Snow, Pasta and Lentils

It snowed here on Saturday. I went out to get some books from the library and got caught in the snowfall. Part of me was super excited. Actual snow! Actually falling! And the rest of me wanted to get the hell back inside as soon as possible. I ventured out again this morning when the snow had settled nicely to make the entire universe (well, mine anyway) look like the Chronicles of Narnia. There is something about snowfall in a park that automatically makes me think of that series. I snapped some shots of the snow on my walk and then headed back inside to the warmth and my left-over pseudo mac and cheese.

Macaroni and cheese is the ultimate in comfort food. Nourishing, warm, salty, creamy. Everything that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. I didn’t have macaroni so I improvised and used orecchiette which I did have. I stopped briefly at my local all-purpose-emergency-grocery and bought some cheddar and bacon. Initially I intended to put the bacon in the the pasta but then I remembered that I had lentils in the cupboard for using up so I made a warm lentil, bacon and beetroot salad to go with the pasta. Unusual I know but I felt all saintly eating the lentils. I also remembered why I hardly ever buy them.

Lentil and Bacon Salad
There isn’t an actual recipe for this. Heat some butter and olive oil in a pan, add in two shallots, finely sliced and a clove or two of garlic. Sweat nicely before adding in a tin of lentils (drained) followed by slices of cooked beetroot and some pieces of crispy bacon. Finally add in the feta. Eat either hot or cold.

Macaroni Cheese
Again, I don’t actually have a recipe for this. I apologize but honestly, I make this on automatic pilot so I don’t bother with weighing much and do everything by sight.

Make a roux with a knob of butter and some flour. (I do about 40g or so.) Cook this lightly before starting to add in the milk, a little at a time. Once you have a thick sauce, add in grated cheddar and some grated Parmesan. Take this off the heat and stir once in a while so that the cheese melts and the sauce is smooth.
Cook enough pasta (give or take a cup) to feed yourself and whoever else might be hungry in your house.
Put some of the sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Stir all the pasta into the remainder of the sauce before tipping this into the baking dish and covering with more grated Parmesan. Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is bubbling and the cheese on top is brown. Serve in vast quantities.