A little mid-week dinner for three

On November 23, 2013 by battenburgbelle

It’s been a while, but the other night Angus (dairy-intolerant) and Clive (proper vegetarian) came for dinner. I decided to make a vegetarian moussaka this time. I assumed that I would have no trouble finding non-dairy ricotta for the béchamel-type sauce in Crouch End or Muswell Hill. Wrong. After trying all the likely places, and some of the less likely ones, I came home with some buffalo mozzarella, which is not an obvious substitute, but what are you gonna do in this situation? I am also not well-versed in the use of soya milk. All the cartons I found featured the word “sweet”, which was a bit of a worry. However – the moussaka was lovely and made a pleasant change from the cauliflower curry I often present on these occasions. Very cheesy, to counteract the  use of probably the wrong kind of soya milk, and a deliciously rich lentil base. The non-meaty bit comprised onions, Puy and green lentils, red pepper, red wine, tomatoes, stock and cinnamon. Just finished it off this evening – still good, although I did feel a bit bereft not having a whole new meal to make for a Saturday night in. It’s not a great picture, but it really wasn’t burnt around the edges. Perhaps a food photography course for Christmas??


I served the moussaka with a green salad, with some caramelised figs and toasted hazelnuts (re-created that this evening, to be told it was the best thing Mr B had eaten, “ever”).


Dessert was a chocolate “cup-a-mousse”. Not sure why, but the chocolate hardened quicker than I could mix it into the eggs. This hasn’t happened before. Missy B was disconcerted to find some lumps of chocolate in hers, but I managed to convince her that this was in fact a bonus. The grown-ups had theirs with raspberries and some salted chilli sesame praline and didn’t mind the lumps at all! This is a very quick and easy one and made eight little espresso cup mousses:

100g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

3 eggs, separated

Melt the chocolate in a heat proof bowl, over a saucepan of simmering water.

Whisk the egg whites to medium peak.

Stir the chocolate into the egg yolks and mix well (quickly! before the chocolate hardens!).

Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Turn immediately in to a soufflé dish or individual pots or glasses.



Thank you to my big brother, who bought me these little cups years ago, unaware or having forgotten that I rarely drink coffee, but they are perfect for an elegant little dessert. 

4 Responses to “A little mid-week dinner for three”

  • Nick

    I prefer to think of the espresso cups as prescience rather than forgetfulness. On some level I must have known about the cup-a-mousse a long time in advance. I may also have been thinking ahead of your supper club guests, who might like a small coffee after their supper.
    Is buffalo really non-dairy? I am also avoiding diary at the moment. Not intolerant, just avoiding. The French cheese seller at our local farmer’s market tried to convince me the other day that sheep’s cheese and goat’s cheese are non-dairy. I am not convinced, but gave him the benefit of the doubt, and bought a small piece of each. To me this sounds similar to the view common in France and Spain that ham (and indeed any form of charcuterie) is not meat, and therefore OK for vegetarians.

  • Roxane

    Now I did some research about dairy products and I am sorry to say that products made with sheep or goat milk are still considered dairy because sheep and goat are mammals. They are only marginally lower in lactose than cow milk so if the reason for avoiding dairy products is due to lactose intolerance there is little benefit. Buffalo is even more like cow…

    • Nick – you are right. Some of my guests probably would like coffee. Must remember to offer it…

      Nick & Roxane – you are probably both right, but Angus has always been happy to eat goat and sheep cheese and didn’t raise any objections to the buffalo mozzarella. I am torn as to whether to alert him to this exchange, in case he becomes even more tricky to feed 🙂

  • Mmmm cup-a-mousse – love that idea. Could do that with angel delight too for my next 70s themed do!!

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