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Starters


Recipe from The Little Book of Lunch by Caroline Craig and Sophie Missing (Square Peg, £15)


FAUX


PHO ( SERVES 1 )


Wonderfully aromatic and light, this is a soup to both soothe and lift the spirits, with all the essential flavours of pho and not so much of the faffing around. If you are in the lucky position of having leftovers from a whole roast chicken then you could make your own stock for this, but shop-bought stock or a stock cube works just fine. You’ll need to have a few utensils waiting for you at your desk: a clean pair of scissors, a bowl, chopsticks and a spoon. Preparation time is a mere 15 minutes, plus five minutes assembly. Sorted.


INGREDIENTS 2 spring onions, finely chopped 450ml weak chicken stock, either homemade, ready prepared, or from a stock cube (Knorr Stock Pots are good) 1 very small splash of fish sauce ½ lime handful of mint, leaves picked and washed handful of coriander, leaves picked and washed handful of basil, washed and leaves torn large handful of leftover chicken, roughly pulled into bitesize pieces 1 portion of rice noodles ½ red chilli Srichacha chilli sauce (optional)


METHOD – In the morning: fill your kettle and put it on to boil (this way you can enjoy a cup of tea while making lunch). Add the chopped spring onions to a non-stick pan on a low heat, and cook until they start to colour. Put the stock in a pan on a medium heat, adding the fish sauce and the juice of a quarter of the lime. You want to heat it until just before it begins to boil, so while it is heating prepare your herbs and place in a container. – Place the chicken in a separate container, or wrap in a small piece of foil. Place the rice noodles in a large heatproof bowl, and pour over the boiling water from the kettle. Cover with a clean tea


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towel and leave for 3 minutes. Remove the spring onions from the heat and wrap in a small piece of foil. The stock should now be simmering, so turn off the heat and empty into your thermos. Drain the noodles in a colander, shaking vigorously to get rid of any excess water and place in a Tupperware container. – Come lunchtime: find a nice spot, as this soup goes well with some quiet reflection! Carefully decant your hot stock into a bowl, then add the noodles, chicken and herbs. Lastly, using your scissors, snip the chilli into the bowl, and squeeze the remaining quarter of lime juice generously. A squirt of chilli sauce can be delicious too!


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