I often make myself a cooked lunch. I'm not vegetarian, but it generally is just pasta of some kind, plus whatever vegetables are on hand. I use a small pan to cook the pasta. And a wok for the vegetables. And it takes no more than fifteen minutes. That may be slightly longer than it might take to cook a shop-bought 'ready meal' in a microwave, but hey, the ingredients are fresh, and there are more of them. And for much less cost.
I can't insist that the nutritional value of what I cook up is better, but surely it is. Certainly, I'm not forced to consume all the additional chemicals found in factory-made meals, to make the product taste appetising and enjoy a long shelf life; and my own home-cooked creation won't have added yet more discarded cardboard and plastic packaging to the landfill.
I can cook this kind of lunch whether at home or in the caravan. In the summer especially, whether at home or away, I will defer getting out and around until the afternoon, cooking lunch first. Which saves a lot of money, not having to buy pub lunches.
Here's the cooking set-up in the caravan, all ready to go with a typical lunchtime pasta and vegetable creation.
It was 25th October. I was pitched at Pandy, north-east of Abergavenny, and intended to drive that afternoon to Swansea, then on to Rhossili, and possibly see the sunset at Worms Head on the Gower. I'd be gone several hours then. I wanted something hot and tasty inside me before I went.
The penne went on first, boiling for twelve minutes in that small pan.
Seven minutes after the penne had started to boil, I began to stir-fry the vegetables in the wok - mushrooms, courgette, red pepper and spring onion - using one-calorie Fry Light oil spray, a shake of salt, pepper and Knorr Aromat for seasoning, and, after four minutes of cooking, a sprinkling of soy sauce.
Once the penne had had its twelve minutes, I drained it and tipped it into the wok, tossing everything together so that the penne took on some of the brown colouring of the hot soy sauce.
Then I cut the heat, and spooned it all onto a plate. It was hot and steaming and hearty.
With a bit more pepper shaken over this, I had my simple but filling meal. Inside fifteen minutes. Consumed with a glass of water, and three little clementines as my dessert. Then a cup of tea to wash it all down with.
I do love the steam rising in the photos, and the sheer colourfulness of the meal. I hate drab-looking food.
I seem to be the only one among my friends who has completely dispensed with fancy sauces to cook in, and the use of ice cream or yoghurt with the dessert. I don't miss those things.
Did this meal keep me going throughout the afternoon? Even supplemented by apples and bananas? The next post will reveal what kind of afternoon I had.