One of the best things about working from home is allowing myself the time to have a proper lunch. After walking my dog at noon, I return home energized and head to the kitchen to feed him and make myself a salad with lots of leafy greens, good proteins and my standard dressing which consists of olive oil, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, fleur de sel and cracked pepper. This afternoon break is essential for me and keeps me alert and focused the rest of the day.
On days when I have a little more time (like today), I like to make soups and warm salads, especially with quinoa. Today I made a gorgeous quinoa bowl with roasted butternut squash and kale. So healthy and vibrant! I even ate it outdoors as is was a ‘balmy’ 15C in my garden. Though I’m not so sure that’s a good thing.
The lunch, on the other hand, was a VERY good thing!
Here’s the recipe:
Quinoa Bowl with Butternut Squash and Kale
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp dried garlic
- fleur de sel
- cracked pepper
- 120g quinoa
- handful of finely chopped kale
- 1 small red onion, halved and finely sliced
- 1/2 pomegranate
Preheat oven to 190C and line a baking sheet with baking paper. In a bowl, mix the butternut squash with the olive oil, turmeric, cumin, garlic and salt and pepper. Spread the squash over the baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes. In the meantime, cook the quinoa according to package directions, adding the finely chopped kale during the last 5 minutes of cooking time. Stir the butternut squash and red onion through the quinoa and kale and divide over two bowls. Garnish each bowl with the pomegranate seeds, a drizzle of olive oil and fresh pepper.
Cake salé (savory cake) is easy to make and extremely versatile (you can experiment endlessly with different types of cheeses, meats, herbs and condiments). A good cake salé is lovely as lunch or a light dinner with soup and a salad. I also like to serve it as a late afternoon apéro in the company of a fruity, rosé Crémant de Bougogne.
Though the cake is best eaten on the day it is made, it does freeze well.
Cake with Olives, Goat Cheese & Piment d’Espelette
- 100g whole wheat flour
- 100g all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 ½ tsp piment d’Espelette
- 3 medium eggs
- 150ml milk
- 4 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
- 150g soft goat cheese, in small chunks
- 100g kalamata olives, whole
- 1 ½ tbsps chives, chopped
- salt (preferably fleur de sel) and freshly-cracked pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 26 x 11 cm cake tin with baking paper. In a large bowl, mix the two flours with the baking powder. Add the piment d’Espelette and mix again. Make a well in the center of the mixture and crack in the eggs. Pour in the milk and oil, and whisk gently, just until combined. Using a spatula, fold in the goat’s cheese, olives and chives. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake for approximately 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool before serving. Delicious with a green salad and a mustardy vinaigrette
My teen daughter is going back to school today, and I think I’m probably just as nervous as she is. How I wish I could keep her next to me forever. Safe, sheltered and with no worries to fill her head. And how I wish I could stop time. She’s 16 1/2 and talk of where to go to school in a few years has already begun. I was looking at a friend’s baby photos this morning and wondered where the time went. How did my little girl grow up so quickly?
This new year at school will probably be tough. She’s going to Dutch gymnasium, which is the equivalent of prep school in the US and takes six years to complete. It’s very challenging and demanding, but it’s the highest and best form of education, and I’m happy and honored that she can take part in it.
While she was home this summer, I always made lunch for us and we would eat it together, sometimes while watching crappy shows on TLC. Most of our lunches consisted of healthy salads, but every once in a while I would take her to a local café for a tuna sandwich and an iced coffee with a ton of whipped cream. Or, I would make her a whopper of an egg salad sandwich. There’s something really comforting about an egg salad sandwich, I think. Here’s my recipe. We’ll probably be eating this sandwich for lunch today as some comforting is definitely in order. Here’s to a new school year… and to all the moms who are in the same boat — much love!
PS: The number one tip I can give you with a recipe such as this one is to use the very best ingredients. That really makes all the difference with simple recipes that don’t call for many ingredients. All my ingredients are organic and as fresh as possible.
Best Egg Salad Sandwich
- 4 small eggs
- 1/4 red onion, minced
- 1 1/2 tbsp each chopped chives and flat leaf parsley
- 1/2 tsp curcuma
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tbsps mayonnaise
- fleur de sel
- freshly grated pepper
- 4 slices whole wheat bread
- lettuce leaves, to serve
- thinly sliced cucumber, to serve
Hard boil your eggs, let them cool slightly, peel them and put them into a bowl. Add in the onion, herbs, curcuma, Dijon mustard, mayonnaise and salt and pepper to taste. Break up the eggs using a fork and knife. You want it to be chunky, not smooth. Now, mix everything gently. Layer the slices of bread with the lettuce leaves and top with the egg salad and a few thin slices of cucumber (or pickle, if you like a stronger taste). Cut at a diagonal and serve to someone you love.
My usual lunch is some kind of a salad. Not only are they quick and easy to make, but they are also a great way to make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables. Most of the salads I make are simply the result of whatever I have in my kitchen (or growing in my garden) at that moment.