I’m figuring out the scheduling of posts for this blog, and how best to post to reach other cooks/foodies and connect! I would really like to become a part of the cooking/blogging community, but I’m afraid its a little bit like this. I’d probably be like this, and end up just like this. (That last gif is stunningly close to my current growing-out-pixie-cut hair length. Add that to an exam/assessment schedule that threatens to knock my sanity and I am in hell.)
Let me know about your food adventures, and I’ll be delighted and tempted to stay in bed all day blogging forever and ever. Lets swap recipes and talk technique. I’m all ears!
Until then, this is my moussaka. The boyf refuses to remember what its called, and so he just calls it ‘mouse cakes’ – seeing as it is the most inauthentic moussaka to grace the blogosphere, I’m tempted to just call it that. But its a loose interpretation of the delicious greek lasagne and hell, I love it. Plus, eggplants are on crazy-sale, so when I make a shittonne of baba ganoujsh it goes nicely. You could also just use extra fried eggplant.
Finally, this could totally be made as a vegetarian dish by just omitting the meat altogether. The mushrooms add enough flavour/meatiness on their own and you could even ‘beef’ it up with some lentils. If you’re feeling extra fancy, add in some yummy kalamata olives before you slather the dish in baba ganoujsh.
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced (or however much you feel is necessary to keep dates away – this isn’t delicate food)
Mixed herbs (I use a brand which has ‘italian mixed seasoning’ but something with oregano, basil, parsley and whatever else they define as ‘italian’)
Mushrooms – button, quartered, approximately 500grams or about 4 handfuls full
2 large carrots, diced into small 1 cm cubes
2 potatoes, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
500g cubed beef
Plain flour, salt, pepper
1 punnet cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 large eggplant, diced into 1 inch cubes + 1.5 cups baba ganoujsh / 2 large eggplants diced into 1 inch cubes
2 Bay leaves – dried
Fry up onions, garlic, and herbs on medium heat. When onions are translucent, add in mushrooms and cook until browned on all sides. Add in potatoes and onions and stir for a few minutes – the point isn’t to cook the potatoes/carrots, just to get some of the flavour through them all. Transfer to oiled casserole dish.
Coat beef cubes in seasoned (salt and pepper) plain flour. Fry in olive oil until all sides are browned. Place over the vegetables in the casserole dish. Scatter tomatoes over the top, distributing evenly.
Fry cubes of eggplant – for this one, I would just add a bit of canola oil for each batch of eggplant cubes. Make sure the eggplant has started to cook, but isn’t necessarily brown (although, if you have the time, it can only taste better!) Place on top of the beef/vegetable mixture. If you are using baba ganoujsh, slather in a thick layer over the top of the eggplants, covering the entire dish. YOU KNOW THIS IS GOING TO BE GOOD!
Make a white sauce by first creating a roux with butter and flour. When this mixture has cooked (and turned a darker colour and become nutty in flavour and smell) add in milk, half cup at a time, whisking. Add in the bay leaves for flavour. There should be at least 1.5 cups (thickened) for this dish. When it is a thick sauce and to the consistency you prefer, taste it for salt/more bay. Add in the feta – again, to your preference. This is an intuitive thing – depending on how much you want, or how thick you want the layers, you may want it thicker/thinner, or cheesier/no cheese.
Bake, uncovered, in a 180 (Celsius) oven for at least 45 minutes. The longer you cook this, the better it gets. If its browned on the top after 30 minutes, turn the heat down to 150. If after 45 minutes its not browned on the top, turn on the grill to toast up the white sauce.
Delicious! Serves 6 – honestly! I haven’t been able to polish this one off and I’ve had it for 4 days. I refuse to throw it out, so will probably be having it for all three meals tomorrow.
With love, from Charlotte