Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Preparations/ Preparazioni

I am currently preparing myself on two fronts: firstly, for the oncoming autumn, it's late harvest of luscious vegetables slowly giving way to the onslaught of months and months of root vegetables; secondly, for our holiday to Italy!

Why I am I preparing for the autumn first? Because, if you hadn't noticed from previous posts, it's here already. Meteorologically the season of autumn officially started on September first. In my opinion it star
ted long before that, because despite the odd glimpse of sunshine it has felt distinctly autumnal for at least a couple of weeks now. Tonight is no exception, it's blustery and chilly and when we went for a walk earlier the streets were strewn with damp brown leaves.

I usually like autumn. I like autumn fruits and being able to wear jackets again, and the promise of showing off my scarf and glove collection. Thing is, I've been showing off my scarves all summer because it hasn't been warm enough not too. Autumn, I like you, but please leave me alone with summer for a few more weeks?

Which bring me to the second piece of preparation. We're off to Italy next week for a well deserved holiday. I think N deserves it more than me, but I'll cope with a rest, I'm a troupe
r. We have been craving a trip to Italy for a long time now, and having decided long ago that the summer was set to be yet another wash out we booked the flights and next week we shall be on our way. Hopefully with some sunshine to ease our vitamin deprived skin and lots of delicious food and wine to ease our deprived stomachs.

Okay, you could never describe the stomachs in this house as deprived (even Sniff is getting a bit thicker round the middle these days!), but if you ask me you can never ever have too much Italian food. So yesterday I set about making a roasted vegetable lasagna. A meal that I feel bridges the gap between the end of the summer and the beginning of autumn: lots of fresh vegetables from harvest time, roasted to concentrate their goodness, and then baked to provide a hearty meal.

I used Delia Smith's recipe from her vegetarian colle
ction and tweeked it slightly to fit what I had on hand. I had to use plain lasagna sheets as I didn't have spinach ones, and instead added a layer of fresh spinach. I also did have tomatoes to add to the roast vegetables and so added an extra red pepper. In hindsight I think the dish would have benefited from the presence of tomatoes and I next time I make it (and I will because I love lasagna) I will add a layer of tomato sauce. I think a tomato sauce - rather than just some roasted tomatoes - would help cut through the creaminess of the bechamel sauce, as I found it a bit much. On the whole though it was a good dish, and with some adaptations to personal taste has the makings of a great dish to warm you up on a cold autumnal day.

I'm afraid I can't be bothered to type out the recipe right now. Shocking I know, but it's late and I want to read my book, the recipe is long, and it's in the other room. Plus, I want to wait until I have ch
anged and adapted it and tried it again with tomato sauce included and a slightly different version of the bechamel. That's my excuse and I'm sticking to it! I promise next time I make this, and get it right, I will post the full recipe, including my tweaks.

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