One of my favourite things about the school holidays when I was little were the days my Dad would take me into work with him. He ran a graphic design studio with my Aunt in an area you'd now say was close to Spitalfields Market (you wouldn't back then) and days in the studio always felt like the most fun ever. Shelves stacked with posh colouring pencil tins and highlighters, those pens that you weren't allowed to sniff as a child (wow, they smelt great) computers you could play on all day and then print out the results and endless messing about on the photocopier. Dad's studio smelt of WD40, coffee and the cool 1990s perfume my Aunt wore and I loved it there. My favourite part of the day was that the whole team would always decamp to a local caff for lunch. When I started working at my own office jobs I honestly couldn't believe this wasn't a standard practice- I even called up my Dad to bemoan this injustice, to which he just laughed.
It was my Dad's birthday over the weekend, and as someone who has taught me a lot about sticking at the thing you love, and "just getting started", I thought I'd post the working lunch I made us both back at the start of summer when I went to stay in the mid-week. Instead of escaping the WD40 fumes for Italian caff food, we took turns to prepare lunch from leftovers. I chose to use some courgettes a friend of my parent's bought round from her garden- I've always wanted to try frying courgette flowers but for lunch I just washed them thoroughly (it's pretty cool how far little critters can hide in them!) and sprinkled them over the rest of the salad. My Aunt wasn't there to help me with the photocopier settings (aka stop me from setting the whole company back a week by breaking something) or gently take away anything smashable in sight, but it was still so nice to stop for lunch. Happy Birthday Dad!
Courgette salad with quinoa, leeks and borlotti beans
Makes four portions
Salt and pepper
1 large leek, sliced into chunks
Around 200g of courgettes with flowers, sliced into chunks and the flowers soaked and carefully chopped into thirds, then dried
Around 400g of soaked borlotti beans (tinned or soaked yourself)
200g cooked quinoa
Start by gently heating some olive oil in a large pan with salt and pepper, and add in the leek. Cook on a low heat so it barely even browns. You can either fry or boil the courgette- I prefer to boil and then thoroughly drain so that the salad doesn't get too taken over by olive oil, but it's up to you. Now you are ready to assemble. Pile the quinoa, borlotti beans and leeks into a large salad dish with some more salt and pepper. Fold in the courgette chunks and finish by distributing the courgette flowers across the salad so everyone gets a few pieces with their serving. A light, minimal and protein-full lunch that should set you up for an afternoon of breaking photocopiers, wasting fax paper and ruining highlighter collections!