Monday, 27 August 2012

Moussagne recipe

It's a cross between moussaka and lasagne! Basically, there is no pasta as it is replaced with thin slices of potato. This one was made entirely from veg out of the garden - even down to our own onions, garlic and tomatoes for the tomato sauce! I think the only ingredients I didn't use from the garden were cheese, milk and other bits and pieces for seasoning. It's also fairly healthy as there is not much oil and I always use low fat cheese and semi skimmed milk.

Here's how to do it:


For tomato sauce:
2 onions
1 tbsp of olive oil
4 cloves garlic
A pound or two of fresh tomatoes (or 1 tin of chopped tomatoes)
4 or 5 sundried tomatoes (or can replace with tomato puree)
Dash of balsamic vinegar
Ground pepper
Ground paprika
Mixed herbs (dried or fresh)

For cheese sauce:
1 tbsp margarine (low fat olive spread if possible)
Plain flour
Semi skimmed or skimmed milk
Grated low fat cheddar cheese

1 aubergine - sliced
2 or 3 courgettes - sliced
3 medium sized potatoes - thinly sliced


For the veg:
Fry veg in a tiny amount of olive oil (literally a drop or two in the pan) until the veg is soft but not quite cooked. Put to one side.

For tomato sauce:
Chop onions and fry in oil until golden brown. Add chopped sundried tomatoes with a small amount of water. Add chopped garlic, pepper, balsamic vinegar and paprika and allow to simmer for a few minutes. Chop fresh tomatoes into quarters and add to onion mixure. Cook over low heat until tomatoes mushy and a thick sauce is formed. Put to one side.

For cheese sauce:
Melt margarine in pan. Take off heat and add enough flour to make a roux (so that all margarine and flour is combined into a thick dough-like consistency). Gradually add milk and mix with a balloon whisk or similar until a thick, glossy sauce is formed. Add mustard to taste and stir in grated cheese until the sauce is smooth. Put to one side.

To assemble:
Layer a third of the potato slices in the bottom of a casserole dish followed by a layer of half the aubergine. Spread half of the tomato sauce over the top of this. Then a layer of courgette (using all of them), followed by a third of potatoes then the rest of the tomato sauce. On top of this goes the rest of the aubergine and then a layer made of the remaining potatoes. Spread over the remainder of the cheese sauce. Sprinkle over some more grated cheese, ground pepper and mixed herbs. Bake in oven for 30 to 45 minutes until the top is crispy and golden brown. Allow to set for 5 minutes once out of the oven before serving.


Sunday, 26 August 2012

The weird and wonderful poses of Mercutio

My cat, Merky, likes to sleep in odd positions. It makes me laugh every time...

Bloomin' lovely!

As you've probably already noticed from previous posts, I'm trying my hand at flower arranging. Going for the natural look and experimenting with whatever is in the garden. I'm not great but it's all practice. I love the fact that there's so much variety in my garden - mallow, hollyhock, lavender, sweetpea, cosmos, geum, buddleja, heuchera to name but a few. So my bouquets look bright, fresh and smell good too! Here are today's offerings (excuse the horridness of the speaker that the makeshift vases are on!):

Saturday, 25 August 2012


Flower power 2

I have no idea what these flowers are but they're beautiful. Alas, they last but a day...

Love these morning glory too - funnily, it's almost square face on!

Lots of veg grown in the garden...

 ...equals an entire meal made from the garden! I know it doesn't look that appetising in the photo but believe me, it was yummy! Our own onions, garlic, courgettes, potatoes, tomatoes, basil and chives.

Elephants never forget

I can spill at last! I've had a to keep this a secret for months... My friend Naseem had a very significant birthday in June. I made these for her in the spring but didn't have the chance to give them to her for her birthday as I was in Italy honeymooning at the time. I've finally been able to deliver to her a very belated birthday gift. She's crazy about elephants, hence the theme.

I made two cushions with elephants from Valerie Wells's Karavan range raw-edge appliqued on them, a clutch with a really cute elephant bead on the front and elephant material (I can't remember which now, annoyingly) as lining for the inside. I also made a matching coin purse which I forgot to photograph. There's also a stuffed owl and to round things off, an elephant-shaped therapeutic rice bag. This has rice scented with patchouli and sandalwood oils that can be heated up in the microwave and used to relive aches and pains.

Enjoy Naseem, and happy birthday once again xx

Saturday, 4 August 2012


Summer fruit salad...
Made from mangoes, bananas and raspberries from the garden. Finished off with a stewed plum sauce (made with plums from my parents' garden from last year). Yum.

In other "news", Mini had to have the funnel on this week - she keeps banging her head cos she races around so much but then won't stop scratching the wound so that she opens it up and stops herself from healing. She hated having this on - kept trying to walk backward in the hope it would come off! We took pity on her after a while and bandaged her foot up instead so she couldn't scratch her head.