Sweet potato seems to be everywhere at the moment, so I joined the trend, purchased some and used them in this weeks soup. This lunch kept me going all week, it was warming, filling and I only needed a cup of it a day. So it’s certainly worth trying for the chilly week ahead.
3 red peppers
5 small sweet potatoes
3 charlotte potatoes
750 ml veg stock
1 chilli pepper
First take your 3 red peppers and put them into a baking tray, drizzle with oil and put them into a hot oven (180C) for 30mins.
While this is in the oven, heat your oil in a frying pan, dice your onion and add this to the pan, cook the onions until they soften. Dice your chilli, you can include the seeds if you like a kick.
Add the chilli to the onion pan and mix.
Take your peppers out of the oven and put them into a bowl and cover with cling film. Leave this for 5 minutes, then peel away the skin from the peppers and discard the skin.
Chop and peel the potatoes. Now add the potatoes, peppers and onion mixture to a saucepan and pour the stock into the pan. Simmer the soup until the potatoes are cooked through, allow 20-30 mins.
Once the potatoes are soft you can turn the heat off your saucepan and leave the soup to cool, before blending or mashing.
I find that lentils are great at this time of year, the temperature is dropping as the summer goes into hiding for another 6 months and lentils in soup can provide a healthy hearty meal for lunch or dinner. They are certainly heavily used in many vegetarian dishes in winter, but they do have a meaty texture which can appeal to the meat eaters diet too. I’m likely to cover a few lentil dishes which are family favourites over the next few months.
2 sticks Celery
2 Med Onions
2 cloves garlic
Thumb sized piece of root ginger
1/2 – 1 fresh red chilli (to your taste)
10 cherry tomatoes
2 chicken or veg stock cubes
300g red lentils
sea salt & ground black pepper
200g natural yoghurt.
Food preparation: Peel and chop carrots, Slice celery, Roughly chop onions, Peel and slice garlic.
Take a large pan and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add chopped and sliced ingredients and mix with wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes with the pan lid askew untill carrots have softened and the onions golden.
Meanwhile: peel and finely slice the ginger, de-seed the chilli and finely slice, slice your tomatoes in half. Now add your stock cubes to bowl and add 1.8 litres of boiling water stir till dissolved, then add to the pan along with the lentils ginger chilli and tomatoes.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins with the lid on or until lentils are cooked.
Add Spinach and continue to cook for 30 SECONDS. Season and serve as it is or blend in liquidiser. Warning this will be green.
To serve top with a splodge of yoghurt, low fat or otherwise. If you have a microwave at work this will be perfect.
For this weeks’ lunch I’m going to have homemade tart or quiche. I think this becomes a quiche due to the egg content, but either way this should make 4 portions which is ideal as I’ll be out for lunch for one midweek meeting.
Pastry – You could use a shop bought base if you really have no time!
50g softened butter
50g wholemeal flour
50g self raising flour
A few drops of water
8 pieces of tenderstem broccoli
220g crème fraiche
1 tart dish with a removable base, buttered
Preheated oven set to 180C
First make your pastry adding the butter and flour to the food processor and pulsing until the mixture looks like small crumbs. Then pour in a small amount of water while the processor is still on, until the mixture comes together into a ball. Then place the pastry ball into cling film and sit it in the fridge for about half an hour.
Now crack the eggs into a jug and whisk, then pour in the crème fraiche. Next chop the feta into small chunks and mix this into the egg mix.
Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll out onto a floured surface. Make sure the pastry is large enough to sit into your buttered tart dish. Prick the base with a fork all over, to stop the pastry rising. Now add the tart to the pre heated oven for about 20mins.
As the tart will serve 4 portions I used 8 pieces of tenderstem broccoli. Cook these for a short time making sure that the broccoli still has a crunch and doesn’t go soggy.
When the 20mins are up take your cooked pastry out of the oven and create your tart. Add the broccoli to the base and pour over the egg and feta mix, now put the tart into the oven again for a further 30mins.
Allow to cool and then slice up for your lunches! Alternatively serve this up with salad while it’s hot. If you are dividing this into 4 portions, 1 portion is 435 calories.
Over the past few years people are constantly thinking about how best to save money, be it on food, drink or lifestyle. There are programs that help you get the most out of your weekly shop and the supermarkets are always doing price comparisons for the consumer.
- With your weekly shop do you consider your lunches?
If you work in an office maybe you buy a loaf of bread and a variety of fillings to put into your sandwich each day?
Maybe you buy the ready-made soups to put in the microwave at work?
Or maybe you don’t think about lunch and then take your wallet to the company canteen or local shop or pub?
Whatever you do, this section of my blog is going to let you know about my inexpensive working week lunches.
Don’t get me wrong, I do go to pub for the socials and birthday lunches, I also use the work canteen and occasionally I head down to the business parks cafe, to pick up a baguette. But what I won’t let myself do, is go to these outlets everyday!
Have you ever thought about how much you spend on your work lunches?
I work on a business park in Oxfordshire. A few years ago my weekly spend for lunch used to be around £20-£25. So £100 in 1 month on lunch! This was my first job after university and it was a crazy amount to spend.
Why did I do this!? My work place at the time had no subsidised canteen, the kitchen had no kettle and no microwave (for fear of smelly food!) My lunch options were therefore limited to cold lunches, sandwiches or salad. Alternatively one of a few local pubs or the 2 sandwich bars on the park.
The sandwich bar lunch usually consisted of a create-your-own baguette, drink and crisps or a sweet thing. £3.50 of this was for the baguette alone!
Things Improved when I moved company, they had a subsidised canteen and a kettle and microwave in the kitchen. For me this ment that creating my own lunches could get more exciting, as they could be hot or cold depending on the season! Now my average weekly spend can be as low as £2.
Microwave campaign: I think it’s wrong for companies not to provide a microwave, I’m not a huge fan of mine at home, but they are so handy at work! Just because one staff member has a sensitive sense of smell shouldn’t cause expensive lunches for others.