I don’t know if it’s the Olympic/British fever or some kind of food renaissance but I keep seeing Ploughman’s lunch on menus of many trendy cafes in Sydney. Traditionally a pub meal, Ploughman’s lunch is a Brittish cuisine icon originating in the country fields in the late 1800s. It refers to a packed lunch of crusty bread, local cheese, pickles or chutney and fruit eaten by the ploughmen.
The modern version of Ploughman’s lunch was popularised by a Milk Marketing Board in the UK in the late 1960s, in an attempt to boost sales of cheese. Today, you can find it in pretty much any UK pub and it usually consists of bread, some kind of cheese and pickle, cold meats, pate, and other ingredients commonly found on antipasto platters. The versions I’ve seen in a few cafes and bars in Sydney feature seasonal and usually local produce – ham, salami, roasted vegetables, cheeses, herbs, tomatoes and even meat curries.
I think Ploughman’s lunch is a really fun way of eating as you can mix and match different foods, it’s very easy to pack into a single container, and it’s perfect for sharing. You can take it to work, to a picnic, and even on the plane. Below are a few ideas of what you can include in a paleo Ploughman’s lunch.
My Ploughman’s lunch
Left over roasted pork loin slices (see recipe here), caramelised apple relish/chutney (see recipe here), fresh radishes, carrot slices, cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil and some sea salt, a few slices of aged Parmesan cheese, gherkins, a handful of pistachios and black currants.
Other components you can include
– Sliced rare roast beef, sliced grilled chicken, lamb, beef or pork, tuna, sardines, prawns, oysters and so on.
– Ham, salami, prosciutto, grilled sausage, chorizo sausage.
– Grilled or roasted mushrooms, eggplant, zucchini, red pepper, asparagus, green beans, beets, sweet potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower.
– Frehs sliced cucumber, tomatoes, red peppers, carrots, zucchini, radishes, fennel, avocado.
– Pickled or preserved in oil gherkins, artichokes, eggplant, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, carrots.
– Olive oil tapenade, pesto, beetroot dip, eggplant dip, carrot dip, aioli, homemade relishes and chutneys.
– Rocket, mixed salad leaves, baby spinach, watercress, fresh herbs, sprouts.
– Goat’s or sheep’s milk cheeses, aged parmesan or cheddar, baked ricotta.
– Nuts, dried fruit, fresh berries, apple or pear slices, grapes, figs.
As you can see, there are lots of different ingredients you can use so the combinations are endless. Traditionally, you would wash it all down with a beer but since it’s not a paleo friendly beverage I suggest some homemade ginger beer or ginger ale instead.