Upside-Down Frown

I never have, nor ever will, be an endorser for religiously following celebrities. Sure, I am that average girl who enjoys reading the gossip mags at times, but I am not one to delve and follow their personal lives, or care much for them on an intimate level. I can’t bring myself to enjoy reaching about Khloe Kardashian’s latest butt job, or Lindsay Lohan’s latest stunt with rehab.

I am not, of course, judging anyone if they do, this is just my preference 🙂

But despite my nonchalant attitude towards their lives, I was genuinely shocked yesterday.

Shocked at not only the news, but my reaction to it.

For the first time, since Michael Jackson died, I was genuinely blindsided by a celebrity death. At the death of a celebrity whose personal life I had never actually read about in the media, on the off chance I was reading at all. Of course you already must all know who I am talking about – comedian extraordinaire, Robin Williams.

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According to Buzzfeed, his death was not even accidental. It was a purposeful, intentional suicide via asphyxiation (choking). I was at the hairdressers actually, my hair all dressed up in foils, waiting for the colour to seep in, and on my phone, I saw it. I thought it was an ill-humoured, misdirected form of a twisted joke.

Robin Williams has died. For a minute, I just sat there and the knowledge seeped through. I had a slight deja vu to when Michael Jackson died. I had a sudden image of Genie in my head, morphing into Mrs Doubtfire, morphing into Alan Parrish. If ever Robin Williams was brought up in conversation, I would always eagerly nod my head and agree on how talented he is, but it wasn’t till I read about his death that it actually hit me.

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He was one of the biggest parts of my childhood. As far as my favourite celebrities goes, he was always there, roaming and making my subconscious laugh. Even if I didn’t know it, didn’t even think of him.

Take Genie. Aladdin was my favourite Disney movie as a kid, maybe even now, and Genie – he was the best friend anyone could ever ask for. I wished upon countless stars as a kid, wishing to find me a Genie. Not for the wishes. For the amazing friendship that a Genie obviously brought.

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I know, lines were written out, he must have done dozens of re-reads. But in my mind, I just see a goofy, caring and loveable big blue man trying to make the best of every situation.

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Take Mrs Doubtfire. I have seen that film over 10 times, and I can tell you, it is never going to be less funny. If anything, seeing Robin Williams smash his face into a cake as to not be caught by the inspector lady is one of the best scenes in any movie. Ever. Robin Williams delivered a performance that was so fantastic, I still cry sometimes from laughter.

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There is a tragic irony in wondering how a man who was always laughing, making others laugh to ward off pain and anger, had so much sadness pent up inside of him. Was he even ever truly smiling as his depression overwhelmed him? Or did he upside-down frown? A big difference I’d say.

An upside-down frown is a facade, one, I suppose, that only a true actor can maintain.

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A smile is a sincere gesture.

A facade.

A sincere gesture.

Robin Williams was indeed an incredible actor, because he certainly fooled me.

RIP Robin Williams. Your smile, your voice, your talent and more than anything, you will be missed. Even if I didn’t realise how much till now.


Does this get you thinking? How many other people have their smiles quavering? How many others are stifled under the pretence of happiness as expected of them, instead of expressing how they really feel and getting some help.

Maybe give everyone an extra hug today that you know. It might just help some people get back the bounce they need!!!

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Or, you could take a step up and give them some lasagne. Which I always misspell as lasagnbut it is ok, cause you know what I mean 😉

I put some photos above the break up the slightly darker tone of this post, but I didn’t even explain anything about it.

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Surely the cheesy, warm photos can speak for themselves?

In this lasagne, I featured the use of three different products from BarillaIf you follow my instagram, you would have seen I generously received a hamper from them a few weeks back and plucked up my courage to make a savoury dish.

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The products I used were the pre-cooked Lasagne sheets. Being pre-cooked, all I had to do was plop them into the lasagne pan and BAM! They also spread very nicely after being cooked, which was something my mum had to explain to me countless times would happen, but I didn’t believe her!

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I also used a mixture of sauces to add a bit of Mediterranean richness. For the base sauce, I used a jar of Napoletana saucewhich was heavy and fresh and strong in its tomato flavour, but full of delicious garlic as well.

As you can see, my mum already got her claws into this delicious sauce :P

As you can see, my mum already got her claws into this delicious sauce 😛

In it, I took a generous tablespoon of Pomoderi Secchi (Sundried tomato pestofor a concentrated kick of sundried tomato flavour. It worked out really well and I suppose, was one of my first experiments ever in the savoury world!

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I hope you enjoy my lasagne recipe everyone 😀
While I give measurements, it is a truly something you can make depending on how much sauce, how many veggies etc. you want!

Printable Recipe  – Just click on this to download it 🙂

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

Adapted from: BBC Good Food

Ingredients:

  • 1 large (or 2 medium) red capsicums
  • 1/4 large pumpkin
  • 2 zucchinis
  • 150g mushrooms
  • 1 small red onion
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  • Garlic powder
  • 1 bottle Olive Oil
  • 2 heaping tbs of mixed italian herbs (or separately, rosemary, thyme, basil and oregano)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 jar Barilla Napoletana Sauce
  • 1 jar Barilla Pomoderi Secchi Pesto
  • 1 packet Barilla pre-cooked lasagne sheets
  • 1 packet shredded/grated mozzarella cheese (or mixed with parmesan)
  • Cherry tomatoes (optional)

For the White Sauce:

  • 85g butter
  • 85g plain flour
  • 750ml full cream milk (or you can swap three 100ml of this for cream for more indulgent results)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Deseed the capsicum/s, halve and julienne (cut into thin, short strips)
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  3. Cut the zucchinis in a similar fashion, but make them a bit chunkier since they dry up on roasting.
  4. Dice the onion and cut up the pumpkin, to similar length and chunkiness of the zucchinis.
  5. Wash the mushrooms, remove their stem and slice thinly.
  6. After all the vegetables are prepared, bring out a baking tray.
  7. Place vegetables into the tray and then toss with olive oil (I used a little over 1/4 cup).
  8. Sprinkle 1 1/2 tbs generously of salt, sprinkle on some pepper and add 1 1/2 generous tbs of the mixed italian herbs.
  9. Add a pinch of garlic powder.
  10. Using your hands, massage the flavours into the vegetables and ensure everything is coated in the oil.
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  11. Roast for 20-25 minutes, or till lightly browned and very fragrant.
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  12. Let cool while you prepare the lasagne’s other components.
  13. Reduce oven to 160 degrees C. Lightly oil a lasagne serving dish around 20x30cm.White Sauce:
  14. Melt the butter and mix in the plain flour. Cook for three minutes on medium heat.
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  15. Slowly add in the milk and heat till boiling, continuously stirring.
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  16. Put heat on low and cook till the sauce begins to thicken and coats the back of the spoon (once my sauce boiled, it was thick enough so you might now have to wait).
  17. Season with a dash of pepper and a tsp of salt (or more if preferred).Assembly:
  18. Mix together the jar of napoletana sauce with a generous tablespoon of the sundried tomato pesto.
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  19. In the tin, line it with a layer of lasagne sheets.
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  20. Generously top with two or three spoonfuls of the tomato sauce and spread all over.
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  21. Add a layer of vegetables on top, roughly half of all the roasted vegetables
  22. Dollop white sauce on top and spread as the final layer.
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  23. Repeat: Lasagne sheets, sauce, vegetables, white sauce.
  24. Top with a final layer of lasagne sheets, and coat with remaining white sauce.
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  25. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese generously as a final layer and top with the halved cherry tomatoes.
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  26. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until bubbling and golden.
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  27. Devour 😀

Notes:

  • If you are reheating, always cover with aluminium foil so the top doesn’t burn
  • You can use your own vegetables, as much sauce or as little as you desire – I personally would have loved to try some eggplant in this dish!
  • Salt is a crucial component – I didn’t have enough so the white sauce portion was not as tasty as the rest of the lasagne so be careful!
  • You can use a mix of cheeses and sauces depending on your preference

Till next time mes cheris!

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Disclaimer: Go Bake Yourself was under no obligation to promote Barilla’s products via post or through any form of social networking. It was her own decision to do so and all opinions are honest and her own.

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71 Comments

  1. Ramona says:

    Robin Williams has been apart of TV since I was a child… I remember seeing him on Happy Days and Mork and Mindy. I hope his soul is resting in peace… his is truly missed here with us. Your lasagna is the perfect comfort food to bring us some cheer in this very sad time. It looks amazing and you did a great job.

  2. As he lived in SF, where I live, the news was so sad. I felt like someone I’m close passed away. I just couldn’t believe it. A friend of our close friends (I never met the person) recently took his own life too after having depression for many years. He had small children too, and he is very successful in his career and very well off. Their life seems so good to outside people, but I think they struggled.

    Now this looks so yummy! Love all the vegetables you put in here. When I feel down, I eat, and this looks perfect! 🙂

    • I suppose it just goes to show – you never know exactly who is suffering regardless of their personal life. It makes me sad to think that and how helpless is must make people feel. My condolences my friend.

      Thank you! Haha I was trying to healthy for once with all the vegetables 😀

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  3. maggie fisher says:

    watch Jimmy Fallon’s tribute to Robin, Jimmy had to hold back his tears as he talked about Robin, then he ran clip when Robin first appeared on Tonight with Johnny Carson, it was soooo funny, well my tears were coming by then but try to find this and watch, it’s quite wonderful

  4. We are bereft too at such a tragic death, a man who gave so much to others but who could not find his own peace. He leaves the world with much laughter to remember him by in his brilliant films.
    Food is always good to help people through the bad times and a way to show love x

  5. Sophie33 says:

    My dear friend! Like you said, Robin also was a lot in my childhood & I loved the film, Misses Doughtfire too! I also watched it may times & still love it! You made a lovely ode to him in this post! xxx
    He will be deeply missed! I read that there are going to be 4 future films with him in it! 😉 I can’t wait!

    Your lasagna looks great! x

  6. Uru, you have really touched me with your memories of how Robin Williams has been an important part of your life by bringing you years of smiles and laughter. There is a uniting experience about his death that brings us together across continents and decades. I had the exact same response in immediately noting that the last time I felt this kind of sadness at a celebrity death, the shock of it, was Michael Jackson. I really hope that Robin Williams’ very tragic last action will bring new and important attention to an international discussion of depression and as you remind us, cause us all to see where we can bring some support to anyone we know struggling with life’s emotional demands. We can all be in this together, and so thank you, dear Uru. And yes, the lasagne is just an amazing comfort food recipe. I’m going to plan to take a pan to a neighbor in poor health. You’ve really inspired me. ox

    • I agree about these kinds of tragedies unite us – we all share and express our love for such inspirational people, it really does bond us in a way. You are such a wonderful person to do that, I hope your neighbour enjoys it – we need more people like you in the world Debra 🙂

      Hugs
      Uru

  7. Brittany says:

    My reaction was nearly identical to yours when I heard the news about Robin Williams. I don’t get affected much by celebrity news, but with this my heart felt very heavy. I still feel sad at the thought, and may he rest in peace!!

  8. Oh my, you are the first person I’ve seen make lasagna like me with the white sauce instead of the ricotta cheese sauce!! 🙂 I felt sad reading that about Robin Williams again. I think though he is probably in a better place; just a hunch!

  9. Yes, he will be missed. I grew up watching Mork and Mindy every night, and was always a fan of his. Loved his crazy and wild and spontaneous stand up comic routines on stage too. So sad…

  10. The man was a prolific genius…May he rest in peace…On a lighter note, I have also seen some spelling it “lasagna”. It doesn’t really matter as long as it tastes excellent!

    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

  11. rubyredapron says:

    Robin Williams’ death was a huge shocker for me too. So sad. 😦
    As for this lasagne, it looks delicious. Love all the roasted veggies you put in it. I love the way those cherry tomatoes look on top!

  12. Veronica says:

    He was so loved by so many, it seems the whole world mourns. 😦 Mental illness runs in my family and depression is no joke. It’s so hard. Thanks for ending on a yummy/brighter note with the delicious lasagne (I always say lasagna lol – seems strange to type it the other way).

    • See you understand that it is such a hard mental illness, but I am ashamed to say I have actually met people who believe it is just ‘a bad case of the blues’ 😦 – makes me wonder how they can still call themselves ‘educated’!

      Aaah see I am so confused – but delicious cheesy layers are delicious cheesy layers in the end!

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  13. I know, it was so shocking and sad, wasn’t it? I was really stunned, too. I love your reminder to share a hug or a smile, to possibly brighten someone’s day. =) And this lasagne would DEFINITELY brighten mine!

  14. mmmarzipan says:

    I was deeply saddened to hear the news too. And it seemed to come during a particularly emotional week for myself and many of my friends. I hope the open dialogue that people have seemed to engage in via social media channels as a result of this tragedy will help to remove stigmas, provide empathy for those who need it and promote outreach services that aid those in crisis. Best wishes to you, sweet Uru. And I too adore the look of that dish! Seriously. Looks delicious xx

      • Yes, my self-hosted was having problems so I moved back but kept my domain – best of both worlds without SES problems to deal with and all thank god! It is much easier to keep it at a hobby level on wordpress!

        Cheers
        Choc Chip Uru

        • mmmarzipan says:

          Easier for me to comment now! 😀 Must say that the transition was very smooth (as a reader and follower of yours)… I didn’t even notice until I thought “hmm, I don’t have to use fb/type in my email address to make a comment. WP is very user-friendly, really (even though I get frustrated by glitchy things occasionally!) xx

  15. Shirley Tay says:

    This post reminds me of my first time doing a pineapple upside down in school. Brings back fond memories. Ah yes, the world has lost someone so talented. May peace be with his family!

  16. That was such a tragedy about Robin Williams. I guess we only saw one side of him and to think that he had so much darkness that he felt that he had to end it. So sad, so sad. I will always remember him from Dead Poet’s Society, one of my favourite films.

  17. Liz says:

    lovely tribute and you’re spot-on about Robin Williams’ genius.

    And my thought has always been that lasagna is singular and lasagne is plural. ?? Whatever it’s called, yours is delish. Love that you put so much heart into it 🙂

  18. I too am having a hard time digesting this sad news… A bit of comfort food should certainly help anything go down a bit easier, though. I wish I had a huge serving of your veggie-filled lasagna right about now. It looks and sounds absolutely amazing.

  19. missemzyy says:

    The news yesterday was devastating. What a great attribute to Robin Williams, we will never forget his extraordinary acting! In times of sadness, a slice of lasagne is always comforting. Looks delicious!

  20. Uru, this looks fab! and I was just hunting for a savory recipe to make for some neighbors who just had a baby. And as for Robin Williams, I know a lot of people who had a similar reaction in that they hadn’t been this affected since Michael Jackson. It’s particularly tragic considering the circumstances, and does make me want to hug my loved ones a bit closer. Just wanted you to know I appreciated the sweet sentiments you wrote about him. Sending hugs to you, too!

  21. helene dsouza says:

    Ditto and I believe Robin would have enjoyed your gorgeous homemade upside down cake. We were a bit shocked too… but yeah… There are always so many wonderful people dieing in this world and often without that anybody knows about it. We all have to die, and yes we all fear it, but as long as we have food and friends we should just live in the now and enjoy things such as your smiling cake. Now that’s how I see it. =+ Take care Uru!

  22. It is truly hard to know what goes behind a smiling face or funny word. It is a tragic loss for not just his family but his fans too.
    That dish sounds super delish and I would love to try it. hunt for lasagne sheets begins 😛

  23. Kim Bultman says:

    Uru, your ‘upside-down frown’ conjecture brought some sense to this senseless tragedy, and your compassionate heart looked past the headlines to the human being. You are so wise for your young years. One of my favorite movies is “Patch Adams” with Robin Williams and Phillip Seymour Hoffman — now both tragically gone. Ironically, I was going to make lasagne for dinner tonight. Love your roasted veggies & bechamel inspiration! Thank you. xo

    • I just figured that ‘upside down smile’ is such a common saying, we really don’t think about it the other way around no? But thank you, that means a lot. Aaah yes, I remember watching Hunger Games and then realising we lost such an incredible actor a few weeks later – what happens? 😦

      I hope you enjoyed your lasagne my friend 🙂

      Hugs
      Uru

  24. I was sad and shocked to hear that he passed away. I think the deepest impression he has left on me is his role in “Dead Poet’s Society”.

    Your lasagna looks great. I’m sure that it will cheer anyone up.

  25. kitchenriffs says:

    Such sad news about Robin Williams. He’ll be missed. Anyway, I always spell lasagna, lasagna. Mainly because that’s considered “correct” in North America. I know in much of the rest of the English speaking world lasagne is correct (because of the singular/plural stuff that works in Italian, but doesn’t really in English — but who cares?). Anyway, yours looks wonderful. No matter how you spell it. 😉

  26. It’s shocking to hear such news about someone we think has it all. You are right, give smiles and extra hugs, you never know what is going on in one’s personal life. Veggie lasagna will happen soon! Nice recipe!

  27. shenANNAgans says:

    Beautiful post lovely one! 🙂 I, like you thought it was another one of those hoax posts, its just so sad. Depression is a real a$$hole, I cant believe the way it controls ones life.
    The bake however is totally delicious and certain to make yuk days a little better.
    Just so ya know, Im grateful you popped into my world, your posts make my weeks better. Virtual hugs coming your way. Yeah thats right, take that hug from a stranger. 🙂

    • Thank you! And yes, I agree, sometimes I wonder how some people can take it so lightly and not understand the consequences!
      Aw you made me smile with your hug, sending virtual hugs back (from a stranger :P) – I love reading your posts too, you are literally a big ray of sunshine in the blogosphere 😀

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  28. Angie@Angie's Recipes says:

    I told myself it’s impossible that Robin Williams took his own life. He was a great actor. RIP!
    Your lasagna with roasted veggies looks particularly comforting and delicious, Uru.

  29. I’m always sad for people (but mostly their families) who decide to take their own lives. Robin Williams was an artist who was known across the globe. While I’m not affected like you (or like I was following the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman), there are others — people whom we’ll never know about — who take their lives every day. I’ve had friends who did the same thing. On one hand, I was angry at them. On the other, I was heart-broken because they believed that death was the only way to peace. — Seems odd that I would compliment the recipe after such a speech, but it definitely looks great. I hope all is well with you. 🙂

    • I was definitely saddened by Philip Seymour Hoffman, he was an incredible actor. I’m sorry that you have gone through that pain, I cannot even begin to imagine it.

      Yes, I know, but I did want to share my opinion without bringing everyone completely down (hence the recipe at the end) 🙂
      Thank you hope you are going well too!

      Cheers
      Uru

  30. Carolyn Chan says:

    I was equally stunned and saddened to hear of his passing. He made us laugh and cry – through his genius comedic roles (Aladdin’s Genie was also my favourite !) and his amazing acting ability in shows like “Dead Poet’s Society” and “Good Will Hunting”. Hopefully he has found his inner peace now, and wherever he is, you know there will be laughter.
    We are all so caught up in our own lives today, that we need to take a step back and listen and be more empathetic to others, and help spread happiness as well….much like your blog, CCU ! It always brings a smile to my face when I read your posts – your bubbly personality is reflected so well in your writing.
    And food and feeding people (mostly sweet things !) always helps ! 🙂

    • I agree, a man with so much talent and the ability to make us go from one emotion to another in only an hour? Amazing – I know though he is certainly in a better place, and far away from the blackness that is depression.
      You are very sweet to say that Carolyn – I’m so glad to make you smile, just as your posts and comments make me 🙂

      Cheers
      Choc Chip Uru

  31. It was shocking, my friend called and I was stunned. Then learning he took his own life made me very sad. He must have been so depressed and consumed with anguish and thats very very sad. Your lasagna looks lovely and cheesy and creamy and delicious.

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