Packed lunches, or one of the four most important meals of the day

Klip It lunchbox, on my wishlist!

I’ve been thinking about lunches. A lot of money is saved by not eating out, so I’m casting about for ideas on what I can prepare and/or eat without giving myself food poisoning.

It’s been a couple of months since I’ve arrived in Scotland, and I didn’t touch any Maccas while I was in Singapore (I’ve had a McFlurry at Livingston, but it was disappointingly unflurried). I’ve been to Burger King once and have eaten loads of suppers from the chippy, and Neil and I have even been to Subway twice (after a late movie).

(I had a bad experience with a Subway franchise in Singapore and only ate my next sandwich earlier this year.)

Cheese Steak SubwayThe perfect sandwich, IMHO, is their cheese steak on the parmesan oregano roll, with all the salad but for green peppers and jalapeños. It’s got all the main food groups and my favourite things, steak and cheese. Oh, and olives. The only thing about a Subway sandwich is crumbs go everywhere, we (well, I) messed up Neil’s sister’s car last time. I have amazed myself twice by finishing a six-inch sandwich. I haven’t done that in years!

Then there’s my old favourite, a ham and cheese sanger. No more cheese (pre-)slices for me, it’s got way too much salt. I could put great Scottish cheese on some wafer thin ham slices (or salami… mmm), I reckon it would taste rather good. I want to do something with chick peas — maybe add some chicken and lettuce to make a salad? This Greek-Italian chopped salad sounds good.

My mum’s former maid used to pack the previous night’s spag bol for my lunch the next day, and I loved it. I think she had some sort of secret recipe, as I’ve never tasted the same since. I can get egg noodles and pre-cooked chicken at the local supermarket, so I might make some chicken and vegetable noodles, mix in sesame oil, soy sauce, and maybe a touch of something spicy for a kick*.

Maybe some day-old mac and cheese, Neil’s mum makes good mac and cheese. Not Kraft, it’s homemade. Yummy. Her tomato soup also deserves legendary status (hopefully I’ll get the recipe soonish). This quick bacon pasta from Cheap Eats looks good. I like bacon.

bagels and loxAnother sandwich I’m a big fan of is smoked salmon on a bagel with cream cheese and a few capers for that extra bite. When I was a kid, I was under the impression that smoked salmon was extremely expensive — so, of course, I adored smoked salmon. Spinelli Coffee Company in Singapore (at Caltex House) did a decent mini bagel, and I’ve not had a great smoked salmon bagel since I lived in Australia.

Of course, my main goal is to get someone else to do this for me, since any time I make an attempt at what I laughably describe as ‘food preparation’, it ends up tasting quite, well, not good. I think it has something to do with my attention wandering after 30 seconds of doing something mundane, like stirring. There is an inverse relationship between my love for food and eating and how much I loathe cooking.

Asda sells a curried chickpea and lentil stew thing, it’d be quite good with some plain taco chips. Or mix some Dorito’s salsa with chopped salami or chorizo and make a sandwich or salad with the result. Even I could manage these things.

Anyone have any ideas for simple, not completely unhealthy lunches I can make?

* OMG I can’t believe I typed that. Something SPICY? Da-yum!

When will they learn, you can’t control the Internet?

China may make bloggers give ID:

There are worries that the proposed real name online system would limit freedom of expression.

Well, no shit, Sherlock. Can you imagine what Singapore’s online community would be like if everyone had to give their I/C number, with promises that no one’s real identity would be revealed, as long as they said “nothing illegal or harmful to the public”. Multiply that paranoia by ten.

I’m sure the more enterprising Chinese bloggers will find a workaround, though.

When you don’t have a sense of direction and you are addicted to the Internet

It really helps if there is a website that tells you how to get places, with public transport information and maps.

Unfortunately, I’ve not found one that good. So far, I’ve tried to use Traveline and got completely and hopelessly lost because the directions were totally and utterly shite. Mainly because they were outdated. But it can be fairly handy, because you can check where things are on Google Maps or Yahoo! Local. And then, if you’re VERY lucky, someone you know would have been there before and can tell you if it’s accessible on foot. The railway timetable is handy as well.

This country is very partial towards automotive users and not those who use public transport. I drive, but I would always much rather use public transport. I wonder how long it will be before I CANNOT TAKE IT ANY MORE and have to buy a small second hand car.

Because I’ve had hardly any practice at it for a few months

搬到苏格兰,到一个较小的镇,是一个很与众不同的经验。我最习惯在繁忙的城市过生活。上大学时,我在一个很小的城市带了三年,我挺喜欢这种生活方式。可是我的性格比较害羞,比较文静。在厦门住了三年让我尝试真正的小镇社会 (I’m not sure if this is right at all, I mean a small town community),我做什么,大家很快就会知道我做了什么。

我真的对这种行为;我家庭不是这样的。例如,我的表妹订婚的时候,我必须等到跟她见个面的时候才知道,因为我看到了她的订婚戒指。他的母亲没跟任何人说!

现在就是我的男朋友的母亲传播我的信息。她会跟她的表姐说我最近作了什么,那她的表姐会跟大家说。男朋友的妹妹经常很神气,说她没有私人生活,我可以明白,可是我现在没什么事做,所以关于我的闲话应该很少!

And that was my primary school-level attempt at writing something in Chinese. I know it’s not good, but I’m trying to make sure I at least keep reading and writing. I don’t want to spend another three years in China to brush up my language skills!

Running… not

I’ve decided to combine the exercise data for October and November, because the charts look so pathetic and lonely and naked on their own. Not that they look much better together, but it gives the impression that things aren’t quite as bad. And really, I may not go running much, but I do walk a lot.

chart for October - November 2006

My main problem is that I don’t feel settled in yet. I need to get into a routine — when I was in Singapore, I was at the track at least three times a week, because I had this routine with my mum. At the moment, I’m not even 100% sure where we will definitely be living if one of us should get a job that requires relocation, so I don’t want to sign up for a membership at the gym. In fact, I would much rather run outdoors, but I’m an Asian from a tropical country, so running outdoors in winter is not my cup of tea at all.

And it is cold and rainy right now. Where I occasionally visit now, the open plan gymnasium / aquatic centre, is reasonably warm and humid, which means that it’s more like Singapore and there won’t be a shock to my lungs when we go back on vacation and I want to go running on the track.

And something else I’ve noticed — I go a bit pigeon-toed, especially on my right foot, when I start feeling a little tired during a run. I thought it was quite cute and all that, but I’ve also been suffering from pain in my hip (at the joint) after running. Last night I decided to try something when I noticed myself going pigeon-toed: I forced my right foot to point straight forward. I immediately noticed a difference in how the joint in my hip felt. Today it’s still a little sore, but nowhere as much as it was last week. Result! Although I’m not exactly sure what the cause is (as in, how it makes my hip hurt), but I have always had an issue with my right leg and hip.