At the risk of stating the obvious, it’s November now and, up here in North Yorkshire, we have not only had our first hard frosts but even some snow. I think it is safe to say that the likelihood of a long, mild autumn is slim to none and already I see our local shoe shop is running low on boot socks and wellington boots.
I myself love autumn and winter; cosy dark nights, hot buttered toast and the obligatory hot chocolate. I adore crunching through the autumn leaves with my two boys, collecting conkers (with or without the boys!), and of course I absolutely love the festive season. I have to admit though, much like the esteemed Lord Dodo himself, I’m not quite convinced that we need to have Christmas trees up and Christmas chocolates and foods out on the shelves the very instant the first leaf turns golden.
At this time of year we all have our own routines and our own seasonal treats that we cherish, some being winter warmers such as breaking out the lavender-scented slippers that warm up in the oven and for others it could be having the opportunity to take a walk in the stillness of an early winter morning and enjoy (and perhaps photograph) the beautiful winter sights.
My favourite indoor seasonal treat is turning to my slow cooker page in my Dodo Book for Cooks and starting to rediscover my autumn and winter recipes. To be honest I should use the slow cooker all year round, however I never seem to get much use over the summer months. Working from home to the smell of a stew, curry or soup simmering away gently, knowing that come tea time all I have to do is serve-up is fabulous. If you asked my family what their favourite food-related seasonal treat is they would tell you it is my famous *slow cooked lasagne, which is of course served with home-made crusty bread.
If however you asked my best friend what her favourite seasonal treat is she would tell you that it is hiding under the blanket in the dark, in front of the TV with a large glass of Baileys. My question today therefore for you all is:
What is your favourite seasonal treat? What is it that you look forward to doing, seeing or eating when the clocks turn, the evenings get darker and the frosts start to arrive?
Ingredients: Adjust amounts to suit the size of your slow cooker and required portions
Tomato sauce (make your own or use a jar- just so long as it’s not too runny).
White Sauce (as with the tom sauce, ensure that the sauce is on the thicker side)
Grated cheese (I find a mature cheddar works well)
Cook off your onions, mushrooms and mince in a pan, draining off any excess liquid.
Make up and add your tomato sauce.
Put a thick layer of the bolognaise mixture in the bottom of the slow cooker.
Add a layer of lasagne sheets (no need to blanch these),
Add a layer of white sauce,
Add a layer of lasagne sheets
Then bolognaise mixture,
Then lasagne sheets,
Then layer the remaining white sauce on the top and finish with generous handfuls of cheese.
Put the lid on, set to medium and away it goes.
I tend to do this around lunchtime ready for a 6pm tea however set on a low heat setting you may do it in the morning.
This is a very basic recipe and may be jazzed up by adding extra vegetables as required. Give it a try, perhaps this recipe will become a favourite seasonal treat for you too.