Lunch- Couscous, Roast Vegetables and Halloumi .

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I love the squeaky halloumi cheese, really love it. Just thinking about it makes my mouth water, yes, really. It is a bit strange as I hate anything that squeaks when touched and am not a big salt fan. Nobody else in my house likes the squeaky cheese so it has become part of my work day lunch. I have experimented with the best ways to cook, store and reheat it and keeping it in small slabs. It is best microwaved in the slab too and then cut up for eating.

I am not going to write out a recipe for this lunch as it is pretty simple. Just roast some of your favourite vegetable with a hint of seasoning ( I like piri piri) and olive oil. Remember they shrink down a fair bit, so do plenty. I have been eating this weeks veg with couscous, halloumi and beetroot added after it is warmed. It is rather delicious and keeps me happy.

So my recent lunches are-

Roast Vegetables, couscous and halloumi.

Black Bean Stew.







My Lunch Always Attracts Attention. This Week Black Bean Stew.

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I have recently moved branches ( I work on the counter of a major bank). This move has brought lots of interest in my lunch and what I have brought. I have been making for pretty decent lunches for a long time now and don’t really think about it and it has never occurred to me that others might want to know how to make what I have. I cook while doing dinner, I find that it doesn’t feel like a chore.

I am a vegetable lover  and also a healthy eater. I love to have a good serve of vegetable at lunch time. I make a portion of whatever I am cooking that will last three days. I find that the best amount of time for food to stay fresh and not drive me crazy. I often have the main component in different ways. A stew like the one below can be served with rice, put in wraps or any other way that takes your imagination.

Talking of healthy, I am also embarking on a new adventure. For about 18 months I have been walking for exercise and I have made a big leap and signed up with a personal trainer, the marvellous Tim at Studio72 . This leap has lead me to think about keeping up my healthy eating and sharing my ideas.

This week I will mostly be eating …….


Black Bean Stew -

  • Servings: 3-4
  • Print

1/2 tbsp neutral oil

1 medium onion chopped

1 clove garlic chopped

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp paprika

2 tsp honey

1 tin black beans in spring water drained

1 tin of tomatoes (I like Wattie’s crushed and sieved)

A splash or two of hot sauce (optional)

Salt and pepper to taste


Heat oil in a medium saucepan or fry pan.

Add onion and cook until just getting soft.

Then add garlic and cook until onion is translucent.

The spices go in next, add and stir.

When they are fragrant add the honey and cook for a minute, stirring continually.

Add the beans and mix.

Tip in roughly a 1/4 c of the tomatoes and cook until liquid reduces.

Add the rest of the tomatoes, splash of optional hot sauce and salt and Pepper.

Cook with the lid off for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When it has thickened cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

Allow to cool in the pan, this will help the beans soften.

When you are ready to eat it, heat covered for around 1 1/2 minutes in a microwave.

It is good with sour cream, sprinkle of cheese or coriander . You can eat it as a soup too.










Logan Brown, This Is What I Thought Being A Grown Up Was.

As a kid I loved food and thinking about being a grown up. When I pictured being older and going to fancy restaurants places like Logan Brown were in my imagination. My experience today, as naff as it sounds, lived up to my childhood dreams.

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There is something about Logan Brown that I find magical. I love the building with its strange angles, beautiful cornice ceiling and nooks. It is one place where I even enjoy visiting the ladies room. Every time I have been I have walked in and felt like I am now the adult I wanted to be. The food is fabulous too!

My visit today was with a good friend. I am a member of Logan Brown’s Vault Club. I do the odd survey and receive emails about events. Every so often I get an email with a great offer. An offer enticed me to visit this time as the lunch menu was an incredible price, $45 for 2 people to have 3 courses. Yes, you read right, high end food at an extraordinary price.

When I write my blog posts about places I eat I don’t go into huge descriptions of my meal. Eating and tasting is a very individual thing and your opinion can be very different to mine. With todays food, I am pretty sure any one with a mouth would side with me.

So, here a few photographs of my mighty fine lunch. I nearly forgot to tell you about my major achievement…………… I didn’t read the menu before I went and I had the fish dish and didn’t do my predictable move and go for the vegetarian dish. It was a glorious fish dish, all three dishes were marvellous.


Red Onion & Portobello Mushroom Tart, Grilled Haloumi, Chorizo Vinaigrette & Arugula

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Crisp Skin Gurnard, Chermoula White Bean Puree, Prawn Beignet & Corn


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Caramelised Apple Frangipane, Cinnamon Ice Cream, Candied Almonds & Calvados Syrup


Where is your favourite fancy restaurant?



Logan Brown Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato






Lunch Panic And I Must Fill The Oven Up – Cornmeal Loaf.

I inherited this need to fill the oven when it is on. I blame my maternal grandmother and my mother. These moments result in some interesting rushed bakes and generally the results are good. This cornmeal loaf was a good one and I need to record my slap dash recipe on here so I can make it again.

I have toasted thick slices in the sandwich press at work and enjoyed it with a good wedge of Whitestone Brie. The cheese with the chutney baked into the middle made for a tasty lunch.

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The above photograph is two thick wedges cut into quarters, just enough for a good lunch. I used Barkers Red pepper and Chilli Jelly for the sauce.

Cornmeal Loaf -

  • Servings: 4 -6
  • Print

Line a medium size loaf tin with greaseproof paper

1 1/2 c plain flour

1/2 cornmeal (fine)

2 tsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

1/2 c grated tasty cheese

1/2 c sweetcorn (frozen is fine)

1 egg lightly beaten

1/2 c canola oil

1/2 c milk

2 tablespoons of your favourite chutney/sauce

( you can also add smoked paprika, chill flakes or anything else you think will go nicely)

In a large bowl mix flour, cornmeal , baking powder and salt.

Stir in cheese and sweetcorn until coated in dry ingredients.

In a jug mix egg, oil and milk.

Add we to dry and stir until just mixed.

Put mix into prepared tin.

With  a knife gently make an indent down the length of the mix in the middle.

Fill the indent with your chosen sauce, push in a little if you need to.

Bake for 25- 30 minutes until a skewer comes out clean.

Cool in the tin and enjoy.


“Write about cheese”, she said-The Collective NZ Chipotle Haloumi.


Last night I really wanted to blog something but drew a blank. I consulted my friend Liz and was told to write about cheese. It didn’t occur to me until I was eating my lunch at work today that I had some cheese I really wanted to talk about. That is the above, the brilliant squeaky cheese with a kick from the ever fabulous The Collective NZ.


I love haloumi and I love spice. This Collective NZ Chipotle Haloumi cheese was made for me and my work lunches. Haloumi heats up well. I either fry it in a bit of oil until brown on both sides or put it down the end of a tin of roasting vegetables and cook in the oven for about 15 minutes  (let it sit for a bit before trying to get it off the baking sheet). I like to cut it into thick wedges down the narrow side. When I reheat it in the microwave I put it on top of my quinoa and veg, I only warm it all for around 1 minute and I rip the cheese into fork size pieces before eating.

This cheese has a smoky taste with a good kick. I have only tried it with roast vegetables and quinoa, it was excellent. I now want to try it with a good homemade lamb burger, my mouth is watering just thinking about that idea.

Look for it in the shops, give it a try. I hope it stays around forever.

(This is not a sponsored post)

Israeli Couscous, roast vegetables and haloumi ~ another lunch.

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One of the things I have come to realise is that I really love my ‘Emma’ lunches. I get to make food that I really like and I get to eat it at work in peace. There is no dog looking longingly, no cats wanting the cheese and no kid. Not even a husband sorting through the pile and looking for the meat, there isn’t any meat either.

At my work place we have Hari Krishna food, it is great but I like to keep it as a treat. With my lunch made I have 3 days food, I find it doesn’t taste so nice after that and I have picked all the best bits out. I think the best bits is the key to your own personalised lunch, make it with the bits you love, let yourself have all the bits you like and enjoy.

My new favourite thing is Israeli Couscous or Pearl Couscous, you should be able to just see the little balls of lovely in the above picture. There are various ways to cook it and I have found that I like to brown it a little, like when you cook risotto. Then I cook it in vegetable stock, adding more stock as it boils off. I used about 1 cup of couscous here and about 1 1/2 c of vegetable stock. I don’t flavour the couscous as there is enough going on  elsewhere.

This Wiki page is a good guide.

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I also roasted some vegetables in olive oil , yes, you have guessed it, the veg I love. I am also a seasonal buyer and do not purchase anything not grown in New Zealand unless I have to. I check the origin of all fruit and vegetables along with the price. I find that price is a good way to figure out if it is locally grown. Anyway, back to the roast veg, when it is all nicely good I add it to the drained and slightly al dente couscous along with a bit of the residual veg/olive oil juices,

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To this lunch I added one of my favourite things, Haloumi. I know I harp on about the company but I love The Collective Dairies cheese because it keeps it shape when fried and heats up nicely in the microwave. I cook up a whole block in slices for my lunch, a couple of bits vanish into my mouth straight out the fry pan.

When it comes time to eat, I chop the cheese up, put it in first, top with the couscous and veg. I microwave it for around a minute, I like it room temperature or just warm and find everything stays together nicely. I also add salt and pepper and any fresh herbs I happened to bring with me. Mint or coriander are favourties.

I think I may have said this before, embrace your lunch, make it yours and enjoy.

More lunch- I had a taste for this and it came out perfectly, Pasta Salad with Haloumi

This lunch was so easy and so useful for that little bit of pasta in the bottom of the packet. It was also filling, tasty and good for me.

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Pasta for one

Olive oil

Haloumi (I like The Collective Dairy)



Cherry tomatoes

Cook the pasta until al dente, you want it to be a bit hard still. Drain.

Cut the halloumi into rectangles and brown in a little olive oil in a fry pan.

Remove and drain the cheese on some kitchen roll.

Add a splosh more olive oil to the pan and then some garlic (I used my garlic crusher so it was nice and small)

When you can smell the garlic starting to soften add a handful of cherry tomatoes (0r wedges of larger ones) and a fistful or two or the spinach.

Cook until just warm and the spinach has just started wilting.

Stick the pasta in your container first and top with the frying pan yummy stuff.

I left mine out on the side at work so it didn’t get fridge cold.

I will be having this again tomorrow with three handfuls of spinach.

Chickpea, tomato and capsicum stew – another lunch idea for work


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This time I went for a tomato based lunch with more chickpeas. I took basmati rice and sour cream to go with it. It has been a rather tasty lunch and I will be eating the last portion in a minute. I added a handful of spinach at the end of cooking as it needed using up.
Splash of olive oil
½ of each- red, green. yellow capsicum (pepper) cut into chunks
1 med white onion thinly slice
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tsp honey
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tin of tomatoes
Worcestershire sauce (leave out if vegetarian)
Salt and pepper to season
Heat enough olive oil to cover the saucepan you are using
Add onion and when beginning to be transparent add garlic and capsicum
Stir regularly until softened
Add chickpeas
Add honey, smoked paprika, cumin and stir until coats all
Add tomatoes, a couple of shakes of Worcestershire sauce and season
Leave to cook for around 10-15 minutes uncovered to reduce, stir occasionally
Cook for a further 15 minutes with the lid on
I turn off the heat and leave the stew to cook further  15 minutes.
Leave to cool with lid kept on, using residual heat.

A decent lunch for work, roast vegetables and chickpeas with quinoa and brown rice

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It isn’t as hard as it looks, honest. I have been regularly taking enough lunch to last three days and I always feel so much better for it. I am not a natural meat eater and always have a homemade vegetarian lunch. I only do three days as I find that is how long it tastes good for and I take it all in in one go and heat it only for 1 minute in the bowl I eat from.

Store the vegetables separate from any other additions otherwise everything ends up tasting the same and get olive oil on it. Every week I think, should have blogged that but never do and have decided that I will try to give some lunch inspiration.

This week’s meal is pretty easy-

Choose your favourite vegetables to roast, remember it is for you so you can pick ones no one else likes. This week I have kumara (sweet potato) , carrot, pumpkin, white onion and red capsicum.

I chop enough vegetables to cover my medium roasting pan and I have found keeping them medium size (around 3cm square) means you can tasteeach veg. After a few times you will figure out what you need and what you like.

I drizzle the veg with olive oil and a sprinkle of  MasterFoods Tuscan seasoning, it is a great seasoning and I have to take it to the UK for my parents. These were roasted until browned and soft. When they are done let them cool in the tin for a good while before transporting to your chose vessel. When completely cool, put the veg in the fridge.

To go with my roast veg this week I have cooked rice and quinoa to go with it. I use the SunRice mix and cook it according to instructions. I leave this to cool and stick in the fridge.

One of the secrets to a good lunch is the little extras. This week I have also taken along coriander, tomatoes, a nice juicy lemon and some roasted chickpeas that I stuck in the oven as I had a moment of inspiration. The chickpeas are so easy and so good, I used one tin and will do these regularly. I also have a pepper grinder at work and some salt.

It may read like hard work and I may sound vague, it really is about you eating a decent lunch that you like. Too often we adjust our cooking to suit others and lunch can be a moment where you get to claim a meal for yourself. You might not like my way but I might inspire you to find yours.

No lunch, what is a girl to do? Sweetcorn Fritter

This morning I had a crisis, I had no lunch prepared and didn’t fancy a pie (I know, I do have moments when I don’t want pie). After much cupboard browsing I landed on the idea of a corn fritter. This was spurned on by the sour cream I had in the fridge at work. I whipped one up quick and tootled off for my day as a bank lady.

At lunch I microwave it for 45 seconds and enjoyed it with the sour cream and sweet chili sauce I brought from home.

It made a good change and a lovely easy lunch. Way better than sandwiches but then, so are most things.
My fritter is very yellow because I used a friends free-range eggs.


splash of olive oil
1 egg
1/2 c SR flour
1 tsp curry powder
1/2 c Sweet corn- I used frozen
salt and pepper to taste
May need a splash of milk to thin
Heat a medium fry pan and olive oil
Break egg into a bowl and whisk lightly
Stir in flour, curry powder, salt and pepper
Stir gently until you have a thick batter consistency – add milk if needed
Plop into a pan, it should go pancake shaped
Fry gently, turning when brown
Remove when cooked through and doesn’t feel doughy in the middle
I let mine cool for a bit. At work I kept it out of the fridge.
You can vary the veg, I have used cauliflower and onion before
I know curry powder isn’t the most fashionable but when you find one you like, it should be a cupboard staple. I use Countdowns Own Brand