Packing lunch

April 21, 2014

Packing a lunch, I think, is one of the trickiest challenges for me. I'm not super fussy, or snobby about food but I do lose interest in it really quickly if it looks a bit sad.

Being that the sun has started to show it's face around these parts and the possibility of having to put a bikini of sorts on my parts is looming ever closer- salad is the lunchtime order of the day.

The uber enemy of the packed lunch is soggyness. Not only do you run the risk of soggyness if you pack a salad with anything more than leaves in it, if you use a vinaigrette dressing you can look forward to cooked, soggy lettuce. Yum.

This is not a recipe it's a tip that I use to pack a salad that still resembles a salad when it's unpacked.

Keep hold of the sauce pots you get with take aways/take out, usually filled with sour cream, dressing or some kind of dip. Wash them out really, really well before filling them with your salad topping mixed with dressing. Though they may look small they are actually a pretty reasonable lunch time portion for any salad topping. I don't bother with the lids, just fill your lunch box with leaves and salady bits then pop your pot on top so that the lid of the lunch box seals the topping pot.

By mixing your dressing with the topping it will thicken it up and stop it sploshing about and leaking out of a separate container.

I wouldn't go throwing it about, but it will keep your topping from making you leaves soggy.

Here are some dressing/topping mix suggestions:


Limonata Syrup

April 16, 2014

I love making pancakes, particularly ricotta pancakes.

A much as I've become a super fan of the thick, fluffy American pancakes (both the commercial IHOP and the incredibly cute Blue Cottage on Hope Street are particular favs) I'm still also true to my roots, and often make the very flat, crepe style we're more used to in the UK.

My favourite accompaniment is always lemon. Made from super simple, store cupboard ingredients, pancakes are something I whip up when ever I fancy something sweet but didn't have the forethought to get anything in.

Distaster struck recently when I whipped up a batch of post dinner-I-need-something-sweet pancakes and I realised I was lemon-less. Now I know this is going to sound very Nigella Lawson 'I just prepared a Sunday Roast before 7am whilst hand churning ice cream and now i'll pack individual lunches for my family whilst I'm dressed in silk pyjamas', but the only lemony-ness I could find in the house was a can of San Pelligrino Limonta. I know.

1 can of San Pelligrino Limonata
1.5 cups white sugar

To make any sort of simple syrup the ratio of liquid to sugar is about 1:1. A can of soda is about 1 and a half cups so match this with sugar. The soda will already contain sugar so the resulting syrup will be very, VERY high in sugar. Not quite as healthy as fresh squeeze lemon juice and a sprinkle of sugar but you only use a little on each serving and, come on, it's limonata- it's fancy.

Boil together in a sauce pan until the liquid reduces by about half. To test the syrup's constancy spoon a little on to a cold plate and let it cool for a moment or two, then tip the plate and watch it drip. You want it to be the constancy of whipping cream as it will thicken as it cools.

Don't stick your finger it in to test it. It's hot sugar, it will hurt and it will stick you to and it will keep on hurting for a long time.

Let the syrup cool then drizzle over your pancakes and enjoy!

For how to make the metal tag labels see my post at I Am Holly Vine


Creamy Garlic Ricotta Twisty Bread

April 14, 2014

This is a bit of a cheaty post, or a complete cop out as Charlie would say. I've been slacking a bit recently, life and blah blah blah but it's not excuse and i'm going to try very hard to get back into a more regular posting schedule!

This is a cheat of a post and recipe as it't just a slight twist (ha!) on a previous recipe but it is incredibly tasty. It's also a slightly skinnier version of the previous recipe as it subs out butter for ricotta and with butter piling on a whopping 717 cals per 100g over whole milk ricotta's 174 cals per 100g it's basically a health food.

Follow this recipe but use ricotta instead. I used whole milk because i'm only willing to sub out so many calories. 

Also add a nice hand full of chopped herbs to the ricotta mix, I used flat leaf parsley and a little bit of chive.

Et voila!