Monday, April 12, 2010

Bento sabbatical and my Moussaka

I'm taking a sabbatical from posting bentos for #2. She had her braces fit last Friday and has not been able to eat anything other than juices, smoothies, soup and more juices.

She missed a hi-tea party on Saturday because her teeth hurt too much and missed my Uncle's 90th big birthday party last night too. Not only does her teeth hurt, she's in the midst of finals as well. #2 has really been good, complained very little and has been juicing up all her own meals.

I literally filled a fridge full of fruits and vegetables to be at her disposal. I tried to cook some porridge for her but it didn't appeal. Oh well, exams end on Wednesday and she's on term holiday for a fortnight and then back to college. As usual, her holiday is already packed to the brim with activities.

I made Moussaka today. It is something like Lasagna without the pasta sheets but with lots of vegetables. It was delicious but took a long while to make.

This is the ready baked Moussaka hot from the oven.

A view from the side of my glass dish. Visible are the layers of vegetables, beef and cheeses.

The pictures were taken in a hurry because we wanted to dig in and this was the only portion which we managed to capture before it went into the stomachs! Verdict? Delicious, textured, light flavored vegetables and flavorful cheeses drove the taste buds wild!

Yeah! #2 couldn't resist and managed to eat two servings of the Moussaka. Her first proper meal in three and a half days.

This is quite a huge portion so half it if you're trying it for the first time. I made a full portion because we love this!

Eggplants (Brinjals) - 500 grams, sliced slanting 1/4 inch thick
Zucchini - 1 kg, sliced slanting 1/4 inch thick
Pepper and Salt to taste
EVOO as required
3 tsp of chopped garlic
50 grams of fresh basil leaves - torn in bits
1 box of fresh button mushrooms - slice
500 grams ground beef
1 can of crushed tomatoes
Cheddar cheese as required
1 box 250 grams spreadable cottage cheese

1. Salt the zucchini and eggplant with generous amount of salt in a large container for 40 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, add two tbsp EVOO in a pan and saute the garlic over low fire to soften.
3. Add the ground beef to cook and then add the sliced fresh button mushrooms.
4. Throw in the torn basil leaves and pour in the can of crushed tomatoes.
5. Bring to boil and slowly cook down for about 20 minutes until it gets dry.
6. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
7. Pre-heat oven to 230C.
8. Once times up for the zucchini and eggplant, rinse out well and dry well. Coat vegetables with 3tbsp of EVOO.
9. Lay all the vegetables by slices in a large oven tray lined with wax paper. Put into oven and roast for 20 minutes until soft or brown.
10. Once ready, begin layering a 9 by 11 inch oven proof dish. I used a glass dish so I can see the layers cooking.
11. Layer vegetables first and then the meat and top with a sprinkling of cheddar cheese. Begin the second cycle with the same layering method of vegetables, meat and sprinkling of cheddar cheese until it tops with a meat layer.
12. Give the spreadable cottage cheese a good mix in it's box and spread it out on the top meat layer. Sprinkle generously some more cheddar cheese.
13. Bake for 17 minutes and broil and cook for 3 minutes to brown the top. Allow to cool at least 20 minutes before cutting to serve. Enjoy!


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