domingo, 2 de marzo de 2014

Lasagne with pumpkin bechamel


olive oil for frying
a pumpkin piece, about 300 gr
1 onion
1 leek
1 tomato
250 gr tomato puree
about 5 garlic cloves
half a zuchini
salt and pepper
grated cheese
lasagne sheets
minced meat or soymeat
one cup full fat milk
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp butter (or some more olive oil)
a pinch of cumin seeds
a vegetable stock cube
half a pepper (optional)
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon sugar

First thing, put the pumpkin piece to boil covered in water, until it is soft. Then take out the pumkin, peel it and puree it. Discard the seeds (unless you want to toast them and eat them, quite delicious, but I ve never tried doing it myself) . Don´t throw away the water. Remove the peel and puree the pumpkin. Grate the nutmeg on top of it.


Fry the chopped onion, cumin seeds, chopped garlic and chopped leeks in olive oil. Add the chopped red pepper. If you are using meat, add it now too. If you are using soy meat, soak it first in hot water for a few minutes, then add it.

 Add the tomato, cut into pieces. Add the bay leave. Fry it all thouroughly. Add a few ladlefulls of the pumkinwater and the tomatopuree. Add the stockcube. Mix and let boil on a low heat for about half an hour. Add more seasoning if neccesary. Remove the bay leaf.

In another pot, heat and melt the butter, or olive oil, and fry the flour and a pinch of salt. Bit by bit, add the milk and pumkinwater, and keep moving with a whisk or a fork, so there are no clumps of flour.  Meanwhile, add grated nutmeg to the pumpkin puree, quite a bit of it. Keep moving the sauce from time to time, and when it has thickened properly, add the pumkin puree and a spoonful of sugar.

Boil some water and add the lasagne sheets and cook them according to the instructions on their packaging. Usually about 8 minutes, with a pinch of salt and a little oil.  Depending on the size of your dish you will need about 3 or 4 sheets per layer, so all in all you need either 9 or 12. 

Keep whisking the bechamel  for a bit even after you turn off the heat.
 Season to taste with salt or half a stock cube.

Now, in a big, ovenproof dish, pour a litte of the pumkin bechamel in as a base. Then, add the first layer of lasagne sheets. Then, on top of that, ladle the red sauce.

Then another layer of red sauce, then a final layer of lasagne sheets.

Pour all the rest of the pumpkin bechamel on top of it. Then, grate the cheese on top.
Now, you can put it in the oven. At about 190 C for 40 to 50 minutes. The top should be golden and the inside not too runny.

This is even better the next day, when reheated in the oven. So it is a great dish to make ahead.

domingo, 24 de noviembre de 2013

Home made yogurt, bread, and quince preserves (Our self sufficient breakfast)

This is my self sufficient breakfast. I don´t know what John Seymour would have called it, probably he would argue that I did not milk the cow myself, and did not harvest the wheat... but it is as close as I can get :)

In fact I did pick the quinces off a nearby tree myself, and cooked the preserve. And I did make the sour dough bread, I will post a recipe on it as soon as I have tested out a few ideas I have on tweaking the original recipe.

And we make our own yoghurt at home! Its very easy, provided you have what is called ¨pajaritos¨ in Spanish and to be honest I don't know how it is called in English.
Thankfully Marina  one day arrived to visit accompanied by these beings in a small jar.
They look like miniature soft popcorn, and they somehow  contain the bacteria cultures who will work for you and make the yoghurt :) You just put them with some good milk in a bowl for a day, then drain it to separate the little birds (pajaritos) and what remains is delicious yoghurt! It tastes like the expensive organic plain yoghurt I used to buy :)

domingo, 17 de noviembre de 2013

Aji de gallina

This recipe was taught me by Antonieta Torrejón, so I dedicate this blog to her with much love. 

serves 2


- 1 chicken breast or another piece of similar size
- some stalks of celery
- 3 carrotts
- half a cup of peas
- half a cup of long grain rice
- 2 eggs, preferably free range
- half a stock cube, chicken or vegetable
- a dash of  oregano
- half a cup of full fat milk
- white bread from the day before, 2-3 pieces depending on their size, like 1 and a half chapatta
- pecans, or walnuts
- 4 yellow peruvian ají
- 1 onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- small pinch or cumin
- a quarter of a cup parmesan cheese

Boil the chicken in water, just covering it. With 2 of the chopped carrots and the celery. Also add the stock cube. Boil until the chicken is done. Then take the chicken out and put it on a plate. Turn off the hob.

Meanwhile, chop the onion and garlic. The ajis, remove some of its seeds and veins, depending on how hot you like it , leave more or less of it . Chop it too.

Fry these things and add the cumin and a little salt. not too much salt, as it is better to try at the end. The stockcube might be very salty. When its fried and soft, add this to the broth.

In the broth, bathe the bread, in pieces.

Meanwhile, tear apart the chicken with your fingers.

Puree the pecans or walnuts in a coffee grinder, or a high speed blender, or some such implement. Alternatively, you can crush them with a stone or a cup or in a mortar. Try to get them to be a paste.

Now, if you have one of these (see below) puree the whole broth mixture with it, otherwise in a blender, or, of you do not have any of these things, just try to crush things as best you can with a spoon and fork, it will be more like stew than a cream, but the taste will still be good.

Add the chicken to the mix and put on the hob again, on a low heat.

Boil the eggs.

You can cook the rice now too. Fry a little garlic and salt. Add the rice, and double the amount of water. Add the rest of the chopped carrots. When it starts boiling, turn down the heat to the lowest, put the lid on and cook for 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 5 minutes or until the rice is done.

Boil the mixture for a while longer, to let it thicken. Add the oregano and pecans. When it is quite thick, add the milk, and let thicken some more. At the end, add the parmesan.
Serve with the rice and an boiled egg for each person, cut in half.
You can also serve it with some boiles potatoes and a few black olives.