5 Weekday Lunches

I’m absolutely useless when it comes to eating lunch during the week.  Oh don’t get me wrong, I’m the first person to dive head first into the fridge at lunchtime, but I always seem to surface with my hands empty and end up heading off to the snack cupboard instead.  Jam Doughnut?  That’ll do.  Half a bag of Tortilla Chips?  Be rude not to.  I grab and I go and more often than not I end up swinging back in a couple of hours for round two because – you guessed it – I didn’t eat a proper lunch.

So this week I decided to shun the snack cupboard and sort myself out with some proper midday grub in under 15 minutes using whatever happened to be in the fridge.  It was really nice to take some time to cook (mostly) from scratch and treat myself to a little lunch date every day! 🙂

Monday: Egg on Toast

Yes, it’s simple and probably a little bit boring, but you can’t beat fried egg on a slab of toast.  I was going to mash up a little avocado to go with it, but since none of the ones hanging around in my fruit bowl were ripe, I had to go without.  I finished things off with some chopped chives, a little grated cheddar, chilli flakes and black pepper.  Yum!

Tuesday: Sweet Potato Hash

On Tuesday I found some leftover halloumi (…does such a thing exist?) when I was rummaging around in my fridge, so I quickly fried it up with some garlic, diced sweet potato, button mushrooms, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes.  I mixed in some salad and grated cheese (extra cheese!) and scoffed it in front of a brand new episode of Outlander (I’m so happy it’s back!).

Wednesday: Flatbread Pizza

Hump Day Treat!  Sunny was working from home and found some flatbread in the fridge and complained that it wasn’t any good – “You can’t make a sandwich with that!”.  Nope, you can’t.  But you can make pizza.  I spread some tomato puree over the top, sprinkled it with some grated mozzarella, added some chopped button mushrooms and tomatoes and then grilled it for ten minutes.  Mwah!

Thursday: Toasted Tea Cake

Change of scenery! On Thursday, I ended up popping out to the local garden centre coffee shop to catch up with my Mum and Dad.  My Mum and I love a good old toasted tea cake with plenty of butter; old habits die hard, so that’s what I had. 🙂

Friday: *Pheasant Tikka Masala by Wild and Game

A very gloomy Friday afternoon treat!  Okay, so this one didn’t take 15 minutes – but since it involved absolutely zero effort on my part other than turning the oven on and grilling a bit of naan bread, I’m counting it.  Wild and Game have a whole range of ready meals and pies made with meat from game animals like grouse, pheasant, partridge and hare.  I know what you’re thinking – you’re imagining dinner at Downton Abbey, aren’t you?  Well, while game used to be the nosh of the well to do, thanks to companies like Wild and Game you don’t need a spot on the civil list to get your hands on it.  When they got in touch and asked if I’d like to try their Pheasant Tikka Masala, I said “yes please!” and ended up trying it out this afternoon as a Friday lunchtime treat.  I’d never tried pheasant before (although I’m used to seeing them pottering around the field near where I live – Bungle loves to chase them!) and so I wasn’t sure what it was going to taste like or whether I’d even like it.  But it was delicious, with a flakey, tender texture and a taste slightly similar to turkey, and the curry was the sort of “little bit of what you fancy” Tikka Masala you’d happily pick off a gastropub menu and order with half and half (half rice, half chips for the uninitiated 😉 ). Tasty, and with a hefty portion of pheasant enough to serve two.

I’ve been a bit put off with chicken recently after cooking up a stringy, bad batch from the supermarket a few months ago.  The truth is chicken is terribly over-consumed in the UK and chickens incredibly poorly treated (over 20 million are killed every week for their meat – if you want your eyes opened on the subject then just watch this bbc documentary), and I’m personally a little fed up with being a part of that whole process.  Pheasant, to me, seems to be an ethical and affordable alternative.

What’s your favourite working lunch? 🙂

Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake

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I’m no stranger to a good old Lemon Drizzle Cake – it’s easy to bake and perfect just the way it is – nice and gooey and warm on the plate (especially after getting stuck out in a less pleasant kind of drizzle, eh?).  But it’s always nice to try a fresh twist on an old favourite.  Last time I tried pistachio, and this time I’ve gone for rose – which sweetens the lemon a little and takes out it’s sour edge.  So if you like your drizzle cake a little sweeter, then this one’s for you. 🙂

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Lemon and Rose Drizzle Cake

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 100g Butter
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Self Raising Flour
  • Zest of 2 Lemons
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • 200g Powdered Sugar
  • 2 Tsp of Rosewater
  • Handful of dried, edible rose petals
  1. Grease a small loaf tin and set your oven to 170°.
  2. Cream together the butter and caster sugar and then crack in the egg.  Pour in the lemon zest and rosewater, then stir in the flour.
  3. Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 30 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  4. To make the drizzle, mix together the lemon juice and powdered sugar.  While the loaf is still nice and warm (and still in its tin!), create some holes in it with a cocktail stick or a knife (make sure you only insert them half way or you’ll get a soggy bottom!), then pour the drizzle over the top.
  5. Once the loaf has cooled, remove it from the tin and then decorate it with the dried rose petals.

Happy Friday everyone! 

Halloumi Hash

Remember when the weather wasn’t grey and miserable and it felt like summer was literally on the doorstep banging the door down?  Yeah, good times.  Well, back then we managed to have a barbecue (the first and hopefully not the last of the year…).  We had sausages, grilled chicken, and on a whim Sunny picked up some Halloumi Burgers and – oh sweet Jesus – I suddenly remembered just how amazing the stuff is.

Cue one moody Monday lunchtime I got a craving for some halloumi and – after a quick online search – landed on a recipe I fancied.  It’s one of those meals that’d work for breakfast, brunch or dinner since it’s got a little bit of everything.  🙂

Halloumi Hash

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • A handful of chopped baby potatoes (how many will depend on how many you’re cooking for)
  • Diced halloumi
  • Chopped baby tomatoes
  • Chopped bacon (or lardons)
  • Spinach
  • Olive oil
  • Mozzarella balls
  1. Boil the potatoes until they’ve just started to soften, then drain.
  2. Heat up a frying pan with a little olive oil, then fry the potatoes until they start to brown.
  3. Add the bacon, then the halloumi and finally the tomatoes and spinach.
  4. Serve with a fried egg and mozzarella. Yum!

Hope you’re having a good week!

Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes

Happy Friday!  How was your Easter weekend?  Did you get your fill of chocolate, or – like me – were you raiding the supermarket on Tuesday morning for half-price Easter eggs?  I found bags of Galaxy Caramel Eggs for 50p and used my arm to sweep the whole shelf into my basket.  No shame.

Anyway, hopefully you’re not too sick of chocolate (is that even possible?) – clearly I’m not, because yesterday I got a craving for cupcakes and decided to make these bad boys.  The American baking community call them Hi-Hats (marshmallow frosting dipped in melted chocolate), but to us Brits really they’re just cupcakes with a marshmallow tea cake (/poo emoji) perched on top.  I went one better and added a raspberry jam filling – just like real tea cakes.  I thought they were going to be a nightmare to make, but with a bit of strategic freezer-time, they were actually pretty easy 🙂

Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 175g butter
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs whisked
  • 225g self raising flour
  • 120ml milk
  • Raspberry Jam
  • For the marshmallow cream topping: 1 jar of Marshmallow Fluff (amazing stuff), 250g butter, 300g icing sugar
  • 250g plain chocolate
  1. Set the oven to 180. In a bowl, cream together the butter and caster sugar, then stir in the egg.
  2. Stir in the flour and milk gradually, alternating between the two until you have a light and fluffy batter.
  3. Spoon into deep cupcake cases and then bake for around 20 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).  Allow to cool.
  4. In a clean bowl, mix together the butter, icing sugar and marshmallow fluff to create a marshmallow buttercream.  Using a piping bag, pipe a ringed “fence” on the top of the cupcake, then fill the centre with jam.  Pipe around and on top of the jam to create a peak, then place the cupcakes in the freezer to ensure the topping is set and cold enough to keep its shape when you dip it in the melted chocolate.
  5. Melt the chocolate in the microwave (or on the hob, whichever way you prefer!), then carefully dip the cupcakes – topside down – into it.  Tip: It helps if you use a cup for the chocolate rather than a bowl.  Leave the cupcakes to cool in the fridge so the chocolate can set.
  6. SCOFF.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂