Moussaka

Next to Hummus, Moussaka must be one of the best dishes ever. The combination of eggplant, red wine, cinnamon, ground meat and béchamel sauce is just divine. As for most Mediterranean recipes, many different versions exist, the one below comes closest to the Greek one.

Moussaka
Serves 4-6

Moussaka

Ingredients:

2 eggplants
Olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
500 g ground beef or lamb
1 1/2 ts cinnamon
1 can tomatoes, diced and peeled, sieved
2 TS tomato paste
4 TS parsley, finely chopped
150 ml dry red wine
1 TS oregano
salt and pepper
3 TS gluten-free flour (or all-purpose flour)
500 ml rice, soy or cow milk
2 eggs
100 g feta, crumbled (optional)

Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.

2. Wash the eggplants and cut them into thin slices. Spread the slices on a prepared baking sheet, sprinkle with 3 TS of the olive oil and salt and bake on the middle rack for about 20-25 minutes until soft and roasted around the edges. (You can also fry them in a pan but I find this to take much more time and oil.)

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 TS olive oil in a big pan and fry the onions until golden. Add the ground meat and sear for a couple of minutes. Add the cinnamon, sieved tomatoes, parsley and wine and season generously with salt and pepper. Let braise for about 15 minutes.

4. In a small pot, heat 3 TS of the olive oil. Add the flour and stir with an eggbeater until slightly browned. Add the milk and keep stirring while bringing to a boil. Let boil for a couple of seconds, then turn off the heat, not removing the pot from it. Keep on stirring until the mass thickens. Add the two eggs (and feta cheese) and stir well. Season well with salt and pepper (you will have to use more salt if you go without the feta).

5. Grease a large and shallow baking dish with some olive oil, remove the eggplant slices from the oven and add a layer to the dish. Turn down the oven heat to 180°C. Remove the meat from the heat and evenly spread across the eggplant layer in the dish. Finish with another layer of eggplant slices. Pour the béchamel sauce over the eggplant slices and let bake on the middle rack for about 45 minutes.

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Foodie Pen Pals January / Salted Chocolate Tart

After a Foodie Pen Pal pause in December, I received a truly wonderful January package from Lauren from West Sussex. Really everything she chose is just wonderful:

It contained

Duchess Grey Tea
A wonderful alternative to the usual Earl Grey with a much more elegant taste.

White Tea Elderflower
I haven’t tried it yet, but it smells amazingly summerly.

Sea Salt with Mixed Peppers
I think that one can’t have enough spices, this is a wonderful addition to my selection and really yummy with pasta, garlic and olive oil.

Strawberry Clotted Cream Cookies
These are gluten-free and went along very well with the Duchess Grey tea.

Bakewell Slices
These are gluten- and dairy-free and will be served next time I have friends over for coffee/tea.

Jamie Oliver Tellicherry Black Pepper
We’d just ran out of pepper when Lauren’s package arrived so this came in very handy and I absolutely love the fruity note this pepper has!

Roast Potato Seasoning
I’ve never seen this seasoning in any supermarket in Germany yet and I’m excited to find out what different it makes to the roast potatoes.

Teabag Holder
I love teabag holders, they always remind me of England. This is an especially lovely one.

Postcard
Lauren also included this cute postcard with descriptions of every item she chose that showed how much effort and consideration she put into assembling this package.

Thanks again so much Lauren for this very special package!

 

Salted Chocolate Tart
(for a 26 cm spring form)
adapted from Healthy Green Kitchen

Ingredients:

Crust:
250 g all purpose flour
125 g butter or vegetable margarine
125 g raw cane sugar
1 package vanilla sugar
1 egg
1 ts baking powder
500 g raw beans for blind-baking

Filling:
275 ml full-fat coconut milk
2 TS raw cane sugar
1 pinch of fine salt
180 g dark chocolate, chopped
1 large egg, beaten
coarse sea salt or smoked sea salt

Directions:

1. For the crust mix all ingredients in a bowl and fold until well combined. Place the dough on the bottom and around the edges of a prepared spring form (26 cm) and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

2. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

3. Remove the crust from the refrigerator, fill it with the raw beans and transfer into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes.

4. For the filling, heat the coconut milk, sugar and a pinch of salt in a pot over medium heat. Add the chopped chocolate, let it melt a little on its own, then start stirring to combine well with the coconut milk. Remove the pot from the heat and add the beaten egg – the mixture will thicken.

5. Remove the crust from the oven, remove the beans from the crust and pour the coconut milk mixture into it.

6. Turn down the oven heat to 150°C and bake the tart for about 15-20 minutes until the filling is set, it may only wiggle a little in the center.

7. Remove the tart from the oven, let cool for about 15 minutes and garnish with the coarse (smoked) sea salt.

8. When the tart has cooled completely, remove the sides of the form and cut into slices.