#Whats4Lunch – The sweets 2

Snuggly pear 1

Snuggly pear 1

Snuggly pears for 6 (Total spent per unit 49p)

Ingredients:

  • 6 small pears peeled (60p)
  • 1 precooked beetroot
  • Sour cherry jam
  • 1 Just rol short crust sheet (£1.00)
  • 2 table spoons caster sugar
  • 20g butter
  • Plain or vanilla yogurt to serve (I used Alpro yogurt 75p)
  • Cupcakes or muffins baking tray

Method:

Heat the oven at 200C.

Pears ooked with beetroot

Pears cooked with beetroot

Peel the pears without cutting off the tails. Cook them in 500ml water with the beetroot and 2 tablespoons of sugar. The beetroot is just to add colour. Leaving the beetroot in the pan with the pears, allow to cook for 30 minutes, then drain and set aside.

Flatten the pastry sheet and cut in 6 equal squares.

Generously butter the baking, then, carefully line the individual holes with the short crust pastry squares. Make sure to really tuck in the pastry in the corners of the tray.

Now, measure up 1 teaspoon of sour cherry jam and place it on the bottom of each muffin case, then place the cooked pear in the middle of each case which should be topped with the pastry and jam.

Snug and ready to bake

Snug and ready to bake

Once all the pears are in place, melt about 10g of butter and using a baking brush, paint every pear with on single layer of butter then bring together all the corner of the pastry to wrap the pear snuggly.

waiting for lunch with yogurt

waiting for lunch with yogurt

Now paint the external side of the pastry with butter and dust with sugar before placing the tray in the oven to bake for 30 minutes 200C.

Allow to cool down before serving with the yogurt.

If you are taking some to work, pack the pear dessert and the yogurt separately.

Enjoy.

#Whats4Lunch – The sweets 1

Just try it!

Just try it!

Triplet in a jar (vegan). (Total spent 90p)

 Ingredients:

Yogurt, Apricot and Cherry jam

Yogurt, Apricot and Cherry jam

  • 250 Alpro vanilla yogurt -75p
  • 6 Halved apricots – 15p
  • 2 tablespoon sour cherry jam

Method:

Just pour 250g of yogurt in a jar with a lid, layer on top the halved apricots without the syrup… Top it all up with two table spoons of sour cherry jam.

Place the lid back on and wait until lunch time. Don’t forget to place the jar in the fridge once you get to work.

If you’ve got seeds or crunch vegan biscuit, sprinkle them on the dessert to add some crunch.

Enjoy.

#Whats4Lunch – The hot combos 5

Waste not!

Waste not!

Leftover vegetables – Waste not (Total spent 0p)

Ingredients:

  • 25g red onion
  • ¼ red pepper
  • ¼ green pepper
  • ¼ orange pepper
  • 10 cherry tomato
  • Anti pasti courgettes
  • Anti pasti mix mushrooms
  • Chilli flakes,
  • Black pepper
  • Mix herb
  • Fresh garlic.

Method:

This is one of the easiest lunches that I do often.

It is an ideal way to use leftover or cut offs vegetables… usually if I am cooking for a dinner party and have cut offs I won’t be using them during the week.

In this instance, I had red onion, sweet peppers and cherry tomato. I sometimes have also carrots, parsnips or marrow left over… (This does not work for potatoes or plantains. So, do not freeze them

Unfrozen cut offs

Unfrozen cut offs

So, all you have to do is to chop the vegetables up and place them in microwave proof dishes with lids. Place those in the freezer until you need them for your work lunch.

The night before you use the vegetables for lunch. Take the bowl out of the freezer and leave the vegetables out overnight.

In the morning, drain the excess water, then top up with the antipasti and season with the pressed fresh garlic, chilli, sea salt, mix herbs, pepper from the grinder. Drizzle with flavoured oil from the mushroom jar. Place the lid back on the bowl and shake to mix.

At lunch time, just open the lid of the Tupperware and place it in microwave for 7-10 minutes max and enjoy as it or just with a piece of baguette.

If you were at home and using this same vegetables, just heat oil, add some fresh onions with fresh thyme before stir-frying the vegetables for 5 minutes on high heat. Either serve on a warm garlic & herbs. Would be great with marinated griddled pressed tofu. Yum.

That’s it.

Sorry forgot to take the plated dish.

#Whats4Lunch – The hot combos 4

Spinach, Chicken and potato

Spinach, Chicken and potato

Spinach & Chicken (total spent 30p)

 Ingredients:

  • 5 – 6 cubes of frozen spinach 30p – (1 pack of 15 cubes costs £1)
  • Leftover roast chicken – A thigh or a leg (a single ready cooked thigh cost 70p at Sainsbury’s rotisserie).
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • Garlic granules
  • Mix herbs
  • A pinch of stock cube
  • 1 tea spoon butter
  • Chilli flakes
  • Leftover roast potato – Or jacket potato

Method:

Put 5-6 cubes of spinach in a bowl and leave out of the freezer overnight.

Seasoning the spinach

Seasoning the spinach

In the morning, squeeze out the excess of water from the spinach and season the raw spinach with black pepper from the grinder, dry garlic, chilli flakes and salt.

Now use half of the butter and mix it up in the spinach before pouring it in the Tupperware and topping it with the chicken and the potato that you would have cut in smaller pieces.

Spread the leftover butter on the chicken before placing the lid on the lunch box.

Spinach, Chicken and potato

Spinach, Chicken and potato

When you get to work, place the lunch box in the fridge and at lunch time, lift the lid a little bit to let out steam. Place the box in the microwave for 7-8 minutes.

Stir the spinach from bottom to top to spread the juices that no doubt would have cumulated at the bottom of the lunch box.

Plate and enjoy.

All the unpriced can be found in the house and the spinach had to be bought specially. So, the total spent is 30p.

#Whats4Lunch – The hot combos 3

Potato, beans, cheese 1

Potato, beans, cheese 1

Baked potato & beans (total cost 68p)

 Ingredients:

Potato, beans, cheese 2

Potato, beans, cheese 2

  • 1 baked potato – 50p
  • Baked beans – 8p (the tin cost 32p and contains 4 servings)
  • Black pepper
  • Grated mild cheddar – 10p

Method:

Potato, beans, cheese 3

Potato, beans, cheese 3

Any type of left over potato can be used this way. If you’ve got some left over roast vegetables, potatoes or parsnips from a previous meal, just use it to recreate this dish… If you didn’t enjoy it, just don’t try it again… Either way, you have to eat… and if on a budget you use what you find and make it work.

For this meal, I had a baked potato which place in my trusted lunch

Potato, beans, cheese 4

Potato, beans, cheese 4

box. I then topped it with a tablespoon of grated cheese, then the beans and more cheese. I added freshly grinded black pepper and thyme from my balcony.

At lunch time, all I have to do is place the lunch box slightly ajar in the microwave at work for 5 full minutes, then transfer in my plate… Done and tasty!

Potato, beans, cheese 5

Potato, beans, cheese 5

Potato, beans, cheese 6

Potato, beans, cheese 6

Up next, my vegan hot dish.

#Whats4Lunch – The hot combos 2

Petit pois lunch with smoked haddock

Petit pois lunch with smoked haddock

Mix veg petit pois & Smoked haddock (total cost 90p)

Ingredients:

  • 1 smokes haddock steak – 55p (pack of 5 cost £2.75)
  • 250g Frozen vegetables mix – 25p (1kg cost £1.00)
  • Mix herbs
  • Black pepper
  • Sundried tomato – 10p
  • Dried garlic
  • Flavoured oil from the sundried tomato jar

Method:

It can be very practical when you are thinking of work lunches to buy a variety of frozen vegetables. The other option is to chop the left over fresh vegetables and put them in Tupperwares before freezing them ready for when you need them.

And just in case you didn’t know, yes you CAN cook some meals in the microwave.

If you are planning on using frozen vegetables for lunch, first measure the quantity you need and defrost overnight.

In this case, I have measured up 250g of mixed petit pois, carrots sweet corn overnight with a haddock steak.

The next morning, drain the water then, rub the fish with salt, pepper, garlic and a bit of oil from the sundried tomato jar.

Petit pois lunch in the lunch box

Petit pois lunch in the lunch box

Now season the vegetables with herbs, pepper, garlic, salt and oil from the sundried tomato jar. Toss to mix. Place in the lunch box with the fish on the top and pieces of sundried tomato.

Keep your lunch box very well refrigerated as fish can be very fragile. Place this in the fridge as soon as you get to work.

At lunch time, all you have to do is flip your lunch upside down for a minute with the lid still on. This will allow all the juices accumulated on the bottom to flow back to the top and wet the vegetables and fish. Be careful to do this over the sink to avoid pouring the liquid over your shirt.

Now place the box in the in the microwave slightly ajar (the lunch box) and cook for 7 minutes… not a minute longer or the fish will be too dry.

And before you ask where the carbs are to top it all up? Note that carrots and sweet corns have nearly 20g of carbs per 100g, but also are full of vitamins and fibres. This dish has almost all the nutrients needed in a meal. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

If you are still hungry after eating your meal, top is with a yogurt or a piece of cake for dessert. But the next time, measure enough vegetable to feel you up and avoid you spending more than necessary.

The great thing about haddock is that it is not as smelly as mackerel.

Enjoy.

Up next, baked potato and cheese.

#Whats4Lunch – The hot combos 1

Tomato soup and salami baguette

Tomato soup and salami baguette

Soup and salami sandwich (total cost 39p)

Ingredients:

Tomato soup & salami baguette

Tomato soup & salami baguette

  • 1 sachet of tomato soup – 16p
  • Mini baguette – 7p (precooked at home)
  • 3 Salami slices – 10p
  • Butter
  • Boiling water

Method:

I am in the habit of buying precooked baguettes which I use for breakfast. Buying them in this way is much more economical and I only bake what I need. They come in packs of 4 mini rolls or 2 half baguettes and cost 40 pence in Lidl. They take 10 minutes to bake in the oven… while putting my makeup on or getting dressed. So, if I am getting my breakfast ready, I will just bake enough to include my lunch. Feel free to use English bread for an easier alternative.

Baguette, Butter, Salami

Baguette, Butter, Salami

For this lunch, my baguette is already precooked and cold. Slice it and spread with butter, then add 3 slices of salami. Pack in foil, place in the lunch box with the sachet of soup.

 

At lunch time, empty the content of the sachet of soup in a bowl or a mug. Boil enough water; the equivalent of a cup of tea and slowly pour over the soup while stirring quickly to avoid lumps. Leave to rest for 2-3 minutes, then enjoy with the baguette sandwich.

Enjoy!

Enjoy!

If the soup is too plain for you add some chilli flakes, salt and freshly grinded pepper.

Next up, Petit pois and smoked haddock.

#Whats4Lunch – The Salads 3

Carrot, Beet & chicken 1

Carrot, Beet & chicken 1

Beet carrot and chicken salad (total cost 31p)

Ingredients:

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken leg (left over) – Can be bought ready made
  • 10 to 15 pitted black olives – 5p (a jar of 700g cost 99p in the 99p store)
  • 10 cherry tomatoes – 11p (got about 30 -35 cherry tomatoes for 40p in Lidl)
  • 1 medium precooked beetroot – 10p (4 beetroots cost 40p in Lidl)
  • 100g grated carrot – 5p
  • Sea salt & pepper

    ingredients

    ingredients

  • Mayonnaise
  • Vegetable oil
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Dry garlic

The unpriced ingredients are already available in the house.

 

Method:

For the vinaigrette:

Mix 1 teaspoon of real mayonnaise, 2 tablespoons vinegar, 2 tablespoon of oil, sea salt and a pinch of garlic granules. Whisk, taste and adjust seasoning. When it is ready, pour in a small jar.

Rinse the beetroot and thinly slice it.

Strip the meat off the chicken leg and flake it.

If you haven’t done so yet, peel and grate the carrot. Keep all elements separated for now. Do not rinse the pitted olive, but wash the tomatoes.

In the lunch box, be careful about the way you layer the elements of

Carrot, Beet & chicken 2

Carrot, Beet & chicken 2

the salad to avoid your carrot for example catching the colouring of the beetroot or the chicken turning red. When you are ready for your lunch, you want everything looking fresh and colourful.

Bearing that in mind, here is how I recommend that you layer your lunch box especially if beetroot is

Carrot, Beet & chicken 3

Carrot, Beet & chicken 3

involved: Put the beet in the bottom, add the olives and then the cherry tomato. Now, the chicken strips and finish off with the grated carrot on top.

At lunch time, just flip the content of the lunch bowl in your plate and add the vinaigrette. Enjoy!

Next up, the hot lunches and few sweets.

To see the previous salads, click here and here

#Whats4Lunch – The Salads 2

Pulse salad - Vegan

Pulse salad – Vegan

Mixed pulses salad (vegan) (total cost 74p)

Ingredients:

Pulses salad  1 ingredients

Pulses salad 1 ingredients

  • 100g precooked Kidney beans – 10p
  • 100g chick peas – 10p
  • 100 sweet corn – 10p
  • 25g left over white rice
  • 3 pieces antipasti artichoke heart (25p)
  • Ground Maggi cube (or any dry stock cube)
  • 5g fresh ginger (5p)
  • ½ lime (14p)
  • Salt, dry garlic & black pepper

Method:

Pulses salad  2

Pulses salad 2

All the pulsed are shop bought and usually cost 25 to 35 pence each that include the chick peas, beans and sweet corn. The rice is left over from a meal.

Open the pulses and rinse the starch off them. Mix the all in a one bowl with the rice and a pinch of grounded stock cube. Mix and set aside.

Cut the artichokes as you wish and leave to the side.

lime & ginger vinaigrette

lime & ginger vinaigrette

The lunch box

The lunch box

Making the vinaigrette. In a separate bowl, grate the zest of a half lime and squeeze the juice of the same half. Grate the ginger and add 2 tablespoons of flavoured oil from the artichokes jar. Add black pepper and a pinch of dry garlic. Whisk, taste and adjust flavouring. Pour in a small container.

Pour the pulses in the lunch box and place the artichokes pieces on top separate from the vinaigrette.

At lunch time, all you will have to do is pour the vinaigrette on the salad and enjoy.

Just add the sauce and enjoy!

Feel free to add chilli flakes if you can handle heat.

Next up, Chicken salad, the hot lunches and few sweets.

#Whats4Lunch – The Salads 1

Mackerel Salad 1

Mackerel Salad 1

Smoked mackerel salad (total cost 90p)

Ingredients:

Salad ingredients

Salad ingredients

  • ¼ flaked smoked mackerel – 50p
  • 1 fresh medium tomato – 10p
  • 1/2 a whole lettuce gem – 10p (pack of 2 whole gems cost 37p)
  • 10 pieces of Italian mushroom antipasti – 20p
  • 1 leftover roast potato
  • Salt, dry garlic & black pepper

Method:

Separate the leaves from the lettuce and rinse off the earth on them. Cut roughly the leaves in 3 and set aside.

Rise and cut the tomato. Sprinkle it with freshly grinded pepper, salt and garlic Toss to combine and set aside.

Mackerel Salad 2

Mackerel Salad 2

Remove the mushroom needed from the jar.

Flake the portion of mackerel needed for the salad and check that there is not bones left in it. Set aside.

Mackerel Salad 3

Mackerel Salad 3

Since the salad is not being consumed immediately, place all the elements in the lunch box in a way that all of them will still be fresh and crispy at lunch time (4 to 6 hours away). The most fragile of them must be at the top and anything else that can remain wet and unchanged should be at the bottom of the lunch box.

So, layer the mushrooms first at the bottom of the lunch box with one teaspoon of oil from the

Mackerel Salad  layered

Mackerel Salad layered

mushroom jar, followed by the generously seasoned tomato. The mushroom will marinate in the tomato juices and seasoning. Now on top of the tomato, layer the cut potatoes, then the fish and the lettuce.

At lunch time, take your bowl, open it and cover it with a serving plate then turn it over to empty the content of the bowl upside down as if flipping an omelette. What this action will do is allow the juices that were at the bottom of the bowl to filter throughout the salad while acting as a vinaigrette.

These salads are called “salades composees” in France and often serve as a full lunch… nothing else is needed apart

Mackerel Salad 5

Mackerel Salad 5

from a small piece of baguette. If you make enough for lunch it should keep you full until the goûter time around 3.30 – 4pm when you can have an afternoon snack.

Do try to make it and let me know how you got on.

Et voila!

Next up, pulses salad and Chicken salad.

See the sandwich series here, here and here.