Cajun Chicken Rice Salad, Green Thai Chicken Soup – Birley Sandwiches/Kruger, Canary Wharf

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For regular readers, you might have noticed a trend with my lunch choices. If lunch comes from established chain outlets, I’m probably at Canary Wharf. If they are from small, sometimes “dodgy” independent shops, I’m at Brick Lane. Lunch today is from both Birley and Kruger. Guess where am I today?

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As usual I’m hard pressed for time today so decided to just pickup something from Cabot Place. Have not tried Birley Sandwiches before so thought I give it a go. Out of the 9 Birley outlets, 6 of them are in the Canary Wharf vicinity. The other 3 are in the square mile, goes to show they are targeting the more established business folks. Of the 6 in Canary Wharf, I have tried Birley’s Salt Beef Bar and thought not much of it. The outlet serving salads and soup always has a long queue. To save time, decided to pickup a premade salad from the sandwich outlet. At £4.25, the Cajun Chicken Rice Salad looks very tasty and substantial.

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I really enjoyed the Mixed Seafood Soup from Kruger last week so decided to try another one of their soups. Today’s choices includes Chicken Noodle, Tomato & Basil, Moroccan Harissa, Wild Mushroom, Green Thai Chicken and the seafood one which I have tried before. Only after I ordered the Green Thai Chicken then I realised that it has the same protein as my main. Duh! Large soup with a soft sesame roll for £3.

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First the soup which once again was very good. The smell when you open the container was simply divine. Had a comment from my colleagues saying how good it smells, in fact I got a similar comment from the seafood soup last week as well! Once again, the base of the soup is a combination of leeks, onions and carrots but since it’s a Green Thai Chicken soup, there was also coriander and possibly some green curry paste. The veg used were very generous and so was the chicken breast pieces.

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Doesn’t the rice salad look great! Neatly arranged slices of chicken, lemon, corn salsa on seasoned rice. I’m usually not a very visual person, much prefer to judge food on taste. But good looking good is always appreciated. Taste wise, it did not disappoint as well. The slices of chicken was seasoned with a Cajun style coating giving it a slightly charred and spicy taste. The rice also has a rather smoky taste which complimented the chicken nicely. The corn salsa could be spicier but nothing a few drops of Tabasco won’t fix.

Hmm… I need to try the rest of the soup options from Kruger. Hope they all taste that good!

Birley Sandwiches
Cabot Place West
Canary Wharf
London E14 4QT
0207 512 9112

Kruger
Cabot Place
Canary Wharf
London E14 4QT
0207 719 1629

Saag Daal and Buffalo Chicken Wings – Junk’s Manor

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Today’s lunch is a bit of a mishmash but definitely cheaper than my normal lunches. Bought a bag of spinach on the weekend and was wondering what to do with it. I hate that spinach always come in big bags. I know they shrink when cooked but 1 bag last at least 4 meals for me. There were some lentils languishing in my pantry and thought why don’t I give Saag Daal a try? So I’m having the leftovers from dinner last night with a few added extras.

Consulted a few recipes for Saag Daal online and they are variants along the same theme. Basically, you soak or boil the lentils till they are tender, fry up some onions and spices, bunk in the lentils with enough liquid and continue to boil, add the chopped up spinach and you are done! For my version, I added tomatoes, ginger and garlic and for the spices, I went with tumeric, coriander, cumin, fennel seeds, chilli powder and a bit of all spice. Turned out pretty good I think!

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Waitrose currently have a 1/3 off all chilled ready meals and I was tempted by the Hot and Spicy Buffalo Wings. I believe after discount, it was £1.99 for 12 wings which I thought was a good deal. Since it’s from Waitrose and need to cater for the mass market, I knew it will never be that spicy but was quietly hopeful. Alas, my instinct was right, it’s not spicy at all and to add insult to injury, it’s sweet. Decided to use it to bulk up my lunch as the wings are too depressing to eat on it’s own. Will need to go back to the Orange Buffalo for my wing kicks soon.

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For the carb portion of my lunch, I went digging into my trusty pantry and found the last bag of Tilda’s microwave basmati rice. This time, it’s Coconut Basmati and I knew it will match my Saag Daal well as it says on the package “Perfect for curries”!

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In all, a very satisfying lunch. The Saag Daal brewed up overnight and I can taste the fennel and all spice coming thru the sweetness of the tomatoes and onions. The buffalo wings were ok after generous lashings of Tabasco sauce. As for the rice, not the best in the Tilda’s range but pleasant enough with quite a bit of shredded coconut scattered amongst the rice grains. I will definitely cook Saag Daal again in the near future.

Junk’s Manor
Somewhere in West London
Open 365 days a year (except leap years)
No dinner party plans as yet

Homemade Fried Rice and stuff from Tesco – Junk’s Manor and Tesco Canary Wharf

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It’s “flied lice” time! Ok, I know it’s nasty of me to make fun of English accents of different racial groups. But being a Chinese, I think I have the right to laugh at myself! Anyway, today’s lunch is a mashup of leftovers and additions from Tesco.

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Spent about 15 minutes wondering the aisles of Tesco trying to decide what will go well with my leftover fried rice. Decided on the Saag Aloo and the Spicy Fried Chicken Filet. The Saag Aloo was £0.75 which I thought was a bargain while the chicken was £3. So in all, quite a cheap lunch by my standards.

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The Saag Aloo was mildly spiced and had a tangy taste which was rather appetising. Definitely different from the other versions I had from other Indian takeaways. The chicken filet was indeed spicy, you can see the specks of chillies from the crumb coating. Would have been better reheated in an oven to crisp up the crumb coating but I had to settle with the microwave in my office.

As for my fried rice, I added eggs, minced chicken, sliced green beans and garnished it with crispy fried shallots. Not my best rendition of fried rice, but it’s ok. I think I still prefer my version with Spam. I’ll be sure to blog it the next time I make my special Spam Fried Rice.

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To make fried rice is relatively straight forward, but to make a good fried rice takes a bit more effort. Just Google “perfect fried rice” and see the number of hits returned! There is a even a musical about the famed fried rice.

Junk’s Manor
Opens 365 days a year (apart from leap year)
Somewhere in West London
Still no dinner party planned

Cabbage and Cheese Pie – Chez Boom Takeaway

Cabbage PieI don’t think it is illegal to write about my lunch today last night, as long as I stick to what I eat. Perhaps more to get it out of the way. Once its written, I’m committed and I’ll have to eat it!

So the Boom decided to replicate his Mom’s cabbage and cheese pie this weekend and I ended up with a couple of slices. Ok, I instigated it, I did like Em’s pie quite a lot.

I do understand Mr CSS’s
sentiment that spending close to, or more than £7 per lunch is not sustainable in the long run. Not that we can’t afford it, but it just lunch! I did use to bring in leftovers etc before but somehow, lost the urge to cook on weekdays. Most nights I end up with snacks for dinner.

Cabbage Pie Plated

Clockwise from top left. Bisto reconstituted, Rainbow Salad, Calamari, Cabbage Pie with gravy

Wanted to have an austerity lunch but I lost my resolve. Managed to get a couple of supplements from M&S. So on offer is: 2 slices of cabbage pie from Chez Boom, Bisto with bits (dried chili flakes and Knorr chicken powder) wrapped in cling film which will be reconstituted into a gravy, Rainbow Vegetable Salad with Honey and Lime Dressing and Chargrilled Calamari with a Red Pepper & Cracked Black Pepper Seasoning from M&S. Phew! That’s a mouthful!

The pie turned out pretty good I have to say (I did helped), but quite different from Em’s. I think the addition of Polish smoked bacon bits and hardboiled egg halves makes it a bit more luxurious. The Boom was worried that it would not be cheesy enough. I thought it’s fine the way it is. Perhaps for next time, pack the cabbage tighter when filling the pie. Also, I think breadcrumb topping is a waste of time. It has totally lost it’s crunchiness.

I enjoyed the Rainbow Vegetable Salad a lot. The dressing is light and tangy and brings freshness when combined with the pie. The calamari is not so good today. It usually has a more smokey taste. Well, have to say I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch today. Thanks Boom!

p/s: Sorry, no address. I’m sure Boom don’t want to be mugged again!