Archives for category: Quick Lunches

This is one of my most favourite warm salads that I have been making since the time I lived next to an amazing Deli in Glasgow, Delizique. Glasgow has lots of great deli’s and speciality shops in the West End and it was heaven living amongst them, getting the best of fresh and local produce. It has some terrific restaurants too and I am still inspired by food I ate and chefs I worked with during my time there. I miss deli’s like that and remember being star struck bumping into Robert Carlyle there one day like it was yesterday. They had the most amazing Chorizo and even though good Chorizo is a bit trickier to get your hands on in Tokyo, this salad has some very simple components which make it versatile and easy to make anytime so is worth hunting some down when you can. Sun-dried tomatos, tossed with chorizo, roasted red peppers and red onion, shiitake mushrooms, potatoes, baby spinach make this a very simple, tasty salad.

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Poaching Chicken is a very healthy way to cook chicken and gives tender moist chicken that is perfect for sandwiches, wraps, salads, pastas.. anything really. I love a good sandwich and poached chicken breast ensures the meat stays succulent and doesn’t dry out. An excellent source of protein and versatile so total winner. You can poach the chicken in boiling water in a pan for 10-15 mins however I like to poach in water in the oven. Just enough to cover the chicken, with a couple of bay leaves, sea salt and pepper for about 30 mins at 350°C. Adding different herbs, lemon slices and poaching in chicken or vegetable stock are some ways you can play around with flavours. Once the chicken has finished cooking, you can tear, slice, and use how you like.

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Although it’s not only tuna and avocado on toast… It’s a much fancier version with red onion, capers, dill and Yuzu. An A-list lunch and simple, yet the simplest are often the most enjoyable. Lemon juice would work too only since I had some Yuzu it was definitely worth adding. This was a lunch I was thinking about all morning and such an easy combination of flavours, all I needed to pick up was some fresh lettuce and an avocado. Capers are great to keep in your fridge, adding great flavour and no need to add extra salt. They also have a bunch of health benefits including being good for your skin, protecting DNA and apparently great for prostate health so good for men to incorporate in their diets. Short and sweet little entry today.. it is Friday after all.

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Such a wonderfully simple dish is hummus and great to have in the fridge for when you want a healthy snack. I made some pita last week and wanted  something I could throw together a quick lunch with. This was perfect. I cheated and used a tin of chickpeas which gave good results but if you have the time and the dried beans, do soak, boil them up and use them. Dried beans taste better, have less salt and preservatives and are cheaper so much better to use. Tinned on the other hand are great when you are short of time or just can’t wait as was the case with me. Rinsing the beans before use can help get rid of some of the salt. Roasting peppers is a real treat for some reason, I love the smell as you wait for them to blacken and actually even enjoying peeling them. In a blender with some lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, dill and homemade Tahini gave good results. Roasting sesame seeds until the nutty aroma is released and then grinding to a paste with some olive oil gives real depth to the hummus and is worth making. I think it’s OK to take shortcuts sometimes with one or two ingredients, just as long as there are some bold natural flavours also used.

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A healthy curry here, perfect with some fresh chappatis, pita or as a side dish. Potatoes have a bit of a bad reputation with the popularity of low-carb diets and some people I know have totally eliminated them from their kitchens. I like potatoes. It’s not the potato that’s bad for you but more the way it is prepared. Keeping the skin on ensures you get the most from the vitamins, fiber and minerals and baking, steaming, light frying in olive oil are good ways to make sure you don’t take all the goodness out of them. There are also perfect on a budget and as a firm believer of eating well I don’t feel you need to always buy the most expensive ingredients to eat tasty food. This simple curry is very easy to prepare and all you need is potatoes, spinach and whole cumin and a small cinnamon stick. Spinach really needs very little adding as it has such a lovely flavour by itself. I like it just barely cooked as the colour is vibrant and the slightly acidic taste balances well with the tender potatoes.

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Stir-fried Japanese noodles here.. Yaki means to fry and with Udon a thick wheat Japanese noodle this dish is a great way to use up any vegetables you have and takes about ten minutes to make. An all round winner when you’re hungry and have that moment of ‘what shall I eat today’. Perfect cooking for one and you can always make extra for a lunch box the next day too so don’t be shy with adding vegetables and making it colour-tastic. Flavour in this dish comes from the vegetables themselves, some simple dark sesame oil, soy sauce, rice vinegar, pepper and ginger. Katsuboshi thrown over the top add a great extra flavour, otherwise they taste perfectly fine without.

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A quick and easy dish here, pretty winter colours and lovely flavours. Roast chicken breast browned off nicely in a pan, some potatoes simply washed and sliced in half, a handful of cherry tomatos, garlic, rosemary and leek thrown in. A splash of avocado oil and balsamic vinegar and half an hour in the oven make this a perfect dish. The little extras that make this are the whole peppercorns that sweeten in the oven and the fresh rosemary. This is great with a fresh salad or some bread and the light chicken breast makes this a healthy dish that will keep you filled up. I like to use a mix of whole peppercorns usually but RAN out! It tasted just as good but if you have some pretty pink, white or green ones then please go ahead and peppercorn it up.

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A great way to use any vegetables you have, some pre-cooked rice and I just love the combination of the heat, salty, sweet, tangyness that you get from Thai Fried Rice. It always tastes better when you buy from made fresh from a street stand in Thailand or from someone who cooks it piping hot in a big wok but this version does the trick just as well. And it’s the little things that make it stand out from other fried rices. The white pepper, fresh lime, coriander are worth finishing the dish with as they just make the flavours pop in your mouth and take you back to your own Thai memories.

You can make this with just vegetables, chicken or any anything you feel like really. This time I made it with some fresh shrimp and squid as I had this for breakfast everyday when I once stayed in Koh Lanta and is a total treat!

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Soups are brilliant for these cold winter months fastly approaching here and I although I didn’t used to much of a soup fan, that rapidly diminished when I realized how easily they could be made. Growing up mostly on Indian food, granted we have many soup/daals, I used to find some Western dishes daunting, especially soup. I’m not sure why, guess it was just down to the way it came in the tins and looked so foreign to me and from tasting some pretty bland attempts. That of course changed when I realized it is the simple hand blender that can make soup out of anything. Although nothing beats a Heinz tomato soup, I do enjoying making my own variations and last time I was sick I actually looked forward to making some nice soups to make me feel better and blitzed every meal.

This is a lovely wholesome soup, and even though you could easily use vegetable stock cubes, I chose to put my own selection of veg in with the pumpkin and lentils and it tasted perfect. Another thing with growing up on Indian food, in my house anyway, is the way I was brought up on very little packets and cans of instant food. Indian food is surprisingly easy to make with fresh ingredients and even now with other dishes I make, I like to add as little as I can of pre-packaged food which is full of additives and preservatives. Of course we all need a helping hand so I don’t rule them out completely, it’s just I prefer to cook without them. This of course means food can look different and taste different, but being creative and putting in a little more effort is always worth it I think.

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Another quick bite here. I am thinking of having a section just on toast as it’s so simple to make wherever you are, supposedly takes us back to childhood and can easily be jazzed up.

I keep fresh Dill in the freezer as it’s pretty expensive to buy here in Tokyo from regular supermarkets for such a little amount. Buying it from the Thai supermarkets here in bulk for about 200 yen, washing, drying and popping in a plastic tub from the hundred yen store as I do with some other herbs, it’s then on hand for throwing into dishes as I please.

Here, scrambled eggs with the smoked salmon on the toast, a quick squeeze of fresh lemon over, drizzle of avocado oil, and black charcoal salt, pepper and the dill thrown over make a lovely light lunch. Packed with protein will keep you from going hungry till dinner so no need to snack too!

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