Taste of Home: Beef Lasagna

Lasagna is a rich Italian food that has captivated the hearts and taste buds of everyone in the world. It is made with alternate layers of pasta, garniture, Béchamel / White sauce, and cheese.

Beef Lasagna

In fact, Lasagna is one of the family’s favorite food, and everyone loves it!

It has everything – pasta, cheese, meat, veges. It is frickin’ awesome. It is divine. It looks good, tastes good, and can be made in so many different ways. It is also filling and smells like heaven when it is being cooked. It’s delicious and nutritious, and even better on the second day.

I tried to learn how to make lasagna from making pasta to putting all the ingredients together from Alan. At first, I thought it was so complicated, but when I tried it, I realized that it’s just easy although it takes a little practice and be familiar with the ingredients. I was very pleased and proud that I successfully make lasagna for myself and for my family as well.

Beef Lasagna

In this recipe, my family and I opted to use all fresh ingredients – from tomato sauce to pasta. It’s tastier and healthier! We also prefer to use good cheese, Emmental cheese being our favorite cheese for lasagna as it is not a strong-tasting cheese. For the sauce, my family and I find béchamel too strong and white sauce too tasteless, so we make our own version of sauce.

For those who would like to try to make it, here’s our version of Beef Lasagna recipe. Please let us know what you think about it.

Beef Lasagna fresh from the oven!

Ingredients for 12 servings:

  • 1.2 kg of minced beef
  • 4 kg of tomatoes
  • 500 g shallots
  • 200 g of butter
  • 200 g of Emmental cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • milk
  • flour
  • soy sauce
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • ground black pepper

Method:

The pasta
– Put some flour (about 200 grams) in a mixing bowl.
– Crack 2 eggs. Stir until they have mixed together.
– Add a bit of salt and about 10cL of water. Mix it again. Add flour bit by bit until you   obtain a mixture that is soft and non-sticky. Let it rest for about 1 hour.
– Roll it flat. Press your oven dish at the top of the flat pasta so that you can cut it to fit the oven dish.
– Let the pasta rest for about 12hrs in a clean dry place.

Rolling the pasta

Drying the pasta

The garniture
– Cut the tomatoes and shallots into thin slices.
– Put a few centiliters of water in a saucepan so that nothing gets burned.
– Mix the onions and tomatoes together in the same saucepan and cook the mixture for about one hour and a half over a medium fire. Stir often. Add a sprinkle of salt and soy sauce halfway through.
– Cook the minced beef in a frying pan with a bit of oil. Sprinkle with soy sauce and add a bit of black pepper. When it’s ready, mix it together with the tomatoes/onions.

Béchamel / White sauce
Personally, I find béchamel too strong and white sauce too tasteless, so this is what I do for lasagna:
– In a saucepan, melt about 200g of butter. Add about 100cL of water and 100cL of milk. Let it cook gently for a few minutes.
– Mix 5 table spoons of flour with water in a big glass or a tiny jar. Stir until the mixture is homogeneous.
– Put the water/flour mix into the pan and let it cook gently until it thickens. Stir continuously.

Beef Lasagna

Putting it together:
– Put half of garniture at the bottom of an oven dish. Put a layer of pasta on top. Put a layer of white sauce / béchamel on top. Put another layer of garniture on top. Another layer of pasta on top. One final layer of white sauce / béchamel on top.
– Put it into an oven pre-heated at 250 degree Celsius for about one hour. Then grate the cheese and sprinkle it on top. – Put it back in the oven for about 15 minutes.

Et voilà! Serve, share and enjoy your luscious Beef Lasagna!

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Taste of Home: Coq au Vin

Two months ago, I finally got another authentic French taste when hubby cooked this classic and hearty dish – Coq Au Vin (which means in English Rooster in Wine). It is unbelievably balanced, rich and very delicious.

Love this classic Coq Au Vin

Since then I had wanted to know how to make it. So one weekend I gave it a try myself, of course under hubby’s supervision.  As it turns out, this classic Coq Au Vin is actually surprisingly easy to make!

While cooking, I have learned the following:

  1. One of the important ingredients in this recipe is the red wine. Traditionally, Burgundy wine is used, but you can use any red wine that you like.
  2. The longer you cook (make sure the content in the pot remain moist), the richer the flavor, the softer the meat and the tastier it becomes.
  3. It is okay to chop or prepare the other ingredients while cooking. If you do not have enough time to get everything ready beforehand, it is not a problem.
  4. I think the only difficult part of the recipe is finding time to make it, as it took us nearly 2 ½ hours from start to finish.

Love this classic Coq Au Vin

If you find a weekend evening where you have a little extra time, turn on some music, and give it a try.  Personally, I had a great time cooking this most amazing slow-simmered chicken in red wine sauce. And – voila! – this classic dish will be yours to enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 kg of chicken breast, chopped
  • 8 stripes of bacon, sliced
  • 1 bottle of red wine
  • 1 pack of white button mushroom, chopped
  • 2 kg of baby potatoes, whole
  • 4 whole leaves of Bay Leaf
  • 2 kg of tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 balls of garlic, chopped
  • 4 carrots, roughly sliced
  • 1  kg of shallots, halves
  • 200 grams of Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon of Thyme
  • 4 cubes of chicken broth
  • Black pepper
  • Soy sauce
  • Olive oil

Love this chicken stew – Coq Au Vin

Method:

  1. Prepare Bouquet Garni: put bay leaves, thyme and parsley in a bowl. Mix.
  2. Put 1 liter of water in the pot. Add chicken broth and Bouquet Garni. Let it boil.
  3. While the water is boiling, put some olive oil in the pan. Add black pepper and soy sauce to the chicken. Stir and let it cook until the chicken turns reddish brown.
  4. Put in the meat into the boiling water. Put in shallots, carrots, baby potatoes (whole), and garlic. Stir.
  5. Put in the red wine. Stir.
  6. Put the bacon in a separate frying pan. Let it cook until it becomes light brown. When the bacon is cooked put it in the cooking pot where the rest of the ingredients are cooking.
  7. Put the mushroom in another pan. Cook the mushroom for about 10 minutes or until the water in the mushroom has evaporated. Once cooked, put it in in the cooking pot.
  8. Keep adding water if need be until the desired consistency is reached.
  9. The total cooking time is about 2 hours above medium fire.
  10. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of Home: Oven roasted chicken

Thanksgiving is not celebrated in the Philippines, so when I arrived in Cambodia it was all new to me.  Ever since I celebrated my first Thanksgiving in Phnom Penh in 2009, I have grown to love and appreciate this special holiday, especially since there is no gift buying, wrapping and decorating. It’s just all about family and friends coming together and enjoying each other’s company while sharing a magnificent meal with a grateful heart.

oven roasted chicken 🙂

This year’s Thanksgiving was quite special for my family as this was our first Thanksgiving celebrated as a family (with our son) and at home, since for the past Thanksgiving we usually dined out in the restaurant.

To celebrate this amazing holiday, since I love cooking – and what better occasion is there to flex those culinary muscles – I decided to make oven roasted chicken. At first, I was considering making roasted turkey, but thought that it might be too big for 3.

roasted chicken fresh from the oven

It was my first time to make an oven roasted chicken, nevertheless, I was very happy that my boys enjoyed it. Next time I’m going to make it, I think it would be a good idea to add a good dousing of wine to add moisture to the whole deal.

To all of you, wish your heart and home was filled with joy on Thanksgiving Day!

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, cleaned
  • 1 teaspoon of sage
  • 1 teaspoon Thyme
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 6 sticks celery, trimmed and chopped
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • Chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

everything’s ready for oven roasting

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius and place rack in the lowest position of the oven.
  2. Prepare the chicken. Remove the chicken neck and giblets, rinse the chicken, and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. While the chicken is drying, prepare the buttery mixture. Put the butter on the bowl. Put in sage, thyme, salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly.
  4. Rub the skin and the body cavity with the buttery mixture. Stuff the body cavity with celery, carrots and onion. Then tie the legs to make sure that it is evenly cooked.
  5. Place the celery, carrots, and onion in the roasting pan. Then put the chicken, breast side up, and pour 2 cups of chicken stock into the roasting pan.
  6. Place chicken in the oven. Baste all over every 30 minutes with the juices from the bottom of the pan. Whenever the drippings evaporate, add stock to moisten them. Roast the chicken for about two and a half hours.
  7. Put the chicken in a large serving platter, and let it stand for at least 20 minutes before serving.

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of Home: Cheesy Potato Sausage Casserole

Potatoes, meat and cheese is a delectable combination that everyone in my family loves. It’s easy yet makes a hearty meal especially for a busy day.

This simple casserole is perfect for a side dish or main dish. And, in a small gathering of family or friends, this can be a sure crowd pleaser potluck dish that everyone would enjoy. Furthermore, I love the leftover as it is just as delightful when it’s eaten fresh.

cheesy potato and sausage casserole

For those who have wanted to learn to love casserole and for those who loves the simplicity of an all-in-one-dish, this cheesy potato and sausage casserole is a gorgeous dish for you.

Ingredients for 6 persons:

  • 6 pieces of potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 500 grams of Italian sausage, chopped
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 medium size red bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 gloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped
  • 50 grams of salted butter, melted
  • 200 grams of cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup fresh milk
  • 20 cL fresh light cream
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste

cheesy potato and sausage casserole

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C while preparing the mashed potatoes and sausage mixture.
  2. Put olive oil in a large skillet. Put in the Italian sausage and stir. After 5 minutes, add onion, red bell pepper, garlic and freshly cut black pepper. Stir. Let it cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Then set aside.
  3. Put the mashed potatoes in a mixing bowl. Add the melted butter, fresh cream, milk and 150 grams of cheese. Stir and mix thoroughly.
  4. When the mashed potato mixture is ready, put in the sausage mixture. Then mix it thoroughly.
  5. In an oven dish, put the potato and sausage mixture and spread evenly using a spatula. Then sprinkle the rest (50 grams) of the cheese on top of the mixture evenly. Lastly, spread some parsley on top of the cheese.
  6. Put the potato and sausage casserole into the preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes at 200°C.
  7. Let it stand for 10 minutes after you take it out from the oven before letting everybody help themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of Home: Scotch Eggs

I have learned that in the Middle Ages, British farmers and herdsmen made these Scotch eggs as their portable means of having some food in the fields; paired it with bread and something to drink. Nowadays, this special little treat is a favorite pub meal in Britain and in some other places around the world.

Love this special delicacy – Scotch Eggs 🙂

Since my son really loves hard-boiled egg, I made Scotch Eggs for breakfast last Thursday morning and they were absolutely tasty. I have also tried cooking it with minced chicken instead of sausage meat, and it was still delicious. While cooking it, I have realized that even though it looks very complicated, it is actually incredibly easy to make.

For those who are hard-boiled egg and sausage meat lover, here’s the recipe for you.

Ingredient for 5 Scotch eggs:

  • 250 grams sausage meat
  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 spring onions
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • salt, according to taste
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons cheese, grated
  • cooking oil

Method:

  1. Put the sausage meat into a mixing bowl. Add flour, salt, pepper, parsley, spring onion and cheese. Mix the meat mixture properly.
  2. Put the beaten egg in a dish and put the bread crumbs in a spate dish.
  3. Hold a hard-boiled egg, cover the egg with some meat mixture around it then roll between your hands to shape.
  4. Dip the balls (hard-boiled egg coated with meat mixture) into the egg. Roll it in in the bread crumbs until coated. Then shake it off to remove the excess.
  5. Put the cooking oil in a large frying pan. Heat it up. Put the balls carefully into the hot oil. Fry it for 5 minutes or until turn deep golden brown.
  6. Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taste of Home: Spaghetti Carbonara

We noticed that our landlady and her family, especially their daughter, love our food. So, during Khmer New Year 2014, we offered them spaghetti carbonara since in East Asia, it symbolizes longevity and good fortune. Plus, this variation of spaghetti carbonara has obtained its place in our pasta hall of fame for it’s easy to cook and delicious style.

Spaghetti Carbonara

In order to inspire the home cook-to-be, here is a recipe for Spaghetti carbonara ensured to surprise for its effectiveness and win your heart with its delectable taste.

Ingredients for 6 servings:

  • 500 grams of spaghetti
  • 250 grams of good quality bacon, sliced into ¼-inch strips
  • 200 grams of white button mushroom, sliced thinly
  • 500 mL of all Purpose Fresh Cream or cooking cream
  • 2 teaspoons of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • mustard
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Spaghetti Carbonara

Method:

Carbonara sauce:

  1. Put the bacon in the pan and cook it gently for about 15 minutes over a low heat to remove the fat.
  2. In a separate pan, cook the white button mushroom gently for about 10 minutes over a low heat.
  3. Once the bacon and mushroom are cooked, mix them together.
  4. Add fresh cream. Stir.
  5. Then add salt, pepper and mustard until you get the desired taste.
  6. Stir. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water according to the packet instructions, add one teaspoon of olive oil in the boiling water.
  2. When the pasta is ready, drain it.

Putting together:

  1. Put the Carbonara sauce on the pasta.
  2. Garnish with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
  3. Serve and enjoy!