The economic doom and gloom has crept into our kitchen. But it's a good thing. We worked out the school lunch meal bill for Alex and Freddie was about £1200 ($2069) a year. The meals are made from decent ingredients but I still think its a lot of money for a child's lunch. So here is the Great Big Veg Challenge Credit Crunch Lunch. Alex has switched onto packed lunches, Freddie is still unconvinced and every morning inspects his sister's lunchbox, looking wistfully...
"This is SO unfair. She is getting really nice food. You are trying to ma-nip-ul-ise me," complained Freddie.
"No Freddie, it is entirely up to you - if you want to have these lunches you only have to ask."
I know, its a sly trick. And the hardest thing is ensuring that I can maintain the irrestibility of the packed lunches. Our first Credit Crunch Lunch offering for the blog is Butternut Squash and St Agur cheese tarts. (Cost approximately 40 pence a tart)
Butternut Squash and St Agur Tarts
500g (1 1b) ready-made shortcrust pastry
For the filling
Half a medium sized butternut squash, roasted
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper to season
3 eggs, beaten
1 egg yolk
150ml (quarter pint) creme fraiche
1 teaspoon of dried sage
125g St Agur cheese
Preheat oven to 180 C (350F). Cut the squash in half lengthways, scoop out seeds and rub a little oilive oil, season with salt and pepper and place flesh side down on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. When cooked, allow it to cool down, peel and cut into small cubes. Place in a bowl with a little olive oil and the dried sage. Mix together the beaten eggs, extra egg yolk and creme fraiche. Add a twist of freshly ground pepper.
Line the bottom of metal tartlet tins ( mine are around 12 cms in diameter) with non-stick baking paper. Lightly grease the sides of the tins. Line with the pastry and prick it . Bake blind for about 6 minutes in an oven at 190C . You can if you prefer make just one large tart in a single flan tin, or this recipe makes about 8 tartlets. Take them out of the oven and share out equally the butternut squash cubes between the pastry cases. Pour over the egg mixture and sprinkle equally between the cases little pieces of the cheese. St Agur tastes good but if you prefer milder tastes, some soft goats cheese. Place them back in the oven and bake for about 20 -25 minutes. The contents of the quiche will rise. Take care that the pastry does not burn.
I batch bake these and freeze them and they can be taken out the night before to be defrosted for use in school lunch boxes. They are just as delicious eaten cold as warm.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVOURITE CREDIT CRUNCH LUNCH BOX MEAL?