Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Musings on the Importance of Lunch

Everyone goes on about the importance of breakfast, but as a housewife and writer, the meal I am most likely to miss is actually lunch. I get caught up in appointments, writing or doing something at home and in all the rushing round I simply forget. I may feel the odd hunger pang, but I dismiss it. But my personal trainer says this is very dangerous and that I won't burn calories as effectively if I miss lunch even once a week. That scared me. I don't just want to burn calories, I want to torch them, and have even debated trying an ayuvedic tea (ginger root, cayenne and lime juice) to help do this.

I have not had the nerve to try the tea yet (although I've watched the video of how to make it twice and I have all the ingredients!), but I have made a concerted effort to eat a delicious, nutritious lunch every day this week. I have to say, I have really enjoyed making this effort and it has been well worth it. I've even invented two new lunch recipes which I will happily share with you. I've got a bit of a thing for marinated roasted artichoke hearts at the moment and I've included them in both these recipes. My favourites are available at Waitrose, or through Ocado, but any marinated artichoke hearts will do.

Ham and Artichoke Panini
Serves 1
1 panini bread, split
1 slice ham
4 artichoke hearts in olive oil, sliced
1 handful grated cheese (I used Monterey Jack)

Place the ham slice on the panini and top with the artichokes and the cheese. Pop the lid on and place in a hot panini press until the cheese is melted. That's it - lunch is ready!

You can also make these on slices of toast under the grill. Just toast the bread and place it on a baking tray. Lay a slice of ham on top of each slice of toast and then top with the artichokes and the cheese. Then place the pan under the broiler or grill until the cheese bubbles. Experiment with the breads you use too. One time I tried using a bread with soy and linseed to make the toast and it was just scrumptuous.
And for my second lunch, try these delicious
Artichoke and Cheese Omelette Wraps
Makes 1
1 wrap (soft tortilla), warmed
2 - 3 eggs (depending on the size)
drop of milk
3 - 4 sliced marinated artichoke hearts
three Queen olives (with pimento), thinly sliced
handful of grated cheese (again I used Monterey Jack, but please yourself)

Beat the eggs with the milk and pour into a small hot non-stick frying pan. Gently move the egg mixture away from the sides of the pan so that everything starts to cook. As the mixture begins to firm up, preheat the grill or broiler.

Now sprinkle the artichoke hearts, olives and cheese on top of your omelette. You are not going to fold this one (at least not yet), so you can put the filling all over the egg. Add a little ground pepper if you like, but skip the salt. The olives will make this taste salty enough. Allow to heat through for a few minutes. Now slide a spatula carefully under the edge of the omelette. If it is starting to brown, then transfer the pan from the stove top to the grill. (Remember to turn off the hob.) Cook under the grill until the cheese is bubbling and the egg is set. Remove from under the grill.

Lay the warm tortilla on a plate and top with the omelette. Now starting from one side, roll the tortilla into a wrap shape. Cut in half, and enjoy!

I tried a little instant salsa on this the other day. I just chopped up a small tomato and a spring onion (scallion) and then putting this (room temperature) mixture on the omelette as it lay on top of the tortilla before rolling. It was an entirely successful experiment!

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