Monthly Archives: October 2013

Meatless or not Monday

It’s supposed to be Meatless Monday inspired by a recipe of veggie lasagne I came across here.

However, I found few strips of bacon in a fridge and had to use it. 😀
Below the adapted version of wonderful, yummy and cheesy lasagne! 
It’s a pretty flexible recipe and adding more vegetables would be tasty (peas or zucchini). I love chunky pieces of cottage cheese (also it’s a good source of Calcium!), but you can sub it with ricotta. 
Veg lasagna-2

Ingredients (serves 4):
6 sheets dried lasagna
300g cottage cheese
3-4 strips of smoked beef bacon, cut into medium pieces (escape it for veg option)
100g mozzarella cheese
50g pecorino cheese (or parmesan)
1 can*400g chopped tomatoes
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
10-15 basil leaves, chopped
100g spinach leaves, chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled
150-200ml vegetable or beef stock 
1tsp muscovado sugar (or any)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
 
 
Let’s cook it!
  • Heat a pan, fry bacon for 1 minute. Add garlic, onion, celery and fry until softened (during the process the garlic gives out the nice flavor, so at the end just take it out). Add the tomatoes, sugar and stock and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add basil leaves. Season to taste with salt, pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 180°C/350°F.
  • Meanwhile, in warm water soak the lasagna sheets for 8-10 minutes.
  • Spread few spoons of the tomato sauce and chopped spinach in the base of greased gratin dish. Top with 3 sheets of lasagna then spread over half of the sauce and half of the cottage cheese.
  • Repeat layers. Spread over grated cheeses.
  • Bake for 30-40 mins until the top is golden. 

Serve with green salad and a glass of white wine. 😉

Veg lasagna-1

Sponge Cake with Strawberries

The summer is over in some countries, and autumn’s come. Hope you enjoy it!  If only it could be here for a day..

It was usual hot summer day, when ‘why not to make a nice cake with strawberries’ idea came into my mind. I went for the widely known sponge cake, which in Russia is often called biscuit cake. In the US it’s known as pound cake, while in the UK as Victoria cake. Pretty simple to make, could be layered with various berries and feelings.

I soaked sponges with cherry brandy to pep it up.  😉

strawberry cake-2

Ingredients for 20 cm/8 inch round pan:

200 g self-raising flour
3 large eggs
160 g butter, melted
100/150 g granulated sugar*
1 tbsp lemon or orange zest (optionally)
1 vanilla pod or 1 tsp vanilla extract (optionally)
a pinch of salt

For cream filling:

200 ml whipped cream
80/100 gr caster sugar*

For brandy syrup:

6 tbsp water
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp brandy**
300-400 g strawberries***
2 tbsp icing sugar

Directions:

  1.  Heat oven to 160C (350F). Butter and flour a cake pan.
  2. Whisk together eggs and sugar until light cream texture. Add melted butter, salt, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat in.
  3. Sift the flour over bowl and gently start to fold in.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes or until top of cake is golden.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare brandy syrup. Combine sugar and water in a saucepan, simmer until sugar is dissolved. Remove from a heat and stir in brandy.
  6. Remove the cake from oven, cool in a pan for 10 minutes. Take cake out of pan and put onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.
  7. While cake is cooling, cut strawberries into medium-thin slices. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
  8. Whisk whipped cream and sugar together (for 4-5 minutes).
  9. Time to assemble our cake. With long knife cut cake horizontally into 2 layers.  Brush each layer with brandy syrup. Spread 2/3 of strawberries over one layer, then half of whipped cream.  Cover with another sponge. Spread whipped cream over it, top with remaining strawberries.
  10. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Serve with tea and enjoy!

strawberry cake-1

*In every day life I consume very small amounts of sugar. In all recipes I put it roughly. But you can increase amount as much as you like it.

**Substitute brandy with cognac/rum or non-alco liquor. 

*** Substitute fresh strawberries with preserved.