When I was little, I used to love a Ploughman's Lunch. It was a combination of three basic pre-requisites: bread, cheese (usually cheddar), and chutney, which was often supplemented with apple, hard-boiled egg (cold), pork pie, ham, or pickled onions.
Although beer, bread, and cheese have been a staple of the English diet, I was surprised to find out that the term "Ploughman's Lunch" only came into being in the fifties, to try to increase sales of cheese, recently come out of rationing in the post-War era. It's an extremely easy meal to make: my own children often ask for it when given "free choice" for lunch although they call it by a name only a city child with no garden could devise: "Indoor Picnic".
I've presented my absolute favourite version below, but you can use this as inspiration to make your own combination. My instructions are not prescriptive!
Do you have a version of the Ploughman's where you are from? What is it called? Do share in the comments.
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: None
Makes: 1 (just cut and slice extra to increase the servings)
Ingredients Slices of rustic bread
2 or 3 types of cheese (your choice, but I used mature Cheddar, Caboc, and Somerset Brie)
1/2 Granny Smith apple
1 pork pie (I love chutney topped)
2-3 pickled onions
1 tsp chutney
Anything else - cherry tomatoes, capers, gherkins, grapes and more
Method I'm not going to patronise you by suggesting you don't know how to slice bread, or cut cheese. But, for what it's worth, here's how I did it.
Slice the bread into chunky slices, and butter.
Core the apple and then cut into wedges.
Cube the Cheddar (or other hard cheese), and cut the softer cheeses into appropriate wedges, chunks, or slices.
For presentation, cut a little wedge out of the pork pie.
Arrange on the plate artfully, along with the other ingredients.
Decide on your chutney of choice and add a dollop. I have more jars of this stuff than anything else in my whole house, so it's good to find a way to use it up!