jeudi 10 novembre 2011

The weekly lunch

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Readers, I have a confession to make, I'm not much of a lunch person. The idea of eating at midday is a nice one but I often lack inspiration. Sandwiches have always filled me with dread; at school it was a choice between them or a cantine lunch and despite my love of good bread I'm not really in the mood for that and an exotic filling every day of the week. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to be able to come home for lunch, sitting down with a plateful of something nice while the church bells are chiming but I always opt for small portions to avoid that heavy weight in my stomach that tires me out in the afternoon. Large, hot meals are for dinnertime. Other days I pack cold leftovers to be eaten in the teachers' room which always excites my colleagues' curiosity and makes them label me exotic. I've decided to post a series of recipes that you can make quickly if you have a spare hour midday or take in a lunchbox. Please feel free to add your own ideas for tasty lunchtime bites in the comments section so that I can hopefully try some of them out and make lunch an event to look forward to. It will also give me a chance to share some of the backlog of photos that I've yet to post.

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By the Spree, early one Sunday last month

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This first recipe is one that I used to feel a little ashamed of because it doesn't really involve fresh ingredients but simply tinned tuna and tomatoes over pasta. Then a friend of mine confessed to loving tinned tuna as well and I felt much better. It may still be possible to get the odd good fresh tomato at the market but the season is all about pumpkins, kale, apples and quinces and in winter, tinned ones have more flavour. This recipe is a mainstay of my kitchen, one that I can whip up in around 20 minutes, feeling glad to have the ingredients in my cupboard so that I don't have to go out in the rain.

Tuna spaghetti (from the Moomins cookbook)

1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin tuna in oil, drained
1 leek, washed and with the tough green ends discarded
a little oil for frying

Heat a little oil in a medium sized saucepan and fry the leeks until soft. Pour in the tinned tomatoes and drained tuna and reduce heat to low. Simmer gently for around 20 minutes.
When the sauce is almost ready bring a large pan of water to the boil, add a generous pinch of salt and cook the spaghetti for the specified time. Wholewheat pasta blends excellently with this sauce and it's so rich and filling that you don't need any cheese.

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If you've time the night before or early in the morning, a wholewheat apple muffin would be the perfect dessert. Moist, spicy and with a crunch of brown sugar on top. You can find the recipe from Smitten Kitchen here.

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16 commentaires:

  1. Excellent. There's nothing wrong w/tinned tuna & tomatoes - at all. Italians make use of them all year 'round. (And would never, ever use cheese on this anyway:) Yum. Thanks for the reminder, you exotic woman.

  2. Quelquefois, un plat simple comme des spaghetti au thon fait toute la difference. J'emporte une gamelle au bureau tous les jours, en general un reste du repas de la veille, et ca me fait plaisir de bien manger, au lieu d'etre obligee d'acheter un sandwich ou un plat de cantine pas bon. C'est important de se faire plaisir le midi.

  3. Like you, lunching is not really something I care about, especially since I am alone to eat... I prefer to eat something substantial in the evening.

    Anyway, your tuna spaghetti look delicious and so do the pretty muffins.

    Gorgeous fall pictures!



  4. i love tuna, prefer it with mayo than on pasta, but for a quick pasta dish with protein, this has been a go-to dish for me too. although i have to have herbs and spices. at least oregano.

    i think lunches are much easier in the summer, what with fresh produce like avocadoes and salads.

    home-made soup, frozen in lunch portions, are a good idea too.

  5. Tinned fish—I love tinned fish. Perhaps we'll eat this for pasta (I mean dinner) tonight. Lunch can sometimes be difficult to pack, but I try to keep our lunch bags interesting. Odd leftovers. Soups. Fruit. PB&J...I should introduce a whole wheat muffin every once in a while. Usually when I'm home for lunch I like to crack an egg over something I've warmed up in the frying pan.

  6. @Susan - Ah, those words from a true italianophile put my mind at rest :-) It's a true honour to be labelled exotic but then anyone eating something different than a cheese and tomato sandwich or a prepacked apple lattice cake from the vending machine apparently meets the criteria!
    @Gracienne - Oui, ca fait du bien de prolonger un peu le repas de la veille. Je suis contente de ne pas être le seule à ne pas manger les sandwiches tous les jours et la cantine, c'est trop déprimant.
    @Rosa - It must be nice for you to have someone to cook for. I enjoy preparing dinners for one but sometimes miss sharing food with others.
    @Monica - Tuna mayo is a favourite of mine and normally what I choose for sandwiches. You can definitely add some dried or fresh herbs to the sauce and in fact I'm going to do that next time myself so thanks for the idea. You're so right about salads being a perfect lunch and as light or heavy as you wish. I saw a salad carrier for the office advertised here with the dreessing in the lid and the main part which keeps the salad crsip for hours. I must get one for next year.
    @Tracy - Another tinned fish fan, that's nice to hear. You must have some awesome pasta recipes which would be great for lunch so I'll be checking out the archives. Adding eggs to dishes also sounds wonderful, I love fried ones. Muffins are so nice as a treat; I'm planning on making some gingerbread ones for Christmas morning.

  7. Unfortunately always lack time for lunch..and as you have shown it can be something simple:)

  8. Lovely dish, and those muffins, perfect for a tea break. I am a sandwich for lunch person. Though lately, at home, salad, seeds and cheese mixed together.

  9. @Dzoli - Yes absolutely. I also struggle to find more than 20 minutes some days so like to treat myself when possible.
    @P.K - I'm sure you make wonderful sandwiches and am sure you could inspire me to make them interesting. Will try the salads with seeds too.
    @Lecia - I'm sure it would go down well with your family or make a simple winter lunch for one on those cold days.

  10. Perhaps cucumber noodles? The recipe is for two servings, so one bowl for dinner and one for lunch the next day in the teachers' room.

  11. I was sure you'd have some lovely lunch ideas as charming as your writing. These noodles sound amazing and will surely impress my colleagues too :-)

  12. The water's like glass in your photos. How beautiful and peaceful!
    I'm always in a lunch rut. Salad. Every day. And I hate it too. But it's the lightest and easiest. When I eat out, I tend to order omelets.
    Unfortunately, I don't care for canned tuna at all.
    (Love those healthy apple muffins!)

  13. Tuna spaghetti sounds like a pretty good lunch to me. I'm pretty much the same as you when it comes to lunch, not much inspiration from my end.

  14. I just met your blog and so happy of it ! Life in Berlin is obviously different from mine in Tokyo, happily some values hardly change : muffins stay pretty much the same !

  15. @Barbara - That bit of the river is my favourite place because it's so still and calming. I was there at 7am for those photos and it was worth it. I know the feeling of being stuck in a rut but it's hard to find a tasty quick alternative; omelettes are a favourite of mine and I've been trying out a few frittata recipes too which are nice.
    @Hila - In an ideal world, I could come home for lunch every day. If I eat too much though I feel tired all afternoon so maybe it's beeter not to have too much time.
    @Mathilda - Thanks for your comment, it's always nice to have new readers. I've often dreamed of going to Tokyo so I'll be sure to check our your blog.