On September 24, 2014, I received a shocking phone call. My parents were in Bali, and one of my mum’s best friends called me before 7am. As I listened to her panicked message to call her back ASAP, the first thought to run through my mind was that something had happened to them.
I made the call, holding J’s hand tight. When I heard the news I burst into tears. It wasn’t my parents, they were fine but one of our family friends, Simmo.
I’ve talked about these families before. I’ve known them as long as I can remember, these people are my other mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. Simmo was the one that worded J up after we announced our engagement. He was the one who had taken me for coffee after a particularly bad break up. He had always been there. But the day before, he’d had a cardiac arrest while swimming in a local pool and was now lying in an induced coma in the Geelong Hospital.
We had planned to go away, we’d booked accommodation in Daylesford for the weekend and were planning on heading off before 9am. That was still the plan, there was nothing that we could do but wait.
I was in shock, and did the only thing that I knew would help. I cooked lasagne. I dropped it in on the way through Geelong. Pausing only long enough to hug the rest of the family and talk about how strong he is.
Thankfully, we heard some fantastic news the next day. He had woken, and had no recollection of what had happened. We decided to drop by the hospital on the way home.
During our quick visit, where we laughed, cried with relief and chatted, I was told by Simmo Jr., in front of his mum, that my lasagne was the best he’d ever had. Something a 21 year old young man still living at home should probably not admit.
So today I’m sharing that ‘best lasagne ever’ with you.
- Cheese sauce
- 50 gm butter
- 80 gm plain flour
- 1 L milk (I use milk powder)
- 1 onion diced
- 250 gm beef mince
- about 600 gm grated vegetables (I used beetroot, carrot and broccoli)
- 2 x 400gm tins of tomatoes
- 1 x 400 gm tin of lentils drained
- 2 tbspn tomato paste
- 200 ml water
- lasagne sheets
- 200 gm grated cheese (I use half cheddar, half Parmesan)
- Fry onion in a little oil until softened, add mince and brown.
- Once mince is browned, add remaining ingredients and stir until combined, allow to simmer for about 30 mins. (But you can do it as it suits you, cook for less, or waaay longer, It’ll continue to cook in the oven)
- Melt butter over medium heat. Once melted, stir through flour, until completely combined with butter. Allow to cook for a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Pour in 200ml of the milk, stir to combine. Stir slowly and allow to thicken. Add milk in 200 ml batches, allow to thicken between each addition. This is a slow process, that your time. Once all milk has been added, and sauce is thicken, remove from heat and stir in half of the grated cheese.
- To assemble, put two spoonfuls of sauce at the bottom of your oven pan. Add a layer of lasagne sheets, add half the sauce, half the cheese sauce, lasagne sheets, the remaining sauce, remaining cheese sauce, then finally remaining cheese sprinkle over the top. Bake 180*C until top is brown.