Wednesday, 10 February 2010

What's for lunch?

I do struggle with solo lunches.

When I worked in an office most of the week, I took in sandwiches, bought a salad from the staff restaurant and ate my lunch chatting to colleagues. It was easy, quick and kept me feeling full all afternoon.  But now I'm at home, I find it harder.  I do still eat sandwiches sometimes, but they seem like more of a pauper's lunch when I'm eating alone.  Several people eating sandwiches is a picnic, just one person eating a sandwich is not so much fun.

Sometimes I eat leftovers, but not very often because I like variety in my meals.  Eating the same thing for lunch as you did the night before can make you feel a little bit unloved.

So there are rules for solo lunches:
  • Variety is necessary
  • Healthy and light is mostly necessary
  • It must be quick to make
  • It MUST be tasty and good; poor lunches do not make for a good day.
This is my current list of solo lunches:
  • Minestrone soup (although hard to make in small, solo quantities, so does create its own leftovers).
  • An omelette and salad.  Omelettes always make me want a glass of wine, but that's generally not a good idea in the middle of the day when the children are at school.
  • Couscous - easy to make in small quantities.  I throw in all kinds of things.  This week it was some chorizo, pine nuts, a couple of chopped tomatoes and some chopped cucumber.
  • A very basic ploughmans - a homemade roll, some nice cheese, an apple and pickle (got to be Branston).
  • Scrambled eggs and toast.
  • A substantial salad.  I'm getting better at these.  Lettuce and cucumber doesn't keep me going until supper, but something like a salad nicoise does.
  • Anything involving smoked mackerel.  Because I love it but nobody else in my family will eat it.  Often I'll make a very lemony mackerel pate and have it with toast and carrot sticks.
  • Baked eggs
Baked eggs are a new discovery of mine.  I can't remember where I found this recipe, but I love it.  A good, warming yet healthy, winter recipe.

Baked eggs for lunch

You will need an egg, plus ingredients for a tomato based sauce:
  • 1 small onion, chopped finely
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely
  • 1 tin of tomatoes
  • other veg - I used a small green pepper and sun-dried tomatoes this week
  • a pinch of chilli flakes if you like it hot; I do.
Make the tomato sauce.  Soften the onion, garlic and other chopped vegetables in a little olive oil.  Tip in the tin of tomatoes, and the chilli flakes if using, plus a splash of water.  Bubble for ten minutes until thickened.

Spoon half of the tomato sauce into a small ovenproof dish (save the rest of the sauce for another day - it freezes well).

Make a depression in the sauce with the back of a spoon.  Break an egg into this depression and then put the dish in the oven at Gas 6 for ten minutes, or until the egg white is set.

Eat hot, with a toasted pitta bread to mop up the sauce.

What else can I add to my list?  What are your favourite solo lunches?


  1. I eat a lot of omelettes too. And your baked eggs are remarkably similar to what I cooked this evening for a solo supper! Other lunchtime staples include lots of salads, with perhaps hard boiled egg or tuna; or soup, either home made or Covent Garden - I hate tinned soup. Like you, I rarely make sandwiches just for myself.

    It's not my favourite meal of the day ...

  2. I'm so dull, I have the same lunch every day - a peanut butter (crunchy) and banana toasted sandwich. It fills me up til dinner time and I don't have to think too hard about it!
    I do love an omelette too and often have one on a Saturday! I'm a creature of habit : )

  3. my current favorite is a kaiser roll which i freeze in the bag they come in, then slice one at a time while frozen, warm in a microwave 15 seconds, spread with light mayo, then sliced cheddar and deli ham, top with a huge handful of fresh baby spinach, which lays nice and flat when you pile it up. Cuppa coffee and that's lunch.

  4. I have those wrap breads, tortilla things, spread with hummus, and then wrap up avacodo, celery,spring onions and grated carrot, strips of cucumber and pepper, feta and chopped tomato. Sometimes an omelette inside the wrap. I love them because the kids make their own at the same time. I think the baked eggs might make me a nice supper tonight. Making the kids their tea at 4.30 means I eat early, therefore I am allowed a supper too.

  5. Oooh, I do love your food related blogs!!
    I had a jacket potato with homemade coleslaw today-but then I am at an advantage on that front! I love toasted cheese and marmite too (not that healthy I guess, but if you use really strong cheese you don't need too much of it)
    I do like a toasted english muffin with cheese and marmite too (do you see a theme developing?!)
    The baked eggs look very tasty indeed, I shall definitely be giving them a go.

  6. Couscous is a regular lunch for me, favourite additions at the moment are
    - fruit and nut, diced apple, dried apricots(the really dark organic ones) and pecans
    -mushrooms sauteed in chilli oil with spinach.

    The baked eggs look good, our hens stopped laying over the winter but I've had a few eggs this month so its a good time to try a new egg recipe.

  7. I like to have a pesto pasta salad with some shredded chicken added to it. Also baked beans on toast with some grated cheese and lots of pepper always tastes good!

  8. This is a fab post. I'm putting it right into my bookmarks.

    I have never got the hang of lunches.

  9. I'm awful at lunches too. Today's menu - crumpet/pb/jam. If I'm trying to be fancy I saute ham and eggs together and cut up a tomato for a side! I think I'm going to have to save this post for future ideas for sure.

    Don't you want to do a post on fast, tasty breakfasts?

  10. I'm rubbish at lunches , I normally don't bother and then realise about 3pm that I'm hungry and grab a biscuit or something just as bad --- but have now got some lovely ideas of what I could have - thank you

  11. I'm hopeless at lunch too, ususually end up with toast.... love dragonflys recommendation though xoxox

  12. I'm useless at lunch. Leftovers heated in the micowave if I'm at work, but if I'm at home it's grab a few crackers and some dip, and try to remember to include a piece of fruit.

    That baked egg recipe is going to be our dinner tomorrow I think. Thanks!

  13. Very good lunch post! I work in an office, so most sandwich lunches for me, in a box and made at home in the morning. But sometimes i go crazy with a salad from the cantine.


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