Monday, March 7, 2011

Saying it with Food - Mum's Birthday Lunch

© Kara Rosenlund

What a weekend of old fashioned fun! I had a lovely surprise visit from my good friend Miss M on Saturday as I was preparing for my mothers birthday lunch. An apron was immediately placed over her head and off we went together beating, simmering, stirring, glazing and laughing together for the next few hours. What an amazing autumn afternoon idled away in the kitchen; food, friendship and a lot of fun.

On the list to prepare for the surprise menu was Sand Crab Lasagne (mum's favourite), Chocolate Stout Cake (a new family favourite) and Sparkling Pink Jellies with Strawberry Gelato!

Glad to report that the family had a wonderful sunday on the deck, watching the age old trees dance in the autumn wind while eagerly anticipating the next course.

Here is the recipe for Sand Crab Lasagne; we only make this recipe when crab is in season; which my mother tells me are only the months which have an 'R' in them. I love a good old fashion rhyme!

Sand Crab Lasagne


600g crab meat
60g butter
1/3 cup flour
2 cups milk
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 diced onion
1 clove garlic crushed
800g can whole peeled tomatoes (2 cans)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp fresh basil
1 tsp italian parsley
1 tsp oregano
instant lasagne sheets
1 litre fish stock
120ml white wine
800 ml cream
3 tsp tomato paste


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.

Melt 60g of butter in a pot and stir in 1/3 cup flour and cook for 1 minute. Heat 2 cups of milk in a separate pot. Remove butter mixture from the heat and gradually whisk in the warmed milk. Stir over low heat until the mixture boils and thickens. Boil constantly for 1 minute. Set aside and cool for 5 minutes. Then stir in 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese and season.

Heat olive oil in saucepan and add 1 diced onion and 1 clove crushed garlic over medium heat until soft. Add whole canned tomatoes, undrained and mash a little in the saucepan. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp freshly chopped basil, parsley and oregano and season.

Stir 2 tbsp of white sauce through the 600g of crab meat. Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over the bottom of an ovenproof dish, top with instant lasagne sheets, crab mixture and white sauce. Repeat layers starting with the tomato sauce and then finally ending with white sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes on 180 degrees. While the lasagne is baking combine 1 litre of fish stock and 120ml of white wine in a pan and boil to reduce to a glaze. Add 800ml cream and reduce to a thick sauce. Whisk in 3 tsp tomato paste and season. Spoon over individual serves of lasagne.

This recipe is courtesy of Gillian Hirst from Il Centro fame.

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