There is a little place in North Melbourne called “Mr Price’s food store”. I used to walk past it almost daily, wondering what the place was like. One day I noticed a sign in the window; “Cooking classes for men”.
An offer too good to refuse really.
After a phone call and a meet and greet (or was it an interview?) I was in Mr Gary Price’s kitchen with 3 other eager students learning how to make Lemon Posset.
Gary has millions of stories, and the knack for simplifying the whole cooking process. He runs his restaurant on his own. The chef, the waiter, the cleaner. He manages his time well.
One of his lessons was on making a moussaka, and its become a stable at home, with a few of my own personal touches. Now my first tip is to slice up all your vegetables first, it makes the whole process much less stressful!
Serves 6, cheap, easy difficulty.
Ingredients – Moussaka
- 1 kg of lamb mince (from Sardes Quality meats)
- 2 tablespoons of dried oregano
- 1 onion (finely diced)
- 1 carrot (diced)
- 1 celery stalk (diced)
- 2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
- 2 bay leaves (left whole)
- 1 litre of passata
- 1 tub of tomato paste
- A large handful of chopped flat leaf parsley
- 2 eggplants, sliced to 1 cm thick slices
- 6 potatoes, cut into 1cm thick slices.
- A handful of grated parmesan
Ingredients – Béchamel
- 1 ½ tablespoons of butter
- 1 ½ tablespoons of plain flour
- 1 cup of milk
- Preheat oven to 170 degrees
- Using an overproof casserole dish, saute 1kg of fresh lamb mince in olive oil until browned. Season as lamb is cooking. Add dried oregano.
- Add onion, carrot and celery, garlic and parsley. Saute until onions are translucent.
- Add 2 bay leaves
- Add passata and tomato paste and bring to boil.
- Cook in the oven for 1-4 hours.
- While the sauce is cooking, oil and season your eggplants. (Use a pastry brush to brush on your seasoned oil)
- Cook over a griddle pan and set aside.
- Prepare your béchamel sauce approx 30 minutes prior to the meat being cooked. (see béchamel recipe below)
- Arrange into either individual or 1 large dish starting with the meat, then eggplant and then potato. Repeat twice more.
- Cover with béchamel and sprinkle parmesan over
- Bake for 1 hour on 180 degrees. If the top starts to burn / brown, cover with foil.
- Serve in hearty portions!
- Melt the butter carefully in a saucepan but be careful not to boil it.
- Remove the butter from the heat and add the flour, salt and pepper and whisk until the mixture is free of lumps
- Gradually add the milk, returning to the heat if it cools too much and stir constantly until just before it boils (it will thicken quickly)
- Once the sauce thickens, reduce the heat and cook for a further minute to cook the starch (flour)