Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Second hand books

If you think second hand books are cheap - think again.  Here is Abe Books (a book site specialising in second hand books) most expensive books of 2011.

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales in December 2011

Sirens of Titan Vonnegut signed first1. The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer - £6,708
A single leaf from the 1476-1477 first edition printing by William Caxton – the first press to operate in England.

2.  The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut - £5,416
A first edition copy from 1961 signed by Vonnegut, with a self-caricature; one of the most rare Vonnegut first editions owing to its limited printing of only 2,500 copies. 

3. Jacques Mesrine: Le Tir (The Shot) by Alain Bizos- £4,715
A sequence of three gelatine silver prints taken of Jacques Mesrine who was the #1 public enemy in France at the time.  This set was limited to 25 prints, each of which was signed by Bizos in black ink on the back.  This photo sequence was taken in January 1979; in November of that same year Mesrine was shot to death by French Police in Paris.

4. Opera Chirurgica: a docto viro, plerisque locis by Ambroise Pare’ - £4,308
 Ambroise, who began his career as a military surgeon, has been called the father of modern surgery based on his development of several techniques and theories including his belief that the phantom pain soldiers suffered from occurred in the brain and not the remnant of the limb.  Published in the 17th century, this second Latin edition of his complete works includes over 315 illustrations. 

5. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman - £4,061 His Dark Materials set 1
First edition of the entire three-volume trilogy with each of the volumes being signed by Pullman. 

6. La Peste by Albert Camus - £3,817
Original French issue of Camus’ novel The Plague, first published in 1947. This was one of 215 numbered copies printed on vellum paper. 

7. Historiae celebriores Veteris [et novi] Testamenti iconibus repraesentatae et ad excitandas bonas meditationes selectis epigrammatibus exornatae, in lucem by Luyken, Meloni, and Weigel - £3,334
Published in 1708 in Nuremberg this first edition, two-volume set includes various illustrations inspired by the bible’s old and new testaments.

8. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter, and the Prisoner of Azkaban - £3,340
The first three Harry Potter titles, all deluxe editions, each signed by the Rowling.

9. Autographed Letter by Mark Twain - £3,184
A two-page letter written and inscribed by Mark Twain to Henry Chandler Bowen, who was the editor of the New York Independent; in the letter Twain asks Bowen for assistance in locating a poem by Caroline Mason that had been previously published in the paper.

10. Fable by John Baldessari - £3,184
The first and only edition of Baldessari’s rare artist book, published in 1977 by Anatol A V Und Filmproduktion, this book folds out accordion-style in four directions and is housed in a simple titled sleeve.

Salmon Fishcakes

I love Jamie Oliver.  I find his recipes easy to follow and they also taste good.  Tonight's tea, Salmon Fishcakes.  If you are a veggie, substitute the salmon for grated chedder and maybe add some red onion.




fish cakes
© David Loftus4
 
Method


Not only do homemade fish cakes taste miles better than shop-bought ones, but if you make your own you know exactly what goes in them; the cheap factory-made ones can often be filled with rubbish. This recipe is so tasty that it’s a really good idea to double or triple the quantities and freeze batches for another day – just make sure you defrost them thoroughly before using, then follow the cooking instructions below.

To prepare your fishcakes
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Peel your potatoes, chop them into even sized chunks (or use the left over potatoes from your baked potatoes – scoop out the potato and discard the skin), add the potatoes to the boiling water and bring back to the boil. Rub the salmon fillet all over with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. When your potatoes have half way cooked, place the salmon into a colander, then cover this with foil, and place the colander over the pot of boiling potatoes. Turn the heat down and cook for 8-10 minutes, until the salmon and potatoes are both cooked. Remove the fish from the colander and put to one side. Drain the potatoes in the same colander, then return them to the pot and let them steam dry for a minute. Pick the parsley leaves and finely chop them, discarding the stalks. Mash the potatoes, spreading the mash round the sides of the pan to help it cool down quickly. Remove any skin from the salmon. When the potatoes are cooled, put it into a bowl and flake the fish into it with 1 tablespoon of flour. Add the egg and chopped parsley with a really good pinch of salt and pepper. Finely grate over the lemon zest, then mash and mix it up really well.

To Make Your Fishcakes
Dust a plate with a little of the extra flour. Divide your fish cakes into 4, lightly shape and pat into circles about 2cm thick, dusting them with flour as you go. Put them onto a clean plate also dusted with a little flour. – If you are going to freeze them at this point, wrap them in clingfilm and put them into the freezer. Otherwise simply pop them into the fridge for an hour before cooking – this will allow them to firm up slightly.

To Cook Your Fishcakes
Put a large fry pan on a medium heat and add a couple of lugs of olive oil. When the oil is nice and hot, add your fishcakes and cook for about 3 – 4 minutes on each side or until crisp and golden – you may need to cook them in two batches. Serve straight away, with lemon halves for squeezing over, serve with lovely veg or a cool crisp salad. These fish cakes also go really is you use tuna instead of the salmon.

Monday, 30 January 2012

Snow?

Mail today.  Let's hope it misses us!!



Winter bites back: Britain braced for first cold snap of year as ice and snow transform countryside in scenes of breathtaking beauty

  • Department of Health issue 'Level 2' cold-weather alert as freeze poses significant health risks
  • Warning of ice forming on untreated surfaces


It's nice weather for ducks, as the saying goes. However, these birds must have been quackers to brave the icy waters of Derwentwater, near Keswick, in the Lake District.
These ducks were captured skirting across the water against a mountainous landscape, in the beautiful Cumbrian region - made all the more stunning by the arrival of arctic winter conditions.
As the Government warned residents to brace themselves for the cold snap to come, parts of the UK countryside have been glazed in a stunning blanket of snow, frost and mist - creating a breathtaking spectacle in the process.
Ruffling feathers: These duck brave the icy weather to take a dip in Derwentwater, near Keswick in the Lake District in a beautiful winter scene
Ruffling feathers: These duck brave the icy weather to take a dip in Derwentwater, near Keswick in the Lake District in a beautiful winter scene

Misty mountains: Low-lying trees and farm buildings in Cumbria's Eden Valley are blanketed by an early evening fog, creating a breathtaking spectacle
Misty mountains: Low-lying trees and farm buildings in Cumbria's Eden Valley are blanketed by an early evening fog, creating a breathtaking spectacle

Standing in the heavens: As fog descends into the Ullswater valley, in the Lake District, the scene is reminiscent of a frozen glacier, surrounded by snow-capped fells and mountains
Standing in the heavens: As fog descends into the Ullswater valley, in the Lake District, the scene is reminiscent of a frozen glacier, surrounded by snow-capped fells and mountains
The Department of Health issued a 'Level 2' cold-weather alert running for the next two to three days, which is triggered when low temperatures give rise to significant health risks.
It warned that low temperatures can especially be dangerous for the young and the elderly or those with chronic disease.
Meanwhile, the Met Office put much of Britain on a 'yellow alert' for people to 'be aware' of the adverse weather conditions. 
It said: 'Icy stretches are expected to form on untreated surfaces, especially in places affected by showers.
'The showers will fall as snow above about 250 metres, but there may be temporary slush deposits to lower levels. The public should be aware of possible travel disruption.'
Forecasters say snow is likely to fall on Monday across northern England, Wales and parts of the south-west. There will also be snow showers in East Anglia and the south-east on Tuesday.

Dan Williams, of the Met Office, said: ‘This is certainly the longest run of colder weather we will have seen so far this winter.
'There’s cold air pushing in from the east, and it’s looking very wintry over the next few days and might last for the first half of February.’
Meanwhile, residents all over the country were bracing themselves for the Siberian weather front heading for Britain.
Whiteout: A fresh blanket of snow covers the land surrounding this farm in Northumberland creating a brilliant, bright white wintry landscape
Whiteout: A fresh blanket of snow covers the land surrounding this farm in Northumberland creating a brilliant, bright white wintry landscape
Winter wonderland: Huge icicles hang from underneath a bridge in County Durham as forestry workers look on in admiration
Winter wonderland: Huge icicles hang from underneath a bridge in County Durham as forestry workers look on in admiration

Making tracks: A black grouse walks along the snow-covered ground, leaving a trail behind him
Rowers train in misty conditions on the River Thames at Henley in Oxfordshire
Making tracks: A black grouse walks along the snow-covered ground, leaving a trail behind him (left) while rowers train in misty conditions on the River Thames at Henley in Oxfordshire (right)

Easy does it: Cross country motorcyclists ride carefully in a line as they make their way up a track in Nenthead, Cumbria
Easy does it: Cross country motorcyclists ride carefully in a line as they make their way up a track in Nenthead, Cumbria

WEATHER WATCH BY JOHN KETTLEY

Britain has seen very little wintry weather so far this season – but nothing is ever straightforward with our weather.
After three consecutive harsh winters we have reverted to what is seen as more typical winter weather.
Perhaps this year we have felt cheated by above-average temperatures and just a few frosty mornings.
Now the snowdrops have appeared in the garden it seems that spring is not too far away.
Prior to the winter of 2008-09 there had been only one truly harsh winter in the previous 17 years – and that began late in the season.
Cold winds first reached us from Siberia in the
final week of January 1995, leading to heavy snow showers.
So could there be a sting in the tail this year?
History says it can happen, even after one of the mildest winters on record.
As recently as last Wednesday the temperature peaked at 12.1C at Hawarden in Flintshire, but a band of heavy rain sweeping into the North Sea by Thursday brought cold winds and snow showers to higher ground.
The prospects for the coming week are for the coldest weather so far, with hard frosts overnight, snow flurries and perhaps just the higher ground seeing any heavy snow.
Residents in a Cornish village have bought their own snowplough and gritter after they were cut off for a week in a blizzard during previous winters.

The Badgall and Laneast Action Group (Blag), have raised £2,650 to buy the plough and mechanical salt spreader.
Two farmers in the area have been designated to operate them during heavy snowfall.
Blag said residents 'voted with their pockets' after being cut off during the last two winters.
Spokesman Paul Stephenson said: 'If you're out in the rural areas the main roads are beautifully clear, but our parish is split into a hamlet and village either side of a ridge with a steep hill on one side and open moorland.
'The situation is that there is just not the resources for the Highways to cope with the snow, we just have to wait, and the reality is waiting up to a week before there is clearance of our road. But we're not trying to emulate the speed and ferocity of the Highways team.'
He said there were many retired residents in the area so 'we were very keen to mechanise' the removal of snow rather than relying on manpower.
And motorists were being urged to be vigilant against thieves who are cashing in on the cold weather by looking for drivers who hate getting into an icy car.
Police said the thieves - usually working in a team of two -park in a side street when people are leaving to go to work.
Many drivers nip outside and de-ice their windscreens, and leave their engines running to warm up the car while they pop back indoors for one last cup of coffee.
One thief sneaks from their getaway car, dives into the motor with the engine running and they both tear off before the owner can run outside to stop them.
Detectives said in a recent incident - in Northampton - a car owner heard their vehicle being driven away at speed after going back into the house for a brief moment.
A police spokeswoman said: 'It is vital that vehicles are clear of frost and snow before driving, but we would always advise motorists to stay with their vehicle whilst de-frosting, even if it's parked on their front driveway.
'People may assume that nothing will happen in a few minutes, however what might only seem like a few minutes in the house, can provide the small window of time an opportunistic thief needs.
'This type of crime is preventable and we urge members of the public to allow extra time to safely clear their windscreens in the morning.'
Mist-ical: Foggy conditions give the Thames a magical feel as rowers take to the water in Henley in Oxfordshire to train
Mist-ical: Foggy conditions give the Thames a magical feel as rowers take to the water in Henley in Oxfordshire to train
Hardy: Ramblers walk in the snow near Pately Bridge, Yorkshire, as forecasters warn of plummeting temperatures to come
You might need a different gear for this ride: Cyclists pedal their mountain bikes through snow and ice in the Pennines, on the Northumberland and Durham border
Hardy: Ramblers walk in the snow near Pately Bridge, Yorkshire (left), and cyclists pedal their mountain bikes in the Pennines (right), on the Northumberland and Durham border as forecasters warn of plummeting temperatures to come
Braving the elements: The Four Shires Bloodhounds take to the snowy hills of Derbyshire, near Hartington, led by Kennel Huntsman, Heidi Critchlow
Braving the elements: The Four Shires Bloodhounds take to the snowy hills of Derbyshire, near Hartington, led by Kennel Huntsman, Heidi Critchlow
The snow is triggered by a warm Atlantic weather system from the west clashing with cold air in the east.
While many prefer to stay in a warm house during the cold spell, for others the plunging temperatures have brought out their adventurous side.
Rowers in Henley-on-Thames, in Oxfordshire, took to the water to train as mist descended over the town, and cross country motorcyclist became not-so-easy riders as they carefully followed a steep hillside trail in formation, in Nenthead, Cumbria.
Other amblers and cyclists, in Yorkshire and Northumberland, were undeterred by the icy conditions and were spotted enjoying the great outdoors.
And the Four Shires Bloodhounds braved the elements as they took to the snowy hills of Derbyshire, near Hartington.
Led by Heidi Critchlow, the hounds and horses chased the scent of a human quarry, over the Peak District moorland. Today's 'hunting' was described as exceptionally good with the cold weather making it ideal for the hounds to follow the runner's scent.
It would seem all bets are off if you are hoping to take a gamble on the cold weather.
Bookies William Hill have trimmed the price of 2012 seeing the coldest ever recorded temperature from 16/1 to 14/1 in Scotland, after a run of money over the weekend.
Winter arrives: The unseasonably mild winter gave way to cold and snow which turned Carr Shields, Northumberland, pictured, into a picturesque snowy scene
Winter arrives: The unseasonably mild winter gave way to cold and snow which turned Carr Shields, Northumberland, pictured, into a picturesque snowy scene
Freezing: Weather forecasters saying the cold weather could last into February as homes in Allendale, Northumberland, stoke up their fires to keep warm
Freezing: Weather forecasters saying the cold weather could last into February as homes in Allendale, Northumberland, stoke up their fires to keep warm
Hills also offer 16/1 that the record cold temperature in England, -26.1c recorded in Shropshire 1982, is beaten. Hills are 50/1 that the Houses of Parliament are closed for weather reasons.
Hills spokesman Rupert Adams said: 'The latest forecast suggests that February could be foul and punters are predicting that our coldest temperature records could tumble.'
On Monday a slow-moving band of rain with hill snow in western parts will continue, before cold, and bright conditions with isolated showers push westwards towards midweek.
Over the next couple of weeks, the weather is forecast to be mostly settled and cold leading up to the first weekend, especially towards the southeast of England, with widespread overnight frost and some wintry coastal showers towards the east.

However, northwestern parts will soon become cloudier, more unsettled, but milder with spells of rain and some snow, the snow mainly on hills.

Although there is considerable uncertainty, the bright, cold conditions will probably continue for a time into the second week in the east.

The unsettled but milder conditions in the west will probably spread erratically further east with time, introducing spells of rain and some snow, again mainly on hills. This progression may be coupled with strong winds and possibly gales in northwestern parts.
The cold spell breaks what has so far been one of the warmest winters on record.
Snow fun: Youngster Amy Eager, 5, has fun on a sledge in Bowes, County Durham, as heavy snow arrives in Britain this weekend.
Snow fun: Youngster Amy Eager, 5, has fun on a sledge in Bowes, County Durham, as heavy snow arrives in Britain this weekend.
Snow fun: Youngster Amy Eager, five, has fun on a sledge in Bowes, County Durham, as heavy snow arrives in Britain this weekend.

Cold snap: A cyclist braves the cold on the Pennine hill tops near Skipton, in the Yorkshire Dales
Cold snap: A cyclist braves the cold on the Pennine hill tops near Skipton, in the Yorkshire Dales

A man walks his dog through the snow at Kilhope, in County Durham
Chill: A man walks his dog through the snow at Kilhope, County Durham, as the country braced itself for a spell of cooler weather that has brought snow to some regions
Forecasters said it was becoming increasingly likely that the freezing temperatures would stick around and even last through the whole of February.
George Goodfellow of the Met Office said: ‘It seems like we are edging toward a scenario where lower temperatures last for the next four weeks. It is going to be a contrast to the weather we have had this winter. Widespread frosts and snow could affect large areas.’
He said the wintry weather was a result of ‘a cold air mass moving across from Siberia’.
There are fears that the sudden onset could bring travel chaos and catch many drivers off guard.
AA spokesman Luke Bodett said: ‘We have had a very mild winter so far and motorists need to get into their winter mindset from today. It is going to be important not to charge around in the way they may have been used to and be prepared for the unexpected.’
The Met Office has briefed government departments and local councils about the cold period so that extreme weather plans can be put on standby.

Bracing: A man and his dog enjoy a walk through the snow in another scene from Kilhope, in County Durham
Bracing: A man and his dog enjoy a walk through the snow in another scene from Kilhope, in County Durham

Snow on the A689 in County Durham as forecasters warn the winter weather and freezing temperatures will affect
Treacherous: Driving conditions became difficult as sleet and rain froze on roads
Treacherous: A car on the A689 near Kilhope County Durham, left, negotiates the freezing conditions, while a driver slides off the A53 between Leek and Buxton, Derbyshire, after heavy snow closed many roads in the area

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Tea tonight care of John Torode from Masterchef.  Colin says this is as good as the Chinese!  Being a veggie I did mushroom for me.  Leave out the chilli if you don't like heat.


Sweet & sour chicken
 


Easy
Serves 4

Preparation and cooking times

Preparation time Prep 20 mins
Cook time Cook 45 mins
Freezable Sauce can be frozen

Method

  1. For the sauce, put the red pepper, chunks of chilli and pineapple juice in a pan and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 10 mins, then purée in a food processor. Return to the pan with the pineapple chunks, chilli halves, star anise, tamarind, sugar and vinegar. Gently simmer for 20-30 mins until reduced and sticky. Keep warm, or reheat to serve.
  2. Fill a large pan 1cm deep with oil and heat until shimmering. Whisk the soda water and 100ml cold water into the self-raising flour with a little salt. Tip the cornflour onto a plate, line a tray with kitchen paper and turn on the oven to low.
  3. Stir the batter well. Dust the chicken with cornflour, then dip into the batter. One at a time, lower into the hot oil (about 5-6 every batch). Turn up the heat to keep the chicken frying, if needed, and cook for 5-6 mins, turning once. When cooked, drain on the tray, and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining chicken. Stack onto a plate with the warm sauce on the side, and scatter with shredded spring onions.

Ozzy the acrobat

Ozzy, the collie who never wobbles! The MoS tracks down the four-legged superstar whose astonishing balancing tricks took YouTube by storm

It's the latest video to become a  YouTube sensation. Showing a truly astonishing sense of balance, a dog perches on a thin metal chain before standing up on his hind legs.
While other dogs are more content to chase cats or gnaw old bones, this canine is capable of incredible acrobatic feats.
Filmed by an amazed passer-by on his mobile phone, the footage was then uploaded to YouTube where it attracted more than 80,000 hits in just one day.

Nick Johnson and his dog Ossy have taken the internet by storm
Nick Johnson and his dog Ossy have taken the internet by storm
It has proved so popular since being posted two weeks ago that it was  highlighted by ITV chat show host Jonathan Ross last weekend. Ross told viewers that the sight  of the balancing dog would help  banish their winter blues.
Until now the identity of the dog and his owner have remained a mystery – but The Mail on Sunday has tracked them down. They are carpenter Nick Johnson, 50, from Norwich, and Ozzy, his three-year-old chocolate border collie-kelpie cross.
Nick devotes up to five hours  a day to training his pet, who  was born on a farm in Anglesey, North Wales.
Ozzy is now recognised wherever he goes, and his repertoire of tricks includes balancing on Nick’s shoulders as he rides  a bike, fetching his owner’s mobile phone, and ‘surfing’ on a street sign.
Ozzy perfects his street sign surfing and is walked by Nick everyday

ON THE ROAD TO FAME... OZZY PERFECTS HIS STREET SIGN SURFING

Ozzy has plenty of energy so every day Nick takes him on a long walk around their home city, Norwich. It was during one of these walks that Nick decided to see if his dog could balance on a street sign.
Of his training style, Nick says: ‘Old-style dog-trainers say you should never look at the dog, but if a dog is looking at you he is giving you his full attention.
‘I bring him into my eyes and that helps him balance. I use a lot of sign language with him. I use my eyebrows to encourage him, but the most powerful command is me wagging my little finger.
‘That means “Come on” when he is right on the edge of what he can do.’
‘I was a bit scared initially because I had never had my own dog before and many people said that puppy-training was really hard,’ says Nick. ‘But Ozzy was beautiful. He was so easy.’
Nick bought a book called Puppies For Dummies before he took his pet – full name Osbert Humperdinck Pumpernickle – on a six-week training course.
He also became a fan of the Dog Whisperer – behavioural expert Cesar Millan – and Zak George, a dog-trainer who teaches animals unusual tricks on his show Who Let The Dogs Out?, which is broadcast on children’s channel CBBC.
Nick was keen to try out some simple tasks first. Ozzy quickly mastered offering his paw for Nick to shake, and soon he was saluting his owner while on his hind legs, before being tested to the limit with his chain trick. First with the news... meet the paper hound

FIRST WITH THE NEWS: MEET THE PAPER HOUND

When some dogs hear the postman arrive, they bark loudly and hurtle towards the front door. But Ozzy is too well trained for that. And when a newspaper is popped through the letterbox each morning, he retrieves it up from the mat and brings it back to Nick – in one piece.

The chain event, talented Ozzy's star turn

THE CHAIN EVENT... TALENTED OZZY'S STAR TURN

After Ozzy had managed his street sign trick, Nick got him to balance on a metal chain attached to two posts. Nick looks into his eyes and uses hand gestures, which has led some people to suggest that he is capable of mind-control methods – and to jokingly liken him to Jedi Master
Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars. ‘Once Ozzy is focused on me he is locked in. It’s funny that I have been compared to a Jedi. That would explain the strange looks I get,’ he says.

The dog and bone act

THE DOG AND BONE ACT

Always eager to please, Ozzy fetches and carries too. When Nick’s phone rings, Ozzy picks it up with his teeth and returns it to his grateful owner. ‘Ozzy understands what I say,’ says Nick.
‘If I tell him to get my white trainers, he gets them. I can also tell him to get my other trainers – he understands the difference. People say dogs cannot understand language but there’s a dog in America that can understand 3,000 words.’

The pet with a passion for life on the ledge

THE PET WITH A PASSION FOR LIFE ON THE EDGE

As a puppy, Ozzy demonstrated a talent for jumping high to catch balls and Frisbees. Now he combines that athleticism with his extraordinary balancing skills to leap up on to awkward spaces, such as this window ledge. Incredibly, Ozzy performs all his tricks without inducements.
Nick does not reward him with treats or punish him for failure. Ozzy has so much energy he can concentrate for long periods. Nick says: ‘It is never a question of him lacking energy, but it  is important to keep up his morale.’
Riding high... here comes the piggy-back pooch

RIDING HIGH... HERE COMES THE PIGGY-BACK POOCH

Simon Cowell has already said he is desperate to find an entertaining dog act when his show Britain’s Got Talent returns to our screens later this year – well look no further.
When Nick decides to ride his bike into town, Ozzy is happy to tag along – just not on his lead. Instead, as Nick sits in the saddle, Ozzy hops up on to his owner’s shoulders and hitches a lift.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Thursday, 26 January 2012

And then a roasted vegetable one!

I also added courgettes and red onions for extra colour.


Roasted vegetable lasagne

Roasted vegetable lasagne

Difficulty and servings

Easy Serves 6

Preparation and cooking times

Preparation time Prep 25 mins
Cook time Cook 1 hr 10 mins
Vegetarian Freezable Vegetarian

Ingredients


Method

  1. Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Deseed the peppers, halve, then cut into large chunks. Trim ends off aubergines, then cut into slices about ½cm thick. Lightly grease 2 large baking trays, then place peppers and aubergines on top. Toss with the olive oil, season well, then roast for 25 mins until lightly browned.
  2. Reduce oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Lightly oil an ovenproof serving dish (30 x 20cm). Arrange a layer of the vegetables on the bottom, then pour over a third of the tomato sauce. Top with a layer of lasagne, then drizzle over a quarter of the white sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers of pasta.
  3. To finish, spoon remaining white sauce over the pasta, making sure the whole surface is covered. Scatter mozzarella over the top with the tomatoes. Bake for 45 mins until bubbling and golden.

Beef Lasagne

Our usual monthly wine circle meeting last night.  What to do to serve a crowd?  Lasagne.  First a beef one -


Classic lasagne

Classic lasagne


Easy
Serves 6
Easily doubled

Preparation and cooking times

Preparation time Prep 20 mins
Cook time Cook 1 hr 40 mins
plus 1 hr for making sauces
Freezable

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil , plus a little for greasing
  • 750g lean beef mince
  • 90g pack prosciutto
  • ½ quantity tomato sauce (see below)
  • 200ml hot beef stock
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 300g fresh pack lasagne sheets
  • ½ quantity white sauce (see below)
  • 125g ball mozzarella

Method

  1. First make the ragu or meat sauce. Heat the oil in a frying pan, then cook the beef in two batches for about 10 mins until browned all over. Finely chop 4 slices of prosciutto, then stir through the meat mixture.
  2. Pour over the tomato sauce and stock, add the nutmeg, then season. Bring up to the boil, then simmer for 30 mins until the ragu looks rich and is well coated in sauce. Can be left for 3 days in the fridge or frozen for 3 months (although not if the tomato sauce has previously been frozen).
  3. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. To assemble lasagne, lightly oil an ovenproof serving dish (30 x 20cm). Spoon over a third of the ragu sauce, then cover with lasagne sheets. Drizzle over about one quarter of the white sauce. Repeat until you have 3 layers of pasta. Cover with the remaining half quantity of white sauce, making sure you can't see any pasta poking through.
  4. Tear the mozzarella into thin strips, then scatter over the top. Arrange the rest of the prosciutto on top. Bake for 45 mins until the top is bubbling and lightly browned. (The uncooked lasagne can be frozen. If baking from frozen, add another 45 mins to the cooking time).