I must admit that the whole week-day lunchtime situation is a bit of a never-ending challenge. Honey Spiced Vege with Burghul Wheat to the rescue.
Half a cauliflower 1 eggplant 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed 1 small red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped 2 tsp ground cumin 1 tsp ground cinnamon 1 Tbsp honey, heated in the microwave for a few seconds so it’s super runny Finely grated zest of 1 lemon 6 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp salt Freshly ground black pepper 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 cup burghul wheat (also known as burgul and bulghur) 10 olives, pitted and chopped ½ cup fresh mint, coarsely shredded 50g (1½-2oz) feta, crumbled for on top
I must admit that the whole week-day lunchtime situation is a bit of a never-ending challenge. About half the time we’re good – my partner and I manage to control our dinner portion sizes (easier said than done, especially in winter!) and leave enough left-overs to take to work the next day for lunch. The other half of the week we over-indulge or just simply forget to plan ahead while we cook dinner. I hate this! Because lunch the following day always ends up being an expensive let down.
It was at work at the start of one of these particular ‘no leftovers’ lunchtimes when I was contemplating what to eat. I was thinking up something warming, wallet-friendly, healthy, and maybe a little spicy. So introducing my ideal lunch: Honey Spiced Vege with Burghul Wheat. It’s a substantial winter salad that’s aromatic, and genuinely something to look forward to as you heat it up in the microwave at work! Make it the night before and serve it alongside lamb or chicken, or as part of a vegetarian meal, but exercise self-control and make sure you put aside enough of this deliciousness for your lunch the next day.
1 Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) degrees (I use the fanbake setting).
2 Give the cauliflower the “once over” and cut out any little brown bits and wash away any dirt. Chop into bite-sized chunks and get rid of the big stalky bits (you can include the middle-sized stalky bits). Wash and dry the eggplant, cut off the ends, and chop into chunky chunks. Pop the vege in to an ovenproof dish (you may need two!). Tin is better than china for quick cooking.
3 Make the honey glaze in a small bowl. Mix the garlic, chilli, cumin, cinnamon, honey and zest together with 3 tablespoons of oil, 1 teaspoon of salt and black pepper to taste.
4 Pour the glaze over the vege and give it all a good toss. Bake in the oven until everything is tender – around 40 minutes. Give the vege a mix every now and then during cooking to stop things burning, though if there are a few browned bits that’s fine. If things are taking ages and your eggplant isn’t cooked through, ramp up the heat to 200°C (400°F) and keep a careful eye things don’t burn. Remove from oven once all is tender, juicy, and little bit crispy.
5 While the cauliflower and eggplant are cooking, prepare the burghul wheat according to the packet instructions (I always add a pinch of salt to it.) Make the dressing by mixing the lemon juice with the other remaining oil and salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
6 Once the burghul wheat is cooked, fluff it with a fork, mix in the dressing, olives, and fresh mint and set aside. Remove the vege from the oven and assemble! Dish the burghul wheat onto a serving plate, then the vege and then crumble the feta over the top. If you like, grab a few more mint leaves and scatter them on top, too.
Our horrendous garlic crusher that we bought for a couple of $$$ from the supermarket broke after its maiden crushing. We have not got around to buying another and instead we are ‘crushing’ our garlic manually. If you’re in a similar situation to us, then pop a damp kitchen cloth under your chopping board so it doesn’t wriggle around as you finely chop the garlic, or use a round-bladed knife to sort of scrunch it up, then add a pinch of salt, work it in with the knife, and like magic you have crushed garlic.