Start by cooking the polenta. Set the water to boil, and when it starts to bubble, swirl it and pour in the polenta flour in a thin stream, stirring the mixture as you pour to mix it well with the water. As it becomes like the caldera in a volcano, season with salt and pepper, and cook for around 8 minutes.
Pour the polenta into a large dish and let it cool. If you are adding Talegio or Fontina cheese, melt this into the polenta before pouring it out.
Make a white cheese sauce. Melt 50g butter in a pan, and then add the flour.
When the flour is beginning to brown, and the butter is foaming, add the milk, pouring in steadily and mixing to make a smooth white sauce. Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg and add the bayleaf, and simmer for 15 minutes, before adding the grated cheese.
Next, slice the mushrooms and fry in butter for 5 minutes. Elizabeth David suggests using white truffles, which are in short supply in South Uist.
Slice the polenta. In the bottom of a buttered lasagne dish or similar, layer 1/3 of the polenta, then 1/3 of the bechamel and 1/2 of the mushrooms. Then 1/3 polenta, 1/3 sauce, 1/2 mushrooms, then 1/3 polenta, 1/3 bechamel, topped with parmesan.
Bake in a hot oven, 180C, for 30 minutes.
This is delicious, and very filling. We had 2 servings each and there is loads left. We had a side dish of steamed kale with pepper.
You know how it is: You go to the shops to buy a green pepper, and they are only available as a pack of three mixed peppers. I ended up with a couple of red peppers, and then found this recipe in Moro. I adapted a little to locally available ingredients.
1 large aubergine
2 red peppers (I had one red and one yellow pepper, which made for an attractive dish)
1 clove of garlic
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
100g Greek-style yoghurt, seasoned with salt and pepper
25g caramelised butter
fresh coriander leaves
Turn the oven to 220C. Pierce the skins of the aubergine and peppers, and put them in the oven on a tray for 40 to 45 minutes. I turned them a couple of times, and took the peppers out earlier than the aubergine.
When the skins of the peppers and aubergine are cooked, cool the vegetables until you can handle them, and peel off the skin.
Chop the aubergine coarsely, and mix in the crushed garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil, and season to taste. Spread the mixture over the base of a serving plate
Remove the seeds from the peppers, and chop them coarsely, season lightly and strew artistically over the aubergines.
Pour the yoghurt in blobs over the dish, and spoon over with caramelised butter. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with pitta bread or other flatbread.
To make caramelised butter, melt butter in a small pan, and heat gently until the milk solids turn a golden brown. Watch carefully, or it will all go wrong.
This looks so beautiful, adding flowers to salad, and the extra flavour that they bring just lifts the whole thing. I usually make a basic Greek-style salad and layer the flowers on top. The ingredients depend on what is available. I add the ingredients in layers, only mixing together when serving.