Spinach and Cream Cheese Lasagna – slow cooker style!

 

image

We had picnic plans for Saturday so, on Good Friday I thought I would try to make a lasagna in the slow cooker, so it would be ready for when we got home on Saturday evening.

I have seen various recipes on the internet but ricotta isn’t terribly popular in this house, so I thought I would just wing it. Thankfully, it turned out well!

You literally just build the lasagna and let the slow cooker do the work – perfect!

 

Ingredients 

Olive oil to grease the inside of the slow cooker pot

I  bottle of tomato pasta sauce or passata – I made my own*

450g approximately of spinach – washed

400g cream cheese

1 teaspoon freshly grated  nutmeg

500g dried sheets of lasagna sheets – you may not use them all

100g mature cheddar cheese or mozzarella

Method

1. Grease the inside of your slow cooker dish – you will thank me afterwards!

2. Place a thin layer of  the tomato pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish

3. Add a generous layer of spinach and add random spoonfuls of cream cheese to the layer

4. Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg to sprinkled over the spinach and cover with pasta sheets, don’t worry about overlapping, it doesn’t matter

5.  Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, finish with a layer of pasta and sprinkle the grated cheddar or mozzarella on top

6. Place in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours, serve with garlic bread and salad

 

Enjoy!

 

* To make tomato pasta sauce:

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic – crushed

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

250g vegetable stock

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon Basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

1. Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes

2. Add tin of chopped tomatoes, stock, herbs and sugar

3. Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until it reduces slightly

4. Taste to check for seasoning

Enjoy!

 

 

Advertisements

The Spice Garden

Happy Easter Monday!

On April Fool’s day, himself had been in his job for 30 years! It’s quite unbelievable! He has been in the same job since he left school.

 

image

 

I suggested that it was a landmark that deserved to be marked and asked him what he would like to do. He opted for a curry which was great  because it just so happens that we have an award winning curry restaurant a hop, skip and jump away, The Spice Garden.

 

image

 

We arrived almost as they opened and were shown to a table in the conservatory. On Thursday evenings and Sundays they have an all you care to eat buffet, heaven as far as Himself is concerned.

 

image

 

Actually, the buffet option even had plenty of choice for vegetarians. There was the usual popadom and chutneys for starters with onion bhajis etc. The breads are all homemade and delicious.

There were plenty of helpful staff who seemed proud to explain what was in each of the dishes. When we explained that we were vegetarians, they really went out of their way to ensure that all three of us found something we liked.

 

image

 

The Chicken Rogan Josh went down very well with himself although he had already sampled such delights as Chicken Korma and Spicy Lamb. We enjoyed a Lentil and Chick Pea combo, all served with lovely fluffy rice!

At the end we were offered coffee or a Baileys on the house, but we were too full to even squeeze in a  dessert.

We will definitely be heading back soon, it was all so delicious.

 

Have a lovely day!

 

 

Crustless Quiche

 

image

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to try to recreate a pie that myself and Miss Glade had enjoyed on Mother’s Day.

This is my version, a Crustless Quiche. It is actually a bit of a staple in this house but this is the first time that I have added broccoli, it’s another of those versatile dishes that you can make with any seasonal vegetables.

I think it is best served piping hot with new, buttered potatoes and a crisp salad. Oh! a bit like the one in the picture.

Delicious and as always, minimal effort!

 

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 chopped onion

1 head of broccoli prepared into spears

I red pepper cut into chunks

4 eggs beaten

100mls milk

200g  grated strong mature cheddar

1 teaspoon of chives

Method

1. Pre heat the over to 160 degrees.

2.  Heat the olive oil and sweat the onions until they are quite dry.

3. Add the broccoli and keep it moving so it doesn’t catch the bottom of the pan.

4. Add the red pepper and keep all the vegetables moving for about 5 minutes.

5. Add the beaten eggs, milk and chives to the pan and sprinkle on the cheese.

6. Transfer to an oven proof dish and bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes until the top is browned and the liquid has been absorbed.

7. Serve immediately.

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Have a lovely day!

image

 

 

The Egg!

Apparently it is National Vegetarian week, so to celebrate I thought I would show you one of my favourite vegetarian places .

image

The Egg cafe is in Liverpool City Centre, just off Bold Street. It is in the loft space of an old Victorian warehouse. Therefore, the journey up the stairs is not for the faint hearted!

image

When you finally reach the skinny purple door, an airy space is revealed. The decor is bohemian in style, which is fitting because the cafe also acts as an art gallery.

In the daytime there are great views of the city and in the evening, it twinkles by candlelight.

Students, artists, families, young old professionals, well just about anyone, can be found sitting at the tables, eating or wiling away the hours. I love this place because it is so relaxed, the staff usually have an air of mañana about them!

There are a selection of hot and soft drinks available but they do not have a licence for alcoholic beverages.  Don’t panic though because you can take your own!!

That was embarrassing, clinking through the few shops we visited beforehand.

imageThe counter is well stocked with seasonal dishes. On Saturday evening, there were a number of freshly prepared specials available and they were all served with a mixture of  salads or rice.

image

This is Miss G’s  spicy bean burger, I had the Leek and Mushroom bake and himself enjoyed The Red Dragon Pie, but neither of ours were as photogenic in the candlelight.

Whilst it’s my favourite place to go, I do have one issue in that my choice is sometimes cold in the middle. However, I usually asked for it to be heated again and it is returned to me piping hot with a sincere apology. On Saturday, I  was too hungry and just ate the cold parts, it did give me a bit of a heavy tummy.

However, this does seem to be unique to me because himself and the youngest polished theirs off in super quick time and both were fine. Perhaps I’m sensitive!

We were all too full for desserts but as always there was a huge array of homemade cakes available.

It is a great place and worth the climb up the stairs, even if you just go for coffee and cake, the people watching opportunities are abundant! Give it a try if you are ever in Liverpool and let me know what you think.

Have a lovely day x

 

Butternut Squash and Sage Risotto!

image

Without a doubt this is a definite favourite in this house. It is bursting with flavour and is great for a mid week dinner because it is quick and easy. It also keeps well and leftovers can be warmed up in the microwave. If you wanted to impress, it can also be used to stuff peppers. Mostly,  we just eat it like this with garlic bread.

Ingredients

1 butternut Squash

1 glug of olive oil

1 onion

300g arborio rice

1.2 litres vegetable stock

1 teaspoon dried or fresh (finely chopped) sage

50g butter

50g cheese

Method

1. Peel and boil the squash until soft enough, then mash with a fork

2. Add onions to the glug of olive oil – fry lightly until translucent

3. Add the rice and keep moving around the pan until it is translucent too

4. Add a ladle of the stock and a table spoon of the butternut squash and stir making sure it doesn’t catch on the bottom of the pan

5. Keep adding a ladle of the stock and a table spoon of the squash periodically until everything has been added

6. Add sage and keep stirring until you can move the spoon through the centre and a well appears in its wake

7. Add the butter and half of the cheese to the pan and keep stirring

8. Serve with the remainder of the cheese sprinkled on top

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One Pot Gnocchi

Good Morning, Some good old comfort food for today.

It is also quick and as always, nice and easy!

image

I often cook Gnocchi with greek yoghurt. However, I though I would try something different this time and I have to say it went down very well. I thickened the vegetable stock with cornflour at the end and it really was tasty. Perfect for a chilly evening!

As always, you can substitute the vegetables with whatever you have, just chop it accordingly. It shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes.

Ingredients

Glug of olive oil

1 teaspoon butter

1 red onion – chopped in chunks

1 green pepper – chopped in chunks

1 red pepper – chopped in chunks

2 sticks of celery – sliced

2 litre of vegetable stock

3 tablespoons of corn flower mixed in 1 table spoon of water

1 teaspoon oregano

500g gnocchi

Method

1. Heat olive oil and butter in a pan big enough to hold all the ingredients

2. Sweat the onions without letting them brown

3. Add the peppers, celery and oregano, keep it all moving for about 5 minutes

4. Add the stock and bring to the boil, simmer for about 5 minutes

5. Add the gnocchi, bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes

6. Add the corn flour mixture and boil for a few minutes to cook the flour. The sauce will thicken so keep stirring

7. Serve with garlic bread!

Enjoy!

#Tip : I use a silicone spatula to stir because you need keep everything moving along the bottom of the pan too because the sauce is really thick and could burn easily

Scouse!

On my Five on Friday post I mentioned Global Scouse Day was on Saturday.

It caused a bit of interest and the thing about Scouse for those who are not local is, that everyone seems to do it differently. Although that said, the majority do end up looking very similar. Twitter was very busy on Saturday with people tweeting their pictures.

My two recipes are very similar and I did them on Saturday in the slow cooker. The quantities are very approximate and you can really use whatever vegetables you have. To clarify, this is my recipe not necessarily the right one!!! and I make it with beef but some make it with lamb, which is correct? Well, that is the source of regular debate in this part of the world.

Ingredients

2 leeks peeled and sliced

3 Carrots peeled and sliced into quite large chunks about 2cm long

1/2 swede peeled and cubed into large chunks about 2cm long

1 1/2kg potatoes peeled and cubed into large chunks or washed if using new

4 table spoons of dried barley and peas soaked overnight and then washed

500g beef/Lamb cubed and browned or 1 tin of butterbeans for the vegetarian option

2 litres of beef/Lamb stock or vegetable stock

A small bunch of thymes

3 bay leaves

1 generous teaspoon of marmite – my secret ingredient

Method

For both pop everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours

The Barley and pea combination will thicken the gravy

Serve with just white no need to Knead crusty bread, the recipe can be found here and beetroot or pickled cabbage – that’s another debate!

Enjoy!