It’s hard to believe the summer is over and the schools and colleges have either opened or are getting ready to open.
Teachers countdown clocks are reset for the Halloween break and uniform & book shops are rubbing their hands with delight .
It’s such a wonderful sight to see the Mammys & Daddys performing cartwheels across the carparks of coffeeshops across the northwest.
by chef Martin Anderson
Gyms will see an increase is their morning classes and the drama & sports clubs are already filling up and planning their Christmas shows – yes folks the Autumn is here !
That being said a more important thing has to be considered ….. lunch boxes.
I’ve come up with a unique idea and that’s the takeaway lunch box. At Sonder we now open from 8.30am just for that purpose.
You have your choice of a small or large box filled to your liking as you wait with a selection of salads, vegetarian or meat option in a recyclable box and of course we have lovely baked treats for that morning coffee too .
If you can’t avail of that then here is a wee bit of advice for you .
Sandwiches are not the main staple of a lunch box , it can be varied and a lot of things have to be considered .
One thing I find a lot of folk overlook is the storage of the food. It’s not ideal to have the food sitting in the lunch box for hours in a school bag especially if it contains, meat, fish, mayonnaise products or even yogurts.
These will sour quickly as every school has central heating in these modern times. If the school doesn’t provide a fridge then special cool boxes or cool bags may be purchased with ice packs which can be popped into the freezer when the kids get home from school and they’ll be ready the next day. You may wrap these in kitchen paper and cling film to keep them from making a mess.
As regards the filling you have to use a little imagination , it is possible to buy lunch box’s or plastic boxes with different compartments. These can be filled with fruit pieces , nuts , cold cuts of meat, sliced ham, chicken drumsticks or wings are always a popular favourites.
Flakes of tuna with sweetcorn , slides of cucumber , whole cherry tomatoes , mini corn on the cob of even corn on the cob slices , pineapple rings , olives ,homemade tortilla crisps , cold roast sweet potato wedges , steamed broccoli florets , carrot or celery sticks of even a wee jar of cream cheese mixed with herbs to use as a dip .
Many schools only allow treats on a Friday or special occasions so it’s best to follow the rules and don’t be sneaking stuff into the schoolbags even if your child loses the plot when you say no!
Try making some granola bars yourself or even rice crispy buns are always a favourite , use melted marshmallows instead of chocolate to bind them together , so tasty and they won’t make a mess if they get warm .
I’m not a fan of those mini box’s of raisins etc , they are full of sugar contrary to what they tell you . You can make your own fruit salad adding a little lemon juice or even coconut sugar to make a syrup , this will stop the fruit from discolouring.
We use slices of water melon in Sonder for our water jugs and these wedges are also very popular with our junior diners as a wee treat , these can be wrapped in cling film and eaten at morning break time or after lunch .
Avoid high caffeine or sugar drinks , water is really the best option put pieces of Apple , orange or even cucumber into the sports bottle to give the water a bit of flavour .
Fresh juice or smoothies can be kept cool in a flask just add a little lemon juice to keep them fresh . Wraps or flat breads are a better option than soggy slides of over processed sliced breads , keep the fillings dry , too much coleslaw will only fall out , make egg and onion with a little mayonnaise or salad cream or even just put a whole hard boiled egg into the lunchbox.
Cheese is also a wonderful option but remember buy good cheese not that plastic stuff that’s individually wrapped, baby bell cheese are a great option just remember,beer to remove the wax.
It’s very important to make sure your kids have a breakfast before they go to school this will set them up for the day and they won’t crave high sugar foods and will enjoy their lunch box better.
I have two recipes for you this week, one for a great chicken & cheese tortilla stack , this can be served hot as an evening tea or if you make this the night before and allow if you cool , you can add this to a lunch box.
The second recipe is for homemade tortilla crisps , they are low in fat , tasty , better than the shop bought tortilla crisps and they aren’t fried so are a good healthy option .
Call to Sonder some day and see gif yourself the wonderful selection of lunch box options we have for you.
Enjoy your return to normality !
You may follow me on snapchat @cheftothestars or find us on Facebook @Sonder2016
Chicken and cheese tortilla stack.
Allow ½ a chicken fillet per person.
You will need.
Healthy option tortillas, flavoured if you can get them.
Chicken fillets trimmed and cut into thin strips.
Low fat or healthy option cheese.
Sliced peppers of your choice
Low- cal spray or light oil.
Pre heat your oven to 170c
Heat a little lo cal in a pan and cook your chicken strips.
Add the peppers and cook with the chicken.
Remove from the heat and add a little chopped tomato, don’t make it too wet.
Place a tortilla onto a baking sheet which you have lined with parchment paper.
Spread with the chicken mix, sprinkle with a little cheese and place another wrap on top of the chicken.
Bake until the cheese is melted, roughly 5/8 minutes.
Remove from the oven and cut into slices as you would a pizza .
Homemade tortilla crisps
You will need.
Wraps of your choice.
Pre heat your oven to 200c
Cut your wraps in strips, getting 4/5 strips per wrap.
Layer them on top of each other and then cut them in a zig zag fashion.
Getting at least 6/8 triangles from each strip.
Layer on to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, don’t pile them on.
Bake for 10 minutes or until they are golden & crisp.
Allow to cool and serve with a Salsa or dip of your choice.
Some suggestions for you are.
Your homemade salsa.
Quark cheese mixed with herbs, Garlic and lime juice.
Blend some chickpeas with garlic, lemon and chilli powder.
Low fat yogurt mixed with fresh dill & lemon.