November 21, 2016

Your Glorious! Lunch This Winter

I can't believe that November has already arrived and Winter is now upon us. Winter is the time to celebrate foods that are soul-warming and a time to embrace bold flavours.

So with that, I'm welcoming you all to join me in the Glorious! 4 Week Challenge! #GloriousChallenge

For 4 weeks, make your lunch hour a Glorious one by giving your tastebuds a real treat to exciting flavours! Going beyond the typical working lunch of sandwiches and salads, how does having a Korean bibimbap or Ethiopian stew sound?

That's not to say you shouldn't be healthy though, but you certainly don't have to compromise on flavour to achieve this. According to a recent survey by Glorious! an impressive 66% of us will be eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veg this Winter.

From visiting local street food markets, which are hugely popular in London, to eating at your favourite lunch spots to whipping up a delicious packed lunch, there are so many ways to reclaim your lunch break and feel Glorious.

For me, there's nothing better than tasting the world through food. Asian flavours always hit the spot for me, and I probably eat Chinese food, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and Taiwanese the most.

One of my Winter favourites has to be a bowl of hot Vietnamese rare beef pho. The broth is full of aromatics from the star anise, peppercorns and burnt onions and I always have it with some nuoc cham, a dipping sauce made of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, chillies and garlic. Typically served with fresh herbs and salad, a good Vietnamese beef pho is clean tasting yet full of flavour. This one from Pho and Bun is one of the best I've ever eaten.

Pork belly stews made the Chinese way is unbelievable in depth of flavour. There's plenty of varieties in the pork belly stews, but my favourite ones are made with Chinese preserved vegetables. The preserved vegetables can be the sweet and salty variety, or the sour ones preserved in vinegar. There's also a salt and chilli preserved one too, all of which work so well with pork. I can go through bowls and bowls of rice with a delicious pork belly stew. This is not easy to buy from restaurants and street food markets though, but it's great to make at home and brought in for a packed lunch. My recipe for Chinese star anise and soya braised pork belly is an easy one to follow.

Claypot rice is a Winter favourite of mine. Rice is cooked in a claypot slowly, and the extreme heat of the claypot makes the bottom of the rice very crispy. I always go for the black bean spare ribs with Chinese preserved sausages. You get a lovely salty hit from the black bean, and a smoky sweetness from the sausages which are also gently perfumed with rice wine.

The Korean version of claypot rice is the delicious bibimbap which is cooked in a hot stone bowl. It has the same crispy rice base, topped with gently sautéed vegetables like spinach and mushrooms and raw beef which cooks from the heat of the stone bowl as you mix everything together. By adding kimchi, miso paste, and the fermented chilli paste gochujang to the bibimbap, bold flavours of savoury, sweet, tangy, and spicy come right through. Bibimbap in Soho is the best place to try an authentic bibimbap and it won't break the bank either.

Local food markets are the best places to hunt down lunch time treats and if you're in London, there are so many choices. There's the well known Borough Market at London Bridge where my must eats include the beef stew at Ethiopian Flavours. The beef is incredibly tender and encased in a tomato based gravy that is gently spiced and full of flavour. The fluffy doughnuts from Bread Ahead are sinfully good, pillowy and doughy filled with an exciting creme patissiere in the middle such as salted caramel.  

There's also Broadway Market, SpittlefieldsStreet Food Union in Soho, Southbank, KERB, Camden Market and Brixton Market to name a few.

For those who prefer to stay in during lunch, making tasty lunches isn't hard, you just need to plan ahead. I always cook a big batch of whatever I'm making for dinner and take in the leftovers for lunch. Home made chilli con carne, cottage pies, beef stew and lasagnes are all great choices.

If cooking for lunch is not an option, then buying bits to spice up your lunch hour is easy too. Korean snacking seaweed go really well with rice and noodles, as does soya sauce and a spicy sauce like sriracha. Snacks like Propercorn sun dried tomato and Worcester sauce popcorn are super moreish and their sweet coconut and vanilla is just addictive.

Whatever you end up having for lunch, don't let it be a less than exciting one!

Luckily for me, I am in Hong Kong right now for 3 weeks! Do watch out for all the mouth watering and Glorious foods I've been sharing on my Instagram. Follow me on there if you don't already!


*This is a collaborative post with Glorious! foods

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© LUCY LOVES TO EAT
Maira Gall