Summer has finally arrived - in September - just when we're all getting geared up ready for returns to school and work.. and just as I was eyeing up the pumpkin growing in my garden and starting to think about delicious Autumnal dishes. There is much to love about this time of year nutritionally - home grown tomatoes, apples falling off trees, hedgerows full of medicinal berries and it's been a great year for mushroom foraging already. I'll be keeping you posted!
Me, I'm thinking of packed lunches, which deserve a little aforethought, and save everyone a lot of time and money. I usually follow the same principles for myself as for my 11 year old - pick a carb, pick a protein, pack some chopped veggies and a fruit. Easy. But a bit dull.
Mason Jar Salads are a brilliant idea - there's a recipe here on my site - but there's another bright idea you might like to try: DIY Cup Noodles (aka DIY Pot Noodle!) - in a jar, with wonderful flavours and so many different variations to choose from. No spillage or mess, keeps well in the fridge before you need it, maxes out the veg and you can use healthy things like buckwheat noodles, seaweed sprinkles, fresh herbs & miso paste, as well as stronger flavours such as Thai curry or Tom Yum paste. I really do not know anyone who doesn't love a good noodle soup - with a good depth of flavour - and this is such a simple and inexpensive have one whenever you like. Simply layer up your ingredients, then add hot water when you're ready to eat - just keep bottle of soy sauce near your desk! Best of all you can make these up a couple at a time and just grab and go - perfect whether you're WHF or not - though if you're making for child or teen - probably best to make this up in a little thermos and add the hot water there and then. So here you go - feel free to tweak to your hearts content. You will need a Mason Jar, or Tupperware style soup pot with a lid, or short thermos pot.
1 nest of instant noodles - whole grain vermicelli work well, or pre-cooked, though you'll need to eat them the same day you make up the pot.
1/2 a stock cube, or1/2 tsp bouillon powder
1/2 tsp of additional flavouring - Tom Yam, Thai Curry, chilli or miso paste, sesame oil or even a dash of coconut milk
Garlic, fresh chilli, ginger - a few slices of each to taste
2 or 3 tbsps of veg: shredded runner or French beans, bean sprouts, fresh or frozen peas, julienned carrot, sliced mushrooms, mange tout, tiny broccoli or cauliflower florets, handful of baby spinach leaves, asparagus etc
Protein of choice: sliced cold chicken or beef, small cubes of tofu, leftover flaked salmon, or tiny defrosted prawns
Garnish: seaweed flakes or a half a shredded nori sheet, some sliced spring onion, coriander and/or mint or basil, a little sliced green chill, 1/4 of a fresh lime
Take a clean heat proof jar or pot, for which you have a lid, and add nest of instant no
odle, slightly broken up
Crumble over the stock cube and add a small dollop of miso, curry or Tom Yum paste, a drizzle of sesame oil is delicious ,or even a dash of coconut milk.
Add some slices of fresh ginger, garlic and chilli, or a sprinkle of dried chilli flakes
Drop in your veg - peas, beans, spinach, bean sprouts etc - and push them down a bit
Add your protein slices /cubes etc
Then top with spring onions and fresh herbs, and 1/4 of a fresh lime
Put the lid on - and when you're ready to eat at simply boil a kettle and add the water, stir and wait for a minute or 2 - just like a proper pot noodle - but without the weird sachets! Enjoy x