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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Post the Tenth (in which our heroine apologises for her tardiness)

I'm a terrible blogger.  Two whole days with nary a recipe, a moan or a rumination.  I really am sorry.  I'm on my holliers in Dublin (i.e. staying in my mam's for a few days) and have been doing entirely too much drinking and the blog just fell by the wayside.  But I'm going to make it up to you now by giving you the recipe for a friggin amazing cannelloni that's almost guilt-free because I've replaced the ricotta cheese and bechamel sauce with cottage cheese and the ultimate lazy white sauce.  Having had a good look at myself in a full-length mirror this morning, I think I need to do a lot more cheese replacement in the coming weeks.  I'm looking rather more Rubenesque than I'm entirely happy with, I have to say.  I blame being a bum.  Too much time on my hands to cook nice things and bake bread which simply demands to be eaten with real butter.

Spinach & "Ricotta" Cannelloni - serves 4

2 knobs butter                                     4 cloves garlic, peeled & finely sliced
Handful fresh sage or oregano              1/4 of a nutmeg, grated
8 large handfuls spinach, washed          Handful fresh basil, stalks chopped, leaves chiffonaded
2 tins tomatoes                                    400g low-fat cottage cheese
100g grated parmesan                         Sugar, salt & pepper
500ml fat-free natural yoghurt              1 egg
16 cannelloni tubes

1) Put a knob of the butter and a dash of olive into a large pot/pan.  Add two of the garlic cloves, the sage or oregano (chopped, obviously) and the nutmeg and turn the ring onto high.  By the time the oil is hot, the garlic should be softened.  Add the spinach (pull off any really tough stalks) and cook down - as it wilts, you'll be able to keep putting more in - nothing does a more impressive disappearing act than spinach.  Allow to wilt thoroughly, then stick it into the bowl/jug of a food processor and leave to cool a bit.

2) Put the pan back on the heat and add the second knob of butter and a bit more oil.  Add the basil stalks and the rest of the garlic and cook for 5 minutes without browning.  Add the tins of tomatoes, a pinch of sugar and salt & lots of black pepper.  Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until you get a nice sauce consistency.  I usually chuck in a good tablespoon of oregano at this stage too.

3) Preheat the oven to 180C.  Add the cottage cheese and half the grated parmesan to the blender.  Whizz it all together, then spoon it into a sandwich bag and tie it off.  Find a shallow tray that will take all your cannelloni in one layer, and put the tomato sauce in the bottom.

4) Cut one of the corners off your sandwich bag and pipe the spinach mix into the cannelloni tubes.  Lay them on top of the tomato sauce.  Make your white sauce by mixing the yoghurt, the egg and the rest of the parmesan, and loosen with a few drops of water.  Spread over the cannelloni and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until golden and bubbling.  Serve with a green salad and garlic bread.

Photo shamelessly stolen from my friend R, as I totally forgot to take one!


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