A little mid-week dinner for three

It’s been a while, but the other night Angus (dairy-intolerant) and Clive (proper vegetarian) came for dinner. I decided to make a vegetarian moussaka this time. I assumed that I would have no trouble finding non-dairy ricotta for the béchamel-type sauce in Crouch End or Muswell Hill. Wrong. After trying all the likely places, and some of the less likely ones, I came home with some buffalo mozzarella, which is not an obvious substitute, but what are you gonna do in this situation? I am also not well-versed in the use of soya milk. All the cartons I found featured the word “sweet”, which was a bit of a worry. However – the moussaka was lovely and made a pleasant change from the cauliflower curry I often present on these occasions. Very cheesy, to counteract the  use of probably the wrong kind of soya milk, and a deliciously rich lentil base. The non-meaty bit comprised onions, Puy and green lentils, red pepper, red wine, tomatoes, stock and cinnamon. Just finished it off this evening – still good, although I did feel a bit bereft not having a whole new meal to make for a Saturday night in. It’s not a great picture, but it really wasn’t burnt around the edges. Perhaps a food photography course for Christmas??

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I served the moussaka with a green salad, with some caramelised figs and toasted hazelnuts (re-created that this evening, to be told it was the best thing Mr B had eaten, “ever”).

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Dessert was a chocolate “cup-a-mousse”. Not sure why, but the chocolate hardened quicker than I could mix it into the eggs. This hasn’t happened before. Missy B was disconcerted to find some lumps of chocolate in hers, but I managed to convince her that this was in fact a bonus. The grown-ups had theirs with raspberries and some salted chilli sesame praline and didn’t mind the lumps at all! This is a very quick and easy one and made eight little espresso cup mousses:

100g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

3 eggs, separated

Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water.

Whisk the egg whites to medium peak.

Stir the chocolate into the egg yolks and mix well (quickly! before the chocolate hardens!).

Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Turn immediately in to a soufflé dish or individual pots or glasses.

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Thank you to my big brother, who bought me these little cups years ago, unaware or having forgotten that I rarely drink coffee, but they are perfect for an elegant little dessert. 

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