2004 or 5
It must have been my 34th birthday (maybe 35th, the old grey cells not being chipper like they used to; there are times, after I’ve tied one on, I can actually see them brandish white flags!) when I presented myself with a fancy Italian-make, gas-fired oven as a token to, well, reaching 34 (or 35). This was my first attempt at baking leaving alone baking an Italian dish. It turned out bellissimo. All right, the edges were a bit brown, toasted, er, burnt. Nothing that a clean chopping board and sharp knife could not handle. After all, I’ve spent years and years in the trenches of advertising. The least I have learned is how to put a nice border to a pretty layout.
1 large aubergine (thinly sliced)
3 marrows (cut lengthwise)
Large bowl of frozen mixed veggies: peas, corn, cut beans, carrots
1 tsp Coleman’s mustard powder
12 clumps of frozen spinach
4 cloves smashed garlic
1 knob butter
1⁄2 ltr milk
25 gms flour
Dash of nutmeg powder
200 gms Paremsan cheese (grated)
Salt to taste
Shortening (To coat baking dish. Any other greasy thing like butter would do too).
10 sheets of lasange (I used Barilla’s)
1 knob butter
Coat aubergines with chili powder and olive oil and salt.
Fry in olive oil till nicely brown / charred.
Wipe frying pan clean.
Fry marrow till almost done.
Sprinkle fresh cracked pepper and salt.
Fry mixed veggies till done.
Add mustard powder and salt during the frying.
Separately steam spinach with a wee bit of salt.
Add smashed garlic during the steaming.
Heat milk till boiling.
At b. point add flour at intervals while stirring continuously to avoid flour clumps.
When mixture thickens, remove from fire.
Add nutmeg and salt to taste.
Arranging the lasange:
Coat baking dish with shortening.
Place two sheets of lasange at the bottom of dish (overlap if required).
Pour and spread a layer of Béchamel sauce. Arrange aubergines on it. Cover with a sprinkling of Paremsan cheese. Cover with two sheets of lasange. Next, repeat B. sauce. Place the marrow. Repeat P. cheese. Cover with two l. sheets.
Again, a layer of B. sauce. Arrange the mixed vegetables. Repeat P. cheese. Cover with two l. sheets.
Finally, another layer of B. sauce. Spinach. P. cheese. Cover with last two l. sheets. Finish off with ladling remaining B. sauce over the preparation.
Pay attention to the sides.
Sprinkle P. cheese all around.
Drop a knob of butter in the centre.
Slide into oven pre-heated at 176.6ºc (350ºF).
Give it 25-30 minutes till the B. sauce gets all creamy and the cheese on top is bubbly and brown.
Serve with garlic bread.
Lots of chilled wine.