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Mousaka with Gruyere Cheese


I feel so relieved! My exams are over. So is my stress. I can continue writing here, without thinking that I have an exam tomorrow or I have to learn for one. So I add today the recipe I put some weeks ago in Romanian. This is the English recipe of mousaka, the Greek type . But this one comes with a twist: it has Gruyère cheese in it. I loved it the moment I put my eyes on it, as it has cheese and aubergines, one of my favorite vegetables. Plus, it is traditional to make with aubergines, not potatoes. I have made mousaka with potatoes some years ago just to see how it tasted, but I didn’t like it. My fave is this one. If you are lucky to have this book: Josceline Dimbley “Marvellous Meals with Mince” – 1982, than you can just skip this.

What I like about this recipe is that it has exotic spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, that add a special flavour and fragrance to the dish.

Mousaka with Gruyère Cheese

Ingredients:

  • 550-675 g (1 1/4 – 1 1/2 lb) aubergines (approx. 3)
  • lemon juice
  • 2 onions
  • 25 g (1 oz) butter (80-82 unsalted butter, if you find)
  • 450 g (1 lb) lamb mince (you can add half lamb and half beef mince if you like)
  • 1 tsp (5 ml spoon) ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 6 tbsp water
  • a good handful of parsley, chopped
  • 200 g (8 oz) Gruyère cheese, sliced thinly (the original recipe states 100 g, but my experience has shown me that it is not enough, plus I love cheese, so there is never enough for me)
  • salt and pepper

For the topping:

  • 50 g (2 oz) butter
  • 50 g (2 oz) plain flour
  • 450 ml (3/4 pint) milk
  • a little grated nutmeg
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tbsp single cream
  • salt and black pepper

Method:

  • Peel the aubergines, slice into 1/4 – 1/2 inch (5 mm – 1cm) rounds and immediately smear with lemon juice to prevent discoloration. Then rub all over with salt and leave in a colander in the sink for half an hour, to drain away the bitter juices. I can tell you that there won’t be much or no bitter juices.
  • Peel and chop the onions. To do this I have discovered in London the excellent Alligator Onion Cutter. I hate cutting onion so I have purchased one there. I saw it in Selfridge and other stores. It is worth it having one, believe me. Heat the butter in a large frying pan and cook the onion over a gentle heat until softened. Add the minced lamb and fry over a rather higher heat, stirring and breaking up with a wooden spoon until it is separated and sealed. Stir in the ground cinnamon and  a good seasoning of salt and pepper. Then stir in the tomato purée and water and bubble until the water is absorbed. Turn of the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.
  • Bring a large pan of water to the boil and empty the aubergine slices into it. Cover the pan and boil for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water.
  • In a 2 1/2 – 3 pint (1,4 – 1,7 litre) ovenproof dish (a glass one shows tha layers attractively) make layers of aubergine slices, mince mixture and Gruyère cheese, starting and ending with a layer of aubergine.
  • To make the topping, melt the butter in a saucepan, remove from the heat and stir in the flour. Stir in the milk, gradually at first. Bring to the boil, stirring all the time and then bubble gently, still stirring, for about 3 minutes. Season lightly with salt and black pepper add a little grated nutmeg. What a lovely flavour!Remove from the heat.
  • Whisk the egg yolks with the cream and gradually add the white sauce, stirring in thoroughly. If the sauce is al all lumpy, whisk until smooth and then pour on tp of the aubergine and meat layers.
  • Heat the oven to Gas Mark 4/ 180°C, 350°F and bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes, until a rich golden brown on top.

Bon appetite!

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Iar in bucatarie


Hi,hi,hi. Azi voi gati. In sfarsit, ca nu mai gatisem demult. Virtual, evident. In realitate, la fel de rar dar tot sofisticat. Chiar mama spune ca ma complic uneori. Alteori insa simplific cu un sandvici (conform dex). Sau oua prajite. Sau piure, etc. 😛 Whatever! Numai sa fie ceva rapid ca nu am timp sau chef sa stau in bucatarie. Dar azi, azi voi “sta”. Ceea ce “gatesc” este foarte gustos, o musaca with a twist, cum imi place sa mai zic. Pentru ca se face cu cascaval si nu orice cascaval, ci Gruyere. Si se face si cu vinete. Cat imi plac mie legumele astea, nici nu ai idee. Sunt ideale pentru musaca, sunt ingredientul principal si mai ales traditional. Imho. Am mancat si cred ca am gatit o data si cu cartofi, de curiozitate, sa vad cum iese. Nu mi-a placut. De aceea, iti zic, gateste musacaua cu vinete. Este delicioasa.

Azi deci, mergem prin Grecia, tara care a dat varianta cea mai cunoscuta si degustata de musaca.Cel putin asa zice Google. Si reteta mea, tot in stil grecesc este. Am cules-o din Josceline Dimbleby – “Marvellous Meal With Mince”, 1982, in Londra, iar. Orasul meu de suflet. Acum m-am pornit, daca am mentionat de Londra. Am invatat sa iubesc orasul asta, secunda de secunda, ora de ora, zi de zi, luna de luna si an de an. A fost iubire cu forta, dar chiar a mers de data asta, pentru ca recunosc ca al doilea an a fost de vis si asta a facut mai usoara adaptarea. A durat ceva dar a meritat. Dupa ploaie a iesit soarele, asa  a fost la mine. 🙂  Ii iubesc ceata, ploaia, cladirile superb intretinute, parcurile, oamenii, turistii, metroul, autobuzele, dar mai ales zona centrala. 😉 Doar nu credeai ca alte zone. Recunosc, sunt snoaba. Guilty. So what? I am not the only one.

Sa revin la minunatia asta de musaca, ce miroase incredibil cand se coace in cuptor. De la niste mirodenii delicioase ca scortisoara, patrunjel, nucsoara, piper. Citeste mai departe, dar sa nu te sperii. Un “mic” amanunt: iar sunt vase de spalat. De asta e buna o masina de spalat vase, pentru astfel de mancaruri. I wish! Totusi merita pentru ca rezultatul e ca te vei linge pe degete dupa ce o gusti. De fapt, ti se face foame incepand de la miros. Si merita tot efortul. Serveste mancarea asta cu legume fierte de orice fel, e foarte consistenta si o echilibrezi cu ceva usor. Sau cu ce doresti. Si acompaniaza totul cu un vin rosu.

Musaca cu cascaval Gruyere

Ingrediente:

  • 550-675 g  vinete (aprox. 3 vinete medii)
  • suc de lamaie (stii, stoarce lamaia)
  • 2 cepe
  • 25 g unt de cca 80 % grasime (nu margarina, nu e buna, stii deja)
  • 450 g carne tocata de miel (daca vrei putin diferit adauga cantitati egale de miel si vita care sa faca 450 g)
  • 2 lingurite scortisoara pudra (remember, for the twist)
  • 2 linguri piure de rosii (sau suc de rosii mai concentrat, in cazul in care nu ai piure)
  • 6 linguri apa
  • o mana de patrunjel, tocat marunt
  • 200 g cascaval Gruyere, feliat subtire
  • sare
  • piper

Pentru sos:

  • 50 g unt de cca 80 % grasime
  • 50 g faina
  • 450 ml lapte (da, gras, vezi ca stii)
  • putina nucsoara (daca o razui atunci, are un miros adorabil, nu se poate compara cu cea pudra deja din plicuri)
  • 2 galbenusuri
  • 2 linguri smantana (reteta zice din cea slaba, dar eu zic din cea grasa, alege, ai voie)
  • sare
  • piper

Preparare:

  • Cojeste vinetele, taie-le felii de cca 5 mm – 1 cm diametrul si unge-le rapid cu suc de lamaie ca sa nu se innegreasca. Freaca-le apoi cu sare si pune-le intr-o strecuratoare pentru cca 30 de minute ca sa se strecoare sucul amar care ar rezulta din ele.
  • Curata si marunteste ceapa. Topeste untul intr-o tigaie mare, adanca si prajeste ceapa la foc mic pana se inmoaie. Adauga carnea tocata de miel si prajeste-o la foc mediu, amestecand si maruntind ca sa se patrunda bine. Adauga apoi scortisoara, sarea si piperul. Urmeaza piureul de rosii si apa. Amesteca si lasa totul la foc mediu pana cand e toata apa absorbita. Opreste focul si amesteca la final patrunjelul tocat.
  • Fierbe apa intr-o cratita mare si adauga feliile de vinete. Acopera si lasa-le cca 2 minute la foc mare. Scoate-le si clateste-le rapid cu apa rece, sa opresti fierberea.
  • Intr-un vas termorezistent de cca 1.4 – 1.7  litri (gen yena, prin care se vad frumos straturile, daca doresti) aseaza un strat de felii de vinete, apoi un strat de carne si un strat de cascaval Gruyere, si tot asa pana termini cantitatile. Termina cum  ai inceput, cu un strat de vinete.
  • Petru sos, topeste untul intr-o cratita, indeparteaza-o de foc si adauga faina. Adauga si laptele, gradat. Pune cratita pe foc mediu sa fiarba, amestecand continuu. Lasa la foc mic si amesteca inca 3 minute. Adauga sarea, piperul si nucsoara. Hmmm! Acum va mirosi incantator. Ia de pe foc.
  • Bate galbenusurile cu smantana si adauga cate putin in sosul alb, amestecand bine. Daca sosul nu e suficient de fin, amesteca pana se face asa si toarna-l peste musacaua din vas.
  • Incalzeste cuptorul la 180°C, 350°F, nr.  4 la cuptorul cu gaz. Pune vasul in mijlocul cuptorului pentru cca 45 de minute sau pana cand sosul se rumeneste deasupra.

Pofta buna!