My good intentions to add a new post to this blog every 7 to 10 days, have not come to fruition. I have started a new job, which has meant a change to the routine and less time to do things I’m passionate about. I just miss those afternoons when I can spend hours in the kitchen. I still have lots of share with you, so be patient with me and I will return with a vengeance.
The school holidays that finished last Sunday were extra busy. Over the Anzac weekend we visited family down in Levin and Palmerston North. The second week of holidays Jennifer (our youngest), and myself were heavily involved in cycling camp. This is Jennifer’s 5th and last year of cycling for Macleans College Cycling team. Each April holidays, a group of guys and gals go to the camp at Hunua Falls, to be pushed and coached, for 4 days and feel the burn. I am not a cyclist, so I am not able to contribute on a technical level. However my natural talents of cooking and organisation are always required.
This year I was only able to go to camp for the one day, however I was in charge of the overall organsation of food before hand. This was my 4th year of helping out in the kitchen at camp. We were catering for 35 cyclists, plus 10 parent helpers. We were lucky enough to get cheap supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables through the Turners and Growers markets. I met one of the other Mums at the market in Mt Wellington on a Monday, at 6am. I am not really a morning person, however the lure of a “market”, was a big pull, and sleep would need to be recovered later. It was interesting to see the varied produce and how the market worked. The colours of the fruit and vegetables were incredible. Most of the produce is pre-ordered, and selection is made using a number allocated to a group of crates. Included on our list of purchases were mandarins, oranges, apples, beans, lettuces, cucumbers, carrots and bananas.
Along with fresh fruit, rolls were prepared for lunch using the fresh salad ingredients plus left over cooked chicken. Hot savouries for afternoon tea, after the arduous hill climbs, went down well. For dinner we served lasagne with fresh beans. The lasagne we made last year, went down well. I prepared the mince mixture in my own kitchen, which made preparing the lasagne at camp so much easier. The recipe below was adjusted for quantites to feed the numbers at camp.
One of my lasting memories of camp, will be how all the parents come together to help their children. Each year, I meet people who have a special skill, and who are happy to share their knowledge. One memory I have is of two Dad’s making coleslaw for lunch. As well as organising the cycle rides for the day, the Dads are helping in the kitchen and showing me how a coleslaw should be made! Making a coleslaw for me has changed forever.
Apparently my services as cook and organiser are required again next year. Let’s wait and see on that one. I’m sure there is some one waiting in the wings just ready to take over!
Serves 4 – 5
500g beef mince
1 x 525g jar of pasta sauce (Heinz)
2 c milk
4 tbsp butter
4 tbsp flour
1/2 c grated cheese
300 g fresh lasagne sheets (or dried)
1 -1/2 c grated cheese
Brown the mince over a high heat. This usually takes about 5 minutes. Add the pasta sauce, reduce heat, and cook for 30 minutes.
Put milk, butter and flour in saucepan. Whisk together ingredients on a high heat, until the sauce bubbles. The sauce should now be thickened. Take off heat and add grated cheese.
Line a greased oblong dish (20cm x 25cm) with one sheet of lasagne, cut to fit. Grease a oblong dish. Cut lasagne to fit dish and insert. Spread half the mince mixture over the lasagne. Add a layer of spinach leaves, and then pour over half the cheese sauce.
Spread evenly. Cover cheese sauce with another layer of lasagne. Top with final mince, and then another layer of lasagne. Top the last layer of lasagne with the remaining cheese sauce. Sprinkle grated cheese over the cheese sauce. Cook at 180 deg for 20 minutes.
Leave the cooked lasagne to rest for 10 minutes before serving.
The trick with lasagne is to have all the sauces prepared. The mince sauce can be made ahead, but the cheese sauce is best made close to time of preparing.