Bringing some Mexican zing to work is as easy as folding a tortilla
Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing
Thu 18 Sep 2014 12.30 BSTLast modified on Sat 18 Aug 2018 06.19 BST
Atube pastime we enjoy almost as much as staring vacantly at adverts is spying on our fellow commuters’ packed lunches. A constant source of fascination, they are little windows into other peoples’ lives and habits: an errant banana or Hobnob making a bid for freedom from an unsuspecting handbag or pocket, or a takeaway container demonstrating the combined enterprise and laziness of its owner.
Illustration: Hennie Haworth
While bringing leftover takeaway curry to work has its merits, another exquisite cuisine that can be emulated at home and for lunch the next day with much success is Mexican. Done well, it’s as delicious as it comes – as the talented Thomasina Miers proves. Much like Thai cuisine, it manages to be satisfactorily filling, yet impossibly fresh and unstodgy: important if you want to avoid a power-nap in the loos. (Save that for your next catastrophic Friday hangover.)
• Immediately put aside cooked meat from the weekend or dinner for your lunch. Or cook up a big batch of beans in advance: soak dried borlotti or black beans overnight and then boil them in unsalted water until soft.
• Pick up some lime, chillies, coriander, avocado and some feta and you’re good to go. This stash can form the basis of a multitude of lunches.
• Now, dream up a variety of tortillas to be assembled at the office. Vary your fillings (a spoonful of beans seasoned with homemade salsa, leftover meat refried at home in onion and sprinkled with smoked paprika…) but a final squeeze of lime and a crumble of feta is a good constant.
• Fry chopped chorizo in a little olive oil, add sliced garlic and thyme. After a minute, stir in about 400g of cooked beans and add a pinch of smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Lovely at room temperature or reheated.
• Fry an onion, garlic and chilli in butter, then add 400g of beans, mushed with a fork or blended along with a bay leaf. Gently fry for 5–10 minutes. Delicious reheated and served over rice along with some leftover chicken, plus the final obligatory squeeze of lime and chopped coriander.