Category Archives: food

performance kitchen

A few Saturdays ago I woke up and began the epic journey from NE London to SW by bike. Not something I normally do on a Saturday but I was invited down to Clapham Studios to watch a morning of filming of Performance Kitchen. Only 2 stops (one for coffee and one for directions, Battersea roundabouts you are HUGE) later I made it to the kitchen studio.

David emailed me a month ago via twitter with a really nice invitation to come down and see the behind the scenes of their great project. I say great because it actually is a great idea. They film elite athletes cooking the food they actually make and eat for themselves during training. None of this “you should eat, you shouldn’t eat.” Nope. Just what actually gets made by athletes who are tired, hungry, and need their bodies to perform to the best of their ability.

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I arrived just as they were setting up the first guest, Katy Sexton MBE was setting up her kitchen. Katy was the first Brit to win a swimming world championship medal, so I was ready to take notes for my next pre swim race meal.

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Katy made a delicious pasta bake while chatting with the host about all things Olympics and training. What I liked most about her was that it was a really simple recipe. Pasta, chicke breasts, bacon, frozen corn & peas, and a can of chicken soup. It doesn’t have to be fancy macro this or spelty that.

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The filming was mostly continuous just taking a few breaks to get an instagram shot or two, and a bit of editing to avoid all that oven baking time. After the glamour shots of the food were done we got to dig in.

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Katy’s episode isn’t live yet, so I don’t want to give it all away, but you can check out the other videos on the Performance Kitchen YouTube channel in the meantime.

Performance Kitchen didn’t ask that I write or share anything about the day, they genuinely just invited me down to see what it was all about. I’m sharing about it because I think it’s a great resource in a sea of rubbish online nutritional advice. I also didn’t get any freebies save for a few (big!) scoops of Katy Sexton’s pasta bake. 

 

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The Great British Beerathon

It’s hard to put my experience at the 2015 Beerathon into words. As an event it doesn’t lend itself well to a race recap either. We came, we ran, we ate, we drank.

On arrival at the Hoop & Grapes we saw a lot of tables like this

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First up were handicap shots for those silly people wearing running kit.

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The start line. My money was on the pigeon.

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1 mile done. Time for a cider & cheese pasty

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Loving the pasty. I went with the starvation pre-race warmup technique so was well ready for a drink & a bite.

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Another mile done. Time for lager & a meat pie. Probably the most dense snack of the day it was tasty & filling.

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Lagers done! Time for another lap.

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That lap did not go as planned. Feeling the denseness of the delicious pie back at the pub.

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But, the Beerathon must go on! Time for a bitter & quiche. Based on the consistency of the snack, the quiche was the easiest to eat. For better or worse, not much chewing required.

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Quiche conquered back on the course for our 4th mile. Thumbs are up.

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Thank you Ride London for the on course portaloos.

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Last one! A stout & ginger cake. Any pudding is cause for celebration.

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Down in one.. two… three… (23 minutes)

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After a leisurely last lap (for us, not the child who was petrified of a hotdog chasing him down Fleet street). Success! Beerathon’ers

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1:58:30 later we were done. According to Strava my GPS might have had a few pints too.

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We hung around for one more drink and watched the awards ceremony. More pints for the winners (downed in 10, 9, 8, 7….) and some extra special full fat milk pints for those taking on the Ride 100 on Sunday.

If you want to join in next year keep an eye out as the Beerathon is put on by the great Beer Belly Running crew (guy?) for charity and spaces go quickly.

wine time

I don’t usually drink dozens of glasses of wine on a Tuesday night, but this week I was invited to the Wine & Spirit Education Trust to do an educational wine tasting.

I’ve been to my fair share of wine tours in South Africa, Napa, the Okanangan in British Columbia, Niagara in Ontario, Santorini, and Bordeaux (I like wine holidays OK?) and most are the same. You go, get a quick intro of the wine and a few tasters that go down great.  At WSET they try to make the tasting more educational and even offer qualifications for those who wish to add to their CV.

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We got right down to tasting different wines and learning that almost everything about a wine is subject to the taster. Especially taste. We even tried the same wine at different temperatures and the taste was so different you can see why people get confused about what wine they like. Jim, our instructor, even said that most wines will taste different in pizzerias as they have the wine sitting in the same room as the hot pizza oven.

After a few drinks the photos got a bit blurry.

After a few drinks the photos got a bit blurry

We then moved to how wine pairs with food, which everyone seems to have an opinion with.  Using our semi-scientific test tubes we had a sip of wine, then filled our mouth with some of the “taste” and then tried the wine again. Like temperature what flavour was in our mouth had a huge effect on the taste and texutre of the wine. One of the most interesting things we did was a bitter test where we all chewed on a piece of paper and had to say when we tasted a disgusting taste. About half the room put up their hands immediately and one girl even spat it out the taste was so bad, myself and another guy kept chewing as it only tasted like paper to us.  Apparently we don’t have many bitter tastebuds so aren’t as sensitive to tannins and such in wines. Super interesting stuff.

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We also learned that the British public are basically the only people in the world who drink wine without food. The idea of ordering wine at a pub just to drink, or sitting on the sofa with a glass of wine & Love Island on the tele… doesn’t happen anywhere else. For that reason a lot of wines are made just for the British market to taste good without food.  Wines like a Barolo almost need a salty accompaniment (get those olives & parma ham out!) and thus they don’t sell as well here. Merlot, on the other hand, is very drinkable alone and in Chile they actually make it just to export to Britain. No one drinks it there!

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After a lot of wine (and more breadsticks – this runner was hungry) we called it a night and were given a bottle of wine to take home with some fun WSET wine accessories. It was a very interesting night with a fun group of people spent drinking wine.

I was invited to WSET to experience an evening of wine tasting and asked to write blog post about the event.

Blogging butterfly

My friend Simon calls me a blogging butterfly and always wants to know what random event I’ve been to in the past week. I don’t think he’ll even be able to process that I recently went to a breakfast and on historical tour of Soho thanks to a new Icelandic super yoghurt product.

A month ago I was invited to the launch of Arla Skyr yoghurt, I said yes right away because it was a free breakfast during my taper/carb week of London Marathon training. Plus, I love Iceland, ran one of my favourite half marathons there a few years ago, and while I was there never had the chance to try their apparently super yoghurt.

Launch of Skyr yoghurt at Ham Yard Hotel

We met at the Ham Yard Hotel, which was fancier than I expected when I showed up in my sweaty bike kit, and met up with the friendly PR and bloggers ready for breakfast.  The morning started with an introduction by a Nutritionist as to how important breakfast is.  I can’t say this was directed at me, and I was shocked at how many women in the room still don’t eat breakfast. I found the Nutrition talk a bit too ‘eat protein filled yoghurt to stay full and not snack and then loose weight’ (what I took from the talk not what she actually said word-for-word) so didn’t think it directed at me.

Launch of Skyr yoghurt at Ham Yard Hotel

We were finally released to the breakfast table, but had to wait a few minutes while everyone else got out their fancy cameras to take fancy photos of the food (see their blogs as I clearly was focused on the food). It was a great breakfast with hot stuffed croissants, salmon bagels, and fruit. They had yoghurt granola parfaits too made with the Skyr yoghurt and they were also delicious.  I’ll never complain about free food though assume any biases you wish.

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After breakfast we headed out on a tour of Soho with the absolutely fabulous tour guide Peter Berthoud.  I cannot recommend him enough if you want to arrange a tour of the Soho area of London. I’ve already enquired about booking a tour when my Parents are here in June. He had a ton of very interesting facts about the area and not just your normal boring tour facts.

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We left the event with our own supply of Skyr yoghurt and as I went straight to work I left it in the work fridge for my colleagues to try. It was gone in less than a week! Everyone loved it with their morning granola and muslei which I think is a better review than any old blogger will give you.

Arla Skyr Yoghurt invited me to the breakfast & tour in return for writing up my thoughts in a blog post. I ate at least 3 croissants & 2 bagels plus a few cups of coffee and delicious fresh mango. I’m never patient enough to peel mangos so will always take advantage of that!

waffle disaster

A few months ago Myprotein sent me over some samples of their products to try. I chose a bag of their pancake mix and some recovery hot chocolate because… well… let’s be honest I’m not going to be voluntarily adding ‘waxy maize starch‘ to my diet any time soon.

The recovery hot chocolate (mocha) was great. I was in the middle of my marathon training through February and coming home after wet or cold runs in the dark it was nice to look forward to a warm drink. I try to get protein in after my longer runs as I’ve heard it helps recovery, but in reality I’m all about ease and if it’s easy to eat or drink I’ll grab it.  One night I added the powder to some hot almond milk and that as a winner in terms of taste.

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I had also just bought a waffle maker (waffles are far superior to pancakes IMO) and decided to try the pancake mix in it. Big mistake. It’s a very watery mixture and just did not work at all.

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My next attempt involved adding the mixture to my Mom’s already tried/tested/true pancake & waffle recipe. I figured since it was so sweet I’d just cut down on the sugar and add a bit more milk if needed. Worked a charm and the waffles were delish. Not sure how protein-healthy they were with the additions, but still tasty and good enough for me.

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Myprotein sent me these products for free to review. They do not encourage you to freestyle and try their products out in waffle makers.

#tacotuesday

Last week I was invited back to the Underground Cookery School to do some Mexican cooking on Mexican Independence Day.  As I’m still marathon training I never say no to food in any shape or size, so off I went with full runger ready to be satisfied.

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Invited by none other than, El Paso, we sliced and diced everything from whole chickens to dozens of avocados to make up a tasty meal in their new stand n’ stuff burrito bowl product. Let’s get this straight: I love burritos in all shapes and sizes. I love traditional burritos the most but am not adverse to trying new formats so this was a welcome test.

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I filled mine up to the top with all the usual suspects and chowed down. I personally don’t think it’s much easier to eat than a well-wrapped burrito but we did get a kick out of calling them burrito boats and then filling them up with enough guacamole to sink the titanic.

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I had about 3 of these delicious bowls and apparently ate all the cheese so one blogger mentioned she’d have to “photoshop the cheese in later” which exactly sums up why I’m not a food blogger *burp*.

The Benefits of Eating Home-Grown Food

I want an allotment so bad! Our current flat has about 2 sq. feet of space that I can use to grow things and have had some success with chives but last summer when a basil plant jumped off the windowsill to its smashing death on the sidewalk below, I decided growing my own veggies might not be safe for the general public.

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Now that it’s National Allotment Week (1st – 10th August) I’ve been thinking about the benefits of growing your own food. The folks at Betta Living have come up with these 5 points

ADDED NUTRIENTS The pesticides, artificial sweeteners and preservatives present in a lot of shop-bought items might mean more sales for the big supermarkets, but it’s the consumers that are ultimately losing out. The nutritional value of shop-bought produce simply doesn’t compare to eating your own, from fresh. Supermarkets allow us to get hold of a large variety of veg, all year-round, but this is mainly because fruit and veg is harvested early, meaning you lose out on a lot of the potential Vitamin C.

SAVING MONEY Once you know how easy it is to grow your own vegetables, you’ll start to realise how expensive simple items like lettuce leaves are in the shops. These items can soon add up, so growing your own food can end up saving you a small fortune.

LIGHT EXERCISE As well as the health benefits that come with eating better food, you’ll reap the rewards that come with doing a bit of light exercise form time to time. There are also a number of benefits that come with getting a bit of fresh air and a chance to clear your mind.

BEING SOCIAL Making use of a local allotment is a great way to meet people, make new friends and build a sense of community between you and your neighbours. If you have little ones, it can also be a great little project for them to get involved with too.

HELPING THE ENVIRONMENT If you don’t use pesticides and herbicides at home then you’ll be helping the environment by minimising the amount of air and water pollution. You’re also reducing the need for imported produce, which lowers the amount of plane and truck fuel needed.

From justified concerns about the chemicals found in processed foods, to saving money, there are several reasons for growing your own. So why not give the self-provisioning attitude a go?

Written in collaboration with Betta Living.