• Wednesday, March 04, 2015


By Abdullah Tareq IDEATE Hospitality Consulting Services

Don't let your impulsive side get the better of you when indulging in a quick bite when the deadline strikes! So, just like you would for any other important assignment at work, get organised!
 Set aside time to eat healthy although temptation can get the better of you spoiling you with choices of the greasy and the glazed. But nutrition can be a convenient option too and surprisingly scrumptious.

French tuna salad sandwich
This is the sandwich version of the salad Nicoise. It's very easy to put together and you can make the filling and store in the fridge.

Serves 2
½ loaf crusty French baguette
1 clove garlic, cut in half
4-6 basil leaves
1(6oz) can tuna
¾ cups Kalamata olives, sliced
½ cup red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
½ small red onion, finely chopped
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
 Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
PREP THE BREAD: Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise. Brush both halves with a little extra virgin olive oil. Rub each with the garlic. Line the half with the trough with the basil leaves.
MIX THE SALAD: In a mixing bowl, combine the tuna, olives, red bell pepper, onion, parsley. In a measuring cup or small bowl, whisk the lemon juice into the olive oil until it is combined. Pour the vinaigrette into the tuna mixture and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
ASSEMBLE: Spoon tuna mixture into the baguette over the basil leaves. Wrap sandwich well in plastic. SERVE: In the morning, cut sandwich in half. Enjoy for lunch at home or office.

Vietnamese chicken baguettes
Stuff your sandwich with chicken, carrot, cucumber, spring onion and sweet chilli dressing for an Asian zing.
Serves 1
1 small chicken breast
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vinegar
½ tsp sugar
Juice of ½ lime
½ small carrot, peeled and grated
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 piece cucumber, deseeded and sliced
½ red chilli, thinly sliced into rounds
1 sandwich baguette
3-4 Little Gem lettuce leaves, washed
1-2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Put the chicken breast between 2 pieces of cling film and bash with a rolling pin to about 1cm thick. Heat a griddle pan until hot. Rub the chicken with the oil, cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until cooked through. Set aside to cool.
Mix together the rice vinegar, sugar and lime juice, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the carrot, spring onions, cucumber and chilli.
Split a sandwich baguette along the top. Stuff with the Little Gem leaves and shred the chicken on top. Pile on the carrot mixture and wrap or place in a plastic box. Put the sweet chilli sauce in a small portable pot and when it's time for lunch, pour over the sauce just before tucking in.
Roasted veg and couscous salad
Couscous is a dietary staple across the Mediterranean.It is a coarsely ground pasta made from semolina and plays a similar role to rice and pasta. You can have it cold or hot and it makes a great lunch.
Serves 4
1 red and 1 yellow capsicum, halved and deseeded
1 slice of pumpkin
2 courgettes, thickly sliced
4 garlic cloves, leave skin on
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 red onion, thickly sliced
1 tsp cumin seeds
50g whole blanched almonds
250g couscous
300ml hot vegetable stock
Zest and juice 1 lemon
20g pack mint, roughly chopped
Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Cut peppers and pumpkin into bite-size pieces. Tip all the veg into a baking tray, add garlic, 2 tablespoons oil and seasoning, then mix and roast for 20 minutes. Add onion, cumin and almonds. Roast for another 20 minutes, then cool.
Put couscous into a large bowl, pour over the stock, cover, and then set aside for 10 minutes. Fluff up with a fork. In a bowl, mix zest, juice and remaining oil. Squeeze garlic pulp from skins into the bowl, mash well and fold in the mint. Pour over the veg, then toss with the couscous.
Spicy sausage rice recipe
This is a quick yet delicious lunch you can prepare. Spicy sausage, peppers, red onion, tomatoes and spring onion cooked in one pot with chicken stock and rice.
Serves 4
Olive oil, for frying
1 red onion, sliced
1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
5 spiced sausages
1 heaped tsp paprika
200g long-grain rice
500ml chicken stock
4 spring onions, trimmed and chopped
1 tomato - chopped
Small bunch of parsley, roughly chopped
Add a glug of oil to a heavy-based casserole dish and fry the onion for 5 minutes until soft but not coloured. Add the pepper and garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Slit the sausage skins and crumble the sausage meat into the pan, then cook over a medium heat for 4–5 minutes until coloured. Add the paprika and mix. Season to taste.
Add the rice and stir well to mix thoroughly and absorb the flavour. Add the stock and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for 15–20 minutes until the rice is tender and the liquid almost entirely absorbed.
Remove from the heat, gently fold in the spring onions, tomato and parsley and serve.
Cilantro-lime pasta salad
5 servings
4 ounces dried pasta
¼ cup lime juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp sugar
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp ground cumin
¼ tsp pepper
1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 ½ cups tomatoes, quartered
1cup finely chopped red onion (1 large)
1medium mango, seeded, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
¾ cup chopped yellow sweet pepper (1 medium)
¾ cup chopped red sweet pepper (1 medium)
1fresh Shimla chili, seeded and finely chopped*
 Lime wedges (optional)
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Meanwhile, for dressing, in a blender combine lime juice, cilantro, oil, sugar, ½ teaspoon salt, garlic powder, cumin, and pepper. Cover and blend about 30 seconds or until well mixed. Set aside.
Lightly coat griddle pan with oil. Preheat grill. Sprinkle chicken with ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper. Place chicken on pan. If using a grill with a cover, close lid. Grill until chicken is no longer pink. (For a covered grill, allow about 6 minutes. For an uncovered grill, allow 12 to 15 minutes, turning once halfway through grilling.) Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
In a large bowl combine pasta, chicken, tomatoes, red onion, mango, sweet peppers, and Shimla Chili. Pour dressing over pasta mixture; toss gently to coat. If desired, serve with lime wedges.

Photo: Sazzad Ibne Sayed
Food prepared by Abdullah Tareq

Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2014

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