Thursday, 30 June 2011

A quick summer lunch

At the moment, I have the luxury of working from home most of the time. That's likely to change over the next few weeks and I'll be going back in to the office and facing the most expensive of food challenges - working lunches. The average cost in my area of London for a sandwich and a packet of crisps (at least one that looks like it will fill my belly) is about £4.50 and over a month that quickly adds up to around £90-100 a month!

So I'll be looking for good ideas of ways to save money and have varied, interesting food at lunchtimes. Something that doesn't send me in to a food coma until mid-afternoon but keeps me going until dinner time. Please send in your ideas and save my waistline and wallet!

While I'm still in the home office though, I thought I'd share a quick two-course lunch with you that takes no effort at all in the grand scheme of things. I've started with a warm chorizo salad:

Take a handful of sliced chorizo (which, by the way is pronounced "chor-EE-tho". It's not "chor-IT-zo" and wouldn't be unless it was a) Italian and b) spelt with a double "z". Which it isn't. Rant over.) and fry it in a dry pan until it starts to release it's own dark-red, paprika-flavoured oil. Add a glug of red-wine vinegar and a pinch of sugar.
In the pan
Once that's reduced a little bit, mix with some green salad leaves, halved cherry tomatoes, spring onion and a few croutons.
On the plate
That's it! I used some pre-made croutons, but I could have used one of the many clever ideas in Rose Prince's "The New English Kitchen" and just made them myself with an unwanted heel of bread by chopping it in to appropriately sized chunks, drizzling with olive oil and popping in the oven at a medium temperature until they feel about right. They can even be frozen for a month or so.

It's interesting that the book is called the "new" English kitchen, when in fact it contains the sorts of wisdom that our grandmothers would have taken for granted. Why would you buy chicken already cut in to bits when you can do it yourself much more cheaply and you get the added bonus of the stock that you can make out of it? Do all cheap cuts of meat really need slow-cooking? If you're interested in the kind of things we're discussing in this blog, it's a must-read.

For a dessert today (I know it's lunchtime, but why the hell not?) I've gone all Wimbledon on you.
The strawbs are in season at the moment - they're not something I would get at any other time of the year as they're always disappointing when you do - so they are served very simply with some Greek yoghurt, torn mint leaves and some cracked black pepper. Pepper, you say, on strawberries? Go on, try it. You'll never go back.


  1. This sounds really good, except I don't eat sausage! My garden is getting full of wonderful things, lettuce and herbs and strawberries.

    I didn't realize you were such a foodie. you should check out my mom's food blog


  2. Not eating sausage? What madness is this?

    Just been looking at your Mum's blog, and I think I might have to try the Broccoli Cheese Pie with Phyllo Pastry, it sounds amazing. Thanks for the link!