Monday, 30 November 2009
Location: UK Office
Cost: £1.64 when totted up... bargain!
I like things that are healthy and tasty. It just so happens that this is pretty good for both. Falafel can be easily bought from most supermarkets now. They're good value, healthy and a good source of fibre. A good option if you're vegetarian! Serve in a warmed pitta bread (so that it opens up) with baby spinach smothered in houmous for moisture. The olives were a real treat; going cheap on the deli counter at Sainsbury's so I couldn't resist. A little salty but tasty nether the less.
Friday, 27 November 2009
The world of business is getting busier, more competitive. There's more cost-cutting involved due to the infamous credit crunch so with jobs under threat and time at a premium, employees are working crazier and crazier hours. We continue to burn the candle at both ends; we don't want to compromise on our evening activities but we're having to get up earlier to satisfy our employers expectations. We skip breakfast in haste, grab a skinny latte during rush hour and sweat it out until lunchtime. We deserve a break! Don't work through it! Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day but lunch is a little salvation from the working day.
Now, with my working location, I can't get away with running out the door five minutes late only to grab a quick sandwich somewhere in town when the time comes. I have to be prepared. And it's annoying. But it got me thinking... how do we keep the 9 - 5 grind interesting? Food can improve a miserable day. What do you eat? And where? I'm wondering how many people eat at their desks or just skip a lunchbreak altogether.
So next week, you can expect a picture a day of my office lunches to inspire (I hope!).
Sunday, 15 November 2009
So this morning, it's just me and waffle iron. My beloved is at work - yes on a Sunday, not fair! - so I have time to experiment. Things like sandwich toasters and waffle irons seem to be the kinds of things that are bought as a cool idea but end up languishing in the depths of a dusty cupboard. If you have one, give this a try! My recipe is a variation of one found in an ancient Good Housekeeping Cookery Book (1976).
Saturday, 14 November 2009
Roasted Skate with Cherry Tomatoes and Parsnip Mash
Makes: a delicious and fresh fish-based main in less than half an hour
Ingredients: (for two)
2 Skate wings (has cartiledge in the middle - watch out!)
Generous handful of cherry tomatoes (or normal ones if you have none)
One red pepper
3 Parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
Small piece of Parmesan cheese
For the dressing:
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp (red wine) vinegar
2 tsp Dill & Mustard Sauce (or dijon mustard
5 capers, chopped
- Heat oven to 180C, boil half a kettle of water.
- Deseed and chop pepper. (If using normal tomatoes, quarter.) Mix in a bowl with tomatoes and drizzle with oil.
- Place on a baking tray, spread out nicely and roast for 10 minutes, stiring gently and occasionally.
- Heat a frying pan on a high heat with some oil. When smoking, add each skate wing and brown for a minute on both sides. It may stick slightly, don't worry if this happens.
- Move the vegetables to one side on the baking tray and place the skate wings on the tray. Roast for a further 10 - 12 minutes.
- While this is cooking, boil parsnips in just enough water to cover on a medium heat for around 10 minutes or until soft.
- While you wait, mix together all of the dressing ingredients and set to one side.
- Remove the baking tray from the oven and put to one side, covered. Bung plates in the still warm oven now, if you wish.
- Drain and mash the parsnips. They will not become as smooth as potato but keep mashing until you've minimised lumps. Add a knob of butter and stir in with a spoon. Add a dash of milk to bring together and grate a little Parmesan into the mash. Season and stir well.
- Plate the skate with a dollop of mash next to it. Drizzle the roasted veg with dressing and ripped basil. Stir well and pile on top of the fish.
This could be done with any firm while fish. Haddock would also work well. If you don't have Parmesan, a little mature cheddar cheese might be nice or simply add a grating of nutmeg. Can be a starter by simply using one skate wing cut in two and two parsnips for the mash.
Thursday, 5 November 2009
Macaroni Cheese with Bacon and Mushrooms
Makes: a quick and easy supper
Ingredients: (enough for two people)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp plain flour
1 cup milk
50g grated cheddar cheese, plus more to top
150g macaroni, dried
50g smoked bacon, trimmed and sliced
50g mushrooms, sliced
- Preheat oven to 190c.
- Boil macaroni for 10 minutes until just tender.
- Meanwhile, fry bacon and mushrooms over a medium heat in a saucepan until bacon is browned and mushrooms soften.
- Remove from pan and set aside.
- In the same pan, melt butter over a low heat then add flour.
- Stir vigourously until combined into a smooth paste.
- Add milk little by little and up the heat to medium low, still stiring.
- Keep adding milk gradually until all is added and the sauce begins to thicken.
- Add grated cheese, bacon and mushrooms and stir until combined.
- Mix macaroni and sauce together and put into an oven proof dish.
- Top with grated cheese and bake for 10 - 15 minutes until golden brown
- Serve with a fresh mixed salad
Instead of bacon and mushrooms, use leftover roasted vegetables stirred into sauce. A little pesto in the sauce and a topping of Parmesan is nice with this option.