My sister Jo is the Queen of cheese sauce! It’s one of those things that everyone I know seems to really struggle to get right, but she knocks it up with no trouble at all every time. This means her Lasagne is GREAT! She made it for us the other night, and we all dug in, washing it down with some lovely wine and lots of laughter and conversation.
She agreed to answer some of my foodie questions and to share her recipe with us…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m pretty damn cool!
What kinds of foods do you most enjoy?
I really like food that’s meant for sharing with friends and family at special occasions, things like lasagne, chilli, pasta bake and one of my personal faves: my grandma’s chicken rice! In general though, I love Italian, Spanish and Greek foods. To be honest, I’m just a foody…
What has influenced the kinds of food you like?
My family have greatly influenced the foods I like. For example, I have many happy memories of having big family and friend gatherings where we would share a big dish of yumminess together with loads of laughing and merriment. My mum, nana and grandma have particularly influenced me in this way and I have many memories of cooking with them from a very young age. I always used to enjoy baking and cooking dinners for my family at the weekends. More recently, I have been living with my sister and brother-in-law and they have also really inspired my favourite foods giving me a real ‘flavour’ for Thai and Italian food.
If you could invite anyone to dinner who would you invite and why?
My family, my three besties, my boyfriend and of course Miranda Hart!! Just for the laughs really…
What would be your ideal party?
A small gathering with swing music and old school dancing after a very delicious three course dinner with classy drinks and a cocktail bar… not too much to ask is it?…
Ideal way to spend a Sunday?
Long walk along the beach and the cliffs at Woolacombe beach or such like, followed by a film night with good food and a proper hot choc with my boyfriend Hugo!
Favourite comfort food?
Spaghetti bolognese – everytime! And a big slab of sponge cake with a hot chocolate!
Tricky…. Apple crumble and ice cream or cheese cake.
Sweet or savoury?
Probably sweet… I think…
Least favourite food?
Dates and Bananas!!!
Why do you like making the recipe you’re sharing here?
As I have said above it’s a great dinner to share round the table with your besties and great with a yummy salad to go with it!
For the bolognese:
Generous squirt of ketchup – just to add some class! (I personally think salsa is a good way to go too)
Any other vegetables you feel like putting in
If you’re feeling extravagant a splash of red wine goes very nicely!!
I also add an assortment of herbs – generally whatever’s in the cupboard but thyme, coriander, bay leaves and tarragon go pretty well!
For the cheese sauce:
A nob and a half of butter or spread
About ¾ Pint of milk
Around 1-2 table spoons of corn flour, but I have recently found out that if you are lacking in corn flour plain flour works just as well!
A lot of grated cheese! As much as you dare to put in…
A sprinkle of black pepper
You’ll also need some Lasagne sheets
- Making the bolognese:
Start by frying the chopped onion in the saucepan. When softened, add the beef. Keep stirring to avoid it sticking to the pan. Once the meat is brown, add the tinned tomatoes, mushrooms, courgettes and whatever veg you’re putting in. Let it all simmer for a while before adding your chosen herbs and the wine if you want to.
- Making the cheese sauce:
While the bolognese is doing its thing, add the butter, milk and flour to another saucepan on a low heat. Use a whisk to stir continuously. As the sauce thickens, add the cheese and continue to whisk. Keep whisking until it starts to boil gently.
- Pour half of the bolognese into the dish, cover with a layer of lasagne sheets and then pour half of the cheese sauce on top. Repeat this process with the remaining bolognese and sauce. Cover the dish with foil and cook in the oven for about 40mins at 180’. When it’s sizzling, take off the foil and put it back in the oven with grated cheese on top for another 5-10mins.
- Prepare a salad and some posh bread like ciabatta and you’re sorted.