Friday, July 27, 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012

Easy Green-sy Veggie Cannelloni

It's mid-Winter in Melbourne. The sun is currently shining beatifically and there are blue patches of sky, in between rain showers. It's generally gorgeous weather, if a little chilly at night. Sorry to rub it in, but it's about a billion times more bearable than Winter in London.

It's the kind of weather when a girls thoughts turn to casseroles, hearty soups and stews, and delicious cheesy cannelloni/lasagne type dishes that warm the flat while they're baking.

This recipe gets the 'Ouit-Spald-atron-5000' seal of approval.

Olive oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbs of fresh herbs (whatever you have to hand, I used thyme)
350gm brocolli, cut into florets
Small handful finely grated parmesan
some finely grated lemon rind
handful pinenuts
450gm ricotta cheese
4 fresh lasagne sheets, halved crossways

Pre-heat oven to 180°. Heat a slug of oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Stir in onion for 5 mins, add garlic for 1 minute, then the chopped tomatoes. Cook for 10 mins until thick, then stir in herbs.

Meanwhile, steam the brocolli for 3-5 minutes until al dente. Refresh under cold water and drain. Use a hand blender to blend the brocolli, then add the ricotta, pine nuts, parmesan and lemon rind.

Spread about 2/3 cup of the tomato sauce in a greased 1.5l baking dish. One at a time, place the lasagnes sheet in the pan and spoon 1/4 cup of the ricotta mixture along the centre, rolling loosely to enclose. Don't worry about being perfect; it will be a delicious mess. When you're done, spoon the remaining tomato sauce and ricotta mixture over the top.

Bake for 25 minutes and enjoy hot hot hot from the oven, possibly with a blanket over your knees (nanna style).

Monday, July 09, 2012

I still ❤ London

Hello, you! How's things?

Are you excited about the Olympics? Are you cosying up to the hearth, enjoying a pinot noir in icy, icy Melbourne, or celebrating Mid-Summer in Europe? Did you read 50 Shades of Grey yet*?

Don't worry, this blog isn't going to suddenly morph into an upbeat, uber-friendly, insta-bestest-buddies site a la Meet Me At Mikes (which I love, but whose relentless perkiness can be a bit much sometimes).

I've been in London and Sweden for a couple of epic weddings, where a friend told me she missed reading my blog posts. Cherry Merry Muffin Cakes, this one goes out to you.

It was such a weird feeling to be back in the UK - like being transported to a parallel universe where everything is just as you remember it, but slightly changed. I felt like I was in a bubble, removed from my surroundings for much of the first week. By week 2 however, I was fully re-assimilated; hopping on and off buses, weaving expertly around the dawdling crowds on Oxford street, perusing the weekend Guardian and visiting favourite haunts.

And of course, it was a joy to catch up with my lovely London crew and attend the various wedding-related events.

It's funny - since I've been back in Melbourne, I've not felt the slightest inkling to return to my former life in London.

It turns out I did miss that dang town. It just took a whirlwind trip there in the middle of Summer, post-Jubilee celebrations, pre-Olympics craziness to remind me. London in the Summertime is a thrilling place - I missed that big-city feeling of anything can happen. Not knowing what urban adventure you might stumble upon next. The feeling of being surrounded by life, spilling out all around you. The low, endless cityscape rendered in - well, 50 shades of grey.

All the things I have written about London before, still hold true. And then some, because now they are brushed with a soft, beautiful wash of nostalgia.

*I haven't and probably won't, because I prefer my literary erotica to be a little more highbrow, if you know what I mean.

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