Sunday, 29 July 2012


Good Morning to you,

There are so many recipes for Lasagne,  I wasn't sure I should include my version, but then I realised, that is what it is, my version, of a well known dish.

Some would say Lasagne is "old hat" and very 70's, this may be so, but what does that matter.  If a dish is tasty and enjoyable, then fashion doesn't come into it.

As a home cook I  adapt recipes, to include a little more of "this" and a little less of "that", to cater to my  families tastes. Isn't that what home cooking is all about! 

I have cooked this recipe for years, but do you know I "just" cook it, ( I can hear Natasha whispering in my ear, "Mum you don't "just", it takes knowledge and experience"), but all you mums out there will know what I mean.   I don't weigh and measure, I make it without thinking, but for you I have sat down and weighed and recorded the ingredients.  So without further ado this is my version of Lasagne.

The Meat Sauce

3 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 - 3 cloves of garlic (depends on your taste buds)
1 carrot - chopped into 3 chunks
1 celery stalk - cut into 4 chunks
900g/ 2lb of lean minced beef
300 ml / 1/2  pint  of red wine
125 ml / 4fl oz   of milk
1 x 425 g/ 14oz  of tin tomatoes, chopped
1 teaspoon of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
(dried if you don't have fresh)
Salt and Pepper


700 ml/1 1/4 pint of milk
75g / 3 oz  butter
75g / 3 oz  flour
Salt and Pepper
Grated Nutmeg
75g /3 oz  grated Parmesan Cheese
Grana Padona Cheese
75g /3 oz  grated Mature Cheddar Cheese


Pre-heat oven 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4
1 rectangle dish 12" x 10" (smaller if you prefer more layers to the  lasagne)
15 (approx) of dried lasagne sheets
Cooking time 45 minutes

Put olive oil into the pan, along with chopped onions and cook until golden in colour.

 Remove onions from the pan and set aside.

Using the same pan, brown the beef.  Stir every so often to make sure all the beef is browned.

Add the red wine and bring the mixture to the boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until the wine has evaporated.  It is the flavour you want and not the alcohol content.

Add the garlic, oregano and the onions which were set aside and cook for 2 minutes.

Add the milk to the mixture and stir.  Continue cooking until the milk has been absorbed.

Add the chopped tomatoes and 1 1/2 pints of water, or stock if preferred.

Add the celery and carrot.  They have been cut into chunks as it is the flavour of the celery and carrot we want.  At the end of the cooking time they will be removed.  

Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, this cuts through the acidity of the tomatoes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Place a lid on the pan and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook for 45 minutes.

When cooked check the seasoning, if more salt is required add now.


Melt the butter in a pan.

Add the flour and stir.  Cook over a gentle heat for 2 minutes to make sure the flour is cooked.

Add the milk, yes all of it, it won't be lumpy as long as you whisk continuously.  Add the grated nutmeg and salt then whisk until thick and glossy.

Add the Cheddar Cheese and  Parmesan Cheese, or  Grana Padona Cheese. Whisk until melted. I find taking the sauce off the heat , adding the cheese and whisking allows the cheese to melt, without the sauce catching on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.


Place a little meat sauce in the base of the dish.

Place lasagne sheets on top, try to cover most of the base of the dish.

Cover the lasagne sheets with meat sauce.

Continue layering with lasagne sheets and meat sauce.  You might need to do a little patchwork, as the lasagne sheets don't fit exactly.

The final layer will be lasagne sheets.

Place the dish onto a baking sheet, this will make it easier to take to the oven when filled with the cheese sauce.

Add the cheese sauce over the top of the lasagne sheets.

Bake for approximately 45 minutes, I usually check after 40 to make sure the Lasagne is golden in colour.

Due to the lighting the lasagne looks darker than it actually was......honestly!

Do try this recipe, as I know it will become one of your family favourites.  Cook it the way I have shown you, then  next time you make it,  you can adjust the taste to suit you and your family. Please let me know how you get on with this dish as I would love to hear.

Apologies to my American friends, I need to familiarise myself more with American weights to be sure I give you the correct amount, as I find it confusing ie weight of meat in cups is different to weight of flour in cups.  I will master this I promise.

Just a thought, this Lasagne freezes well.   Cook the same amount as I have and then cut it into portions  and freeze for days when you are too busy to cook.  If you decide to do this, make a little extra meat sauce and freeze in portion sizes, just enough to add moisture to your lasagne when you cook in the oven. 

See you Wednesday, take care until then.

Best Wishes,

Daphne xxx

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Good morning Everyone,

What a wonderful opening to the London Olympics was so exciting and so creative.


How proud we were.  George and I sat up until 1.30 am, yes 1.30 am!  it's unheard of, but we just didn't want to miss a moment.

The creativity of Director, Danny Boyle was astounding.  I loved the way he incorporated so many elements of English life into the Opening Ceremony and how all ages were included.  Our thanks have to go to the thousands of volunteers who helped to make the London Olympic Opening Ceremony so spectacular.  Our "hats are off to you."  Thank you so much.

This is the man we have to thank for his vision.


So from our household in England, we would  like to send our best wishes to every athlete competing in the London Olympics and to say enjoy every minute , as it is an experience  you will remember for the rest of your lives!

Best Wishes,

Daphne xxx

Sunday, 22 July 2012


Good Morning to you,

 I am very happy today, as I am making a Coffee Cake.  This cake I know my Father and Gramps would have loved!  Last week I introduced you to their favourite coffee, so this week I thought I would incorporate  Camp Coffee into the recipe,  instead of my normal filter coffee.  It will be interesting to see how this cake turns out, as I have never baked with Camp Coffee before!  So I am going to gather my ingredients and give this cake a try, fingers crossed it tastes as delicious as it normally does!


Sliced coffee cake with mascarpone cheese mixed with marshmallow fluff it
is not good for the waistline, but tastes good!


275g/9 1/2 oz/1 1/4 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons of baking powder
75g/2 3/4 oz/ 1/3 cup  sugar
150ml/1/4 pint/2/3 cup of milk
2 eggs
100g/3 1/2 oz/1/2 cup melted butter
2 tablespoons of Camp Coffee
or use
2 tablespoons of your normal coffee
1 tablespoon of water
50g/1 3/4oz/1/3 cup ground almonds


75g/2 3/4 oz/1/2 cup of self raising flour
75g / 2 3/4 oz / 1/3 cup Demerara Sugar
25g / 1 oz unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 tablespoon of water


Pre-heat the oven 190c/375f/Gas Mark 5

You will see that the baking parchment is not exactly round...this was the end of
a roll and I didn't want to waste it.
What's the saying, "waste not want not".

Butter a 23 cm/9inch loose bottom round cake tin
Line with baking parchment

Using a large bowl, sieve the flour and baking powder.

Add the sugar, ground almonds and stir

In a separate bowl, mix the melted butter, eggs, milk, Camp Coffee with 1 tablespoon of water (or your normal coffee) and stir.

Pour the coffee mixture on to the dry ingredients.

 Mix together

Place the mixture into the buttered cake tin.


Place the sieved flour and cinnamon in a bowl.

Add  the butter and rub together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the Demerara sugar and stir.

Add 1 tablespoon of water and stir.

Sprinkle the cinnamon topping over the cake mixture

Place in the pre-heated oven and bake for 50 minutes.  As always keep an "eye" on your cake because your oven might be different to mine. If you find your cake is browning too quickly, cover with tin foil or baking parchment.

Baked cake with crunchy topping

Remove from the oven and check to make sure the cake is thoroughly cooked by inserting a baking skewer into the centre of the cake, the cake is baked when the skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire tray to cool and peel off the baking parchment.

When cooled, slice and serve with mascarpone cheese mixed with Marshmallow Fluff.  I found another use for it!  Normally I add icing sugar to the mascarpone, but the Fluff worked well.  If you prefer, you can enjoy this coffee cake with whipped cream..... or just eat it on it's own!

When cooled slice and enjoy.


I did  enjoy making this cake.....I think next time I would add 3 tablespoons of Camp Coffee as I didn't get too much of a coffee flavour, but as with all new things it's trial and error.

I hope you enjoy making this cake, let me know what you think and whether you feel it needed a stronger coffee flavour.

See you Wednesday,  take care until then.

                                     Best Wishes,

                                       Daphne xxx

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Hello Everyone,

I am pleased to report that on Sunday the sun shone and it was windy.....but not a drop of rain...hurrah!!!

I thought I would show you how a little bit of sunshine has brought my garden to life.

This serious looking  fellow is the Roman God,  Bacchus,
he is part of our water feature.

My beautiful David Austin Rose is awakening and  saying hello to the sun!

This morning I sat in the garden enjoying my morning cup of coffee, listening to the bees buzzing around the daisies ...... it was sheer joy.

The Pinks have a beautiful perfume


How do you start your day, do you prefer a cup of tea or a cup of coffee in the morning?

This is my morning cup of coffee

I start my day with a cup of filter coffee...not too strong...but I do like it quite milky.  There are so many coffees to choose from  and here are a few  that have "tickled my taste buds".


As a birthday treat we went to India to visit our daughter Natasha and her husband..... what a wonderful time we had. 

A beautiful Indian Quilt

Whilst there, Natasha introduced me to South Indian coffee, which I took to instantly.

Apologies to my Indian friends....I tried my best!

The ground coffee is made into a decoction (which is  very strong coffee). I found a quarter decoction to three quarters boiled milk worked well for me. It is quite a long process making the coffee, but well worth it.

South Indian Coffee Maker


Cyprus Coffee

Another style of coffee which I have tried is Cyprus coffee.  This is a very strong coffee which is drunk from a small cup with a glass of water on the side.   One heaped teaspoon of freshly ground coffee is added to each demitasse of cold water.  Sugar if required is added while the water is still cold.  The amount of sugar added is dependant on how sweet you like your coffee.

If you like sweet  coffee, this is called glykis.
If you like medium sweet coffee, this is called metrios. If you like unsweetened coffee this is called sketos.


Another coffee I enjoy is a cappuccino.

Without a sprinkling of cocoa
The milky froth was made with my Whittard's Aerolatte

 When we were on holiday in  Sorrento, I made a bit of a mistake! We had finished our afternoon meal and I decided to order a cappuccino. This  was greeted with horror by the waiter.  He said it was not right to order this coffee, as no one drank cappuccino in the afternoon. It was a  milky drink which was enjoyed in the morning..... oh dear, I never made that mistake again!

With a sprinkling of cocoa

Although I do drink cappuccino here at home in the afternoon.....sorry to any Italian friends who may be reading this!


Have you ever heard of Camp Coffee?  This was a coffee my Father and Gramps used to drink in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. 

My father in 1952.....wasn't he handsome!

 It is a liquid coffee which is made with heated milk.  The military used this coffee, as it was easy for the servicemen to make coffee whilst out on manoeuvres. 

Gramps in the 1930's

Camp Coffee is made in Scotland....... I honestly didn't think it was available anymore, to find out I made a trip to my local supermarket and there it was, sitting on a high shelve.  As well  as a drink it is also used  in baking.


 On Sunday I am going to bake a coffee cake but instead of using my normal coffee, I am going to add Camp Coffee. 

Please come and join me and we will bake together.

Take care and I will  see you on Sunday.  Until then, enjoy the rest of your week.

Best Wishes

Daphne xxx

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