Mediterranean lifestyle

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From spectacular starters and small plates to tempting desserts, Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking is a must-have for anyone interested in Mediterranean cuisine. These two recipes offer a taste of the high-quality meals on offer.

Lasagne

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients

  • 1 large brown onion, finely diced olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 375g (13 oz) minced (ground) pork
  • 375g (13 oz) minced (ground) veal
  • 1 x 680ml (23 oz) bottle tomato passata
  • 120ml (4 fl oz) white wine
  • 4 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 4 teaspoons fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon sugar salt and pepper to taste
  • 250g (9 oz) lasagne sheets (or use homemade pasta sheets)
  • 120g (4 oz) mozzarella cheese, grated
  • 60g (2 oz) Parmesan cheese, grated bechamel sauce

Béchamel Sauce

Ingredients

  • 80g (2 2/3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 1L (2 pint) full fat milk, warm
  • 2 eggs
  • 120g (4 oz) plain flour salt, to taste freshly ground white pepper pinch of grated nutmeg

Method

  1. In a saucepan melt the butter and stir in the flour until combined. Pour the warm milk in slowly, stirring all the time as you pour, add the eggs and mix well. Add the nutmeg and season to taste.
  2. Stir and cook until it is a custard consistency.

Method

  1. In a large saucepan, sauté the onion in a little olive oil until soft. Add the garlic and carrots and cook a little more. Add the pork and veal mince and brown, stirring well. Add the tomato passata and wine and combine. Add the parsley, basil, bay leaf, sugar and season well. Cover and cook gently for about 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). To assemble the lasagne, pour about 3 to 4 spoonfuls of the meat sauce into a lasagne dish. Place a layer of lasagne sheets and pour over one-third of the meat sauce. Carefully drizzle one-third of the béchamel sauce over the meat sauce. Sprinkle one-third of the mozzarella and Parmesan over the béchamel. Repeat this order for the second layer.
  3. Place a third layer of lasagne sheets on top and pour over the remaining meat sauce then the remaining béchamel sauce and top with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes or until golden brown. Serve hot with a green salad.

Chocolate Tart

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

Pastry

  • 20ml (2/3 fl oz) olive oil
  • 75ml (2 1/2 fl oz) water
  • 15g (1/2 oz) sugar, pinch of salt
  • 90g (3 oz) unsalted butter
  • 15g (1/2 oz) almond meal
  • 120g (4 oz) plain flour

Filling

  • 250g (9 oz) pure cream
  • 200g (7 oz) good-quality milk or dark chocolate (broken into pieces)
  • 1 egg

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°C). Place the oil, water, sugar, salt and butter into a heatproof bowl. Place into the oven for approximately 10-12 minutes until the butter has melted and the mixture starts to boil.
  2. Take out of the oven carefully and pour in the almond meal and flour a bit at a time, mixing constantly, until it has formed a ball of dough.
  3. Place the dough on a board and knead it very lightly so it is all combined for a minute and then pat it into a 22 cm (8 1/2 in) round tart tin evenly. Using a fork, dot the base and place in the oven for about 12-14 minute or until it is golden and cooked.
  4. Prepare your filling by simply heating the cream in a saucepan, over a low heat, and adding the chocolate pieces. Stir until the chocolate has melted. Turn the heat off and add the egg, stirring continuously. The mixture should start to look silky.
  5. Pour into your prepared tart mold and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Delicious with some fresh cream and berries.

Mediterranean Lifestyle Cooking, New Holland Publishers, RRP $35, available from all good book retailers or online www.newhollandpublishers.com.

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