Apologies for my absence! February was a busy month for us -birthday celebrations, a toddler with a sprained ankle, working, baking, caking....and now it seems March is following suit because it's an ear infection and snotsville for poor Clémentine, sleepless nights, endless rocking and many many versions of ring a ring a rosy have been sung.
So here are a few good ole midweek dinner recipes that will no doubt be served at our joint this week. The beauty of these type of meals is that the vegetables can be replaced with whatever is in season, I've listed a few alternatives under each recipe title for you. Enjoy and have a great week! 

I used to try and prep my lasagne filling the morning or the night before as I find the whole cooking and layering process quite time consuming with a kid until I discovered the magic of "skillet lasagne". I came across the wonders of the S.L on this blog when I was pregnant so you know how that story went....pregnant lady and lasagne in 20 minutes!?!! Hello.

Filling options: The lasagne here pictured has a spinach and ricotta filling, I usually use tofu as I find it much lighter and you can still sprinkle on some cheese for the melty top. 

For a more mince-like wintery version blitz some mushrooms in a food processor along with onion, carrots and garlic, cook for about 10mins on medium heat then add the tomatoes.

Cheese options: I literally use whatever I have.

The mascarpone can be replaced with cream cheese, sour cream, creme fraiche or bocconcini.
The mozzarella can be replaced with any other grated melting cheese, but I have even used grated Parmesan which works a treat!
I wouldn't use both bocconcini and mozzarella though.


recipe adapted from hereServes 4-6

I cook this in a large round french oven but use a deep sided skillet dish that has a lid.

200 grams ricotta or 1 large container of firm silken tofu

Two large handful baby spinach, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
Large pinch of hot red chill flakes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 x cans diced tomatoes
Large handful of basil leaves or parsley (roughly chopped if using parsley)
Salt and pepper
1/2 pack instant lasagna sheets
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese or choose from list above
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, patted dry

Mix the ricotta and spinach and add a couple of tablespoons of the parsley and set aside, if using tofu just smoosh through your hands to break it up.

In a large skillet pan or french oven heat the oil over medium heat, add the onions, garlic and chilli flakes and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft about 7 minutes. 
Add the oregano and the tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
Season to taste.
Break the lasagna sheets in half crosswise (don't worry if smaller pieces break off) and as you do push each piece into and underneath the sauce, I basically break and sort of scoop the sheet under. Use enough sheets to roughly cover the pan.
Dollop the ricotta/tofu filling on top of the sauce and gently spread it over so it roughly covers.
Break the remaining half of the noodles in half and distribute them evenly on top, then push down on them with the back of a spoon to submerge them. Cover the pan and gently simmer (raising the heat a little, if needed) until the lasagne sheets are tender and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 12 minutes.
Dollop the mascarpone over the lasagne and swirl it into the sauce.
Top with the mozzarella and gently simmer, covered, until the cheese is melted for about 2 minutes. 
Off the heat, top with the basil leaves, tearing any large ones or sprinkle with parsley.
Let the lasagne rest uncovered for about 10 minutes, then serve.

This recipe is loosely based on Yotam Ottolenghi's Multi Vegetabke Paella from his glorious vegetarian cookbook Plenty. Do yourself a favour and get a copy of this book.

To keep things interesting I change up the veggies.

The original recipe uses fennel and broad beans but that's usually replaced with zucchini/asparagus and peas.
It's a super yummy dish that I have doubled because you will definitely want seconds.


recipe adapted from Plenty
serves 4-6

6 tablespoons olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red capsicum, deseeded and cut into strips
1 large carrot, cut into strips 
1 large zucchini, cut into strips (or 2 bunches of asparagus/ 1/2 fennel bulb, cut into strips)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
300 grams calasparra rice or risotto rice
100ml sherry or dry white wine
1 teaspoon saffron strands
1 litre boiling vegetable stock
Sea salt
Punnet of cherry/mini roma tomatoes
1 1/2 cups of frozen peas
10 pitted kalamata olives
Handful parsley, chopped
Lemon wedges to serve

Heat the oil in a paella or large shallow frying pan, or I use a wok!

Gently fry the onion for 5 minutes. 
Add the capsicum and zucchini, and fry over medium heat until golden. 
Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then add the spices, stir, add the rice and cook stirring, for 2 minutes. 
Add the sherry and saffron, boil down for a minute, then add the stock and half a teaspoon of salt. 
Reduce the heat as low as it will go and leave to simmer for 20 minutes, or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. 
Remove the pan from the heat. 
Scatter the tomatoes and peas over the rice, cover the pan tightly with foil and leave to rest for 10 minutes. Take off the foil, scatter the olives on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve with lemon wedges.

Basically enveloping any leftovers you have in the fridge in flaky pastry is going to be yum!
The filling I used here was from some leftover homemade super greens pesto (spinach, parsley, basil, broccoli, peas and kale), half a bag of frozen corn and some cherry tomatoes.
You can substitute frozen chopped spinach for the pesto, just remember to season it well and perhaps add some fresh herbs. 
Chickpeas would be a great addition, so would tofu or a whole plate of leftover roast veg.


Serves 4-6

2 sheets of good quality butter puffy pastry, defrosted

1 cup of super greens pesto or frozen chopped spinach
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
Small handful cherry tomatoes, halved
1 egg, lightly whisked,
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 220 deg C

Lightly grease a baking tray with butter or line with baking paper.
In a medium sized bowl add pesto, frozen corn and mix to combine.
Add the egg (leave a smidgen for glazing top of pie) and Parmesan cheese and fold through.
Season to taste.
Lay one sheet of the puff pastry onto the baking tray then spread the fcorn pesto mixture on top of the pastry leaving approximately a 1 inch border.
Scatter tomatoes over the filling.
Place the other piece of pastry on top and gently press the edges off both pieces together with your fingers, you can then go along and stamp them with a fork to seal.
Using a sharp knife slash a few lines on top then brush with leftover egg.
Bake for approximately 20-25 minutes or until pastry is golden and puffy and flaky.