Category Archives: Packed Lunch

Sunshine food – Quesadillas

Quesadillas are something which I like to eat when I fancy a bit of sunshine –  I love them because they’re bursting with fresh and healthy ingredients and taste phenomenal for it. They’re also excellent barbecue fare for vegetarians. This is a recipe that I picked up from the excellent Otto Lenghi book ‘Plenty’ a few years ago and have written to my memory, making it time and time again.

INGREDIENTS
(makes 8 quesadillas – sometimes less depending on how generously you fill them!)

1 pack of corn tortillas (the brand ‘Discovery’ do these in the UK – I always find they have them in Waitrose and make special trips to stock up on these!) – however, normal flour based ones will do the job too though if there is a corn tortilla deficit

SALSA
2 ripe avocados
5 large ripe tomatoes (or lots of little ones, though these make the salsa a bit sweeter)
Half a red onion
3 spring onions (or thereabouts)
Juice of 1 lime
Crushed clove of garlic
1 fresh red chilli (finely diced)
pinch of salt
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 tbsps cider/white wine vinegar

BEAN PASTE
1 tin of black beans (or equivalent in soaked weight)
1 bunch of fresh coriander (I often use  just one between the salsa and bean paste and add a little more ground coriander as my student budget prefers this)
1 tsp ground coriander
half a tsp ground cumin
quarter tsp cayenne pepper
Pinch of salt
Juice of a lime

GARNISHES
Soured cream (enough for a blob in each tortilla)
Grated cheddar (enough for a sprinkling on each tortilla)
Chopped jalapeno peppers  – also for sprinkling in the tortillas (the kind that come in vinegar in jars)

Chop the ends off the red onion, peel and then cut in half down the centre. Very finely slice this half to get neat little semi-circle slithers of onion. Place these in a large bowl (everything else will also go in here eventually) and mix with the vinegar. Then dice and slice all of the other salsa ingredients, finely chopping the leaves and stalks of the coriander and put these all in the bowl too. This is probably the most time consuming bit of the dish but well worth it!

For the bean paste, put all of the bean paste ingredients in a food processor and blend to form a lovely tasty paste.

Put a griddle pan (or failing that, a frying pan) on a good high heat whilst assembling the first 2 (unless you get several pans on the go, these cook 2 at a time). To assemble, put the tortilla on a plate, take a spoonful of the bean paste and spread it on the tortilla, leaving a good cm or two round the edge. Dollop some soured cream (or creme fraiche) in the middle of this in a little circle and then put a spoonful or two of salsa on. It’s best to go easy with the salsa otherwise it all ends up on the griddle pan which is rather upsetting. I find it’s generally better to serve it up with an extra spoonful of the stuff than overfill it and risk loosing it between the cavernous ridges of the griddle pan.

Once the salsa is on, sprinkle on some cheese and jalapenos then fold the tortilla gently in half  and put it on the hot griddle. Turn the griddle down to a medium heat so you don’t set the whole thing on fire and wait until the edges start turning the tiniest bit browned then flip the tortilla carefully and repeat (a few minutes on each side). If using a griddle this should result in lovely dark griddle lines across the tortillas.

I find that two of these alone is a good substantial lunch and one/two of these with a rice salad or some home made oven chips  is a substantial dinner.

Hannah

DIY Pot Noodle

Taken from the River Cottage Veg: Everyday! book, this recipe is a fantastic lunch or dinner solution for me when I’m in the studio late and need sustenance. Endless variations, with noodles as well as the veg and flavours to choose from, rice noodles are particularly good. My variation included bits I had in the fridge, mushrooms, spring onions, kale, fennel and some frozen peas. Hugh suggests a Kilner for the pot, I used my Aladin Bento box, separating the wet from the dry ingredients in the compartments.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s DIY ‘pot’ noodles

“I first experimented with these when I was looking at ways to improve workday lunches.  However the concept works equally well as a fast and very satisfying supper. It’s important to find the right kind of noodle – one that will soften nicely in boiling water from the kettle without the need for pan-cooking. I find flat, thin, quick-cook egg noodles fit the bill very well. The ‘pot’ should be covered once the water is added…with this in mind, a sealable heatproof jar, such as a kilner, is ideal.

1 nest thin, quick-cook egg noodles

1tsp vegetable bouillon powder

A big pinch of soft brown sugar

1 small carrot, peeled and very finely sliced

3-4 spring onions, finely sliced

6 sugar snap peas or frozen petit pots

1 leaf of spring greens/green cabbage/leaves pak choi, shredded

1/2 tsp freshly grated ginger

1/2 garlic clove, grated

1/4 red or green chilli, finely chopped

2 tsp soy sauce

juice of 1/2 a lime

Put all the ingredients, except the soy sauce and the lime, in a ‘pot’. Pour over boiling water to cover, and leave for 8-10 minutes covered. Stir, add the soy sauce and lime juice to taste and eat. ”

Catriona