Hastings on Food

2015-07-09 06:00

SALUTATIONS, macaroons. We have all heard and sung the Sunday night blues. Theoretically, the 62 hours between Friday 6pm and Monday 8am should be a stress-free reprieve from work. However, even if you manage, most don’t leave work at work. Sundays tend to become dominated by the reality that the work week is looming. The Sunday blues phenomenon is real and in a recent survey some 80% of us suffer from this in some shape or form.

So if these blues are created by the realisation that the fun is coming to an end to be replaced by five days of stresses and pressure. With the wonders of the internet spreading work into our homes via email, increasing demands due to the ability to work remotely that has the potential to drain us far more today than a decade or so ago. How, I ask, are we best equipped to combat it?

Sometimes the best way to solve a problem is to forget about it for a while and rethink later when more appropriate. As most feelings of anxiety are more common when one is not particularly busy, relax and distract with activities that redirect your attention allowing you to focus on something else that’s more enjoyable.

Alternatively if you are still feeling the blues get it out on paper. Flush your system out, this way when looking at it later you realise that some things may be slightly off actuality. You can then weight up the pros and cons and write down possible solutions to relieve the stress.

The biggest fault we all have is learning to unplug.

Often we use our free time on work matters misleadingly thinking that it will be of benefit in the long run. The reality is that when you are fully recharged you will become more productive. Also don’t limit fun time to the weekend schedule - make it something to look forward to midweek, or the following weekend - this will make you excited and hopeful and lessen some of your blues.

Possibly the best solution is to set yourself up for success. When the weekend comes around Sunday seems such a far way off. Yet by setting aside time on Friday and preparing and organising for Monday it will leave you relatively stress free on the Sunday and actually assist you in having a more enjoyable weekend. For those of us who work odd hours as well as weekends the same applies and will certainly have us singing to a different tune.

We all know it’s a natural part of life to face improbabilities and the outcome of these uncertainties is largely dependent on our ability to persevere through adversity without giving up, and what better way than through your own interpretation of comfort food, whether it is mother’s famous chicken soup or Texan burgers.

Yes, dear readers, comfort food is in reality our own self-medication in creating feelings of nostalgia whether it be with friends, at your stove, in restaurants, or your favourite take-away. In short there is no bad comfort food because if it gives you comfort then it must be good. Personally mine is lasagna, which hails in some variations way back to Roman times.

Happy munching.


Wild mushroom lasagna


•Rio largo olive oil

•2 red onions finely diced

•1 red pepper deseeded and diced

•1 yellow pepper deseeded and diced

•1,5 kg mixed mushrooms sliced (button, porcini, Portobello, enoki, oyster, shitake, brown)

•dry white wine

•Koisan sea salt

•ground rainbow pepper

•unsalted butter

•6 cloves garlic, finely chopped

•4 tablespoons flour

•3 cups full cream milk

•½ teaspoon grated nutmeg

•150 grams grated gruyere cheese

•150 grams grated gouda

•2 tablespoons truffle oil

•1 box ready-to-use spinach lasagna sheets.

•1 box ready-to-use egg lasagna sheets

•200 grams of sliced mozzarella

•100 grams of freshly grated parmesan

•Sliced basil leaves


•Preheat the oven to 180°C

•Heat up olive oil in a pot

•Add a little butter

•Add the red onions and cook down

•Add the mushrooms

•Add some white wine

•Cook till mushrooms are just cooked and still firm

•Remove and keep one side

Béchamel sauce:

•In another pot melt 200 grams butter

•Add the flour and stir to make a roux

•Add a dash of olive oil to ensure no lumps

•Slowly add the cold milk, whisking all the time to keep the sauce smooth

•Add salt and pepper

•Add nutmeg

•Add 50 grams of gruyere cheese

•When sauce is a flowing consistency remove and keep warm

Assemble lasagna

•In an oven proof dish

•Coat the bottom with a little béchamel

•Place lasagna sheets on top

•Place some mushrooms

•Add some cheese

•Add some béchamel

•Repeat the process ending with a generous amount of cheeses on the top

•Lightly cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for about 30 minuets

•Remove the foil and allow to cook till top is golden

•Remove from the oven garnish and serve

Butternut, onion and spinach lasagna


•1 butternut squash peeled, deseeded and cubed

•baby marrow, halved and sliced

•Rio Largo olive oil

•3 red onions quartered and thinly sliced

•300 grams ricotta cheese

•2 sprigs rosemary chopped

•2 cups parmesan cheese

•300 grams frozen spinach

•1 box ready-to-use egg lasagna sheets

•Béchamel sauce

•Koisan sea salt

•Rainbow pepper


•Place the butternut in an oven dish drizzle with olive oil season to taste and roast, set aside to cool.

•Sauté the onions and the baby marrow in olive oil set aside

•In a bowl mix the ricotta cheese, rosemary, and parmesan

•Heat up the béchamel sauce mix into the ricotta mixture and set aside

Assemble the lasagna

•In an oven proof dish

•Coat the bottom with a little béchamel

•Place lasagna sheets on top

•Place some butternuts , baby marrow and onions

•Add some béchamel mixture

•Repeat the process ending with a generous amount of parmesan on top

•Lightly cover with tin foil and cook in the oven for about 30 minuets

•Remove the foil and allow to cook till top is golden

•Remove from the oven garnish and serve

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