As I have now returned to work, Lucas goes to a childminder 2 days a week so I have been thinking of some ideas of what he can take with him for lunch apart from the obvious ham sandwiches, pasta salads and fruit.
The lovely people over at Organix sent Lucas their mini boxes of raisins* and some banana and date fruit bars* to try so I thought I would look at their website for some other lunch box ideas as well.
Quinoa Bites, these look delicious and are suitable for freezing.
2 spring onions
Large handful spinach
Large handful watercress
Large handful mixed fresh herbs (basil, parsley etc.)
1 clove garlic
100g feta cheese
50g parmesan cheese or vegetarian equivalent
Step 1 – Cook the quinoa in boiling water for about 15 minutes (following packet instructions), then drain and rinse in cold water.
Step 2 – Meanwhile, finely chop the spring onions, spinach, watercress and fresh herbs. Crush the garlic, crumble the feta, grate the parmesan and whisk the eggs.
Step 3 – Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well.
Step 4 – Spoon the mixture into a very well greased mini muffin tin, press down and bake at 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas Mark 6 for approximately 20 minutes until golden. Step 5 – Allow to cool slightly then remove from the tin. Once cooled completely, serve, or pack up ready for a perfect bite size picnic treat.
Broccoli and Cheese Bites, also suitable for freezing so perfect for getting prepared.
Half an average sized head of broccoli
150g cold unsalted butter
350g self raising flour (or gluten free)
1 bunch fresh basil or other herb
100g cheddar cheese
50g parmesan (or vegetarian equivalent)
Step1 – Preheat oven to 200°C / 180°C fan / Gas Mark 6. Cut the broccoli into small florets and discard the stem (the stem can be used in stocks and soups). Steam or boil for 5-6 minutes until just soft, but still bright green. Drain and rinse under cold water, then finely chop.
Step 2 – Cut cold butter into cubes and rub into the flour with fingertips in a large bowl. Or you can use the pulse setting on a food processor instead, until you have a crumbly texture.
Step 3 – Chop the basil, grate both of the cheeses and add to the mixture along with the chopped broccoli – combine well with fingers or with pulse setting on food processor, being careful not to over mix.
Step 4 – Bring the mixture together in a large bowl, by adding the milk a little at a time, to form into a soft dough. Add extra flour or milk if needed. The dough should be light and soft and not too sticky. Knead together lightly.
Step 5 – Place the dough onto a greased baking sheet, and gently press and shape into a square, approx. 3cm deep. Cut into 25 little bite-size square scones, and then separate to give them a little space on the tray.
Step 6 – Bake for 25 minutes, until golden.
Grated Carrot, Hummous and Rocket Sandwich
For the hummous;
400g canned chickpeas
Juice of 1 lemon
1 or 2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
100ml tahini (sesame seed paste) (optional)
4 tbsps water
2 tbsps extra virgin olive oil
For the sandwich;
2 slices of fresh bread
1/2 a carrot
A couple of spoonfuls of hummous (see above!)
A handful of fresh rocket leaves
Step 1 – To make the hummous, combine all the ingredients in a food processor and blitz until very smooth. If you don’t have a food processor you can mash together in a bowl, but you will need to work a lot harder to get a smooth finish – it’s a good workout!
Step 2 – Top, tail and peel the carrot, then finely grate. For younger children use the finest grater and you might want to shred the rocket
Step 3 – Spread the bread with hummous, then top with carrot and rocket.
Step 4 – Cut into triangles (or circles, or stars, or whatever you fancy that day!) and serve.
Lucas loves raisins and Organix sell a bag of 18 mini boxes perfect for popping in his bag for the childminders. Each box of raisins counts as 1 childs fruit portion. They retail at £2.49 which is less than 14p per box.
Organix banana and date bars are 70% date and 30% banana, each bar is also counted as 1 childs fruit portion. Lucas has really enjoyed these and I like that the bars are indented into bitesize chunks. These are £2.49 for a pack of 6 bars which works out at approximately 41p per bar x