Category Archives: Lunch

Pork kebabs with cold peanut-sesame noodles

IMG_6644

This ‘Asian cookout’ style meal is great for summer. The pork definitely has a kick from the sriracha but it’s also got a great sweet balance from the soy sauce and brown sugar. The noodles are really easy as well- all you have to do is cook the noodles, slice up the carrot and cilantro and the rest is the addition of the sesame-peanut sauce. They keep well and are served cold so they’re perfect for leftovers. Unfortunately I was still recovering from wisdom teeth surgery when I made this meal and it took a whole lot of restraint not to chow down on the pork kebabs. This can be a great weeknight dish if you make the noodles ahead of time- otherwise it’s a great dish to have outside on the weekend with a cold, crisp bottle of white wine.

Spicy pork kebabs
Serves 4
Recipe from: Domesticate-Me 

Ingredients:
1½ lbs pork tenderloin, sliced into ½ inch rounds
Bamboo or metal skewers (if using bamboo soak them in 20 minutes before cooking)
For the marinade:
¼ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Sriracha sauce
1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
For garnish: (optional)
2 scallions, thinly sliced
Preparing your spicy pork skewers:
-Start by mixing all the ingredients for the marinade in a small bowl. Set the marinade aside while you prepare your skewers.
-Slice your pork tenderloin into ½ inch rounds. Thread the rounds onto the skewers.
-Place the skewers in a large Ziploc bag (or a shallow baking dish) and pour the marinade over them. Refrigerate for at least an hour. The longer you can marinate, the better.
-Remove your skewers from the Ziploc bag and place them on a lightly oiled grill or grill pan. Grill for approximately 3 minutes on each side or until cooked through.
Cold peanut-sesame noodles
Serves 6
Recipe from Food Network
Ingredients:
Kosher salt
12 ounces flat Chinese egg noodles
3/4 cup strong brewed green tea
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup rice vinegar (not seasoned)
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup roasted peanut oil
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds, plus more for topping
1 teaspoon chili-garlic sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
1 small clove garlic
2 carrots, finely grated
Chopped fresh cilantro and peanuts, for topping
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook as the label directs, then drain.Meanwhile, make the sauce: Combine the green tea, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar and peanut oil in a blender. Add the sesame seeds, chili-garlic sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt; process until smooth.

Toss the noodles with the peanut sauce and carrots in a large bowl. Chill about 1 hour. Top with cilantro, peanuts and more sesame seeds.
IMG_6643

Leave a comment

Filed under Lunch, Pasta and rice, Pork, Recipes

Spinach, mushroom and bacon quiche

img_0824

What’s one thing all uni students should have in their fridge?

The incredible, edible egg!

Cheap, easy, tasty…fun? I shouldn’t have to egg you on to start making some egg-tastic recipes. I’m sure there are just about as many awful egg puns as there are different ways to cook them.

Anyways, after having eggs on toast every day for at least a week I decided it might be time to give my eggs a makeover. So I added a multitude of great ingredients.

Warm, flaky pastry. Crisp, salty bacon. Soft, fresh mushrooms. Strong, rich feta cheese. And spinach to round it all out.

And thus, I got a quiche.

If you’re lazy (or time-efficient if you ask me) you can use frozen pastry for the crust and it’ll save you a bunch of time and effort. And other than that you’re sauté-ing for a bit, doing a quick whisk, pushing a few buttons on your microwave and voila! You just have to stick it in the oven and wait for a beautiful pie bursting with some pretty fancy looking eggs.

If you’re cooking for one, you’ll have about five or six servings (aka lunch/dinner for almost three days). Or two days if you can’t help yourself come breakfast.

Spinach, Mushroom and Bacon Quiche

Ingredients:

1 ½ sheets of frozen puff pastry
4 eggs
½ cup of cream
1 cup of milk
1 bag of spinach
¾ cup of mushrooms, chopped
4 pieces of bacon, diced
½ medium onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled feta
¼ cup parmesan

Directions:

Let your pastry sheets thaw enough that you can move them. Grease a pie tin with a bit of butter and then lay the pastry sheet in the pan, using the ½ sheet to make the sides even.  Chop the onions and garlic and sauté them in a pan with a teaspoon of olive oil for a few minutes. Add the bacon and sauté until crispy. Add the mushrooms and sauté until soft.

Put the spinach in a microwaveable container and put it in the microwave for 1 minute, or until wilted. Squeeze out the excess water.

Beat the eggs, milk and cream until light and fluffy, add salt and pepper.

Place the spinach into the prepared crust. Top with the bacon, onion, mushroom mixture and then pour the egg mixture over the top. Sprinkle the feta cheese over the egg mixture and finish with the parmesan on top.

I baked this according to the instructions on the frozen pastry box, so at 200C fan-forced, for 35-45 minutes.

img_0809

img_0815

img_0822

Leave a comment

Filed under Lunch, Recipes

Pea and haloumi fritters with tomato salad

img_5510

This is a great meal for lunch or dinner. I made it for lunch one day when I was running low on cash to go grocery shopping and decided to just make something with whatever I could find in the fridge. Luckily I had some frozen peas, a bit of haloumi, some red onion, plus eggs and flour. I’ve done variations of these fritters since- one with zucchini, corn and haloumi which has actually turned Ciaran on to eating haloumi. I never thought I’d see that day. All you really need for these fritters is some eggs and flour to make the base and then your choice of veggies. The haloumi is also essential because other cheeses will melt too much and you’ll have a puddly mess of dairy and veg. If you’re using veggies that you have to chop yourself, basically anything other than peas and corn, make sure you cut the pieces very very small or your fritters will be very ugly and fiddily.

Recipe from Vegie Project

  • Prep time: 10 min
  • Cooking time: 10 min
  • Servings: makes 12
  • Difficulty: easy

Ingredients:
1 cup frozen peas
1/4 red onion finely diced
30g haloumi cheese finely diced
2 eggs
1/2 cup self-raising flour
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil to shallow fry

Tomato salsa:
2 tomatoes finely chopped
2 tablespoons chopped coriander
1/4 red onion finely diced
juice of half a lime
salt and pepper to taste
a pinch of chilli flakes

To prepare the tomato salsa just combine all the ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

Place the frozen peas in a small saucepan with water and boil them for 2 minutes. Drain and set aside.

To make the fritters simply combine all ingredients in a bowl.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Drop tablespoons of the fritter mixture into the pan (about 2 tablespoons will make one fritter). Flatten the fritters slightly with a spatula. Cook the bottom side for about 3 minutes until a crust forms, then using a spatula flip the fritters over and cook for another 3 minutes.

Serve with the tomato salsa.

img_5509

Leave a comment

Filed under Lunch, Recipes

‘Mexican’ quesadillas

Following the excellent advice of comedian Jim Gaffigan, instead of giving these a more descriptive name, I think Mexican quesadillas works well.

“My favorite food is Mexican food, I used to be a waiter in a Mexican restaurant in Indiana. Now that’s where you go for Mexican.

Mexican food’s great, but it’s essentially all the same ingredients, so there’s a way you’d have to deal with all these stupid questions. “What is nachos?” “…Nachos? It’s tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Oh, well then what is a burrito?” “Tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Well then what is a tostada?” “Tortilla with cheese, meat, and vegetables.” “Well then what i-” “Look, it’s all the same shit! Why don’t you say a spanish word and I’ll bring you something.”

Mexican food is great, but it is all the same, it’s almost a conspiracy. It’s almost like they had a meeting 200 years ago in Mexico City and one guy stood up and he was like, “Hey, the reason I got everyone here is pretty simple, I figured we could rename this one entree seven times and sell it to the North Americans. The French said it would be a good idea.” “Who’s in on it?” Then some guy in the back was like, “Wouldn’t that be dishonest?” “Well, if you’re quiet we’ll name one of the entrees after you, what’s your name?” “My name’s Chimichanga.”

-Jim Gaffigan

http://www.comedycentral.com/video-clips/pymif1/comedy-central-presents-bottled-water

Love that guy.

This is a super simple dish that can be made as a wrap or as a quesadilla. I recommend having it as a wrap if you want to bring it with you to work or uni since it’ll be fresh and if you’re staying at home, toss it in a frying pan and make it into a quesadilla. This recipe is for one but you can easily double, or triple it.

Mexican quesadilla:

Tortillas (I used sun-dried tomato flavour)
1 can Mexe-beans, (though you’ll only use a few tablespoons)
1/4 cup tasty cheese
1/3 avocado, pitted, peeled and sliced
Cos lettuce, chopped

You can also add ingredients like sour cream, tomatoes or meat but I chose to keep it super simple.

Place all the ingredients in the tortilla, either roll it up like a burrito or fold the tortilla in half, warm up in a frying pan and enjoy as a quesadilla.

img_2119

Leave a comment

Filed under Lunch, Recipes

Chorizo, haloumi and zucchini skewers

img_2491

I’m still not really sure how I got away with making this for dinner last night. Basically it is just a combination of all my favourite foods (that I’m still eating at the moment, due to New Year’s resolutions and all that nonsense…) put onto a stick. But Ciaran still went along with it and enjoyed it.

You know why? Because putting food on a stick always makes it awesomer. The only thing I can currently think of that wouldn’t work is cottage cheese. Not sure why that particular ingredient popped into my head, but it was the first thing that I couldn’t imagine eating on a stick.

Take, for example, the gallery I did for my internship at Yahoo!7 Lifestyle ‘Stuck on Stick Foods‘. Within the digital pages of this masterpiece you shall find foodie treasures such as…..(drumroll)

French toast on a stick

Cinnamon buns on a stick

Chocolate moustaches on a stick

Brie and jam tarts on sticks

Mini grilled cheese on a stick

Even pancakes and sausage on a stick

When you think about it, doesn’t corn get better on a stick, doesn’t cotton candy get less sticky and all over your face on a stick (well for most people) and don’t you just sometimes wish you could have your very own giant meatball on a stick? (Yeah, that’s in the gallery as well).

Some of my least favourites would have to be the fried milk on a stick…or possibly even the cake pops but that’s just because I haven’t mastered making those yet. They now sit among my foodie foes, along with omelettes and custard.

The moral of the stick story however, is that you should take your favourite vegetables and cheeses and meats and combine them in a lovely stick party on your plate. I served this with a side of arugula dressed in just a touch of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a bit of shaved parmesan but that last ingredient was purely for flair.

img_2477

Chorizo, haloumi and zucchini skewers
Serves 2
2 chorizo sausages, sliced
1 lemon, for juice and rind
180g haloumi cheese, cubed
1 medium size zucchini, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
To serve: 2 cups arugula, squeeze of lemon juice, dash of salt and pepper and sprinkle of parmesan

This recipe can be done either on the barbecue or in a pan over medium heat. Cook the chorizo for 1 minute on each side, remove and set aside. Cook the zucchini for 2 minutes on each side, remove and set aside. Thread the chorizo, haloumi and zucchini onto 6 medium or 4 large skewers. Put them into the pan and drizzle with a bit of olive oil, the garlic and then hold the lemon over the pan and grate a bit of lemon zest over the top of the skewers.

Cook skewers, turning occasionally for 4 to 5 minutes or until the chorizo and haloumi are brown and heated through. Serve with arugula salad.

And if you have leftovers, like I did, simply add some sauteed mushrooms and orzo for a second weeknight meal.

img_2497

Leave a comment

Filed under Lunch, Pasta and rice, Salad

Chicken wraps

Finding yourself stuck when trying to create simple and healthy lunches? One of the easiest things to have in your fridge for these occasions is a rotisserie chicken. Otherwise known as those already cooked big chicken things that come in a hot bag at your grocery store. They’re often found next to the deli in a small heated section. In Sydney, a whole chicken is about $10 so if you buy one at the beginning of the week, shred it up and store it in your fridge in some tupperware, you should get about 6-8 meals out of it depending on how you use it. To shred it simply peel off the skin, or keep it but if we’re going for healthy I recommend ignoring that part, and pick off the white meat in small pieces with your hands. It may take a little while, probably about fifteen minutes, but it will save you time during the week. And as an fyi, the chicken may start to smell a little different after sitting in the fridge than that beautiful roast chicken you brought home. Like a little similar to if your two brothers just ate a bunch of tacos and then got into the car with you and locked all the windows. But it still tastes good! I promise. It will last you about four days. After that the smell may be indicating its need to exit your fridge via the bin. Despite that slightly unappetizing sidenote, you can use rotisserie chicken in sandwiches, wraps, salads, pastas and more. It’s very versatile.

Chicken wrap
Serves 1

1 Spinach tortilla
1/2 cup rotisserie chicken, shredded
1/2 cup baby Cos lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup reduced-fat tasty cheese
2 tablespoons salsa

Combine all ingredients in the wrap. Then wrap it up. And eat it.

img_2498

 

img_2499

1 Comment

Filed under Chicken, Lunch

Charcuterie Plate

IMG_2315

A charcuterie plate is something that is just as hard to pronounce (for me) as it is to actually make a recipe for. The word ‘charcuterie’ apparently comes from the French word for ‘cooked meat’ and in other words it’s really a fancy meat platter.

A meat platter seems to be something different here though, namely the crazy tray of raw meat that you guys give away in pub raffles. Crazy Aussies. Though the day I finally win a meat raffle will probably be a great day. So no judgement.

In the US a meat tray is usually something served at lunch and it will be a massive tray with an assortment of deli meats, ham, roast beef, turkey, bologna, etc. Then you’ll have some condiments, toppings and bread and you’re left to make your own sandwich.

We went for the more French dish with some fancy jamon, some salami we found in the fridge, some brie and some pesto. A traditional charcuterie plate is supposed to have a broad variation of “fine cooked and dry cured meats sausages and pate with various acidic and savory garnishes.” Well, that’s a little pricey for a student so all you really need is about two types of meat, some cheese, a garnish of some sort and some bread. Serve with wine. Whether it’s lunch or dinner. And enjoy!

img_2128

Leave a comment

Filed under Lunch, Recipes