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Posts Tagged ‘Lunch’

Back when I was spending my year abroad in Italy I was living in the heart of Emilia Romagna, smack bang in the middle of piadina territory. Piadine were one of the first local foods my flatmates took me out to try. We went to a little cafe, with a handful plastic tables and chairs under umbrellas, set in a large park all of 10 metres from our building. The cafe (or piadinaria) was a popular little place; all they sold were freshly made piadine and crescioni. Piadine are the Italian version of a tortilla, a simple flatbread cooked until just crisp, that is traditionally served as a sandwich filled with cheese or prosciutto. Crescioni are more like a calzone: before cooking the piadina dough you fill it with tomato and mozzarella (or my favourite roasted pumpkin, pancetta and asagio) and fold it over before toasting it in a hot pan to cook the dough and heat the filling. Visits to the piadinaria nel parco became a regular occurrence and before heading downstairs to the cafe we’d peep out the window to make sure there was a free table, squillo (Italian for drop call) our friends and rush over for lunch. (more…)

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If I could jet off anywhere in the world I think near the top of my list of destinations would be Vietnam. I’d love to ride a scooter around Ho Chi Minh City and take a boat trip around Ha Long Bay. Unfortunately it’s going to be a long time until I can realise my dream so I’m making do by trying my hand at Vietnamese style cooking. This week I’ve been preparing lots of summer or salad rolls for my lunches; they are not only delicious but light, healthy and refreshing: perfect for a hot, muggy day. You can use any vegetables you fancy to make up the little bundles of salad wrapped in delicate rice paper but something raw and crunchy is preferable along with fresh herbs. You can also add meat such as spicy roast chicken and shredded pork, prawns or even tofu or nuts for a protein boost.  (more…)

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Horray! It looks as though we’re through the ‘hungry gap’ where the last of the winter vegetables are running low and the first of the spring veggies are not quite ready. If you subscribe to a veggie box or community agriculture scheme the hungry gap can play havoc with your menu plan: unexpected frosts can spoil crops, supplies can run out early and you end up with the occasional unexpected substitution. Last week was one such occasion when I had made planned to make pumpkin falafels and ended up with a cauliflower. Granted, it was a lovely cauli but I struggled to come up with an interesting idea for dinner that went beyond the standard cheese pairing. (more…)

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Spring is in the air, daffodils are in bloom rubbing shoulders with crocuses, snowdrops and primroses. The birds are chirruping and there’s a warmth to the sun even if there is still a nip in the air. This weekend heralded the first spring-like day and as I walked home from a trip to the shops, I enjoyed the warmth of the sun on my back and felt like I could have been on holiday. As I walked I nibbled on the crackly ‘quignon’ of a still-warm sourdough baguette I’d picked up at the Real Food Store which was intended to go with this simple fennel dish. Fortunately there was still enough left for lunch! (more…)

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I’m calling time on this miserable, chilly month with some sunshine in a bowl. January has seen me trying out various ways of transporting my soup to work without it leaking all over the inside of my handbag; my thermos has given up the ghost after one to many bumps. I’m quite pleased with my bargain (£3.49!) bento-type box, it doesn’t keep food hot very long but can go straight in the microwave, no decanting required. Unfortunately it’s quite bulky and won’t fit in my bag like the thermos did and, since it’s white, everyone thinks I’m toting around a loo roll. I’m tempted by one of the uber-cute Fuel flasks, complete with dry section for crackers or crûtons, but the price is rather high and they look a tad small. Does anyone out there in the blogosphere have any recommendations?

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Devils on horseback, the posh name for prunes wrapped in bacon, are to my mind one of the best canapés ever invented. If someone puts a plateful in front of me I won’t stop eating until they’re gone, I practically inhale the suckers. When I make them I always try to have a few spare, you know – chef’s perks. (Oh, you mean that’s not an excuse to make more to keep you going until dinner’s ready?) There’s something about the salty/sweet/smokey combo that makes them very hard to share. Yum.

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This has to be one of my all-time favourite soups. When I was little my mum used to ask my brother and I for meal and lunch requests; I would ask for leek and potato soup pretty much every week and, now I’m grown up and moved out, I call her for the recipe on an equally regular basis. Whenever it’s cold and I want a taste of home I make this soup so it’s about time that I actually documented the recipe (I’m sure I’ll just find another reason to call mum).

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