As a have mentioned before, I was once a chef, and for a while I worked in an Italian restaurant. I intend to show you how
to make basic bolognaise, and then use it for many other tasty dishes. Ill try not to make anything too healthy or expensive
so if you are doing the cooking tonight, you might find this page useful.
Before you start I'd better warm you that
I consider scales to take the fun out of cooking - so I've done my best to give you and idea of what you need. If you're not
happy about the result of your efforts, then alter the ingredients until you are - thats the fun of cooking.
Basic bolognaise sauce
You will need:
Half a kilo of mince (Preferably lamb, but beef will do)
A large onion
2 cloves of garlic
Tin of chopped plum tomatoes
Instant gravy granules (Bisto or something similar)
hop up onion into quite small pieces, and warm up a couple of tablespoons of olive in a pan. Add onion to the oil, and add
crushed garlic and a tablespoon of dried Italian herbs. Cook onion on a low heat, preferably with a lid on the pan (this is
called sweating), stirring regularly. When the onion is soft, turn the heat up to full and add the mince. Stir vigorously
on full heat until mince is sealed (no longer red). Add the tin of tomatoes and turn heat down to lowest simmer. Cook for
about 15 - 20 minutes, occasionally stirring. Add a sprinkling of gravy granules to thicken and add extra flavour. If the
mixture is already thick, add half a cup of water and bring to the boil before adding gravy granules. Turn heat off and leave
to stand for a couple of minutes before serving.
If you wish to add chopped peppers to the bolognaise, add them when
you add the onions.
If you wish to add chopped mushrooms to the bolognaise, add them after about ten minutes of
If you are a vegetarian, replace mince with TVP (most gravy granules don't actually have any meat in them
There you have it, a basic bolognaise sauce.
Always a good meal to impress people, Lasagne is not that hard to make and of course we will take a few short cuts, but first
of all you have to learn to make white sauce.....
Find a small onion and stick 6 cloves into it (no not cloves of garlic, the spice cloves). Drop it into a pan containing
half a pint of milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove onion and any escaped cloves and get your other pan out.
you have to make a roux be careful, red-hot butter and flour hurts if you overhead it and make it explode.
your pan for a few seconds on low heat and then drop a heaped dessertspoon of butter (ok you can use cheap margarine no-one
will notice) and let it melt. Add a heaped dessertspoon of flour and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. After a few seconds
you should have a gungy lump in the bottom of your pan this is your roux.
Start adding your pre-made milk a bit at
a time, continually stirring. Keep adding milk until it is all used up and you should have a smooth white sauce.
is the time I think to add a white sauce trouble-shooting guide .
Q. My white sauce is lumpy
A. Use a whisk to
smooth it out.
Q. My white sauce is brown.
A. You had the pan too hot when you made your roux throw it away, or
use it to thicken a stew.
Q. My white sauce is too runny.
A1. Boil it and see if it thickens (The starch in the
flour may not have been hot enough to explode and thicken sauce).
A2 Add a cold roux. Take an equal amount of butter and
flour; mix together well (no only a bit u dont want to have to carve it). Drop it into the sauce and put back on the heat.
Simmer for a couple of minutes whisking like mad.
Q. I cant be bothered to make white sauce do I have to.
it the above way gives a certain amount of satisfaction, and a little more flavour to your lasagne, but I havent got a problem
with you just buying a packet sauce.
Make your sauce just before you make your lasagne otherwise it will go lumpy.
Grate a big chunk of cheese into your white sauce and add a small amount of english mustard - hey presto - cheese sauce.
(I know you're not interested in cheese sauce at the moment, but it may come in useful later).
Making the Lasagne
Lasagne needs to be made in a tall, thin container, like a square loaf tin, or even one of those tall foil containers that
your Chinese take-away sometimes comes in.
As well as your bolognaise sauce and white sauce, you will need: some
grated cheese, and a packet of green lasagne Verdi (if you want to make even more realistic lasagne you may want to use plain
Verdi and tinned spinach.
Grease your tall tin. Place a layer of bolognaise about one and a half centimetres thick
in the bottom. Now place a layer of Verdi. (If youre using tinned spinach put a thin layer on top of the Verdi now).
Continue this layering process until you are about 2cm from the top (told you youd need a tall tin).
lasagne up with your white sauce and cover in a good thick layer of cheese. Bake in a low oven for about 30 minutes, or until
cheese looks cooked and bolognaise is bubbling up the side and you cant resist it any more.
I like to have it with
chips or baked potato go for it its cheap and easy.
I'm sure I'll think of more stuff, and I'll post it as I do.