I’ve run out of ideas for quick working-from-home lunches. Can you inspire me?Nick, London E2
The problem with work-from-home eating is that no one wants to spend their lunch break cooking and washing up, while reheating a vat of soup gets a bit samey by day three. Salvation, says Freddie Janssen, owner of east London’s Snackbar, can be found in pickles, kimchis and krauts: “Having a fridge full of condiments can really make a meal.”
Topping her list are soy-cured eggs. “They’re great to put on rice bowls or soba noodle salads with crunchy veg, greens and a simple tahini, soy sauce, honey and lime dressing,” says Janssen, who recently launched a local delivery service, Snackbar at Home. Get ahead by pickling six at a time: “Boil the eggs – for six minutes 45 seconds – then chill them, peel, pop in a container with 500ml light soy sauce, 300ml water, 100ml rice-wine vinegar and 100g sugar, and leave. They’ll take on this great umami flavour.” To make sure the eggs all cure evenly (they tend to bob up), cover them with kitchen roll soaked in the brine.
Tommy Banks is all about the three-egg omelette – slices of baron bigod or tunworth cheese compulsory. “It makes a boring lunch luxurious,” says the chef-director of Yorkshire’s The Black Swan at Oldstead, Made in Oldstead and Roots. The secret to a soft, light omelette, Banks says, is to start with a warm pan (“when you put in the butter, it foams but doesn’t colour”), then add copious cheese (plus ham or mushrooms, if you fancy). And while he is a self-confessed “salad dodger”, a side of leaves in a honey and mustard dressing wouldn’t go amiss.