Category Archives: Lunchbox

Mqarrun il-forn / Baked Macaroni

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This pasta dish was traditionally served as a Sunday meal followed by the main meat dish. As you can imagine this would make for a heavy meal that needs hours of digestion and probably a nap.

Once the meat sauce is ready, there isn’t much more work to do other than wait - I made my meat sauce with beef, mushrooms and curry this time (and let it cook slowly and deliciously in half a bottle of wine). Most of the recipes I’ve read suggest boiling the pasta partially before assembling the dish, but I find that this isn’t necessary as it will cook well in the oven provided that your sauce isn’t too dry.

This is what you need to make this decadent meal; please calculate per 2 portions according to the size of your dish

- silence or transcendental music, for this is a sacred pasta dish :)

- 1 egg

- 1/3 cup cream (optional)

- 1/2 cup Parmesan or Cheddar, grated

- 1 cup of the above meat sauce

- 120 grams macaroni pasta

Heat your oven to 200 degrees.

Mix all your ingredients except cheese in a deep oven dish and spread the grated cheese on top. If your meat sauce is not watery, do add some cream to help the pasta cook with a moist result. Cook for about 40 minutes until the pasta is cooked through and the top is browning and crunchy. If you let it cool slightly before serving, it will more likely keep its shape. You can also serve this one or two days later and it will taste even better (let it cool completely before refrigerating).

You may also enjoy Qarabaghli mimli 

 

Chickpea patties (vegan)

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To make approximately 8 patties you will need:

one can chickpeas, drained

1 medium onion

1 tablespoon water from pickles

2 pickled peppers

2 teaspoons harissa paste

1-2 celery sticks

1 tablespoon fresh coriander

1 tablespoon fresh parsley

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

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Chuck everything into a blender and taste as you go along to adjust spices/herbs/salt+pepper/amount of oil. Add a little oil at a time if need be to obtain the correct consistency to form patties that don’t crack. You may want to reduce the amount of harissa or avoid the pickle water if you’re not that into your scovilles (see below).

scoville

To cook:

Preheat your oven to 200 degrees on fan oven.

Form patties about the size of a small burger or depending on how you want to serve them into smaller, flattened mounds.

Cook for about 20 minutes, flipping over carefully half way through the cooking time.

They will brown slightly when ready to serve. It is safe to reheat or eat these cold.

To serve:

I had mine alone with some hot sauce, just to make sure.

After having tried them, I think that the ideal way to serve these would be with some fresh leaves like spinach, iceberg lettuce or rucola as well as tomatoes and perhaps some light cheese e.g. mozzarella or cottage cheese. Make smaller patties to use in a salad.

You can also serve these as though they are burgers, although I imagine that it would be quite a heavy meal that way.

Alternatively add some mayo, mushrooms and assorted fresh greens in a wrap.

Please note that this recipe is gluten-free, lactose free and vegan.

Baked Sweet Potato

If you’ve been following my blog for a while you will have noticed that I go through certain obsessive phases; at the moment I’m cooking a lot with sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts. I’ve taken to baking a couple of sweet potatoes at a time and then reheating them later to form a meal around them. From breakfast, to dinner and everything in between, I’ve found this to be versatile and filling as well as convenient.

This is how you do it. Heat your oven with fan on at about 180 degrees. Pierce the sweet potatoes with a fork several times, then wrap in a foil envelope. Bake for about 40 minutes until they are soft and easily pierced. The softer they are, the easier it will be to remove to the skin, but do that according to taste. Once it’s ready, let it cool down for a few minutes as it will be steaming on the inside of that foil!

If you’re going to use later on, let it cool down completely and then refrigerate (it will keep for at least 3 days in the fridge). Heat up in the microwave for two minutes to restore it to its original glory before consuming.

Serving suggestions:

For breakfast (or lunch or any time), with scrambled eggs, Old Amsterdam and freshly ground pepper

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I take my scrambled eggs very seriously

As a side to your protein of choice, served with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of salt:

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With yogurt or cream cheese:

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