It’s that time of the year…we all feel it, the over indulgence of the festive holiday finally hit us! I’ve agreed to do some sort of ‘diet’ with Aisha.  Nothing too strenuous and we’re doing it till the end of February.  If and when we’ve achieved our goals, we’d do it longer.  The goals are; for me, an October wedding (yes, a long way away) and for Aisha, her celebration of end of school, going to Ayia Napa in July.

The most difficult thing for me is to give up my one-only-teaspoon of unrefined sugar in my tea.  I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember.  Okay, it was more like 3 tablespoons in my teenage years.  Reduced to 2 when we moved to Europe and it’s been 1 for the last 20 years.  SO, not easy…I just don’t drink tea as much now. Cold, fridge cold water is better and easy to get.  By the way, I know people don’t like drinking water, especially water coming out of the kitchen tap and supposed to be cold.  It is never cold enough to be pleasantly drinkable, more tepid than cold, unless you let the water running for a good couple of minutes and wasting gallons just for 1 glass of water.  I’d put it in the fridge in a glass bottle and probably squeeze a few drop of lemon/lime juice prior to drinking it.  Very refreshing.

Back to the diet….drop the sugar and no second helping for any meals.  The first helping is served in a small bowl or a smaller than normal size dinner plate.  Again, how long have we been eating out of our normal size plate? Donkeys! It’s just nice to have all the food there in your plate as traditionally in Indonesia,  all different dishes, which could be up to 6 items, are served together, in the centre of the table. You either have 2 or 3 to start with then you add more when the first choice is depleting and when you see that the other people who are sitting around the table are hungrier than you….grab quickly! I’m one of 7 children and we are all keen eaters as our mother and grandmother (deceased) are great cooks.  Seriously brilliant. I don’t have people fighting after my food here, but husband and daughter are keen eaters and would eat any food put in front of them.

Found this packet in the kitchen larder, a good cupboard ingredient to have.  With a little help from some garlic, oven-baked cherry tomatoes, some chillies and parsley and of course good quality e/virgin olive oil….ready in 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, had a packet of courgettes in the fridge, sliced them and put them on the griddle for a quick striping.  That was it for supper.  Kept us satisfied till breakfast time the next day.

This is the end result of the lentil salad.

Seriously, this is a week since my last sugared tea and I still find the taste of drinking tea a let down.  Whereas eating less carbs (obvious ones, like rice pasta and noodles) has been easier than expected.  Not a big fan of potatoes, so no problem there.  Is honey in tea acceptable?

Prepared this salad (not very wintery, I know) for lunch yesterday.  I quite fancied something fresh and crunchy.  I had all ingredients in the fridge which was handy. The amazing thing is…it’s easier to find hard stoned-like mango and papaya in the supermarkets than ripened ones.  Unfortunately, you do need the palm sugar in the dressing.  Well, the amount put in the whole dish is divided for 4 to 6 people, so it’s nothing per portion…

(Mango, papaya (pawpaw), mint, chillies and chopped peanuts in palm dressing salad)

Below is the best way to get rid of the peanuts skin, once they are cooked. They are just monkey peanuts without the shell and used widely in Indonesian dishes.  I made a batch and kept them in a jar.  As you can see in the picture, I used them in my salad for contrast in texture.