For once: not Nigella.

Apologies in advance if this post is a little lacklustre – have just watched a lot of telly and am pretty tired.

I have a difficult time staying consistently ‘healthy’ in my eating habits. I’ll do pilates, have some soymilk, and then follow it up with a buttered chocolate bar. Okay, I’m joking…barely. Last night’s dinner was a good enough example of this – salad and lentil soup (healthy) with homemade mince pies (unhealthy.) However, in my opinion, as long as there are lots of vegetables and other good things present, it can’t be too bad.

The lentil soup came from Alison Holst’s Dollars And Sense cookbook. I have no snarky comments to make – it was great soup, very easy and made from stuff I had in the cupboard. Yet another reminder of why this book is worth reading over.
Above: Lentils, vegetables, spices, water – this pretty much cancels out buttery pastry…right?

So taken was I with the beetroot and feta tarts that I thought I would make the pastry shells again and fill them with (much cheaper) mince to make a kind of homespun Big Ben pie, if you will. As you can see I got a little excited with the leftover pastry scraps…

Above: Twinkle, twinkle little pie…These were not just a pretty picture, they tasted rather lovely too. I could only manage one (my pie tin makes four) probably because I’d eaten too much pastry while making them, but Tim snarfed his down. He had my second one for breakfast this morning and said it was the best he’d ever had. Well, I guess anything beats Weet-bix (to which I have a particular aversion.)

Finally, balancing this out was a salad of beans, cucumber, and our old friends feta and walnuts. I didn’t have cucumber so replaced it with fennel, quelle surprise! This recipe comes from the New Zealand cookbook, and is a fabulous combination with a lovely lemony dressing. Tim and I hoovered it up in about ten seconds – it’s very more-ish.
Above: Hopefully everyone isn’t sick of seeing things scattered in feta and walnuts…

Dinner tonight was something I’ve been craving all day- a vast pot of pasta. I don’t know if there is Italian blood coursing through my veins somewhere but few things make me happier than pasta. Of course, creamy cheese-laden pasta dishes are a lot easier to love than the more austere tomato sauce that we had tonight, yet it was still richly flavoured and filling and all those other good things. I based the sauce on a Moroccan recipe in The Accidental Vegetarian, which adds cinnamon, cumin and tumeric to give aromatic depth. I biffed in a handful of red lentils and let them simmer away into nothing. It was delicious! I suppose it didn’t help that I ate half a packet of wine gums while watching America’s Next Top Model (oh the irony!)

Above: Made with canned tomatoes for 60c from Kmart! Tip for the wise: never buy your canned tomatoes from the supermarket, they are much cheaper at Kmart or the Warehouse. By the way…I crumbled some feta over the pasta, as you can probably see, but hastily stirred it through so it wouldn’t be a focal point of this picture.
Right, am off to bed now: being crosseyed and dozy does not make for a sparklingly witty blog.

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