IT'S THE WEEKEND: Food and drink - Recipes to liven up your lunches

First published in News by

There's no excuse for a boring lunch this summer. Light and easy to prepare, give yourself a lunchtime treat with some of these recipes. SOPHIE BROWNSON investigates.

Beef & Tenderstem Fajitas

Do-it-yourself wraps that kids adore, this is a great recipe for relaxed weekend family feasting. Featuring a Mexican mildly spiced steak & Tenderstem stir fry filling, with salsa, guacamole & cheese to add to taste. If you are short of time, feel free to substitute ready made guacamole and salsa in place of the recipe, and up the quantities of spices for old kids and brave eaters!

Serves: 4

Prep time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

You’ll need

for the beef & Tenderstem filling:

3 tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, crushed

2-3 tsp ground cumin

1-2 tsp paprika

a pinch or two of chilli powder, to taste (optional)

1 tsp caster sugar

2 rump steaks, about 500-600g total

300g Tenderstem, each stem cut into 3

1 onion, thinly sliced

1 red pepper, sliced

1 yellow pepper, sliced

for the guacamole:

2 ripe avocados

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tbsp sour cream

Juice ½ lime

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

for the salsa:

150g cherry tomatoes, finely chopped

1 small bunch coriander, leaves & fine stalks finely chopped

Juice of 1 lime

1 red chilli, deseeded & finely chopped (optional)

1 clove garlic, crushed

1 tsp caster sugar

to serve:

a handful of grated cheddar cheese

2-3 tbsp sour cream

6-8 tortilla wraps, warmed in the microwave or oven

What to do:

Mix the olive oil, garlic, cumin, paprika, chilli and sugar in a small bowl. Use half to brush over both sides of the steaks. Add the Tenderstem, onion, red and yellow peppers to a mixing bowl and stir through the other half of the marinade. Set aside for 15 minutes whilst you make the guacamole and salsa.

Make the guacamole by peeling the avocados, scooping out the flesh and mashing with a fork in a small bowl. Stir through the garlic, sour cream and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Make the salsa by mixing the tomatoes, coriander, lime juice, chilli (if using) garlic and sugar.

When you are ready to eat, place a large frying pan over a high heat. When it is hot, add a drizzle of olive oil and let it get hot for a few seconds before adding both steaks. Cook for 2-4 minutes on each side, depending on how well done you like your steak. Set aside on a plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm.

Add the vegetables to the frying pan, season with a little salt and pepper to taste and stir fry over a high heat for around 5 minutes until they are cooked but still with plenty of bite. Turn off the heat.

Slice the steaks thinly across the grain and return to the pan with the veg, stirring briefly to mix together, allow to cool. Build your wraps by adding the filling along with the salsa, guacamole, cheese and sour cream. Roll up in the tortilla and wrap in foil for a delicious portable lunch.

[You can replace the beef with pork tenderloin strips, or chicken breast strips - stir frying these first in the frying pan and making sure they are cooked all the way through before setting aside on a plate whilst you cook the vegetables]

Pink Lady apple, Raspberry and Almond Energy Bar

Fabulously light, gluten free and with virtually no saturated fat, Pink Lady apple energy bars are packed with wholesome calories to supercharge your run. So simple, basically just eggs, almonds and sugar, these bars have a 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, the ratio used by many elite sportsmen and women to feed their muscles and provide sustained energy. Loaded with cholesterol-reducing omega 3 fats, vitamins C, E and minerals such as magnesium and potassium, these deceptively nutritious bars also work as an effective post-run recovery treat to replace the nutrients lost through sweat.

Serves: makes 12 bars

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking Time: 25-30 minutes

You’ll need:

4 large free range eggs

120g unrefined caster sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Zest of ½ small orange

190g ground almonds

24 frozen raspberries (don’t defrost)

1 Pink Lady apple, unpeeled, cored and sliced thinly

1 tsp apricot jam to glaze

What to do:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Grease the tray bake tin (if possible, use a 12 x miniature tray bake tin. Otherwise, the cake can be sliced once baked). If you don’t have one, use 12 silicone muffin cases, or indeed, an 8”/20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.

Separate the yolks from the whites of the eggs. Place four yolks into one bowl and, in a separate bowl, the whites of just three of the eggs, reserving the last egg white for the glaze.

Using an electric whisk, whisk the three egg whites until they form soft peaks, then set aside.

Take the bowl with the egg yolks and add the sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Whisk until pale and creamy. Then stir in the ground almonds. This will make the mixture quite stiff, don’t worry, it’s meant to be like that!

Using a metal spoon, gently fold in the egg whites, a little at a time, until completely combined.

Spoon the mixture into your bar tray. Press one or two frozen raspberries down into each bar and then lay a couple of Pink Lady apple slices on top, pressing the white edge down into the mixture to show off the lovely blush of the apple skin.

Cook in the oven for 25-30 minutes, until golden and cooked through.

In a small bowl or cup, mix together a teaspoon of jam with a teaspoon of the remaining egg white. Using a pastry brush, carefully paint each bar with this mixture to produce a glossy finish. Leave in the tin until completely cool.

A plate of open sandwiches

Smoked salmon, Honey & Ginger Baby Beetroot, cream cheese & chives on rye bread

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: none

You’ll need:

4 slices rye bread

125g cream cheese

120g smoked salmon

4 Honey & Ginger Baby Beetroot, cut into matchsticks

8 chives, finely chopped

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Spread the cream cheese onto the bread and arrange the smoked salmon on top.

Sprinkle over the beetroot matchsticks and the chives, and season with freshly ground black pepper.

Cheddar & spring onion with Juniper & Black Pepper in Red Wine Vinegar Baby Beetroot on granary bread

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: none

You’ll need:

4 thick-cut slices granary bread

200g mature cheddar, grated

4 spring onions, finely sliced

1tbsp plain yogurt

Salad leaves

4 Juniper & Black Pepper in Red Wine Vinegar Baby Beetroot, cut into slices

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Mix the cheese, spring onion and yogurt in a small bowl and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Top each slice of bread with a little salad and drop spoonfuls of the cheese mixture on top. Finish with the slices of beetroot and serve immediately.

Cold roast beef, beetroot & mustard on a crusty baguette

Serves 4

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: none

You’ll need:

1 baguette cut into 4 pieces

4 slices cold roast beef

4 Sweet Chilli or sweet flame beetroot

Dijon mustard to taste

Peppery salad leaves, such as rocket or watercress

Salt & freshly ground black pepper

What to do:

Fill each piece of baguette with the salad leaves and the sliced beef, and spread over the Dijon mustard to taste.

Arrange the slices of beetroot on top and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

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