Light up your lunch

Categories: News and previews

A selection of ideas to make lunching at home more exciting

If you’re among the many millions of people currently working from home, you’ll have found that there are good things and bad things about constantly making your own lunch. Among the benefits is the relative lack of consequences if you decide to knock out some quite fishy fish—there’s far less chance of complaints being made to the management about you stinking the place out. Among the downsides is the challenge of having to think of what to make, day after day.

We’re here to help, with this quick selection of ideas to light up your lunchtime:

Make the ultimate toastie
Visit our Instagram and you’ll see a stop-motion video of Ed Smith—a true toastie aficionado—creating the ultimate springtime toasted sandwich: De Calabria’s nduja, mozzarella from The Parma Ham & Mozzarella Stand, fresh fennel from Ted’s Veg and a generous drizzle of honey from Oliveology, all stacked between two Neal’s Yard Dairy butter-slathered slices of fresh Market sourdough (pictured above).

Eat even more toast
There are plenty of other wonders that can be created with a good loaf of bread, maybe a day or so past its best, and a hot grill or frying pan. Try these light, summery toasts with curd cheese, mint paste and broad beans from Olia Hercules, or this griddled asparagus and soft egg bruschetta from Jenny Chandler. Roopa Gulati’s green chilli cheese toastie is also pretty special: all the golden, melty indulgence of a regular cheese toastie, but with a sweet, tangy pickle and a hefty kick of chilli.

Make a sandwich and don’t toast it
Ed, clearly a specialist in the field of bread-based lunches, has previously penned us his thoughts on the ultimate sandwich (ham hock, egg and various flavour-packed complements). Sabrina Ghayour’s harissa steak and red onion pickle sandwich is also pretty magnificent, as is Alix Caiger’s pan bagnat, filled with veg, anchovy and egg.

Take the healthy option
There are plenty of ways of making a light lunch that doesn’t leave you needing a 2pm nap, without stinting on flavour. Try this gado gado salad from Jenny Chandler, for example: an Indonesian vegetable salad with peanut butter sauce. Victoria Brown’s vegetable tagine and smoked mackerel potato salad would both fit the bill, as would Beca Lyne-Pirkis’s chicken satay buddha bowl. Felicity Cloake’s confit courgette with burrata takes a while to cook, but you don’t need to do very much at all, and the results are truly gorgeous.

Order it in
If all that sounds lovely but perhaps a bit too much effort for a busy Wednesday, you can—if you live in London—have your lunch sent to you by some of Borough Market’s talented chefs. Stoney Street by 26 Grains is delivering a range of boxes, including one for a (slightly indulgent for a workday, admittedly) lunch or light dinner, including gazpacho, half a roast chicken, cheese, bread, salad and dessert. Bao’s Rice Error Delivery Service is sending out rice boxes with a variety of toppings. Arabica is offering falafel kits and meze platters. Joli is delivering gyozas and curries to customers local to its Kensal Green kitchen. Others are focusing on sending out the ingredients you need to recreate their dishes: Nanna Fanny’s will ship you the salt beef or pastrami used in its famous bagels and sandwiches, Mei Mei is sharing with the public its unique spice blends, sambal and kaya along with other store cupboard staples, and for dessert, Shuk has put together a DIY kit to make chocolate, hazelnut and cookie crumb babkas.