Lentils for breakfast- welcome

Here is your invitation to sample beautiful recipes that are good for you, good for the planet and good to eat. They mainly feature plants, because that's what I try to eat the most. I am not a fancy cook, but I believe that food is one of our greatest pleasures and deserves to be celebrated. Real food, whole food, kind food. Welcome to the feast!

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Of course, slow-carb eating does not just apply to breakfast. According to its principals, it's lentils for lunch as well.

I have lunch issues like I have breakfast issues, but different ones. If I don't take my own food to work, I find lunch a real pain. I used to resort to sushi, but find it unpalatable now - all that sweetened white rice. There is an iku in North Sydney (a vegan takeaway), but most of it is deep fried millet balls or tofu burgers, brown rice with everything and couscous or noodle salads. Groan, more grain. Don't get me started on iku.

And I don't eat meat (except for some free-range chicken) or tuna (except for the Fish4Ever brand), so sandwiches are not an easy option either.

But spending my Sunday afternoons making lunch for the week as well as breakfast means hours of cooking and cleaning-up with Kanye (my singalong cooking music). I frequently make something that will last a couple of days and then take dinner leftovers or whatever I can cobble together for the remainder of the week. It's not a perfect system, so often my breakfast lentils are pressed into service as lunch on Thursday and Fridays and I have (I confess) toast and a boiled egg for those mornings. More artisinal sourdough (rule #1: Avoid 'white' carbohydrates). And, of course, the adipose tissue has not shifted one tiny little gram since I've been doing this half-arsed slow-carbing.

This is this week's lunch for Monday and Tuesday. It's not real slow-carb as it contains spelt penne (rule #1 above also includes carbs that could be white), and there's not a huge amount of protein. But it is delicious, nutritious, and extremely quick and easy. I made it with kohlrabi, a kind of turnip with a beautiful purple skin. I also used the kohlrabi leaves and some cavalo nero flowers. These latter are my new favourite vegetable, but they are so rare they're almost a legend. There is an organic farmer at the North Sydney produce markets who sells them about once a year. They taste like broccolini, but even more tender.

Seriously green greens.

I freely adapted this recipe from last month's Prevention magazine, in which it was called Garlicky Beans and Pasta or something.

Boil some pasta. Roast a sweet potato and a couple of carrots and kohlrabi, if you happen to have some.
Steam some greens, preferably outlandish and organic for bragging rights.
Fry some onion, garlic and chilli in olive oil.
Add a can of butter beans.
Toss in the pasta, oranges and greens.

I added some ricotta the 2nd day. Gorgeous.

Did anyone watch Eat Yourself Sexy? I did because I'm an avid consumer of diet TV (Supersize v superskinny is my alpha and omega). I'm also fascinated by Sarah Wilson. I love some of her idealism, and her engagement and honesty - and I plan to try her lentil recipes eventually.

For all that Sarah is presenter of the show, I didn't have high expectations and was duly unsurprised by its utter lack of originality. Ho hum. Derivative and humourless. And for all her passion and empathy in her writing, Sarah came across to me as one of those groomed, slender, bland, social-pages type people.

There was this silly moment when the hapless dieter's weekly consumption of processed carbs was laid out on a table. A couple of comments later - 'Yes, it's a lot of food' - it was on to the next cliche. It was as if it was set up to observe diet TV convention but for no other reason. Not funny, dramatic, vivid, compelling (I'm thinking of the feeding tube in Supersize or Gillian McKeith offering her fatties a glass of the oil they would get through in a week in You Are What You Eat). Sarah has strong views on the question of sugar, and this could have been a great opportunity to talk about that. How sugar feeds food addiction, how if affects insulin production, how it skews the sense of taste. How manufacturers suck us in with hyper-palatability and convenience. And the real Sarah could demonstrate she's more than Princess Presenter.

In the end the show was as satisfying as one of the Tim Tams the dieter kept shoving in her cake-hole. Nothing like as much fun as Fat Family Diet.

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