Our verdict: Packed and The Little Book of Lunch

Maureen: (chuckling) Let’s have some lunch! What did you think?

Kirstin: It completely changed the way I think about lunch at the office for the better.

Maureen: How?

Kirstin: I plan ahead. I always have chorizo in the refrigerator ready to go. I will make more than I need for dinner, knowing that I can use the leftovers.

Maureen: Like a roast chicken?

Kirstin: Exactly. I had a bird that was way too large the other day and Tom told me we’d never eat all of it. But I told him that I already had plans for the leftovers.

Maureen: There’s nothing better than using leftovers. It always makes me feel so virtuous.

Kirstin: This has been a revelation and I’ll never look at my lunch the same way again.

Maureen: I guess it’s different for me since I work from home and usually for lunch I’m just foraging through the refrigerator taking the best of the leftovers. But saying that, there were some really yummy recipes in there that I would make for myself. This would be especially good on the days when I feel chained to my laptop because of deadlines, so it would make me step away from the computer.

Kirstin: Lunch is now something I look forward to at the office, and that’s great.

Overall Grade (A- F):  B (Maureen)  B (Kirstin)
Best recipes:  Anything with chorizo (Kirstin)
Grade for Photography (A-F): A
Any disasters? Kirstin: No Maureen: The paella wasn’t a disaster, but I thought the suggestion that you make it before you leave for the office was comedy gold. Who would have time to do that?
Bookshelf or Charity Shop Donation? Kirstin: Bookshelf. Maureen: Not sure.
Would you give this to a friend? Kirstin: Yes. Maureen: Yes, but only to friends who work in an office. I’m not sure it would apply to the mighty band of freelancers I know.

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Our verdict: Packed and The Little Book of Lunch

” Warm chorizo, tomato and chickpea salad” from “Packed”

Kirstin: I have literally spent all morning looking forward to making and eating this. I had planned to make it to eat at work, but then Tom said he would be around for lunch, so I saw all my patients this morning, did a home visit and rushed home. The thing I love about these packed lunches is that they are so quick. I had 15 minutes to make this for Tom as he had to do a conference call and I did it in time. I went a little over the top with the chickpeas because I couldn’t find any tins at our local Marks and Spencer. So I bought some in a glass jar and they were the MOST delicious chickpeas I have ever had. I will never eat tinned ones again. And perfect with the chorizo.

I literally cannot wait to make this one again.

” Warm chorizo, tomato and chickpea salad” from “Packed”

“Lemony Lamb koftas with mint and yogurt dip” from Packed

Kirstin: I am terrible. I hadn’t even finished making dinner on Sunday night and already I was thinking about Monday lunch. And koftas seemed like a good idea for lunch after my early morning swim in the local lido. So after dropping of M at school I headed off to the shops on my bike (part of the modern triathlon I think you’ll find!) and bought all the ingredients. But first. I have a couple of issues with this recipe. I’m pretty sure the onion should not be sliced, but should be chopped instead. Also the grilling time was considerably longer than was recommended in the book. Not long enough to make anyone late for work or anything, but not just 5 minutes. It’s also difficult to buy such a small quantity of minced lamb, so I made enough for 4 batches of this recipe which I’m curiously smug about. Finally, while these were cooking I looked up various kofta recipes to see the variety of spices that can be used in the lamb mix. So next time I make these I’m going to add a little chilli and possibly cumin and ground coriander. As it was, I added a little sriracha to spice things up a little. And I was thrilled to find some wonderful new flatbread in M and S which really made this particularly delicious.

“Lemony Lamb koftas with mint and yogurt dip” from Packed

“Speedy burrito bowl” from Packed

Kirstin: It’s hot in London at the moment. Seriously hot. So I fancied a bit of Mexican food and this recipe totally did the job. I didn’t slice the avocado until I got to work and as you can see from the pic, only half squished the lime so I could add more at work. I would definitely make this again and it could easily be made for two days. Next time though I’m going to add some chopped chilli instead of the powder variety for a fresher taste.
And I have to say all my work colleagues were very impressed!

“Speedy burrito bowl” from Packed

“Tuna, Cannellini bean and Sugar Snap Salad” from Packed

Kirstin: I had meant to make this a few weeks ago, but was distracted with my love of chorizo. And that’s the beauty of this recipe. It’s essentially things I have in the cupboard anyway. I wasn’t sure about the beans and tuna together but they work well and I feel surprisingly full having just eaten it. I might add a little jalapeno chilli or sriacha next time though just to make the tuna a little bit more exciting.

“Tuna, Cannellini bean and Sugar Snap Salad” from Packed

Cookbooks of the month, July 2017: “Packed” and “The Little Book of Lunch”

Maureen: Two books for the price of one! You wanted to do lunch books because you have lunch at work, unlike me since I work from home.

Kirstin: I’m cooking interesting food at lunchtime now. I’ve already taken in a microwave egg poacher and microwave egg boiler, so I figured there must be other interesting lunch things I could do. I’ve been missing htis oppty to make delicious food and cheer myself up in the middle of the day.

Maureen: I get that. I remember when I worked in an office and lunch was an opportunity to get up from my desk and get away from the computer. Now that I work from home, all it means is I go downstairs and forage through the refrigerator looking for good leftovers.

Kirstin: I was also trying to have fewer carbs. Carb-free lunches is basically salads, so it’s good to try new stuff. I can see this is a growing market. There’s definitely space out there for good lunch books.

Maureen: Off to the world of lunch, then.

Cookbooks of the month, July 2017: “Packed” and “The Little Book of Lunch”