19 March 2013

GUEST BLOG: Food is fun

By guest blogger EMMA SMAIL

Lasagne was on the menu at the penultimate session of our current ‘What do you want to cook?’ programme for pupils and parents at Benchill Primary School in Wythenshawe last Thursday. Several of the mums had said they had either always had trouble with it or had never attempted it because it seemed too difficult.

Kim’s roasted veg and lentil take on this classic recipe is easy, cheap, healthy and incredibly delicious, and first she introduced the group to a very simple tomato sauce recipe. One can of tomatoes, a big squeeze of tomato puree, a splash of water, a glug of olive oil, a pinch of salt and some dried herbs were mixed together in a pan and placed on a hot hob to simmer away. We could forget about that for now and move on to the vegetables, which we chopped into chunks and mixed with olive oil, a pinch of salt and some rosemary leaves then put in the oven to roast. Any vegetables of your choice would suit this recipe, Kim said. Lentils were then rinsed and added to the tomato sauce and left to swell.

It was the béchamel sauce that people were most nervous about but the young chefs did a great job of mixing flour and melted butter together to make a roux then gradually adding milk and whisking away to create a lovely creamy white sauce. Once the veg was suitably roasted and smelling fantastic, they were mixed into the tomato sauce and we began to build the lasagne. The veg and tomato mixture was layered in between the lasagne sheets then the béchamel sauce poured over the top with grated cheese to finish off.

A salad of grated carrot, beetroot and toasted sunflower seeds dressed with lemon juice and olive oil was prepared as an accompaniment. The young chefs had lots of fun grating the beetroot turning their hands and the surfaces a lovely deep purple! Unfortunately the girl who grated the most beetroot didn’t like its taste, but at least she enjoyed preparing it! There were a few ingredients today that hadn’t been tried before by many of the participants - butternut squash, lentils, sunflower seeds and beetroot that wasn’t either pickled or vacuum packed - and most of the group loved the new flavours.
A very tasty success, and a recipe that will be made again and again by these participants. Thank you all for your help and hard work, and we look forward to cooking with you again on Thursday 21 March.

There are more photos from this session on our Facebook page.

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