Cheesy Vegetable Lasagne

This is a really yummy, cheesy veggie lasagne, popular with kids and adults, alike. Use whichever veggies you like, any combination that takes your fancy.

Cheesy Veggie Lasagne

Cheesy Veggie Lasagne

Ingredients

• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1 small onion, finely chopped
• 3 medium potatoes, chopped
• Small piece of pumpkin, chopped
• 2 large carrots, finely sliced
• Small bunch of broccoli, cut into florets
• ½ – 1 cup frozen peas
• ½ – 1 cup frozen corn
• 400g can beans (eg cannelini, red kidney), drained and rinsed
• 200g fresh mushrooms, chopped (I like to use swiss browns for flavour)
• 535g tin vegetable soup
• 2 heaped cups of grated tasty cheese
• 1 tbsp cornflour
• 2 1/4 cups of milk
• 1 packet of instant lasagne sheets
• 1 slice of bread, crumbled finely

I like to cut my veggies so they are quite chunky, but you can cut them as small as you like. If the kids don't like veggies you could even grate them.

I like to cut my veggies so they are quite chunky, but you can cut them as small as you like. If the kids don't like veggies you could even grate them.


Method

1. Chop potatoes and pumpkin into small cubes. Finely slice carrots. Cut broccoli into florets. Chop onion finely. Set aside.
2. Chop mushrooms into quarters (depending on size). Set aside.
3. In a large frypan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, potatoes, pumpkin, carrots, broccoli and mushrooms,.
4. Cook, stirring until the vegetables have just softened. Don’t overcook, you still want nice texture (not mush) when the lasagne has finished cooking. Add the tin of vegetable soup and the peas, corn and beans. Stir to combine. Set aside.
5. In a saucepan heat milk. Dissolve 1 tbsp of cornflour in a cup with a little milk, add to heated milk and stir on a medium temperature. When thickened add heaped cup of grated cheese and stir. Set aside.
6. In a rectangular dish, cover the base with the vegetable mixture, top this with 1/3 of the cheese sauce, followed by a layer of lasagne sheets. Repeat, layering the vegie mix, cheese sauce and lasagne sheets alternately, finishing with the cheese sauce.
7. Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the top with the crumbled bread (the bread mixed with the cheese gives the lasagne a crunchy texture that the kids and grown-ups love)
8. Bake uncovered in a moderate oven for about 40-50 minutes or until browned lightly and heated through.

How do you plant your cabbages?…Do you plant them with your elbow?…

I might, if I could buy the cabbages I wanted!
We spent a few hours in the garden today. I wanted to plant some Wong Bok (Chinese cabbage) to replace the ones that were totally decimated by slaters a few weeks ago, but I wasn’t able to find any seedlings. I ended up planting capsicum, leeks and spring onions. We had some success with leeks and spring onions last year and should have even more success this year as I’ve taken more care to thin out the seedlings. Last year our ‘mixed capsicums’ turned out to be chillis so I bought a different type this year.
I took care to dig in any old pea staw and didn’t put new straw on top. I left the surface clear so there was nowhere for the slaters to hide. Thanks to Josh Byrne from Gardening Australia for his advice on dealing with slaters.
Our broad beans are coming along really well. We’re really looking forward to a good crop this year – even better than last year’s. We’ve planted more seeds than last year, they were so yummy.
Last year’s bok choy is still thriving, as is the silverbeet. We just pick leaves when we need them and they keep producing. We can’t keep up with them, and the neighbours continue to get free greens from us.
Today we also did some pruning. The lavenders across the back of the rose garden were getting out of control so we’ve cut them well back. I also cut back a couple of the groundcover grevilleas in the front yard. They were covering the ‘path’ through the garden so I took the shears to them. I’ll need to get stuck into the rose bed in the next few days and prune the roses. They continue to flower, but the flowers are on weak stems and for the most part look very sad. It’s time to get serious give them a hard prune so we’ll have lots of good, healthy flowers in summer.
It’s so nice to get out into the garden after the wet, windy days. The days are crisp at the moment but the sunshine is lovely, as long as it lasts. Once you’re in the shade, tho’, it really is very chilly.

Boiled Fruit Cake

Boiled fruit cake is an old-fashioned cake that's delicious and easy to make.

Boiled fruit cake is an old-fashioned cake that's delicious and easy to make.


Ingredients
• 640g mixed fruit
• 3/4 cup soft brown sugar
• 1 teaspoon mixed spice
• 1 cup water
• 190g butter
• 2 eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 cup plain flour
• 1 cup self raising flour
• 1 teaspoon baking soda

Preparation method
1. Combine the water, mixed fruit, sugar, spice and butter in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
2. Add the eggs. Fold in the sifted flours and soda, mixing well.
3. Place mixture in a greased and lined 20cm round cake pan.
4. Bake in slow oven (130-150C) for 1-1¼ hours or until cooked when tested – a skewer inserted into the centre comes out slightly moist. (NB Cover loosely with a sheet of foil or brown paper if top of cake is over-browning during cooking).
5. Allow to cool for a few minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Cake will continue to cook a bit and may dry out if left it tin for too long.

I’d be good at this…I know it…

I went for an interview yesterday for a job I’d really love. It’s a business support position – supporting a company’s various offices in their use of their computer systems. I’d be working with lots of different people in different offices around Perth and doing lots of different things; both software and hardware. I really enjoy support roles and teaching people how to do computer ‘stuff’. This job is in an industry that I’ve had no experience in before, so there’d be lots for me to learn and that’s exciting.
I don’t know how many people were interviewed but I do know that originally this was intended as a graduate role. That means that the money’s not great, but it’s enough to make me happy. I’m not looking for big money, I’m looking for a job I’ll enjoy. They also expressed some reservations about me being overqualified for the position. Once again, I emphasised that I applied for the position because I want a job that I’ll enjoy.
I’ve been asked to send an email over the weekend with a paragraph or two explaining what I would bring to the job – why they should employ me rather than someone else, I guess. This is something that they’ve asked of everyone they interviewed. I’ve spent a bit of time thinking about this and putting into words this afternoon. I’ll give myself a chance to think on it a bit more overnight before I send the email.
It would be so nice to have a job that has a future and that I can see myself being happy in for the long term.
Wish me luck. I really want this job!

[update]
I just got a call to say that I didn’t get the job. It was good of them to call and not just send an email. Apparently it was a very difficult decision and I made it to the last 2 or 3. Oh well. I’ll keep looking and if anything else comes up that I’m interested in I’ll apply.
[/update]

I never offered you a rose garden…

…or a frequent blog post anyway. Here’s a long overdue post.
Speaking of the rose garden…I’ll have to get to and prune the roses soon, but they are still flowering, so it’s a bit hard to chop off all of those buds. The veggie garden is still productive. We have more bok choy and silverbeet than we can use; there are still chillis, though their growth has slowed right down; the winter herbs are thriving and the broad beans are getting taller. We have an empty bed at the moment so I have to get to and plant that up. I did plant out a punnet of wong bok (chinese cabbage) but the slaters destroyed them virtually overnight, so I’ll have to scrape back the straw until the plants become established. It’s impossible to get rid of slaters and they do serve a ‘clean-up’ purpose in the garden. The native garden is also thriving. The wattles are all in varying stages of flower, as are many of the grevilleas – some that we haven’t seen in flower yet. We wait with baited breath for the fat buds on the candelabra to open.
Last weekend we had a visit from a very good friend who used to live in Jabiru with us. She now lives in North Queensland and was on the way to visit her daughter in Kalgoorlie for the birth of a grandbaby. Donna arrived on Friday and left on Monday and I wish she had been able to stay for longer.
Speaking of babies, a couple of other very good friends are now grandparents. Deb was a schoolfriend and Des has been a friend for over 20 years. Their eldest ‘kids’ got together through scouts and married a couple of years ago. They had a baby boy on July 3rd and I’m still waiting to see the photos. *hint hint* Congratulations to James and Jos on that wonderful news.
Last night our neighbour had a ‘ladies night’. Her daughters gave her a dvd of ‘Celtic Woman live at Slane Castle’. She decided to invite a few friends over for tea, company and delightful music. As guests we were asked to bring either a salad or dessert. I made condensed-milk-and-butternut-snap caramel tarts, which went down very well. Unfortunately I forgot to take photos of the finished product, so I won’t be posting the very-easy-recipe on the blog. Sorry about that. They aren’t something I make more than once every few years, so please don’t hold your breath for another batch. I enjoyed the evening very much – it was really nice to get out socially.
It’s great to see Sara Douglass actively blogging after her recent illness. Her new Notes from Nonsuch blog is promising to be a very enjoyable journal. I’m so pleased to see that you’re on the mend, Sara. My thoughts continue to be with you.
None of us know what life is going to throw at us, so we all need to make the most of every moment. We’re not always going to make the best choice in what we do, but we can try to make most of our choices positive and healthy.