Lifestyle

Brown-Bagging it

Emma Sharp Dalton-Brown

Thursday, February 07, 2013    

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Thursday Life has for the last five weeks been beating the odds of costly meals. We are by no means discouraging you from eating in restaurants, but in the present financial climate, it is unrealistic for any of us to dine out all the time. We would, of course, like you to patronise our eateries, but only to the extent of what your money can manage. In between that, we have been giving you recipes to play with at home to help prevent you from breaking the bank.

Today is all about the perfect packed lunch to take to the office. You'll see that it doesn't all have to be about ham and cheese sandwiches wrapped in foil, or last night's chicken, rice and peas tucked inside tupperware. We've devised five delicious meals, all of which can be tweaked, and we have shown examples after every recipe. To avoid excess trash, and to make each lunch feel as special as if you were eating out, we suggest you keep some nice cutlery and flatware at work.

Please note that we are giving you a weekend task to prepare your own mayonnaise and Coronation sauce (see below), so that you are not bogged down by that during the week. We have also given suggestions for other uses than in the recipes below. (Photos: Naphtali Junior)

WEEKEND TASK:

Mayonnaise: $145 — yields about 14-15 tablespoons

Ingredients:

2 egg yolks (freeze the egg whites for later use) - $55

1 teaspoon mustard - $20

5 fl oz vegetable oil - $20

5 fl oz olive oil - $40

1 tablespoon white vinegar - $1

1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (1 large lime) - $8

Salt - $1

Method:

1. Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs, and freeze the egg whites in a small plastic container.

2. Pour the yolks in a blender along with the mustard, and whiz for a few seconds.

3. Slowly pour in the two oils, while the blender is on (if you pour too fast, the mixture will curdle or be too runny).

4. Halfway through pouring the oil, switch to pouring in the vinegar, then switch back.

5. At the end, you pour in the lime juice and some salt, and whiz again. A smooth thick mayonnaise will form.

6. Sterilise a glass jar by steaming for 5 minutes. Cool completely, then scrape all the mayonnaise into the jar, seal with the lid and keep in the fridge. This will keep for two weeks, provided you always use a clean utensil to take mayonnaise out of the jar.

Add garlic to the yolks at the start, and you will have aoili (garlic mayonnaise). Add a chili sauce, and you can use this to season a tuna/salmon pasta salad or sandwich. Add chopped boiled eggs, chopped watercress, salt and pepper, and you've got a scrumptious filling for a sandwich.

Coronation Sauce: $169 — 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 tbsp vegetable oil - $2

3 scallion, finely sliced - $15

1 tbsp madras curry powder - $50

1 tsp tomato puree (freeze the rest of the tin in plastic container) - $10

2-4-fl oz water

2 fl oz cider vinegar - $8

1 tbsp marmalade - $18

6 tablespoons home-made mayonnaise (see above) - $60

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice (1/2 lime) - $4

Salt & pepper - $2

Method:

1. Heat the oil in a small pot, add the escallion and curry powder and cook for a few minutes.

2. Stir in the tomato puree and water, and cook for another few minutes.

3. Stir in the cider vinegar and marmalade, turn down to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, until a thick sauce has formed. Push through a sieve into a bowl, and discard what's left in the sieve.

4. Mix what's in the bowl with the mayonnaise and lime juice, along with some salt and pepper to taste.

5. Store in the fridge in a plastic container until ready to use.

Roast a whole chicken, cool and use the flesh with this sauce to make a delicious chicken salad.

MONDAY'S USE OF SUNDAY'S ROAST BEEF LEFTOVERS FOR UNDER $240 # 0150/0152

Open BLT (Beef, Lettuce & Tomato) Sandwich:

Ingredients:

Large coco bread or 1/4 French baguette (from any bakery), sliced through the middle - $75

1/4 lb roast round beef (Superplus & Empire supermarkets have the best deals), sliced - $90

1/4 lb (large salad) tomato, sliced - $20

3 large lettuce leaves - $10

Spread:

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons mayonnaise (see above) - $20

1/2 teaspoon marmalade - $3

2 teaspoons pepper jelly - $20

Method:

1. Make the spread by mixing the mayonnaise, marmalade and pepper jelly together in a small bowl.

2. Pack up the lettuce, tomato slices, spread, roast beef slices and bread separately, and take to work.

3. When ready to eat, use the spread to cover the inside of both sides of the bread, and lay the beef on one side. Serve on a small wooden board, from home, with the lettuce and tomato.

Of course you can do any meat variation in this open sandwich, and you may make a spread out of any jams, cream cheese, chutneys, etc.

CHEAP TUESDAYS FOR UNDER $130

Gungo Pea, Sweet Potato, Garlic & Lime Soup: 6 large servings.

Ingredients:

1 lb fresh gungo peas - cook for 1 hour - $400

6 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole - $60

6 scallions, crushed (chop 1-2 stalks for garnish) - $30

1 1/2 lb sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into chunks and cooked $105

Salt and pepper - $2

4 fl oz fresh lime juice (8 limes) - $64

4 fl oz heavy cream (plus 1 fl oz extra for garnish) - $110

1 tsp Grace Scotch Bonnet Sauce - $5

Method:

1. Place the gungo peas in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Add the garlic and scallions, bring to the boil and cook for 1 hour.

2. Add the sweet potatoes and cook for another 20 minutes, with the lid off if there is too much water.

3. Whiz in a blender in batches, pour back into a clean pot, and stir in the lime juice, then the cream. Season to taste with salt, pepper and Scotch bonnet sauce.

4. Keep in the fridge or freezer in portion sizes. Reheat on the morning you are going to work, and take to work in a hot flask.

5. Serve at work in a nice bowl from home. If they have a microwave or stove at work, reheat there and you won't have to worry about taking in a hot flask.

Don't like garlic? Add some fresh rosemary or thyme. Can only get lemon? Then go ahead and use that. Not a fan of cream? Leave it out. You want to try it with pumpkin instead of sweet potato? Feel free.

WEDNESDAY'S SPLURGE FOR UNDER $380

Open Coronation Chicken Roti

Ingredients:

1 large chicken breast, cooked in oven at 350F for 35 minutes - $220

2 teaspoons olive oil - $1

2 oz cucumber, sliced or diced - $8

1 oz tomato, seeded & diced - $5

1 Roti skin (call Barbara Calo on 472-9886 to order a dozen and store in freezer) - $100

1 1/2-2 tablespoons of Coronation Sauce (see above) - $43

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Place the chicken breast in a small ovenproof dish, season with the olive oil, and bake for about 35 minutes.

2. Remove from the oven and cool, then slice the flesh.

3. Mix the chicken slices with about 1 1/2 tablespoons of the Coronation sauce, and keep in the fridge overnight in a plastic container.

4. Pack the cucumber, tomato, roti and chicken separately, take to work and assemble on a wooden board by spreading out the roti, making a line of cucumber on one end of the roti, top with chicken, and tomatoes, and then roll and enjoy!

This would also work well with grilled lamb or fish.

A THURSDAY TWIST UNDER $280

Carrot, Turnip & Jerk Sausage Slaw

Ingredients:

1/4 lb turnips, peeled & shredded - $18

1/4 lb carrots, peeled & shredded - $18

4 escallions, finely sliced - $20

1 Hamilton Jerk Sausage (about 1/3 lb) - cook at 400F for 20 mins, cool & slice into juliennes - $175

Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

1 tsp mustard - $20

1 tbsps lime juice (1 lime) - $8

2 tbsps cider vinegar - $4

3 tbsps extra-virgin olive oil - $15

Salt and black pepper - $2

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place the sausage in an ovenproof dish and cook for 20 minutes, turning halfway through cooking. Remove from oven and cool completely. Store in fridge overnight.

2. The turnips, carrots, scallions and vinaigrette may be prepared the night before.

3. Slice the sausage into 1 1/2 inch lengths, then cut into julienne (about double thickness of matchsticks).

4. Toss in a large bowl with the shredded carrots and turnips.

5. Stir in the vinaigrette and scallions, and mix well.

6. Pour into a nice glass bowl, cover, take to work and enjoy at lunch!

Feel free to use any type of sausage or dressing in this recipe, as well as adding the fresh herbs that you like.

FRIDAY'S FISH FOR UNDER $360

Mexican-Style Tuna Pasta Salad

Ingredients:

1 small tin tuna chunks (in oil or water), drained - $150

1/2 tin kidney beans, drained, rinsed & drained - $45

2-3 oz green sweet pepper, thinly sliced - $50

1/2 Scotch bonnet pepper, finely chopped (use more or less to your taste) - $8

1 tbsp fresh lime juice $8

1/4 lb pasta (spirals), cooked according to instructions & drained well - $45

2 tbsps home-made mayonnaise (see above) - $20

1/2 tsp chili powder or cayenne pepper - $20

2 escallions, finely sliced - $10

Salt and black pepper - $2

Method:

1. Mix the tuna, kidney beans, sweet pepper, Scotch bonnet pepper, and lime juice in a large bowl.

2. In another bowl, mix the pasta with the mayonnaise, then add the tuna mix and the chili powder, along with salt and pepper. Garnish with the scallions.

3. Take this to work and serve on a nice plate you have brought from home.

Do add as much hot pepper to this as you wish, change up the tuna for salmon, or even smoked marlin. Use any raw vegetables you like, or even roasted ones, and vary it with fresh herbs.

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