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Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Post the Sixty-third (in which our heroine attempts to resurrect the blog)

Behold, we shall have a Lazarus-style moment.  This blog, which many (your correspondent included) presumed dead in January of this year, shall walk again.  Having fallen victim to the fatal scourge of its author not doing enough cooking to maintain it, it is being resuscitated by virtue of the fact that I have finally moved out of my parents' house (two years after having moved back in) and am now back cooking on a nightly basis.

The good news is, this allows me to blog again.

The bad news is, I'm well on the way to gaining back the stone I lost when the Ex and I broke up.  Le sigh.

Anyway, the 25-odd of you who actually bothered to follow the blog can now breathe a huge sigh of relief that the giant blog-sized hole in your life has finally been filled.  Or something.

Now, normally this is the point in a blog where the author would fill you in on all the drama and happenings in their life during the eleven months they were missing.  I can't do that, because virtually nothing has happened to me during that time.  I continued dating (none of it went anywhere), I continued working (desk-jockeying) and I went from blonde to very dark brunette to blonde again (cause I didn't like it), and that's pretty much it.  Kind of depressing, when I see it (or rather, the lack of "it") written in black and white there, actually.

Another thing that hasn't changed in the past year is my love of and addiction to chillies.  So, it should come as absolutely no suprise to anyone that my first recipe back is a Mexican-inspired one.  It's a lot like a lasagna, only with Mexican-style ingredients, so I call it Mexican Lasagna.  Original, eh?

The filling for this, like all mince-based sauces, improves with age, so feel free to make the filling the day before.  Or you could just use leftover chilli, if you ever happen to find yourself with two pounds of chilli leftover...

Mexican Lasagna with blue cheese bechemel - serves 6

450g round mince                                                 2 large onions, diced
Tin tomatoes                                                         125ml beer
2 chillies, finely diced                                            2 - 3 large flour tortillas
2 tbs oregano                                                        Juice of 1 lime
Tin refried beans                                                   Salt & pepper
25g blue cheese butter*                                        25g flour
350ml milk                                                            75g grated sharp cheddar
Tsp each of cayenne, paprika, ground cumin, paprika, ground coriander, garlic granules

1. Brown the mince in a little oil, and drain off any excess grease.  Add the onion, chillies and beer, and simmer til the onions have softened.

2. Stir in all the dried spices, and have a little taste to see if it needs a bit more of any in particular.  Stir in the tomatoes, turn the heat down nice and low and leave to simmer for as long as possible.  Keep an eye on it and if it looks like it's drying out at any stage, add a splash more beer (if you haven't already .  Just before assembling the lasagna, stir in the refried beans and lime juice and season with salt & pepper to taste.

3. Melt the blue cheese butter in a saucepan and stir in the flour to make a roux.  Cook for a couple of minutes, then whisk in the milk a little at a time, until you have a lovely thick, smooth bechemel.  Season with salt & pepper.

4. Spread half the chilli mix on the bottom of a lasagna dish.  Cover with tortilla, tearing them to fit if you need to.  Add the other half of the chilli, add another layer of tortilla, then pour over the bechemel.  Scatter over the grated cheese, then bung into an oven preheated to 190C for 30 - 40 minutes, until golden brown and bubbling.  Allow to stand for a few minutes before cutting into six and serving with a spinach salad, and accompaniments of choice.

Being a bit of a guac fiend, and having tried many a guacamole recipe, I can safely say that Thomasina Miers' is the absolute best by far that I've come across.  Do yourself a favour and make it -

*Blue cheese butter is something that's always worth having in the fridge, because it makes for the most awesome steak sandwiches you have ever tasted in your life.  Simply mash real butter and crumbled blue cheese together in a roughly 2:1 ratio.  Shape into a log, wrap tightly in clingfilm and it'll keep happily in the fridge for a couple of weeks, as you just slice off what you need.  Seemples.