Thursday, 24 April 2014

Protein Packed Post-Run Flapjacks

I've been training seriously for the last 4 months to get in shape for a half marathon. The big day is coming up and I've been preparing as much as possible. Eating well, staying hydrated, training regularly, and I'm now as ready as I will ever be. I've just been laying hands on the last couple of details, and started planning my post race recovery snack. I went to a sports nutrition shop and asked for recommendation. They ended up selling me an overpriced flapjack (or granola bar as it's called in the US). When I came back I thought that I could have done my homework properly and have made it myself. Next thing I'm in the kitchen mixing it up and here's my own version of a protein packed flapjack and the nutritional table I've worked out:
1 Serving (100g)       
Calories                329  
Fat                       19.6g
Potassium            95mg   
Carbohydrate      31.4g 
(Fibre)                   6.1g  
(Sugar)                10.0g  
Protein                11.3g

200g   Almonds w. skin, blended into a course flour
250g   Oats blended into a course flour
250g   Roasted Peanuts, blended into peanut butter (just keep blending in the food processor)
1dl      Maca Powder (Some "super-nutritious" Inca Plant. Can be left out)
400ml Almond Milk (or regular milk if you want)
1 tbsp  Honey
2 Banans, mashed into a pure
Pinch of Salt
150g Dark Chocolate

Turn on the oven for 130ºC. Then start by making a course flour of the almonds in a food processor. Do the same to the oats. Mix them in a bowl with the maca powder and a pinch of salt. Keep chopping the peanuts in the food processor until it turns into peanut butter. Plob it into the oats. Blend the bananas. Add them to the mixture too. Heat the almond milk and dissolve the honey in it and pour it all into the mix. With a spoon or your hands, mix it all together to a paste. Put the paste into a ovenproof tray lined with baking paper. Press it out as flat and even as possible. Bake for 25 minutes.

 When the time is up, break the chocolate into smaller pieces and place them on the hot "cake". Leave for five minutes while they melt. Distribute it evenly with a spatula. Let the whole thing cool off completely until the chocolate sets. Just before it sets completely, cut into 15 similarly sized flapjacks. 

Here's the irresistible homemade flapjack, void of strange additives but packed with proteins and carbohydrates to rebuild and refuel your muscles after a hard workout.  

Friday, 16 August 2013

Green Shake - Running on Spinach

When I was younger I used to be more active. I guess that's pretty common. I played handball, football and did Taekwon-do for many years. In the military we had to run nearly every morning and did lots of P.E. throughout the week, not to mention carrying around heavy machinery all the time. Then I moved to London and just nearly stopped from one day to another. My physical activity was reduced to dancing awkwardly for eight hours straight on Saturday nights. Jumping some 10-15 years ahead, I decided to take up running last year. I bought some half-decent trainers and started clocking up the kilometres. After having had all the typical injuries most runners experience, I decided to change a few things. I stopped pushing myself to improve my time in every run. And I decided that if I added a bit more fruit and veggies to my diet, I might just recover faster and grow stronger. So I started with my breakfast. Spinach is good, right? At least that's what I remember from reading Popeye. So I wanted to create a smoothie based on that, and which would be as green, filling and happy as the day was young. So now I wake up and start with a big shot of vitamins. You probably think it's going to taste weird, blending spinach into a smoothie. But I guarantee that you can't taste it one bit. I'd even bet you can make your children grow fond of spinach.
Big handful of fresh, washed spinach
1 ripe banana
1 kiwi, leave the peel on, but wash it and cut the end off
1 small cup of natural yogurt, I use Greek for a smoother texture
1 tbsp of chia seeds (high in omega-3 fatty acids, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and manganese)
1 tsp of honey
1 small cup of soy milk  

Just to brighten the day!
Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Couldn't be easier.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Terrine - Voilà!

If you want to impress your dinner guests, you could make something French and fancy that looks like
it's really complicated. The Terrine is just such a recipe. You don't need any skills, really, its' made in advance and will basically cook itself so you have your hands free to prepare other things at the same time. The Terrine has many variations and can be made with fish, vegetables, or as in this case minced meat. Yes, it's basically a fancy meatloaf. It's served cold as a starter, and to spice it up a little I made a wasabi mayonnaise to go with it. Here's how you make it:
400 g. minced beef
400 g. pork sausages (casings removed)
1 small onion, shredded
1 clove of garlic
2 tbsp. cognac (or Brandy)
A small handful of peeled pistachios 
1 pack of smoked bacon (to cover your mold)
2-3 large carrots, boiled for 12 minutes, cut in long sticks
Strips of meat of your liking (duck breast, pork tenderloin etc.)

Wasabi Maynaise:
1/2 cup of mayonnaise
Wasabi to taste (start with a little, as some is very strong)
A few drops of green food coloring (Optional)

Served with:
Pickled cucumber
Raspberry vinagaitte reduction (or a bit of jam will do)
Toasted sesame seeds
Toasted bread

 Start by mixing all the ingredients for the terrine except the bacon, strips of meat and carrots.
 Line your bread form with oven paper and a overlapping layer of bacon that goes up the side. 
 Fill about one 1/3 of the mince into the base. Press it well so you don't have any air pockets. Press a layer of carrots and strips of meat lengthwise into the mince. Put another layer of mince on top. Add some more carrots and meat strips lengthwise, but in opposite pattern of the previous (i.e. meat on the outside/carrots in the centre). Add the last third of mince, Fold the bacon over. Again, make sure everything is well pressed together.
Wrap the whole thing in tinfoil. Place it in bain marie in a 180ºC oven for 1.5 hour or until the centre reaches a temperature of 72º. Take it out and let it cool down while placing some kind of pressure on top (I used some folded cardboard with a pot full of water on top). Once it's cooled down a bit, put it in the fridge for at least 12 hours.
 Once refrigerated, and you cut into it, it should look something like this. Slice it to the thickness you like.
Mix the ingredients for the wasabi mayo and plate up with some pickled cucumber, a drizzle of some raspberry vinaigrette reduction and sprinkle it with some sesame seeds. Serve with a good loaf of bread.