I had some friends over the other night. We had a great time chatting, catching up, enjoying a glass of wine or two. And this is what we ate. When I have guests, I like to cook something in the oven. That way I can prep everything ahead of time, make sure everything is ready before they arrive and actually spend my time with the people who have come to see me, instead of slaving away in the kitchen while they politely wait for their food.
This recipe is a bit more elaborated than usual, firstly because it was a special meal, and secondly because it´s worth it. You could of course make it quicker by using ready made tomato sauce and ready made bechamel, but if you´re doing something special anyway going the extra mile and making everything from scratch will make all the difference.
To get all the bits ready at the same time you need to be a good multi-tasker (which I am, of course). so go on get your multi tasking hat on and make a special dinner tonight!
Preparation time: 45 minutes Servings: 4 as a main course Cooking Time: 30 minutes in the oven Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
2 small potatoes
1 medium aubergine
3 pear tomatoes
2 sundried tomatoes
1 clove garlic
1 tsp dried basil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp white flour
1 cup unsweetened soyamilk or almond milk
4 tbsp ground almonds
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
extra virgin olive oil
Start by topping and tailing the aubergine. Cut it in half lengthwise and score a cris cros pattern in it (See photo below). Put it in the microwave on full power for 10 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200 c. Meanwhile, put the whole potatoes in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil on the stove. Boil for 20 minutes or until soft. While they are cooking chop the onion finely and shallow fry in a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Chop the pear tomatoes. Add the basil, garlic, tomatoes, sundried tomatoes and a pinch of salt and let cook for about 10 minutes. Take the now cooked, soft aubergine and peel. Then chop finely. Add to the tomato sauce and briefly mix. Remove from the heat and set aside. Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and heat add two tablespoons of white flour and toast the flour in the oil moving constantly with a wooden spoon. The flour should start to smell toasted but not burnt after 1-2 minutes. Then add the milk pouring it in slowly. Turn the heat down and keep moving the wooden spoon so you don´t get lumps. The sauce will slowly thicken. When the sauce boils you can turn off the heat and set aside. Put the tofu in with the bechamel and blend with a hand blender until thoroughly mixed. Salt to taste. Take the boiled potatoes and cut them into slices about 1cm thick. Brown in a frying pan in 1tbsp of oil. (I didn´t peel mine). Place in a layer in an oven proof dish. Take the courgette and cut rounds of about 1/2 cm thick. Brown in the same frying pan. Add more oil if necesary. Layer on top of the potatoes. Sprinkle a little salt on the courgettes. Put the tomato and aubergine mixture on top. Pour over the bechamel sauce. Sprinkle with ground almonds then with nutritional yeast. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes until golden on top and piping hot in the middle. If you see the top is getting too dark cover with tin foil. Serve with a simple salad. Enjoy.