“Poor Man’s Paella” from “The Little Book of Lunches”

I need to admit up front that I didn’t actually eat this for lunch. I made it for dinner. But I would be surprised if you could find anyone who would be willing to get up 35 minutes early before lunch so they could make this and take it with them. Not me, that’s for sure.

It was decidedly delicious. We all loved it and I definitely will be making it again for dinner, not least because it’s a one-pot dinner, which makes cleanup spectacularly easy.

The inspiration for the dish, as explained in the introduction, was Ottolenghi’s paella. If I had to guess, it probably was this one, as published in the Guardian and the original was made by Kirstin in this very blog seven years ago, which you can read here.

Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing wanted to make Ottolenghi’s paella, but realised they didn’t have many of the ingredients so they boiled it down to the essence of the dish. Or, as Nicholas rightly pointed out, “Spicy rice with tomatoes.”

I added all of the optional extras, which I’m sure made it far more interesting and tasty: chorizo, peppers, frozen peas and parsley. Tim suggested the next time I make it that I also throw in some prawns at the end, which is similar to what Jamie Oliver did in Save Jame! (technically, “Save with Jamie”), which Kirstin also tested out and loved, which you can read here.

Clearly, paella for dinner is a winner. But getting up early to make paella for lunch? Very ambitious and equally unlikely for most people.

“Poor Man’s Paella” from “The Little Book of Lunches”

“Chorizo with couscous, roasted peppers and tomatoes” from The Little Book of Lunch

Kirstin: I will eat pretty much anything with chorizo, even though I admit I bought the wrong kind of chorizo for this recipe. That’s internet shopping for you! You think you’re buying chorizo and actually you’re buying chorizo sausages. Anyway. I digress. I made this one morning before heading to work and while cooking and eating my porridge. I say that to give you an idea of how quick and easy it was to make. Next time I plan to buy the right kind of chorizo because that will be epic with the peppers! And there will be a next time!

“Chorizo with couscous, roasted peppers and tomatoes” from The Little Book of Lunch

“Roasted red peppers with anchovy and tomato” from The Little Book of Lunch

Kirstin: I used to make this recipe from an Alastair Little book ALL the time. As a starter. It never crossed my mind to make it for lunch. Genius. I made this the night before, slicing garlic into the halved peppers and adding tomatoes and anchovies before roasting for 30 minutes. I then microwaved them the following day at work.
These taste of summer which was something I loved looking forward to as I watched all the sun inside (while being stuck inside). I just wasn’t so keen on the anchovy bones that got stuck in my teeth afterwards. I’m not sure my patients liked seeing me struggle with them either, so I might just leave that bit out next time!

“Roasted red peppers with anchovy and tomato” from The Little Book of Lunch

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”