Lunch in style with monbento – Pasta & Tuna Salad

Lunch in style with monbento - Pasta & Tuna SaladWhen it comes to packed lunches a lot of people tend to skip on the more adventurous foods due to transportation issues. The result, salads and soups just aren’t as popular as the humble sandwich, and I believe that it is mainly due to the fact that they aren’t easy to pack… well with the right tools everything is possible.

Sometime ago I was introduced to monbento.

Monbento is a French based company offering beautifully designed kitchen accessories that are perfect at helping us enjoy our more adventurous lunches. Monbento are mainly known for their bento boxes, which are ideal for lunch at the office, picnics or TV dinners but I discovered that this is not all they have to offer.

The product which caught my eye the most was a double wall bowl. This airtight, BPA-free, dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe bowl has simple stylish looks and is perfect. It is just the right size for a lunch (450ml capacity) and it even comes with its own spoon already built in, so no need to worry about forgetting your cutlery any more.

Having this new funky looking bowl became a great inspiration for spicing up our lunch menu.

So today I am sending Mark to work with a Pasta & Tuna Salad ;-)

Lunch in style with monbento and Pasta & Tuna SaladIngredients:

  • 250g pasta, I used simple macaroni
  • 2 tins of tuna chunks in oil
  • 1 tin of sweetcorn
  • 1 small onion; fine chopped
  • 1 pepper (I used half a red one and half a yellow one, just to add a bit more colour)
  • 2 large celery sticks
  • ½ iceberg lettuce
  • ½ lemon; juiced
  • 3tbsp of mayonnaise
  • 1/2tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2tsp sweet smoked paprika
  • Spring onion to garnish


Cook your pasta as per the instructions on the packet, be careful and do not overcook it; then drain and allow to cool. Oh, and don’t forget to salt the water.

Whilst your pasta is cooking you should have just enough time to prepare everything else.

Chop the peppers and celery up into small chunks – ideally you want to have more or less the same amount of peppers as celery – and place in a large bowl.

Finely chop the onion; add to the bowl.

Cut the lettuce into small pieces and also pop into the bowl.

Open and drain the sweetcorn, pop it into the bowl.

Open and half drain the tuna – you don’t want to get rid of all oil just the excess bit.

Gently mix all the ingredients, ready for pasta.

Once your pasta is cooked, cold and well drain; add it to the bowl holding all your other ingredients; add lemon juice, pepper and paprika as well as mayonnaise and mix gently.

Garnish with spring onions and serve… or place in a monbento container ready to be taken for lunch.

Lunch in style with monbento – Pasta & Tuna SaladLunch in style with monbento and my Pasta & Tuna SaladLunch in style with monbento – My Pasta & Tuna SaladWhat’s your favourite packed lunch idea?

What would you put in a monbento bowl?

White Chocolate Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins

Now here is a funny thing… just a few short days after I shared with you my recipe for Triple Lemon and Poppy Seed Sheet Cake I went shopping and found some very unusual bars of chocolate, they were White Chocolate – Lemon & Poppy Seed… what a coincidence, hey?

I’ve never tried a chocolate like this before so I decided to remake my cake recipe into a muffin recipe and include this new chocolate in to the mix.

The idea was good in principle but the chocolate flavour did get lost a bit… I still have one more bar so I might try to include it in a different bake with a more defined flavour… but for now I present to you my White Chocolate Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins :-)

White Chocolate Lemon and Poppy Seed MuffinsIngredients:

For the muffins:

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter; soften
  • 3 eggs
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 1 bar of lemon & poppy seed white chocolate
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 25ml of fresh lemon juice
  • 25g poppy seeds

For the crumble topping:

  • 80g plain flour
  • 40g butter; cubed into small pieces
  • 40g caster sugar
  • ½tsp vanilla sugar


Preheat the oven to 180C (160C if fan assisted).

First on the list of things to do is a typical crumble. In a bowl sift the flour and then using your fingertips rub the butter in till the mix resembles breadcrumbs; incorporate both sugars and pop the entire mixture into the fridge.

Now, we can start on the muffins themselves.

Line a 12 holes muffin tin with paper muffin cases and set aside.

Wash, zest and juice the lemon.

In a large bowl sift and mix together flour, sugar and baking powder; add the butter, eggs, and 25ml of the lemon juice.

Gentry stir in the poppy seeds and crushed chocolate; pour the mixture into your earlier prepared muffin cases.

Remove crumble topping from the fridge and sprinkle on top.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25min or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow them to cool for a few minutes then move them onto a cooling rack to cool completely.


My White Chocolate Lemon & Poppy Seed MuffinsMy White Chocolate Lemon and Poppy Seed MuffinsWhite Chocolate Lemon and Poppy Seed Muffins

New Discoveries – Mirabilia – Organic Olive Leaf Tea

New Discoveries – Mirabilia – Organic Olive Leaf TeaA few months ago I spotted a tweet about olive tea, as I’ve never had olive tea before I was truly intrigued. I was under the impression that you actually need a tealeaf to make a tea… but apparently you don’t.

The owners set up Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea in an effort to maximise the local resources, to provide employment in an area where work on the land is dying out as the young people migrate to the cities, and most importantly to safeguard the ancient and historic olive groves from the onset of open-cast mining which is absolutely iniquitous in an area of outstanding natural beauty such as Piano La Roma.

I simply adore stories like this and businesses which came to be from the need to help others.

The Mirabilia Organic Olive Leaf Tea as the name suggest is organic. In addition to being delicious, olive leaf tea is also:

  • Caffeine and tannin free
  • Very high in antioxidants
  • Antibiotic
  • Anti-viral
  • Anti-fungal
  • Proven to aid weight loss
  • Used to lower blood pressure and cholesterol
  • Proven to boost immune system
  • Reduced tooth discoloration compared to tea-leaf based tea

So you see, all the benefits… no downside at all ;-)

And if you wonder how to prepare olive leaf tea, one short instruction set coming right up…

How to make Olive Leaf TeaIt is important to brew olive leaf tea properly. Because olive leaves are much thicker than the ordinary tea leaves we are used to using, it needs more time to “develop” the taste.

Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea is at present sold in three different flavours:

  1. Organic Olive Leaf Tea
  2. Organic Olive Leaf Tea with Organic Pomegranate
  3. Organic Olive Leaf Tea with Lemon and Wild Mint

The Mirabilia Olive Leaf Tea is sold in 30g packs and it costs £4.69 for the pure olive leaf tea or £4.99 for a flavoured option. It can be purchased directly from Mirabilia website or other shops of which the full list you can find here.

Remember that by purchasing Mirabilia tea you are helping to safeguard the artisan traditions of rural Abruzzo.

Have you ever tried olive leaf tea?

Are you a tea lover or more of a coffee junkie?