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Monday, 6 January 2014

Post the Sixty-fourth (in which our heroine endures the post-Christmas slump)

Back to work.  Le sigh.  I've yet to decide which is the more depressing return to work - the post-Christmas or post-holiday one.  I think I'm going to plump for post-Christmas, mainly because everyone else is going through it at the same time so it becomes a kind of contagious meta-depression; a black cloud of despair hanging over every workplace in the country.  And it doesn't really matter how long you have off either, does it?  It'll still feel like you never left the bloody office in the first place.  I've had two full weeks off.  Felt like about two seconds.  So of course, today I'm partaking in the age-old return to work tradition of planning my next holiday.  Well, it's more fantasising about than planning, but you get the idea.

The other great January tradition in which everyone partakes is bringing your lunch to work with you.  I'm actually quite good at doing this all year round, so it's extra annoying when you can't get next or near the kitchen in work for the entire month, and all the lunch amateurs keep exploding their beans in the microwave or insist on putting filled sandwiches in the toaster, which then sets off the fire alarm.  They've actually taken our toaster off us in work for this very reason.  No joke.  Toaster access revoked indefinitely.  We got a sandwich maker instead, but if anyone has a successful method for toasting a bagel in one of those, I'm all ears.

I made a giant pot of soup yesterday for lunch for the week.  Unfortunately, displaying the lack of foresight that regular readers will recognise as having come to characterise this blog, I used a recipe I've already given you.  So you're getting a dinner recipe instead.  If, that is, you consider some melted cheese and salad a) a recipe and b) dinner.  I do, ergo I give you:

Baked Camembert - serves 4

1 whole camembert                             1 loaf ciabatta or other crusty bread
Bag of baby spinach leaves                 Sliced tomatoes & onions
Whole cornichons                               2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil or rapeseed oil
1 tbs balsamic vinegar                        1 tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt & pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 180C.  Pop your camembert into a ceramic dish and cut a cross in the top.  Bake for 10 minutes, then carefully peel back the cut edges of the rind.  Return to the oven for another 15 minutes.

2. While the cheese is baking, mix together the oil, vinegar and mustard.  Season to taste, and whisk the bejaysis out of it to emulsify.  Assemble your salad and slice your bread.

3. Lay the whole lot out on the table and allow everyone to help themselves.  You could also add some parma ham or other deli meats if you're the kind of person who balks at the idea of a meatless dinner (we all know at least one).

I'll allow that this probably isn't the best meal idea if you're trying to kick-start a bit of New Year weight loss.  But screw it, January is miserable enough without adding foodie self-flagellation to the mix.

As an aside, the one bright part of my return to work this morning was the arrival in the post of some vouchers from the lovely people at Glenisk, so keep your mincers peeled for some dairy-inspired recipes over the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, hang in there, folks.  Friday's coming.

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