#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.

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#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.