Lover At Last: Lasagna

Probably the best set of parents in the series are Blaylock’s. They seem to have endless supply of love and support for their only child and his friends. And Blay’s mom’s lasagna… it’s like their family; warm, hearty, no fuss -type of dish that leaves no one hungry.

He shook himself and reached forward to accept the plate full of home-cooked loveliness that his mother was extending to him. “Oh, this looks amazing.”
“Best lasagna on the planet,” his father said, as he unfolded his napkin and pushed his glasses up higher on his nose. “Outside piece for me, please.”
“As if I don’t know you like the crunchy parts.” Blay smiled at his parents as his mom used a spatula to get out one of the corner pieces.
(J.R. Ward: Lover At Last, pb p. 535)

Conversion help here

The Recipe 
500 g minced venison meat (or beef)
1 large white onion
4 cloves of garlic
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp salt
400 g crushed tomatoes
140 g puréed tomatoes
2 dl water
ground blackpepper
1½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp dried oregano
80 g butter
1½ dl wheat flour
1 liter milk
pinch of nutmeg
250 g crated cheese (Emmentaler)
200 g fresh mozzarella

1. Prepare the bolognese sauce. Heat a large frying pan and sear the minced meat (no need for olive oil if you use a non-stick pan). Chop the onion, garlic and bell pepper into fine pieces and add them to the pan.
2. Add the crushed and puréed tomatoes and water. Season the sauce.
3. Preheat the oven to 200 °C / 392 °F
4. Let the sauce simmer while you make the bechamel sauce.
5. Melt the butter in a pan and add wheat flour. Mix it thoroughly but don’t sear.
6. Add the milk (I prefer to warm the milk as it mixes in the flour better than when cold), pinch of nutmeg and let it simmer for about five minutes. Gradually add the grated Emmentaler. Whisk the sauce constantly while adding ingredients, so that the sauce doesn’t burn and won’t become clumpy. Let the sauce simmer until the cheese is fully melted.
7. Take a baking dish and first add a layer of bolognese.
8. Add a layer of lasagna pasta sheets (no need to cook them first, they taste better when they cook in the sauces and absorb all the flavors) and a layer of bolognese sauce, then a layer of bechamel sauce. Repeat this until you have four layers.
9. On the fifth layer, add lasagna pasta sheets, pour the rest of the bechamel sauce and slice the mozzarella on top.
10. Cover the dish in tin foil and cook it for 35 minutes then remove the foil and cook it for 20 minutes. Let the lasagna stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)Lover at Last by J.R. Ward

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had high hopes for this book; Blay and Qhuinn finally together. IMHO (view spoiler)[Part of me feels that Qhuay was written as a substitute for Vutch (Qhuinn’s perfectly timed appearance, Qhuinn’s relationship with Layla, Blay n’ Saxton… there’s no natural flow in their story like there would have been with Butch and Vishous had Warden decided to written it properly instead of all the innuendos throughout the series). (hide spoiler)]

What I loved in this book besides Qhuay was the few good Brotherhood scenes, Brothers together like in the good old times. Trez and I’Am are intriguing characters too and the future of BoB is unknown, there’s definite changes within their group, common goal gone and some members having personal interests interfering. And I loved how Blay finally had the balls to speak his mind, refusing to have his life on pause. And the scenes between Layla and Xcor, the chemistry between them is tangible, their longing towards each other heartbreaking and I want them to have their HEA.

Lover At Last is so much more than just Blay & Qhuinn. Subplots take over the main story. Some find many POV’s interesting and some disturbing. I’m with the latter. I understand, that the lore must evolve, roll forward and gather no moss. But to be able to enjoy reading, the story must feel whole, not scattered characters and plots that make no sense in the big picture. And they definitely shouldn’t steal the spotlight from the HEA couple.

Having said all that, I believe that Blay and Qhuinn are perfect together. Considering all the shit that Qhuinn has had in his life, there’s no one better to love him and to be his mate than Blaylock. But their relationship and HEA is thwarted by this whole Layla -situation . (view spoiler)[It makes no sense, that Qhuinn would want a baby with Layla when he’ s totally in love with Blay (although it takes him a good deal of time to acknowledge it). You’d think that he’d be extra conscious about a child having a proper family knowing his own dysfunctional family past. Layla’ s and Qhuinn’s reasons for having a child together seem very selfish to me. And that damn pregnancy and miscarriage takes half of the book! To me, far more interesting would have been Layla having Xcor’s baby. And it bothers me quite a bit, that until the last pages, there’s no romance. Just jealousy-/revenge- / fear of death- / prove that I’m not numb -driven sex. Although hot scenes, but the atmosphere is not so different from the Qhuinn’s anonymous bathroom sex sessions. (hide spoiler)].

So while I’m extremely happy that Qhuay finally happened, the execution of it disappointed me. I just hope that we’ll be seeing them in future books.

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