Our 21 year old son Bevis, a talented musician and audio engineering student, is also turning into quite a fabulous cook, and with equally enthusiastic friends, competes to produce tasty, great and nice-looking meals for good student prices. Last time we were in Sydney, a milestone event happened when he invited us, for the first time since he left home, to dinner at his flat, and produced a beautifully tasty and inventive menu based on Italian and Mediterranean influences, interpreted in his own way.
We had bruschetta topped with a lovely, simple tomato, herb and Spanish onion salsa for an aperitif with cider and beer; then a beautiful entree of lightly steamed green bean bundles, wrapped in prosciutto and pan-fried, and then, the piece de resistance, the spectacular 'Swag Lasagna,' a recipe of Bevis' own invention, which is a kind of hybrid between traditional lasagna and moussaka. And why 'Swag Lasagna'? Well not because it's meant to be carried on long treks in your swag(though it would certainly keep body and soul together!)but because 'swag' is short for 'swagger', a kind of shorthand amongst Bevis and his friends for the style amongst their group of young men who share cooking tips and recipes!
Here's the recipe for 'Swag Lasagna' , as given to me by Bevis. I haven't put proportions, as these will vary according to the numbers of people. Ad-lib as necessary, that's the essence of Swag!
Swag Lasagna is made up of three different sauces: a lamb bolognaise sauce, a mushroom and tomato sauce, and a white sauce. It also includes roasted eggplant, roasted capsicum, and three different sorts of cheeses: fetta, ricotta and grated cheddar or'tasty' cheese.
Prepare the sauces first: fry onion, add minced lamb, herbs(rosemary or basil or thyme or whatever you fancy), add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, cook till thick and tasty. Make the mushroom sauce by frying onions and mushrooms in butter, add sliced tomatoes,herbs,salt,pepperetc, cook till done(mushrooms should not be too soft.) Meanwhile roast the eggplant, cut in slices, ditto with capsicum. Make the white sauce. In a lasagna dish layer the lasagna sheets with the different sauces, one layer to each sauce, and add eggplant and capsicum slices too, as desired. Cut fetta cheese into small cubes and scatter in the layers too. Layer till all used up then on top layer spread with white sauce and crumbled ricotta to completely cover the dish(the addition of the ricotta gives a deliciously creamy and moist texture). Sprinkle the grated cheddar over that,bake in oven till done,and enjoy. We certainly did!