Recent Posts

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lasagne recipe

So I was asked to make lasagne for some family friends who were coming over today, and I thought I would take this opportunity to give my lasagne recipe. I have another one that I use for only vegetable lasagne, but this one was a meat one. I shall post the vegetable recipe next time I make it.


One medium sized onion chopped

Six cloves garlic (at least!) – side note: I love the taste and smell of garlic, so I add this many, but cutting down the garlic to two cloves is fine too

Two pounds of lean ground beef

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (or chopped tomatoes if you want the sauce to be a bit more chunky)

1 can tomato paste mixed in with half a cup water

2 cups tomato sauce (or pasta sauce, whichever one you prefer)

4 tablespoons fresh chopped Italian parsley

2 tablespoon of white sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper (the fresh one really makes a difference!)

8 – 12 lasagne noodles (follow the cooking instructions on the box depending on the type of noodles)

23 ounces ricotta cheese

¾ teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg

1 egg

3 teaspoon fresh Italian parsley

4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups shredded parmesan cheese

1)In a large pot, warm ground beef and start breaking with the back of a wooden or plastic stirring spoon

2)When the beef starts to brown, add the chopped onion and garlic and mix with the beef until it has changed to a brown colour and the onions are translucent


3)Stir in the can tomatoes, the mixture of tomato paste and water and the two cups of tomato sauce

4)Add the sugar, the fennel seeds, the 4 tablespoon parsley, the salt, Italian seasoning, and basil to the beef and tomato sauce mixture. Stir well. **note: Since I am Pakistani, I add some chilli powder to my lasagne mixture just to give it a bit of a kick. If you want to do this as well, add only a teaspoon to the beef and sauce mixture with the rest of the seasonings.

5)Simmer on medium-low heat for an hour and a half at least. At this point, you can refrigerate the sauce and make the lasagne the next day if you desire.

beef tomato sauce

6)Mix the ricotta, egg, parsley and nutmeg in a bowl.

7)Cook lasagne noodles according to the box’s instructions

8)And now onto assembly!

9)Put some of the meat sauce on the bottom of the baking dish that you are using

10)Next, add a layer of noodles

11)Then add a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture

12)Then add mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese

13)Then add another meat sauce layer

14)Lay down noodles once more

15)Note: always put noodles on top of the meat sauce layer. I find that if they are on top of cheese, they get hard in the oven and are impossible to eat

16)The top layers should be meat and mozzarella cheese

finished lasagne

17)Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees

18)Remove the foil and bake for another 20 – 25 minutes

19)Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for at least 15 min before eating

Sookie and Bill: A future in sight?

Now, I know there are those on team Eric and there are those on team Bill. I am definitely on team Bill. I feel as if Bill truly does love Sookie, and that’s why he wants her to be with him. She was the first one to truly welcome him to town with open arms, and he has always been there for her, even risking his own life in order to save her. I thought that one of the most tender moments between Sookie and Bill was when he rushed into her room after having a dream she was being choked and woke her up from fear that he was unable to protect her.

bill and sookie's cousin

Now although I am quite sentimental about Bill and his actions, he may have some hidden motives as to why he wants Sookie for himself. I mean, does Bill only love Sookie because it allows him to be able to express emotions the way that he thinks he ought to if he were a human being? Bill seems to be the only vampire with the ability to feel so strongly about a human being. I use the lines that Isabel said to Eric in season two when she claimed that humans felt much more deeply about things than vampires.

Does Bill only pretend to feel deeply for Sookie? Or are his feelings real? I’m betting on the side of real, but there are others who disagree.

You can contrast Isabel and Hugo’s relationship with Bill and Sookie’s. Although there weren’t many instances where Hugo and Isabel were together, I think it’s safe to assume that both Isabel and Hugo did not share the same sense of love that Bill and Sookie shared. Hugo was willing to betray Isabel because he was unable to match her abilities; her strength and lifestyle. Isabel was willing to get Hugo be destroyed by Godric because of his betrayal; hardly something that Bill would allow. Although I’m sure Sookie is much more useful to vampires then Hugo is because of her abilities.

Question of the day is, do you think that Bill is using Sookie in order to feel human, or for some other purpose? Or does he really love her? Or a combination of both? Do you think Maryann is right about Bill being able to walk away so easily from Sookie?

And then there are the questions about Bill’s past with and without Lorena. First of all, I HATED how the writers portrayed Bill as first of all being a savage monster killing people with Lorena, and then having him just suddenly have a change of heart and blaming her for all his actions. I know that Lorena is able to exert a lot of control over Bill because she is his maker, but come on; having Bill just blaming Lorena for his years of brutality is hardly justifiable. Vampire or human, some decisions are your own to make. I thought it was such a cop out for the writers to have Bill blame his entire lifestyle on Lorena, and I hope they explore how he actually came to the realization that his way of life (or death) was completely immoral and savage.

bill and lorena

bill and lorena kill

Actually, do you think that Bill’s lifestyle before was immoral and savage, or was he just simply doing what was in his nature to do? Back then there was never any true blood, so vampires did need to feed on humans in order to survive. And humans justify wars and killing all the time in the name of survival, so are vampires really any different from humans?

bill and lorena

On a hilarious side note: I loved when Bill told Sookie to shut up in episode two of season two! I love a man in charge!

sookie scared

bill mad episode two

Friday, September 4, 2009

True Blood

Call it nerdy, but I love dissecting the characters on True Blood and just having hours of endless discussions about it with my sister and whoever else watches the show. Growing up, I was such an avid fan of anime, and stories like Buffy and Angel, but when I heard of True Blood I was afraid to get on the bandwagon fearing it would be like Twilight. I know Twilight fans will try to burn me at the stake for saying this; but the story just feels so immature and contrived to me. But True Blood did not disappoint me one bit. Alan Ball has a way of writing characters that are completely believable. They are seldom one dimensional, and often tread the line between good and evil in ways that we ourselves do every day. This is what makes True Blood so appealing to me; it has that element that Six Feet Under had (still my number one favourite show of all time). Nate and all the other characters were so utterly human in their exploration of death and life, as are Sookie, Bill and Eric in True Blood. Each character has to battle their own demons, as Lettie Mae puts it and find their way in the grey areas of morality, love, life and death. After all, vampires themselves exist in that grey area of life and death.

But the first character I will focus on is my favourite; Bill Compton. I watched True Blood with fresh eyes; I knew nothing about the series or the books, and so viewing Bill as he in the series (I know he is quite different in the books) just made me fall in love with him. Tortured by the cruelty that he is so easily able to inflict on others (as graphically demonstrated by killing uncle Bartlet and in his flashbacks in season two), Bill straddles the lines between control and impulse and love and hatred.

Now, it goes without saying that first season Bill is very different from second season Bill, and I have my theories as to why that is. As I’ve never read the books (but I do know the book spoilers and how Bill is portrayed in the books), I will focus only on the Bill that is presented in the series. I found first season Bill to have many more layers than second season Bill. I think the writers were trying to pit him and Eric against one another in the second season, so they presented Bill as the do-gooder, but it didn’t do him any justice to deny the extremely dark tendencies he had in season one.


For example, Bill had no qualms killing uncle Bartlet, having a mass orgy with his three vampire friends, or killing Long-shadow. I think that beneath all the layers of goodness that he puts up for Sookie in season two, Bill has a very dark side that I hope will present itself in season three again. Unlike Eric, who is not afraid to be what he is, Bill tries to straddle who he is with who he thinks he ought to be. I think that’s what makes Bill accessible though; that even after almost 200 years he still doesn’t have a good grasp on who he actually is.

bill saving sookie

I found it disturbing that he would willingly associate with those three vampires that he knew were willing to inflict evil just to appease his own loneliness. I understand that the line between human and vampire are not easy to walk, but Bill makes choices which are clearly immoral and so far removed from the person he wishes he could be.


There are also those words from Maryanne which haunt the future of Bill and Sookie: “though I dare say there is nothing stopping him from one day leaving you, cold”.

...I will continue Bill's discussion on my next post...