So long, packed lunches – try these flavour-packed meals instead
... including sweet potato roti, corned beef hash, and chicken satay lettuce wraps
Sweet potato roti, chickpeas, tomato and cumin. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw
There’s only one thing good about the children not being in school at the moment, and that is not having to make packed lunches. I have found that I spend a disproportionate amount of my week thinking about them.
I turned into your man from Sleeping with the Enemy every morning, lining up the contents of their lunchboxes like soldiers to make sure there was enough of the good stuff to fulfil my parental obligations. More fool me, I hear you say – at this stage they should be doing it themselves.
I get excited shopping for groceries these days. It’s like a day out. Perhaps I linger a little too long, but when the highlight of my week is perusing the veg section, I’m reluctant for it to end.
These roti are dead easy. The key is to use the same ratio of flour to sweet potato. If you don’t fancy making them, use warm naan or pitta bread for a shortcut. I love a good shortcut. The tomato and chickpea stew is a bit of a revelation and can be made in minutes. It is really versatile and also goes particularly well with hummus, rice and couscous. A handy little number, as we say in the business.
I hadn’t eaten tinned corned beef in years. As a boy I used to love it, until I didn’t. On a whim, I bought it recently. Its fatty familiarity was a comfort all these years later. I also bought some brown sauce, something I almost never eat, but I can’t have corned beef without it. These flavours are embedded in my childhood memory. I left them behind a while back, when, according to my girls, I became posh. The dressing is a bit trashy, and all the more tasty for it.
We’re big fans of these lettuce wraps in our house. Their healthy, crunchy exterior and devilishly delicious filling pack a very satisfying punch. An occasional meat sung from the Chinese takeaway is always a treat at home. Here, I’m cooking chicken thighs in coconut milk, crunchy peanut butter and a little hint of chilli. It’s a very rewarding project, and one you can eat with immense satisfaction afterwards.
Recipe: Chicken satay lettuce wraps