Dinner, lunch or whatever you call it
When you start working from a home office, you expect to lose the regimented routine you pick up working in an organisation much bigger than yourself. Apart from the lack of company and daily chit-chat, which I miss a lot, it suits me. You get to start and finish work when you want or need to, and no overbearing boss hauls you into their office to tell you off. Well, apart from yourself. I regularly have stern words with myself.
There is sometimes a temptation to work for too long and not take enough breaks; as a writer your mind never really stops twitching and gathering ideas. And working freelance really does mean that time is money. You end up working harder and longer than you ever do working for someone else. But I do enjoy being able to pick my own hours.
The part of my routine I wasn’t expecting to lose was dinner, or lunch depending on which part of the country you live in. I should have heeded Hadley Freeman’s warning in Be Awesome, that when you work from home your fridge suddenly becomes a magical place full of wondrous delights. Over a few months I’ve ended up grazing on whatever the kitchen cupboards contained. Which is not to say that they’ve all been unhealthy, but I definitely seemed to have stopped eating dinner.
Sometimes I’d go to the coffee shop mid-morning and be so full of milky latte that I didn’t want to eat anything. Sometimes I’d just grab a pasty or a sausage roll and that would be enough. Sometimes I just skipped it altogether. I wasn’t putting on weight, but nutritionally it didn’t feel good. Especially when I noticed I was eating less fruit and vegetables during the day. I needed to readdress the balance, so picked up Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing’s The Little Book of Lunch.
This book is over 200 pages of simple but delicious lunch ideas. Some recipes are so obvious I was almost annoyed with myself for not thinking them up, but a little direction and forward planning did a lot of good. It’s not relevant to me at the moment, but I liked that each recipe came with storage suggestions so that you don’t end up with a soggy salad after a few hours of it sitting in a plastic box in the office fridge.
Not only did I look forward to eating my dinner, but I also got excited about preparing it. Caitlin Moran once tweeted that she’d never get one of those kitchen taps that dispense already boiling water because writers need those few minutes at the kettle. I think this falls under the same umbrella.
While it definitely wasn’t my intention, my trousers do seem to be a little looser this week. Eating something that made me feel full cut out the excessive daytime grazing. But don’t worry, I still ate more than my fair share of hot cross buns and biscuits. There’s always room for those.
Here are the four lunches I prepared from Monday to Thursday this week. I’m already excited about planning more for next week.
BALT SOURDOUGH SANDWICH (page 56)
Avocado, bacon, tomato, little gem lettuce and mayo in two pieces of toasted and buttered sourdough bread.
SIMPLE GUACAMOLE & TOMATO SALSA ON RYE (page 55)
As the title suggests, but I left the garlic out of the salsa and used rye crackers instead of bread. I also added the olives because they were hanging about the fridge.
ASPARAGUS WITH BLACK PEPPER AND HOLLANDAISE (page 59)
The recipe suggests adding boiled eggs and an olive oil dressing. I went with the alternative suggestion of warmed up, ready-made hollandaise.
FENNEL WITH LEMON CHICKEN (page 35)
A simple salad of fresh fennal, lettuce, parsley, almond flakes and lemon chicken with an olive oil dressing.
I had planned on having the Faux Pho (page 164) today, but as I’ve managed to keep back some of the butternut squash, chilli and bacon soup I made last night, leftovers it is. Enjoy your dinner, lunch or whatever you call it.
All photos my own.