I like to reminisce in regular intervals. While I am whisking, chopping or simply stirring I will tilt my head to a side and think to myself "So I am whisking now! What was I doing this time last year?" Tom often tells me look forward and not back. But I tend to disagree with that. I believe that by taking a look back at what you have done and where you came from, you can often reassess your goals and check if you are progressing forward the way you wanted to, if not re-focus. Furthermore, if you do not remember the mistakes you made back then how will you hinder yourself from making them again?
When my grandmother passed away in May 2007 to say I was shattered would be putting it mildly. I was so emotionally loaded, my thoughts and feelings pushing the realms of my entire being. I was having a hard time sorting them out and placing them in compartments. The situation went for months. Until my dad, who also is a writer, told me to write it all down. It was such a simple piece of advice really but one that helped me see the light at the end of my emotional tunnel. Calling it a journal would be wrong. It is really a place where I unload my feelings, sometimes just one word, sentences and often a few paragraphs.
After a while I began taking those words, sentences and paragraphs and began writing stories. Using up the feelings and the thoughts from my experience and past I found it exciting to be able to put a certain content into it. Sometimes the stories are fiction based on true feelings other times the stories are very much a reality. I rarely share the stories. They are for me and maybe a small inner circle of friends and family who have always encouraged me in this direction. However, last week I changed that and decided to share one of these stories with you. The story you read accompanying my rhubarb mango pistachio and amaretti crumble a couple of weeks ago was written sometime in January and for those who have been following this blog for a few years would have known exactly what I was referring to in that story.
It was a small time-frame taken out of our lives from last year. This time last year we were packing boxes, explaining the move to Soeren, celebrating a surprise 40th birthday party, flying high up in the sky, renewing vows and saying our goodbyes to our friends in Germany. However, as things took a different turn, we had to slam on the brakes fairly hard, which left us fairly dazed and put us into an emotional turmoil. We fled to Denmark to recuperate, to re-focus and to heal. Of course, just like I did back in 2007 I was writing down my feelings and thoughts on the entire ordeal. Once I was able to sort them out and look ahead positively I began composing the story.
As I looked back on last year, I was inclined to thumb through my notebooks. I smiled at how far one comes in a year. Stronger, wiser, more humble and certainly a little more courageous to actually share a part of the story with you. I enjoyed reading your feedback on it. The writer in me was ecstatic that I was able to evoke such feelings in you, but I also have to apologize to those who wrote to me thinking something had happened.
A good friend told me I had crossed the line between blog posting and story telling - she's a writer herself. Yes I did and had fun doing it! I would like to know from you however, if you had fun reading it. I would really like to share these stories with you every now and then in the future. While I know this is my space, it's still important to me to know if my reader is liking the content here and what keeps them from coming back to me and my humble blog. So tell me!
In the meantime I am looking very much forward into the future. My future is taking me to London next week, then to Norway on a dream-come-true road-trip and then to see a-ha in concert in Dresden, with my sister-from-another-mother - Jeanne, in July. Yes, my future is looking like it's going to be a lot of fun - at least in the next two months. Hope you'll join me.
Spinach is in season and my Farmer's Market has stocked up on my favorite leafy greens to the brim. Fresh and healthy, we've been enjoying spinach in all sorts of recipes. This one is Soeren's all time favorite lasagna and I was ordered by him to share it with all the other mummies out there. Well whether you are a mummy or not - I am pretty sure you'll like this. It makes use of simple ingredients, with the caramelized onions bringing out a delicate sweet note.
Spinach and Caramelized Onion Lasagna
Printable version of recipe here
500g fresh lasagna sheets (you can use dried ones if you do not have fresh pasta)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
a few drizzles of olive oil
1.5 kg, fresh spinach, leaves coarsely chopped and lightly blanched
250g ricotta cheese
800g, red onions, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
700 ml milk
35g all purpose flour
125g + more Parmesan, grated
salt and freshly ground black pepper
- In a large non-stick skillet, heat a drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for approx. 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the blanched spinach and cook, stirring often, until tender – approx. 5 minutes.
- Transfer spinach to a bowl and stir in the ricotta cheese. Season with salt and pepper, then set aside.
- Wipe out the skillet clean and heat another drizzle of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook, stirring often, until the onions become lightly golden and are soft – approx. 15 minutes. Sprinkle with sugar and continue to cook for another 20 minutes until they are caramelized and amber in color. Splash with the balsamic vinegar, stir and then remove from heat.
- Heat about 3/4 of the milk in a medium saucepan until steaming. In the meantime stir in the flour with the remaining milk in a small bowl and whisk smooth. Whisk the flour mixture into the hot milk. Continue whisking until the sauce begins to simmer and thicken. Keep whisking to cook the flour approx. 1 minute. Add 125g Parmesan cheese and stir until the sauce is smooth and creamy. Season to taste.
- Preheat oven to 200 degrees C. Lightly oil a 33 x 23 cm rectangular baking dish.
- Begin assembling the lasagna by first coating the base of the baking dish with a ladle full of cheese sauce, then line the bottom with a single layer of lasagna sheets. Spread half the spinach over the pasta. Add another layer of pasta sheets, then arrange the caramelized onions on top and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread another layer of cheese sauce over the onion layer and top with with pasta sheets. Spread the remaining spinach and finish off with a final layer of pasta and sauce. Sprinkle some more grated Parmesan over the top.
- Brush a sheet of aluminum foil with some oil and tightly cover the baking dish. Bake lasagna for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 15 minutes (or more depending on your oven). The top should be lightly browned and bubbling.
- Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before tucking in.
The Food Guide tip:
Selecting, storing and the health benefits of Spinach.
A pure and simple pleasure. A perfect harmony of flavors with guaranteed smiling faces around the dinner table. Hope you enjoyed one of Soeren’s favorite pasta dishes.
Time for me to get back to my preparing my presentation for the Food Blogger Connect next week. Hope I’ll see you there!
More pasta ideas from WFLH:
|Fettuccine with Spicy Lamb Sausage Meatballs in a Piquant Tomato Sauce||Ricotta Pesto & Mushroom Lasagne||Spaghetti Alla Bolognese|
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