While I appreciate the ease of buying one’s lunch, I have generally been one to make my own. This is mostly on account of tenuous finances rather than any self-satisfied pragmatism; albeit it has been a habit instilled since childhood.
Although I am confident in my abilities to make a deftly-prepared sandwich, I tend not to make them as I find I can rarely consume an entire loaf of bread before it goes stale (and freezing and defrosting bread seems to require too much planning ahead for me). For that reason, I am always trying to think up new and economical ideas for lunchtime. A puff-pastry tart is a delicious and easy meal to make the night before, and is particularly recommended for those on a busy schedule as it makes enough for four servings. That’s four lunches sorted for the week ahead.
1 stick of Just Rol Puff Pastry
1 red onion
1 package of goats cheese (I used a 125g log of Tesco British Goat’s Cheese, which is very reasonable)
1 red pepper
A splash or two of olive oil
A knob of butter for frying
A sprinkle of basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Begin by roasting a red pepper in a hot oven until it is nicely burnished, soft and ever-so-slightly blackened at the edges.
Roughly slice a red onion and fry in olive oil until soft. Add a knob of butter for flavour.
Unroll the ready-made pastry and place on a greased dish. If you have a tray big enough, keep the rectangle of pastry as it is. If not, do what I did and half the pastry into two rectangles. It is important though to lightly butter or oil the dish as the pastry can stick.
Once the onions and peppers are softened (it’s OK to leave a little bit of bite as they will be baked), spread and arrange on the pastry rectangles, leaving a border around the edge so that the pastry can puff up nicely.
Slice up the goats cheese using a damp knife for ease and dot among the vegetables. Roughly chop some basil leaves and scatter, followed by a light drizzle of olive oil.
Finish with freshly ground black pepper and a few pinches of salt. If you have the time (and a little pastry brush), a wash of egg will lend the edges a pleasing golden glaze.
Bake in the oven until the pastry is puffed, lightly golden and rounded along the sides. Serve with a simple salad, preferably darkly dampened with balsamic vinegar, which accompanies the cheese nicely.
Keeps in the fridge for a few days and is a tasty lunch-box alternative.