It should come as no surprise how much I love to eat. I love eating almost more than I love cooking. However my whole 'never trust a skinny chef' philosophy is making my jeans fit a little tighter than I prefer.
Now I am not a thin girl. Having said that, I am not a big girl either, perhaps a little more rounded and Botticelli than some. I like to think that the extra pounds I carry are the hallmarks of me being a good cook who obviously enjoys what she eats. I remember an old work colleague had not seen me for a few years who said 'You look like you have been feeding up in the top paddock' and added 'I s'pose the happy cow makes the most milk'... to which I immediately thought he was making reference to the size of my boobs. I am still scratching my head about that comment.
Anyway, over the past few weeks I have been trying to detox and be good to my body. I haven't been killing myself with lemon juice and salt water, or on a radical crash diet. I have been drinking more water, eating more fruit, more grains and upping my fibre intake. So far I have been feeling a great deal lighter and heaven forbid - healthier!
My pangs and yearnings for certain rich and fried foods have also subsided considerably. I find I want to eat less and I am reaching for fruit and water rather than chocolate and coffee. I don't know how long this fad will last. I haven't gone to the extreme and started exercising as yet as I figured I would see how I looked and felt after a month of healthy eating to see if I could marry this up with some physical activity. We'll see.
Pumpkin Risoni with Fetta (recipe inspired by Donna Hay Magazine Dec Jan 2011)
500g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
100g fetta, crumbled
1/2 cup risoni
1 tsp fennel seed
1 tsp chili flakes
50g sun dried tomatoes (or semi dried)
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed (if you don't rinse them they give you gas - trust me!)
1 big handful Italian parsley, roughly chopped
1 handful mint leaves, roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw cashews
1 tbs pine nuts
scant amount of garlic, grated
Salt & pepper to taste
Toss pumpkin, fennel seeds, chilli flakes with a lug of olive oil. Spread out onto a sheet pan (lined with baking paper for easy clean up) and bake in a moderate oven until fork tender (about 20 mins).
Cook risoni as per directions and drain well. Dry roast your cashews and pine nuts. In a large bowl, grate about a half a clove of garlic. Toss in your cooked pumpkin, along with the risoni, tomatoes, chick peas, mint and garlic and toss well to combine. (The residual heat in the pasta and pumpkin will steam the garlic, taking away the raw taste). Add your toasted cashews, pine nuts and fetta cheese. Check seasoning and give a final toss to combine. Add a little extra olive oil if the mix seems a little dry.
You can't help but feel smug and good about yourself after eating this. I have served this to carnivores and they have not missed the meat. However I do believe it would make a nice accompaniment to a big juicy sirloin...
Until next time...