Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals #2: Summer Veg Lasagne
This is our second cooking experiment from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals. We had about half a dozen episodes saved on the DVR, so we skimmed through them today looking for a suitable one. (We reckoned that if we could watch the episode first, we might stand a better chance of reproducing it.) We settled on Summer Veg Lasagne, Tuscan Tomato Salad, and Quick Mango Frozen Yoghurt.
Quick verdict: We couldn’t find any frozen mango cheeks, and fresh ones are just way too expensive right now. So we subbed in frozen berries for the dessert. Everything else was according to the recipe, pretty much. It was FANTASTIC. We rated this one 9.5/10. Our elapsed time was 60 minutes. That’s why we’ve taken off half a point. We feel that with more practice we could maybe shave off 15 minutes, but there’s no way we could get this one down to 30 minutes total. Still, the taste made it all worthwhile! Read on for a photo essay of the preparation.Pre-start prep: We got out all the necessary ingredients, tools, and cooking vessels. The kitchen was clean (well, as clean as it gets) and everything wiped down and ready go to. The grill was turned on as high as it would go.
First up are the ingredients for the lasagne. It used: spring onions, anchovies, garlic, asparagus, frozen peas, frozen broad beans, mint, cream, lemon, veggie stock, cottage cheese, fresh lasagne sheets, Parmesan cheese, and thyme.
Next, the ingredients for the Tuscan salad. It used: ciabatta (we had Pane di Casa instead), fennel seeds, oregano, capers, anchovies, basil, red peppers (we left these out as Snook doesn’t like them), garlic, tomatoes, red wine vinegar, and Parmesan cheese. (We also got the Balsamic out since Jamie used it on the show, but it’s not mentioned in the book.)
The cooking pans, ready go to. The big pot is for the lasagne filling, and the roasting pan was for toasting the bread and then cooking the assembled lasagne.
The first part of the lasagne filling preparation. This has chopped up asparagus and spring onions, and all sorts of lovely bits in it.
Here I’m tossing hunks of bread with olive oil, salt, and fennel seeds. (We tore some by hand before resorting to the knife. Efficiency won out over rusticity.) This then went into the oven under the grill to toast.
The next stage of the lasagne involved adding in the frozen peas and beans along with mint, cream, and lemon zest.
The hunks of bread have successfully toasted!
Now we could reclaim the roasting pan for lasagne assembly. We finished off the filling with stock and cottage cheese, then sorta mashed it as best we could. Here’s the Snook laying down the first layer of filling.
On top of each layer of filling went fresh lasagne sheets and then cheese. We didn’t have quite enough Parmesan, but on the actual episode Jamie said that cheddar would be a good substitute. So that’s what we’ve mixed in here.
Once you put the final layer of lasagne sheets on, you cover it with more cottage cheese, the asparagus tips, olive oil, fresh thyme, and more cheese. Then this goes into the hot oven.
While Snook worked on the bread salad, I started the dessert. As I said, we couldn’t find frozen mango so we went with mixed berry. The only other change I made to the recipe was adding a bit more honey to compensate for the tartness of the berries. (Man, our food processor sucks.)
The Snook’s completed bread salad. We didn’t seem to have quite as much liquid in ours as Jamie did. Maybe we didn’t use enough tomatoes? At any rate, our bread didn’t get a chance to soak up much juice.
By now my dessert had finished churning. I put it straight into a tub into the freezer.
Our lasagne took a little longer to brown up than Jamie’s. We think it’s because we had our shelf set slightly farther away from the element. But it browned up nice in the end.
A better shot of the completed lasagne. Note: this was HUGE. It easily makes 8 generous portions.
And here’s the completed meal! We had it with white wine, as suggested.
And lastly, dessert! The pink part is the Quick Raspberry Frozen Yoghurt I made above. (We didn’t bother with cones.) The green is actually pistachio gelato that the Snook made earlier in the weekend. The raspberry stuff was good… but the pistachio was AMAZING. I guess the lesson is that you can make decent ice cream quickly, but the good stuff takes a lot longer than 30 minutes!
Tasting notes: We both loved the lasagne. We’d had a lot of worries about it – would the pasta be cooked? would the mint be weird? would frozen broad beans be nice? – and they all turned out fine. Seriously, this dish alone was 10/10. The Tuscan bread salad was, as Rodd pointed out, basically a deconstructed bruschetta. We didn’t have quite enough juice to really soften the bread, but the crunchiness made a nice contrast to the lasagne. (For those worried about raw anchovy in it – as I was – it’s fine. No ickiness or fishiness at all!) The dessert was probably the weak point here, but frozen yoghurt was never going to set the world on fire. I’d really like to try it with the mango though, if we can find some frozen mango cheeks. This meal is a DEFINITE one to repeat!
Stay tuned next week for another recipe from Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals!