HHow many times in the work week do you take adequate rest? Whether you work formally or not, and whatever your job, we all need downtime. We need to recharge and our brains really need to pause and be fed. Stopping work to do something absorbent, like cooking, has been shown in studies to help us get more done with the rest of the day and faster, so you can get on with the rest of your life. You deserve a break. Here are some simple snacks to look forward to.
Sandwiches full of joy
There’s nothing wrong with reliable cheese and pickle, but we can bring a lot more joy to a sarnie. How about hot fish finger sandwiches, made with crusty bread and slathered with tartar sauce? Or egg mayonnaise with chilli and capers? Or smoked mackerel with fresh cream and cucumber? Or Cornish yarg with a handful of watercress? Or cheddar cheese toast with shredded kimchi? Roast chicken with chicory and blue cheese? Ham with piccalilli and arugula? Grilled jackfruit on a hot bun with coleslaw? Roasted Eggplant and Roasted Peppers with Tahini Sauce and Almond Flakes?
Load up your pantry and fridge with a few of these extra bits to make your next sandwich worth stopping by.
Batch cook these eggs marinated in soy sauce and store in the refrigerator. Eat them on their own, as a snack; on toast with sliced spring onion and hot sriracha sauce (and maybe a little avocado); cut in half and nestled in miso broth with noodles and vegetables; with rice or congee, or in a radish, cilantro and peanut salad, lime dressing and fish sauce.
Method Put two eggs at room temperature in a pot of boiling water and cook for seven minutes. While the eggs are cooking, mix together 5 tablespoons of soy sauce, 2 tablespoons of mirin, ½ teaspoon of sugar, and 5 tablespoons of water. When the eggs are done, cool under cold running water. Husk, then dip in the soy mixture. Leave it for at least 15 minutes, turning it several times, but overnight (in the refrigerator) is even better.
I love your leftovers
Is there anything better than realizing you saved your leftover takeout from last night and will shortly be adding some chickpeas and turning it into a delicious curry wrap? Often times, the small amounts of food left over after dinner are just the right size to reuse in a lighter solo lunch, perhaps with legumes or salad. Cooked broccoli can be sautéed and stacked on toast with ricotta or feta. The mash turns into potato chip cakes, perhaps with smoked fish or an egg on top. The chili is transformed into a burrito with grated cheese and lettuce.
Roasted Nut Mix
The trail mix was designed for hikes, but is equally suitable for breaks from the workday. This is a more elegant and spicy version of the original.
Method Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and preheat the oven to 180C. Put 200 g of chopped walnuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, walnuts), ideally with skin, and 50 g of pumpkin and sunflower seeds on the tray. Place in the oven and cook for four minutes. Meanwhile, mix 2 tablespoons of maple syrup with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of chili powder, a pinch of smoked paprika, and a pinch of salt. Remove pan from oven and drizzle over maple mixture, then toss to coat. Cook for another five minutes, stir, then cook for another four to six minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool. Eat as is or add 50g of mixed nuts and / or 50g of chopped very dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Brownie Bites
While I’m not going to pretend my brownies are a health food, they are made with extremely dark chocolate, which is packed with gut health-enhancing flavonoids, plus dried fruits and nuts for a much better range of micronutrients than you’ll find. . in most packaged snacks. And how can you not eat the whole tray at once? Cut it into very small portions; you just need a bite with a cup of tea. Freeze once cool, taking one out each morning to defrost.
Method Preheat the oven to 170C (fan). Melt 125 g of good quality dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), 50 g of butter and 60 ml of rapeseed oil. Let cool. Beat two eggs and an egg white with ½ teaspoon of fine salt, 100 g of powdered sugar and 75 g of light brown sugar, until pale, thick and mousse-like. Mix together 50 g of unsweetened cocoa powder, 60 g of all-purpose flour and ½ teaspoon of baking powder, then sift in the beaten eggs (do not mix). Pour in the chocolate and 1 teaspoon of vanilla paste, 100 g of chopped nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, walnuts, Brazil) and 50 g of dried cranberries, cranberries or cherries. Fold everything together until just combined. Pour into a lined metal can (about 24cm x 24cm) and bake for 15 minutes for squid brownies (add two minutes if you prefer a doughy texture). Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the can, then gently cut into 20 small portions. Freeze once cool.
• Solo: how to work alone (and not lose your mind)by Rebecca Seal is out now (Souvenir Press).
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism