People across Leinster woke up to a white blanket of snow this morning, with MET Eireann reporting accumulations of between 5 and 10 cm. It has led to widespread travel disruption, causing many schools and businesses to close across Dublin, Wicklow, Meath, Kildare and Louth.
Temperatures in the capital are currently between -2 and -1 Celsius, and a glance out the window is enough to make you shiver. With that in mind, let’s all warm up with tasty, filling food. Here are three delicious dishes to get you and your family through the cold spell.
Spinach & Ricotta Lasagne
Preparation 30 minutes
Cooking time 30-40 minutes
2 tbsp olive oil + 1 tsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
½ tsp ground nutmeg
1kg fresh spinach (or 450g frozen spinach)
200g grated Parmesan + 3 tbsp for the béchamel sauce
salt and black pepper
600ml béchamel sauce (see below)
12 sheets of dried or fresh lasagne
40×20cm gratin dish
For the béchamel sauce (makes 600ml)
2 tbsp butter
1 pinch of salt
4 tbsp plain flour
1 pinch each of pepper and ground nutmeg
To make the béchamel sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan over a low heat. Sprinkle in the flour and salt, and whisk to form a paste. Add the milk, little by little, stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken and become smooth and creamy. Season with pepper and nutmeg. Homemade béchamel sauce should not be too thick, as you want the lasagne to be soft rather than heavy.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas 4. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil along with the butter in a frying pan. Add the garlic and nutmeg, fry for 2 minutes, then add the spinach.
Cook until the spinach has wilted. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then remove as much water as possible by squeezing the spinach with your hands. Roughly chop the spinach and put it in a bowl with the ricotta and 2 tbsp grated Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and stir well.
Stir 3 tbsp grated Parmesan into the béchamel sauce.
Pour 1 tsp olive oil into the bottom of the gratin dish.
Lay 3 sheets of lasagne in the bottom of the dish, side by side, then alternate layers of spinach and ricotta mixture, lasagne and béchamel sauce. Repeat the process, finishing with a layer of béchamel sauce. Top with the remaining Parmesan and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.
Extracted from Lasagne by Sandra Mahut (Hardie Grant, approx €10). Photography © Sandra Mahut.
Slow Cooker Chicken And Lentil Stew
Cooking time 4.5 hours in slow cooker
2 tbsp olive oil
8 chicken drumsticks, skin left on
2 onions, very finely chopped
6 tbsp red lentils
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 chicken stock cube, crumbled
crusty bread, to serve
For the gremolata
zest 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
small handful parsley, finely chopped
Heat the slow cooker if necessary. Heat half the oil in a large frying pan, brown the drumsticks on all sides, then transfer to a plate.
Add the onions and remaining oil to the pan, and cook for 5 minutes or so until soft. Put the lentils, tomatoes, 100ml boiling water and the stock cube in the slow cooker. Add the drumsticks to the cooker, and cook on low for 4 hours, then season.
Meanwhile, make the gremolata. Mix the lemon zest, garlic and parsley together. Sprinkle over the cooked stew and serve with a chunk of crusty bread.
Extracted from Good Food Eat Well: Healthy Slow Cooker Recipes (BBC Books, approx €15).
Cooking time 30 minutes
1/4 white onion, sliced
1 tsp curry powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp plain flour
handful of spinach
salt and pepper
Cut the cauliflower into individual florets and gently pan-fry them with the onion in a splash of olive oil over a medium heat. After about 5 minutes, add the curry powder, turmeric and flour, season well with salt and pepper then fry for a further minute until the onion is soft.
Slowly add the milk, stirring to create a sauce, then simmer gently for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
One minute before serving, add the spinach and stir it into the sauce, allowing it to wilt slightly.
Serve in a shallow bowl and enjoy.
Extracted from Fast & Fresh by Miguel Barclay (Headline Home, approx €19.50). Photography by Dan Jones – Headline 2017