Today I've been feeling just a little morning-afterish from yesterday's cocktail party - I have a post on that in the wings. But I managed to assemble some muffins, on a whim. And I also assembled, as planned, simple light lasagna and salad dinner. And I ate lunch out. Not too bad for the tired & thirsty.
These muffins are made with natural muesli, which is an ingredient that I sometimes need to use up. I'm a very erratic muesli eater. Sometimes I like it, and sometimes I get bored with it and switch to toast and granola for a while - and then find that I have a slightly stale half-eaten bag of muesli left. It's no longer nice to eat, but not bad enough to toss out. Muffin and biscuit recipes involving muesli are the perfect solution to avoid waste here. The muesli makes these muffins pretty healthy: high on the fibre and wholegrains, and I even use high antioxidant berries to boot. Health food! I swear!
Later in the day I dropped off our overnight houseguest in the city - after we'd had a bit of a swear at the bloody taxis putting you on hold for ever and the uselessness of the ironically-named "Action" busses. And I took the opportunity to do a little window shopping, for the Xmas list. I was getting a bit hungry when I found myself around Borders, and so I grabbed some lunch from the Jewel of India - yes, in the foodcourt. I hadn't noticed before that they actually have a tandoor oven right in the front of the outlet. They make the naan right there in full view, and it smells great. I got a piece of naan that I'd watched being removed from the oven mere seconds ago. Yum! I ate it with a small serve of beef vindaloo which was quite OK. A bit unsubtle in the spicing, a bit on the oily side, but the meat was lean and tender. Excellent by food court standards; this curry would be kind of meh, OK, not bad, in a restaurant. For just under $10 with an iced tea, I was happy.
Since I came home, I've mostly vegged on the couch with occasional ten minute stints in the kitchen to make the lasagna. This is inspired by, but not at all the same as, Clotilde's recent post on Chocolate & Zucchini. It's quite amenable to the tired. No bechamel to make, just a quick ricotta mix. Start the red sauce, let it simmer for an hour or so. Do the assembly. Little bits. In between, I have wargs and liches to slay, and blog posts to write, and older posts to add photos to. (Fridge Frittata and Silly Hat Day.)
Recipe 1: Berry Muesli Muffins
1½ cups Natural Muesli
1 cup self-raising flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 cup frozen "high antioxidant" mixed berries
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup oil
1 cup milk
Combine all dry ingredients.
Combine milk, oil and egg, and beat well.
Mix all together coarsely.
Ladle into muffin pans
Bake at 180C for 25 minutes, or until golden and done.
Notes: You could use any other kind of fruit, chopped smallish. The good thing about the Creative Gourmet frozen berries is that they require no chopping. And this brand contains black currants, which I've taken quite a liking to recently.
Recipe 2: Ham & Ricotta Lasagna
Fresh lasagna noodles
2 tablespoons pesto
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
1 large zucchini
8 oven roast tomatoes
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp dried basil
pepper to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup red wine
grated parmesan cheese
grated mozzarella cheese
Mix ricotta, eggs and pesto in a bowl.
Saute chopped onion, bacon, ham, zucchini and crushed garlic in olive oil until onion is lightly browned and soft.
Add red wine, and stir well to deglaze the pan.
Add crushed tomatoes and all their juices.
Simmer gently for an hour
Smear a little red sauce on the base of your baking pan.
Add a layer of noodles.
Put 1/4 of the cheese mix on to the noodles and spread out.
Add a layer of about 1/3 the remaining red sauce.
Add another layer of noodles, and repeat.
In the middle white layer, sprinkle over some grated parmesan.
For the top, smear over the last of the white mix.
Spinkle on some grated parmesan and mozzarella.
Bake at 160C for about an hour, covered with foil for 40 minutes, then open to brown the top. (Mine's a bit over-browned in the pic. Shoulda set a timer.)
Notes:It's a good idea to lay out the noodles first to see how many layers you will get, and adjust the ratio of sauce accordingly. You can fiddle around with this a lot. More or less cheese on top. A bolognese style sauce is traditional for the red layer. You could top it with a red sauce and grated cheese layer instead of the white sauce that I've done this time.
And that red sauce is very flexible. I had stray bacon and ham lying round needing using, and roast tomatoes from the freezer. A large tin of tomatoes would do instead, and you could use all ham, or all bacon, or all veggie or whatever. Some roast capsicum would have been nice but mine had gone moldy.