, easy to grow*, cheap to buy, and best of all, really tasty.
* Theoretically, and according to rumors I read on the internet. Matt and I, conversely, have zero luck growing leeks. Nada. Zilch. They sprout beautifully but then … nothing. They turn spindly and never really get very big. They end up more like thick scallions. It’s quite rude of them if you think about it, because here I am telling the world (our 5 readers, anyway, hello there *waves*) how great leeks are and they can’t even be bothered to make an effort in the garden. Oh well. It’s broccoli rabe this year, I’m telling you.
There are very few foods that deliver as much bang for your buck as fresh steamed mussels. They are crazy cheap and when cooked well, one of the most delicious proteins that can be plucked from the sea.
They have a mild, sweet flavor that can win over even the fish-ambivalent. Seriously, if you’re kind of on the fence about seafood, or are intimidated about cooking it, mussels are your friend. I mean, not your literal friend, that would be weird. And sad because you’re going to steam them in a delicious buttery broth which would be awkward if you’ve named them. (Sorry, Algernon.)
I’m totally the type of person who, if it were socially acceptable, would outfit everything in my house with ‘the clapper’. In fact, if someone invented one that cooked dinner and made cocktails, I’d be flamenco-ing myself silly.
What I’m saying is, I don’t really like to make extra work for myself.
Even though I obviously enjoy cooking, I’ve never been tempted to make my own ketchup. Heinz already rocks that market. Make my own Worcestershire sauce? Um… no thanks. Mayonnaise? That’s another story.