Zucchini and eggplant lasagna

As it is the end of the month, and you never have too much money as a student, I usually cook a large dish that can be eaten during several days to save some money. The absolute favorite dish of mine at this moment is vegetable lasagna. Instead of lasagna sheets I use vegetables such as eggplant or zucchini, but it is completely fine to use a few sheets of whole grain pasta, as I did this time in order to make it more hardy. I use a ton of veggies, so even though there is a little cheese, this is extremely healthy, and you can leave out the meat completely by adding some soy protein or chopped cauliflower. 



Zucchini and eggplant lasagna:

– 1 large eggplant

– 1 large zucchini

– 500g of crushed tomatoes

– 1 chili

– 3-4 cloves of garlic

– 1 large onion

– 1 large carrot

– 1 red pepper

– vegetable stock cube

– 500g of minced meat (or soy protein)

– spices such as salt, pepper, thyme, oregano, smoked paprica, basil etc.

– 100g of buffalo mozzarella 

– 70g of any grated cheese 

Start with washing the eggplant and zucchini, then slice thin strips with the help of a cheese slicer, the eggplant is easier to slice with a large knife into thin strips. 



Then in a hot, slightly oiled pan, fry the strips until golden and season with salt and pepper. 





Then start with the tomato sauce, chop onion, garlic, chili and paprica, grate the carrot. Add olive oil to a pan and on a slow heat gently fry the vegetables. Then add the minced meat, vegetable stock and spices and cook the meat through. Add then the cruched tomatoes and 1-1,5dl of water and a splash of wine if you will. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile slice the mozzarella.

As I don’t use any bechamel sauce (cheese sauce), I usually combine 3dl of milk with 2 eggs and add it to the lasagna. This is not necessary when only using vegetables, but as I used a few layers of pasta, it needs some additional liquid. 

Then you can start assembling the lasagna, in an oiled oven tray, put a little sauce, then either pasta or vegetables, sauce, vegetables, sauce, cheese, vegetables… Etc, you know the drill! I like to put the cheese as the middle layer! Then just top the lasagna with the shredded cheese and put in a 220 degree oven for about 30 minutes until beautifully golden! 



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The best roast beef

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You know, sometimes you eat something that you can’t get out of your mind – for several years! So about 6-7 years ago, in upper secondary school, Linn made this double marinated roast beef. Last week I found myself craving this particular dish, so I asked her for the recipe. I made some small modifications to it.

This is a two-day recipe, which is easy to prepare in advance for e.g. a dinner party.

1st marinade:

– 800g beef fillet (rump or sirloin)
– 2 tbsp of soy sauce
– 2 tbsp of hoisin sauce
– 0,5 tsp of salt
– 2 tbsp of oil
– 1 tsp of sugar

Combine all ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl, put the meat (clean if theres excess tendons) into a plastic bag and pour over the marinade. Press out any excess air and tie. Let sit over night in the fridge, turn the meat every once in a while.

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When cooking the meat, take it out from the marinade, tap it dry with paper. The meat gets a nice dark color from the marinade. Then fry quickly in a hot pan to get color, put in a 150 degree oven for about 30 minutes until the inside temperature of the meat is 55 degrees. If you want it more cooked, let it get to 65 degrees. But I think that roast beef is more tender and juicier when left a bit more red.

When the beef is cooked, let it rest wrapped in tin foil for at least 15-20 minutes before slicing it into thin strips.

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2nd marinade:

– 0,5 dl water
– 0,5 dl white wine vinegar ( I added a squeeze of lemon for freshness)
– 2 dl of oil
– 1 tsp salt
– 1 tsp of ground pepper
– 2 garlic cloves (grated or pressed)
– 0,5 dl of chopped parsely
– 2 tbsp of chopped capers
– I had some fresh oregano in the fridge which I added a handfull of

Add all ingredients to a bowl and stirr well. Then dress the meat with the marinade, let sit for 1-2 hours in the fridge before serving.

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I served the meat with oven roasted veggies (red onion, squash, carrot and paprica, chili, garlic, fresh oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper)! This was super yummy!

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Siskon sausage soup

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I have pretty much adapted to the Estonian products in grocery stores, but I must say something I miss is Finnish sausage. Estonians are good in many fields, but not in the sausage making business. Occasionally I miss Finnish nakki and siskon makkara or HK Sininen (hot dog and “sisters sausage”).
I imported some sausage from Finland, and today I made sausage soup of “sisters” sausage, which is a fresh sausage that you squeeze out of the casing! This is a truly Finnish dish.

What you need:
– 2l of water
– 2 vegetable stock cubes
– 8-12 pepper corns
– 400g of “sisters sausage”
– 4 small potatoes
– 2 medium sized carrots
– 3-4 stalks of celery
– 100g of frozen peas
– 200g of cauliflower
– 1 big spring onion

Start with putting the water in a big pot, add the stock cubes and pepper corns, let come up to a boil. Meanwhile, peel and cube potatoes and the carrots. Put them in the pot first as they need to cook the longest, on a gentle simmer. Slice the celery and cauliflower and add them when the potatoes are al dente (3-4 min after potatoes). Add last peas and spring onion, then squeeze the sausage out of the case and let cook for a couple of minutes. Enjoy with crispbread topped with cheese!

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Hummus

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Hummus:
– 1 can of chickpeas
– 1 tbsp of tahini
– 1 clove of garlic
– juice of 1/2 lemon
– 3 tbsp of olive oil
– pinch of salt
– paprica powder and parsely for garnish

Start with draining the chickpeas, chop the garlic roughly and add to food processor. Add lemon juice, salt and tahini. Put on the food processor on a low speed, slowly drizzle the olive oil until a thick paste. Garnish with parsely and paprica powder!
Serve with vegetables.

Autumn cheap eats

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Today I made the food for the week, chili con carne, broccoli bulgur salad and oven vegetables. This whole meal is very cheap and hopefully it will last most of the week, this whole feast cost less than 20€!
Ah, looove the autumn vegetables as they are cheap and versatile. My favorite is simply roasting them in the oven with chili, garlic and herbs.

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Oven vegetables

– 4 potatoes
– 1 big sweet potato
– 1/2 butternut squash
– 1 big carrot
– 1 big red onion
– 1 chili
– 2-3 cloves of garlic
– fresh thyme

Put on the oven to 200 degrees.Wash the vegetables, peel the sweet potato, onion and butternut squash. Chop into bite size pieces, drizzle with olive oil, chop the chili and garlic roughly and add. Season with salt and pepper, put in the oven for about 40 minutes, stirr then every once in a while.

Chili con carne

– 650g beef mince
– 1 yellow paprica
– 1 red paprica
– 1 big onion
– 1 chili
– 2 cloves of garlic
– 2 cans of tomato sauce
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 can of kidney beans
– 1 tscinnamon, 1tbsp cumin , 1 tbsp coriander, 2 tbsp smoked paprika, salt, pepper, 1 ts dried thyme & oregano

Chop the onion, peppers, chili and garlic. In a large pan, heat up some olive oil and add the vegetables and stirr around. Add the spices, then the beef mince. Fry for about 5 minutes, when the meat is cooked, add the tomato sauce and 2 dl of water. Let it boil up and add the beans ( rinse them with water first). Let simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.

Bulgur salad

– bulgur
– 500g broccoli
– 1 can of chick peas
– lemon
– feta cubes in brine
– salt & pepper

Bring some water to boil. Chop the broccoli into smaller pieces (bite size) and boil until al dente. Cook bulgur according to instructions on package ( I made 3 portions). Drain the chickpeas, add to a large bowl and squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lemon, drizzle some olive oil ontop, salt and pepper and add then the bulgur and broccoli. Stirr well, wait until the salad has cooled down a bit before adding the feta.

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