I have been a Mum for fifteen years today. It seems like yesterday that he looked like this, I can still feel that cheek and I know what those shoulders feel like in that baby grow. I can smell his warm baby smell and it makes me smile.
Yesterday we strolled by the canal and ate ice cream, I didn’t have to mop anyone’s face or worry about someone falling in. I still know what that cheek feels like and how those broad shoulders feel in that shirt and he still makes me smile!
I am so proud of my boy. FIFTEEN!
Tonight he gets to choose what we have for our family dinner, the birthday person always chooses. We are having veggie lasagne and spicy chips, I am baking him a fruit cake and he will probably want rhubarb crumble too!
Here’s our recipe for his favourite lasagne for today’s Meat Free Monday. (He made the one in the photographs but I won’t make him cook it himself today!)
Ingredients (serves 6)
100g puy lentils, boiled for 20 minutes (I pop a spoonful of vecon veg stock in the water to add flavour)
1 large onion, chopped
1 courgette, diced into chunks
200g mushrooms, sliced
2 large carrots, diced
100g baby corn sliced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic peeled and finely chopped
1tsp dried mixed herbs
1 tsp sun dried tomato pesto
½ – 1 tsp tamari soy sauce to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
6-9 lasagne sheets (depending how many layers you get out of the mixture!)
For the bechamel sauce you will need:
40g plain flour
½ litre milk
1 tsp dijon mustard
100g grated cheddar
While the lentils are cooking, gently fry the onions, mushrooms and courgettes in little olive oil. Add the carrots, corn and garlic and fry for a few seconds more. Add the tomatoes, sun dried tomato pesto, dried herbs, soy sauce and pepper and bring to the boil. Add 200ml of the lentil stock and the lentils and cook until the sauce has reduced by about half.
Meanwhile make your bechamel. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the flour and cook through gently for two minutes. Add the milk and whisk in (don’t faff about with gentle stirring with a wooden spoon, a hand whisk takes all the fight out of a lumpy sauce!) Bring gently to the boil, whisking occasionally if it looks like misbehaving and turning lumpy. Simmer gently until thick and delicious. Add the mustard.
Now you need to construct your lasagne. Layer a third of the veg mix in the bottom of your dish (mine measures 25cm x 20cm and is 7cm deep, I have bought many, many dishes for this meal as the family has grown but this fits us at the moment!), top with a layer of lasagne and repeat twice more ending with a layer of lasagne. (If your dish is wider and shallower you may only get two layers, go with it!)
Pour your bechamel over and top with the grated cheddar. Bake at 180°C for about 30 minutes or until bubbling and golden brown (or according to your packet instructions!)