Office – What’s for lunch

Borrowed picture

Borrowed picture

Good evening!

I am back next Saturday 3rd October on Croydon Radio from 4pm with Tom.

This week we are going to talk about ideas for office lunches.

What prompted me to bring this  subject on the table is because often at my office, I see people going out to buy lunch. By the time they come back they can’t even fully enjoy it because the time they have spent queuing and walking back to the office has taken half of their lunch hour. So, they end up eating really quickly and not even degustating what they have bought.

When I plan to eat lunch I tend to bring in my food. I am unable to eat quickly or I suffer with stomach pain for the rest of my day.

Often when I plate my food, my colleagues often stop and ask what is on my plate and assume that it must take me a long time to prepare my lunch box… It doesn’t.

It all about planning.

If I am cooking a home meal with some vegetables and there are left overs, if I think I won’t be using them before they spoil, I chop them up and put them in a takeaway bowl then freeze until I need them for my work day lunch. The night before I need it, I will take the bowl out of the freezer and defrost overnight. In the morning I will just season with what I feel like. Especially with the dry herbs and seasoning, then a drizzle of plain or flavoured oil. Shake and take it to the office. At lunch time, I place my bowl in the microwave for 5 to 10 minutes depending on the type of vegetables.

Once it is done I transfer the content of my bowl on a plate upside down to allow the juices and flavours to travel throughout… Then I seat down to enjoy slowly while reading my Metro… That is my formula for a great relaxed lunch, washed down with a good cup of filtered ground coffee.

So this week I am going to be offering you few ideas of what to prepare so you can fully enjoy your lunch hour and even turn your “queuing time into a digestive walk time before returning to your desk and being productive without being overloaded.

The ideas include: Tuna pockets, Vegan baguette sandwich, triple decker chicken sandwich. Then the salads set and the hot food set.

Do tune in and also send in your comments.

See you then!

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The Barsotto (barley risotto)

 

Barsotto with Crispy mince soya and griddled spring onion

Barsotto with Crispy mince soya and griddled spring onion

For 6 people

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 500g barley (55p)
  • 200ml Alpro single cream (£1.00)
  • 6 spring onions (45p)
  • 125g butter (soya butter)
  • 5 small green chillies (10p)
  • White ground pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 100gr white onion
  • Fresh thyme
  • 2 stock cubes

For the topping:

Trimmed spring onions

Trimmed spring onions

  • 50g soya mince (25p)
  • Black pepper & salt
  • Vegetable oil

Cost: 1 bag of mince soy meat costs £1.49/300g and lasts a long time as it is dry. Cost for this dish £2.35 or 40p per person.

Method:

Start by rehydrating the mince and make 1L of stock in the process.

Place the mince in a bowl with the two stock cubes. Pour on it one litre of boiling water and leave to hydrate for 10-15 minutes.

What this will do is allow the mincemeat to absorb a bit of flavour while hydrating and also, the stock will have as after taste of mince.

After rehydrating, sieve to separate the mince from the stock. Make sure to squeeze water out of the soya as it is a bit like a sponge and does absorb a lot of liquid. Set the stock aside and set the mince aside for later use.

Now in a pan with 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil fry the now rehydrated mince with black pepper from the grinder and salt. Fry until the mince become completely dry and brown. It will go through stages. The mince will first absorb the oil in the pan, don’t worry keep stirring. Then it will completely dry out then, start rendering back the oil it absorbed earlier. By the time oil starts to be visible again in the pan, the mince should be browning. The whole process will take about 10 minutes. Do not leave the pan unattended. You must continually stir. Once he mince is brown, remove from the pan and set aside for serving later. Do not cover completely as it may lose its crispiness.

Now onto the Barsotto.

Starting on the Barsotto

Starting on the Barsotto

In a pan, heat about 110g soya butter with chopped onion, garlic, chilli and the thyme at the same time. Vegan butter has more water content than the regular butter so, place the butter onion and thyme together in the pan for 3 minutes until the water from the butter has evaporated and the onion starts browning.

Now add the barley without rinsing it as we need all the starch to make the Barsotto creamier. So, add the barley, white pepper, stir and add the stock. Stir and place the lid on the pot. Leave to cook for 20 minutes. Check the pan every 5 minutes and stir to avoid the barley sticking to the bottom. If you have ran out of stock add water. And each time you add water, stir the content of the pan well to distribute the moisture.

After you have cooked it for 20 minutes, add 200ml cream stir will and cover for 5 minutes. Meanwhile wash the spring onions, cut the green ends and chop roughly. Add the chopped herbs in to the Barsotto, stir, cover and remove the pan from the heat. This is ready.

Now, griddle the spring onions stalks.

As they are already washed and trimmed, rub them generously with butter. Dust with black pepper from the grinder and salt on all sides.

Heat the griddle pan, make it really hot and line the spring onions on it. If it is hot enough, it should be smoking. The smokiness will add to the taste. Allow to cook 2 minutes and half on each side.

Heat the griddle pan. It should be very hot. Once it is very hot, carefully line all the spring onions on it.

If necessary, press them down to make use of the heat.

Griddled and ready

Griddled and ready

Only griddle the spring onions if you are about to serve as they do not taste good reheated.

Serve the dish as suggested topped with the crispy soya mince and enjoy!

Don’t forget to warn you guests about the whole green chillies. 🙂

Until next time!

 

Barsotto with Crispy mince soya & griddled spring onion

Barsotto with Crispy mince soya & griddled spring onion

See the starter and dessert for this vegan menu by clicking on the links.

The beetroot dip

Beetroot dip

Beetroot dip

Ingredients for 1kg dip:

  • 600g precooked beetroot in vinegar (£1)

    Ingredients

    Ingredients

  • 3 garlic cloves
  • Hand full of small green chillies (10p)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 small fresh tomato
  • 2 stock cubes
  • 400 ml plain vegetable oil
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Salt and black pepper

Note: as this was part of the menu for 6 people, you will only need just about 300g of this dip to serve the vegetables cakes. The relative cost spent for this dip is £1.10 (for 1kg) or 5-6p per serving on this menu.

Method:

Ingredients ready for the blender

Ingredients ready for the blender

If the beetroot has skin, peel it, cut off the extremities and chop them. Blend in a food processor until smooth. Remove from the processor and set aside.

Now peel and roughly chop the onion, garlic and chopped tomato. To that, add black pepper and salt. Put all of that in the food processor, remove the tail of the green chillies, add in

blended beetroot

blended beetroot

the processor and blend until smooth also set aside. To not mix with the beetroot at this point.

In a deep pan with a lid, heat 200ml oil and fry in it until crisp the 3 sprigs of fresh thyme. Now pour in the oil the onion garlic and tomato mix. Stir and cover. For 10 minutes opening from time to time to stir.

By covering we are looking for the water in the mix to evaporate. Once

The half way stage

The half way stage

the water has evaporated, only clear oil will be bubbling up on the surface of the mix as shown on the photo right.

Now, add the blended beetroot, stir to combine well the content of the pan, add the rest of the oil taste, add freshly grinded pepper and salt, stir and cover for 20 minutes. Make sure to cover the pan because the content bubbles up and spits, the splashed of beetroot might redecorate the kitchen.

Ready to cool down

Ready to cool down

Open the pan from time to time to stir. After 20 minutes, there should be no liquid left in the pan. What should be visible is just the oil again, bubbling up above the dip. Remove from heat and serve hot. Leave the rest to completely cool down before spooning into jars.

I served mine as part of a starter.

Marrow cakes serving suggestion

Marrow cakes  with beet dip

This dip is great and can be used for chips and other vegetables. Also use it as a spread for sandwiches or mixed into a simple salad. Use is as you would mayonnaise or mustard or simply offer some to friends and family if you’ve got too much.

Spooned in jar for use later

Spooned in jar for use later

Enjoy!

See more about this vegan menu here.

Vegan marrow cakes

Marrow cakes serving suggestion

Marrow cakes serving suggestion

For 6 people (2 per person)

Ingredients:

  • 600g marrow (50p)

    raw vegetables

    raw vegetables

  • 200 carrots (5p)
  • 200g parsnips (10p)
  • 200g potato (10p)
  • 200g tomato (10p)
  • 1 Spring onion (5p)
  • 3 heaps tablespoons plain flour
  • Garlic granules
  • Black pepper
  • Salt

For serving:

  • Fresh rocket salad (£1)
  • Home pickled red cabbage
  • Beetroot dip

Cost:

The whole marrow cost £1 in the market. The carrots cost 69p in Tesco

for a packet of 15+ units. Same for the parsnips. As usual the unpriced ingredients are already in the house. Total spent: £1.90 or 32p per person.

Grated ingredients

Grated ingredients

Method:

Peel and grate marrow, carrots, parsnips and potato. Squeeze out the extra water coming out of the vegetables and place in a large mixing bowl. Set aside.

Finely cut the tomato and spring onion, add to the mix in the bowl. Now, add black pepper, salt, garlic combine well all the elements of the cake.

Now, using a table spoon, measure up a heap of the cake mix and form the cakes. Once they have all been shaped, heat 2 tablespoons of

Shaped cakes

Shaped cakes

vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the cakes allowing 2 minutes per side.

Once all the cakes have been fried, place them on the oven grill pan wire, then place in the oven to bake and harden for 20 minutes at 160°C.

Since there are no eggs in the is mix, the plain flour and the potato starch will help to keep the cakes together and baking them will help to give it a bit more hold and hardness.

Marrow cakes

Marrow cakes

These cakes are not best reheated. But if they must be heated, they best wormed up in the oven.

Serve with your preferred dip.

I served mine with some home pickled red cabbage, beetroot dip and rocket salad.

Enjoy!

Vegan Banana & peach iced cream

Peach & banana iced cream with chopped pistachios

Peach & banana iced cream with chopped pistachios

Ingredients for 1L Iced cream:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • Half a vanilla pod (optional) can use the extract
  • 200ml soya milk (54p)
  • 2 peaches (£1)
  • 3 banana (20p)
  • 100g sugar

Cost: the unpriced items are regular that should already be in the house. But just as a note, 1LAlpro Soya milk cost £1.35 but can be found in LIDL also at 69p. Alpro is the best for me in vegan milks.

Total spent on this recipe to produce 1L ice cream £1.74.

Method:

Pour the milk, sugar and vanilla pod in a pan and bring to boil. Once it boils and the sugar has dissolved, remove the pan from the heat and remove the vanilla pod. Set aside and leave the milk to cool down.

peach

peach

Now cut and destone the peach then cut in small pieces without peeling. Peel the bananas and chop them.

Now, pour the milk in the blender with the peach and bananas, then liquidize until very smooth.

Now pour the mix in a bowl with lid and place the bowl in the middle part of the freezer.

Ready for the freezer

Ready for the freezer

Check every 90 minutes and churn the content of the bowl either using a fork or a hand blender. Mix and break the ice formations until the cream is smooth again and re-place the bowl in the freezer. Churning it twice should suffice but, 3 times is better.

Plan to make the iced cream at least 5 hours before serving time.

I served mine with a brownie as shown below. Recipe for vegan brownie here.

Serving suggestion

Serving suggestion

Note:

Vegan iced creams can be easy to make as long as you use fruits that are naturally very creamy… So, I recommend, banana, peaches, coconut cream, peanuts, vegan cookie dough mix or even add some homemade brownies to help with the creaminess… Now go make your own concoctions…

The great thing vegan food is that provides more space for tests and trials. So, have fun.

Look forward to seeing what you have made.

H’s vegan brownie with peach & Banana Ice cream

Yum…

Brownies for 6

Ingredients:

Ingredients list 1

Ingredients list 1

  • 50g baking cocoa powder – 0.50p
  • 175g soya butter – 0.56p
  • 75g sugar
  • 50g golden syrup – 0.15p
  • 30g basic oat – toasted
  • 30g self-rising flour
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 4 tablespoons soya milk
  • 10g butter for the baking tin & baking paper
  • 20cm x 20cm baking tin

    Ingredients list 2

    Ingredients list 2

  • 30cm x baking paper

Cost: The cocoa cost £1.79/250g in LIDL. The soya butter costs £1.60 for 500g in any large supermarket, but often on offer at £1.00 in Sainsbury’s. The golden syrup costs £1.18/450g. If you are in a meat and dairy free household you should have most of the items listed. If not, note that they can ALL be found in all regular supermarkets. If you are not vegan, this recipe is worth a try… few people got fooled. Total cost £1.21 or £0.20 per person.

 

Method:

Heat the oven at 160°C.

Place the oats in the oven to toast until brown.

Butter & coco powder

Butter & coco powder

Prepare the baking tin by spreading the butter on the tin, then cover the inside of the tin with baking paper. Make sure to tuck the paper in every corner and sides of the tin then, spread more butter on the paper.

The butter spreaded in the bottom of the tin will allow the baking paper to seat perfectly in the tin and the butter spreaded on the paper will prevent the cake from sticking on the paper.

Brownie mix 1

Brownie mix 1

In a bowl, mix: sugar, milk, salt, golden syrup, stir to combine well and set aside.

Place 175g of butter in a heatproof bowl and melt in the microwave for 1 minute and half.

Pour the butter in a mixing bowl and sieve in the cocoa powder.

With a spatula, stir the mix until the chocolate and butter look like a well combined sleek cream as would a melted chocolate tablet.

To the now creamy chocolate mix, add the sugar, milk and golden syrup mix made earlier. Stir with the spatula to obtain once again a uniform mix.

Brownie mix 2

Brownie mix 2

Now, sieve in the flour and add the vinegar. Combine again to incorporate the flour. Once you are confident that there is no lumps of flour in the batter, add the toasted oats, stir and pour the mix in the baking tin prepared earlier with the baking paper.

Place the tin in the middle of the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 160°C.

Cooling brownie

Cooling brownie

To test that the brownie is ready after 15 minutes. Stick a knife in the middle of the cake. It should come out dry but still slightly moist. That it perfect.

If it is still wet, allow another 2-3 minutes in the oven.

Once the brownie is ready, take it out of the oven and leave on the side to cool down before serving.

Enjoy warm or cold with Ice cream or Alpro single cream.

H's Vegan Brownies

H’s Vegan Brownies

I served mine below with a Banana and peach Ice cream.

Vegan Brownie & Banana Ice cream

Vegan Brownie & Banana Ice cream

 

There you have it… A dairy free dessert.

Don’t forget to post a comment! x

The yogurt knitters set… AKA Vegan 3 course

Borrowed logo!

Borrowed logo!

Hear the radio show here on Croydon Radio.

Hello!

This month I’d like to treat you to 3 course vegan meal… My favourite. See, I am not always a fan of meat and having had health concerns in the past I often eat meat and dairy free meals. I am very much against battery farming and especially the over-production/consumption for some meats in particular in this country.

Cooking meat & dairy free does require a bit of creativity at times and frankly what tends to be presented in some mags or vegan restaurants aren’t often appealing. To see some of my musings, go see my vegan blog http://www.all-vegan.blogspot.co.uk… scroll down to see some of my most exciting combos.

One myth I’d like to dispel also is that, Quinoa is not that outlandish! That barley is a great alternative to rice and that NOT ALL vegans are “sandal wearing nuts eating yogurt knitters”… So, stop hating and explore before earning the right to put vegan advocates down.

PS: not all of them are militant nutters either.

Hope you will tune in to discover what I’ll be cooking.

It is all about encouraging you to eat what you like, but removing or replacing the animal related elements. By reducing the meat and dairy consumption, you will reduce some health risks, reduce the over-production of some meat related products and also discover that there is a lot more out there to explore in terms of food. You don’t have time? Put down the box set…

You will also get to discover the health values in some of the ingredients used.

See you on Saturday 5th from 4pm on Croydon Radio.

x.

Hortense

PS: I am only a part-time vegan and full time lazy chewer. Oh, did I mention God botherer?

Have a great week!

Update: Hope you manage to tune in to the show. This is what the food looks like… Find the recipe for the starter, main and dessert here. Do post a comment!

Vegetable cakes with beetroot dip, creamy Barsotto & vegan brownie with Banana & Peach ice cream

Vegetable cakes with beetroot dip, creamy Barsotto & vegan brownie with Banana & Peach ice cream