Friday 21 February 2014


Lasagne -
Very cheesy Lasagne
There are some recipes that even the most experienced, talented and creative of cooks make over and over again. Although I am not elevating myself into that position this Lasagne is something that can definitely be filed under 'Family favourite'.

I used to make it when my daughter was small and we had full-fat milk for her. I bought mild Cheddar then to go with it and it made a lovely creamy cheese sauce. Once she moved on to semi-skimmed and then skimmed milk I started using stronger Cheddar. Which combination you wish to make is up to you but the last time I made this I asked which cheese sauce was preferred and the answer came back 'creamy'. Since my Husband went out and bought some full-fat milk and mild Cheddar especially I didn't dispute their choice.

Instead of the classic Béchamel sauce I make a simple white sauce and add cheese to it. I have never been able to make a roux that doesn't end up lumpy and this cuts out the butter and hence reduces the fat and calorie count (if that concerns you at all). I learnt this technique when I was a student and I used to watch the students' favourite afternoon programme Ready, Steady, Cook. When the programme first started you could actually learn how to cook something simple with just a few ingredients. Once the years went on it was more about cooking as many dishes as possible and listening to the 'funny' stories of the contestants. I can't remember which chef used this method but there used to be two men always paired together. One was Irish and had more than passing resemblance to Terry Wogan. The other was quite camp and always wore bright shirts and colourful framed glasses.

In this Lasagne I use the very un-Italian ingredient of Henderson's Relish or as it's often known as 'Hendos'. It's billed as 'Yorkshire's best kept secret' and outside of South Yorkshire most people haven't heard of it (my Mother always has a bottle in her London larder, however). The bottle does have many similarities to the classic Worcestershire Sauce design but this is no modern copy-cat invention. Henderson's Relish has been made in Sheffield since the 19th century and remains a dinner table staple for most families in Sheffield. My local supermarkets stock very little local produce but every single one of them sells Henderson's Relish. One of the supermarket cafés even has it on the tables along with the salt, pepper and vinegar.

The unique selling point of Henderson's Relish is that unlike Worcestershire Sauce it is both vegetarian and vegan. To describe it I would say it had the same appearance as Worcestershire Sauce but the taste has a bit more kick to it. It's like a liquid version of brown sauce.

When I worked on the Ecclesall Road in Sheffield I went to a hairdresser's where one of the assistants told me her father had emigrated to Malaysia. The deciding factor in whether he was going through with it rested on whether he would be able to get supplies of Henderson's Relish sent out to him. Thankfully he could and every couple of months a case of 6 bottles would be shipped over to him.

Over the years the distinctive label has changed for special occasions. Special editions were produced in the stripes of Sheffield Wednesday and Sheffield United. This resulted in chip shops having to make sure they had both bottles in stock as no Sheffield football fan would ever dare to use the wrong bottle. The golden Olympic achievement of Sheffield's Jessica Ennis was celebrated with a gold label. As you can see at the moment they are supporting the local St Luke's Hospice.
Henderson's Relish -

Production of Henderson's Relish was in the city centre until last year. The original building is still there – just, as the recent wind and rain has battered it somewhat. However, they moved last year to state of the art premises off Sheffield Parkway; assuring Henderson's Relish will remain a proudly produced Sheffield product for many years to come.
Henderson's Relish factory -
The old Henderson's Relish factory
I am sharing this with several challenges this month. First is the Cheese, Please! challenge from Fromage Homage. The theme this month is 'Cheesy Romance' and since this is my beloved Husband's favourite Saturday meal and he did go shopping for vital ingredients I think this qualifies.
Fromage Homage

Finally this is off to Elizabeth at Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary for her Shop Local challenge on behalf the Henderson's Relish.

Equipment: Balloon whisk, ovenproof dish (mine measures 19cm x27cm)


500g Beef Mince
2 Carrots, finely chopped
1 Large onion, sliced
400g Tin Chopped Tomatoes
3 tbsp (45ml) Tomato purée
1 tsp (5ml) Henderson's Relish
1 tbsp (15ml) Fresh basil leaves, torn
Black pepper to taste
6 No-pre cooking required lasagne sheets (you may need more depending on the size/shape of your dish

Cheese sauce

5 tbsp (75ml) Plain flour
¾ pint (450ml) Milk
4oz (110g) Cheddar cheese (if you use skimmed milk use mature Cheddar but if using full-fat milk use mild Cheddar)
Grating of fresh Parmesan or similar hard cheese


1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/Gas mark 4.
2. In a large saucepan start to cook the mince. When it starts to brown add the carrots followed by the onions.
3. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, Henderson's Relish, basil and black pepper.
4. Bring to the boil and then simmer.
Lasagne in pan - www,

5. While it is simmering make the cheese sauce by adding the flour and milk to another saucepan.
6. Whisk together and then turn the heat on to its highest setting. Whisk continuously until the sauce starts to thicken.
7. Take off the heat and stir in 2oz (55g) of the grated cheese.
8. In the ovenproof dish spoon in half of the mince mixture and then layer with half of the lasagne sheets.
9. Cover with half of the cheese sauce and then rest of the mince mixture. Top with the remaining lasagne sheets and the rest of the cheese sauce.
10. Finish with the remainder of grated cheddar cheese and Parmesan and then cook for about 20-25 minutes until the cheese is bubbling and browned.
Lasagne out of the oven -


  1. Can't beat a good lasagne and yours must be good if it gets your husband out doing the shopping for it ;) Thanks for entering this into February's Cheese, Please! Challenge.

  2. Fantastic! I love brown sauce and Worcestershire sauce so I would be guaranteed to love Henderson's Relish too! Thanks for linking up your family favourite lasagna with Shop Local and for the introduction to a new condiment!


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