So I waited 5 days before my second attempt at the lasagne. I was keen to try again because I really wanted to improve it. The first one was good for the first attempt, but it was not great. I did things a bit differently this time.
The meat sauce is so important. I am still playing around with flavours. I really like the aubergines with it. But I absolutely love aubergines. I followed a suggestion from an Italian friend to add celery and carrots. He said it takes the acidity out of the tomatoes, but I like that acidity. I add tomato puree to give an extra sharpness. But I liked the idea of the carrots and celery for extra flavour and texture. I also put a lot more onion, garlic fresh basil and oregano.
Here we have the onion, garlic, aubergines, celery and carrots in olive oil. Use ground beef, so the meat does not clump up. I used minced meat from Albert Hien but that was not finely minced. The meat i used this time was perfect, but I did also chop it further with my cleaver just to be sure. I wanted the sauce to be really tomotoey, so I put in a kilo of tomatoes, half a jar of plain tomato sauce, tomato puree.
I think the sauce took about 40 mins to cook. The sauce should not be rushed. A good sauce is the base of a good lasagne. The fresh tomatoes make the sauce really watery once they start breaking down so you want to have the fire on a lowish heat with regular stiring to reduce the sauce. When it was beginning to reduce I added red wine. Once the meat was cooked, I was constantly tasting the sauce and adding salt, pepper, herbs or wine.
Taste, taste, taste…
This time I wanted to make a proper bechamel sauce as the previous cheese sauce was not very creamy. I followed a recipe from my Leith’s Techniques bible. I had no idea how much it would make. Turns out that I needed to double it for the size of the lasagne I was making, so I will now know better for lasagne number 3. I n this recipe it says to use Mace. I had no idea what that was, let alone what it would be called in Dutch. Luckily a great friend and her iPhone was able to tell me that mace in Dutch, is called Foelie. Mace is a cooking spice obtained from dried covering of the nutmeg fruit seed. I love nutmeg. I wanted to add more milk because I thought I had put too much white pepper and the mace. It tasted too strong and I had only enough for what the recipe suggested. But when the lasagne was all done, the bechamel sauce tasted fine.
I got a nice block of matured parmesan cheese from a cheese stall at Kinkerstraat market. A layer of the cheese goes either on the meat sauce or the bechemal sauce.
I had to use the bechamal sauce sparingly for 2 layers and the top of the lasagne. Next time I will make much more bechamel sauce and will use it freely!
The pasta I used, also with the first one was dried. And both times they stuck to each other in the middle and broke. I will
The dish I used gives 6 good portions.
I absolutely love lasagne! During my university days I would get lasagne fresh or frozen and eat it with boiled brussel sprouts. 🙂 I have not found many places in Amsterdam that do really good lasagne. The other day I had a vegetarian lasagne for lunch. There were three different choices, and all three were full of vegetables. I struggled to decide, not because they all sounded nice, but because none of them contained meat. In the end I went for tomato and mozzarella which was nice, but after that I decided that I needed to make a lasagne full of meat. My very first attempt was over 7 years ago. I cannot remember how I cooked it exactly, but I do have vague memories of it not being very successful. I think the meat sauce was very simple and mostly came from a jar and the bechamel sauce I made was completely lumpy and flavourless. And the pasta was not cooked properly either. So now, after many years, I am on a quest to make a really good lasagne.
I looked up several recipes to get an idea of the ingredients. There are a lot of ingredients that go into a lasagne!
Preparations will take a while… chopping of tomatoes, onion, garlic, fresh herbs… accompanied by a nice glass of wine.
This sauce consists of garlic, onion, minced beef, tomatoes, fresh basil and oregano, Italian herbs, half a jar of tomato sauce, tomato puree and red wine. I thought the red wine would be a good additional flavour. I fried chopped aubergines separately.
I have been wanting to start a blog for so long, but kept putting it off. I recently went to see the movie Julie and Julia which I am pretty sure will inspire a lot of people to start a blog and in general, just follow your dreams and believe that anything is possible! I loved this movie! It was like this movie was made just for me!!! JUST ME!!! 🙂
Seared sea bass on a bed of salad with a portebello mushroom, white asparagus and tomatoes cooked in garlic butter.
I had a tough time deciding on a name for my blog. My first ideas were already taken. I played around with several different names. I asked myself, what is the purpose of this blog. And to be honest, I am not entirely sure yet. All I know is that I love food. I also love taking photographs, so naturally I developed an obsession with taking pictures of wonderful food I ate and food I cooked. I cook because I enjoy eating so much.
I guess this blog is just another excuse for me to cook more, take pictures and eat. 🙂
When I like to eat something, I really like it – like in a crazy way. I will just go nuts and want to eat and eat till the point of bursting! And that is how my blog got its name. When I’m crazy about something, I just want to stuff myself silly with it! 🙂
I shall include the recipes with every photograph posted, however I always find writing out recipes difficult. So, I hope I get better at that.
So this is what I made today.
Sunday Sea Bass
Makes a very nice and simple meal.
- A fillet of Sea bass
- Portebello mushroom
- Grape tomatoes
- 3 White Asparagus