Archive for April 2008




Food: GN gooey chocolate protein muffins

I’ll be the first to admit, I don’t make good muffins. They typically come out with a lightness that resembles a bag of sand sticking to the roof of your mouth. When I started making muffins (during a time I was worshipping at the alter of Nigella Lawson) she stated that a muffin need not be a pumped up cake from a factory, but a sweet, tender roll. I tried, and failed (I still enjoy orange breakfast muffins occasionally, except my batch are made with wholemeal flour) but I wasn’t going to let my cack handedness stop me from trying out Gourmet Nutrition’s version of gooey chocolate muffins.

As with most muffins, they were relatively easy to make. I didn’t have any chocolate protein powder handy, just vanilla, but it sufficed. Eggs, wholemeal flour, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, butter and some other stuff later, I was left with a bowl of delicious goo

Before a blast in the oven:

Chocolate gooness. Almost. I did warn you that I make a terrible muffin. On the scale of my usual muffin-massacres, I think these did pretty well. They tasted nice enough. What’s even more convenient to me is keeping them in the freezer, then by the time I need my midmorning snack, I can take it out of the handbag at the hospital, and munch on it instead of having to ensure what feels like an hour long ride in the lifts to my locker.

As the recipe suggests, they are lovely with some almond nut butter.

Add comment April 30, 2008

GN: Strawberry Coconut Pudding

I tried this at the weekend. It pleased me for two reasons: I love strawberries and coconut milk. It displeased me for one reason: cottage cheese.

I know I should be eating cottage cheese until the cows come home due to it’s awesome protein content and versitality, but ever since [WARNING: DO NOT READ THE FOLLOWING IF YOU ENJOY COTTAGE CHEESE] I had a bit of a gynaecological upset in my early teens, I was never able to look at the stuff again (not that I ever liked it in the first place).

I didn’t really get off to a good start with the blender. As soon as I dumped the cottage cheese in, I got a little piece of splashback on my hand and literally withered at the sight. By the time the coconut and strawberries were in, I was still dubious, but as soon as it was whizzed, I forgot that there was cottage cheese in the pudding, and transferred it to a bowl.

Most important criteria was the taste, and it didn’t let me down. It was wonderful – seriously! It tasted like sitting on a beach, but married in with the taste of a British summer afternoon in the shade. Better yet – this stuff is good for me (an anytime snack)! I added a little protein powder to thicken as the first batch was a little too thin (I think I had added a little too much coconut milk) but the second batch had a great texture, mixing between a thick smoothie and well…something thicker I guess.

Refreshing, summery and delicious. Apologies that the picture quality isn’t great, but it’s pink and pretty so…

 

Pink gloopy goodness

 

Add comment April 29, 2008

Food: Weekend cooking

I’ve been a little negligent in terms of my time spent in the kitchen this weekend, and there’s one reason behind this: SUNSHINE!!! After beginning to think that summer was an urban myth, I did the typical Brit thing of wearing very little out and soaking up every little UVA/UVB ray.

I was also feeling a little worse for wear thanks to Friday night clubbing. The stomping appears to have aggrivated the tendonitis in my foot, bah. But to compensate for this, we picked up a free CD, and it was a perfect addition to the sunny weather to drive to the butchers.

So today, I shall be giving the following GN recipes a try.

Gooey chocolate chip muffins (an after workout meal, doing 5 starjumps on the balcony isn’t going to really cut it, is it?)

Chickpea cakes. (Yay chickpeas! I only really scoff on them in hummus, but I can’t wait to try this)

Coconut strawberry pudding. This looks very delicious and refreshing, and quick to make. Will be having this as a snack later on.

1 comment April 27, 2008

Gym: abz, the aftermath

When I woke up this morning, I naively thought I had a minimal case of the DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness). I couldn’t feel anything in my abs, so I went about my day, feeling joyful and happy. Big mistake. I was in a tutorial on examining the hip joint, when I was asked to demonstrate some movements (I have hypermobility in my joints, so I’m a good model for this). I tensed my stomach and I felt a searing ache cut through me like a hot knife through butter.

They’re still as achey as they were this morning (not that I’m complaining) but something tells me I won’t be clubbing as hard as I normally would. Still, there’s nothing like a good stomp and bounce.

Add comment April 25, 2008

Food: homemade protein bars

I generally find it quite difficult to get protein into my diet unless it comes from something that once had a face. Then I discovered protein powder, and my life became a lot easier. People (read: my boyfriend) spend hours upon hours researching the best protein powders and which will give you the best results, but in my mind, protein powder has one function: to provide protein in a convenient way. I add a scoop to my porridge, some to smoothies, milkshakes, muffins, etc and it’s a lot easier carrying around some protein shake in a bottle rather than slices of turkey to nibble on after the gym.

I decided to try out Gourmet Nutrition’s peanut crunch bars and it sort of evolved into a more protein bar type thing, but definitely worth a go.

In the recipe, I decided to use ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese. I didn’t have any oat flour, so I bought some porridge oats from T*scos (I know, I know). I used almond nut butter in addition to peanut butter, but you can use whatever takes your preference. I’d like to try them with hazelnut butter.

The basics. Apologies for the dishcloth in the background. Other ingredients not photographed include protein powder, spices (cinnamon and ginger).

It’s mostly a case of whirring everything up in a blender.

Then getting your hands stuck in. Leaving a sticky hand to pose in the mixing bowl is optional.

Eventually it’ll resemble something smooth and worthy of a spanking!

Mould into a foil lined tin, and freeze for 2 hours.

As far as protein bars go, the taste can be a bit hit and mix, but homemade ones are really worthwhile, especially as they don’t cost as nearly as much as store bought ones (and don’t have an ingredients list which resembles a nuclear wasteland). I munch on them as a snack at the hospital, although by then they’re a little more soft and chewy.

1 comment April 25, 2008

Gym: abz

Upon recommendation in Skwigg’s blog, I decided to give this ab circuit a try. It was pretty intense, my midsection was in searing pain, but I don’t think I’ll really be paying for it until tomorrow!

For some reason, it won’t link, so here you go

Add comment April 24, 2008

Gym: tightness

“Try and close your legs a bit more!”

I wasn’t expecting to hear that in the gym, but today I asked one of the instructors if she could watch my form on the push press. My form was ok, but my legs kept jumping apart as soon as I did a rep. We discussed my squat stance and she believes that my hip flexors are too tight. I had thought this was the case for a while as I kept feeling a feeling of tightness in my right hip flexors. The fact that my glutes aren’t massively strong either probably contributes to this.

She suggested I modify the push press so I start from a squatting position, and move up from there. I liked the fact that it would work more of my lower body doing so, so we used one of the benches for me to perch on while I got used to the movement. Again, my legs were all over the place. After a few reps, she told me to visualise the different muscle groups working, and to really try to feel them. This seemed to work and she said my form was spot on.

I need to keep working on my glutes. I think that will help my overall squatting technique and I’ve noticed they’re beginning to take some shape. Less of the ironing board and more of an ironing board with a bit of a deformity in the middle.

Add comment April 22, 2008

Food: hot chocolate fondant

If you like chocolate, sugar and butter, read on. This is by far my favourite dessert and every gym bunny (and non-gym bunnies included) deserves to feast upon something that’s so utterly divine. Some people tend to avoid making fondants out of fear of screwing up the recipe, but as long as you’re confident and don’t allow any nervousness to leech its way into the cooking process, you’ll be fine. The ex-lightbulb flatmate also tells me that I serve up a better fondant than Chez Bruce (he should know, he’s one of the chefs). Another great thing about this dessert is that modesty flies out of the window – with good reason.

If you want to make 2, you will require:

100g of good quality dark chocolate. I use chocolate with 70% cocoa solids. I don’t think you really need to go higher, but it’s up to you.

Serves 2. Increase for increasing numbers of guests, or your own greed 🙂

50g butter

60g sugar

50g plain flour

1 egg

1 egg yolk 

cocoa powder

Line 2 (or 4 in my case) ramekin pots with a small amount of butter, then shake some cocoa powder around until they’re coated. Cast them aside and forget about them for hours.

Heat some water in a saucepan and put a bowl on top. Into the bowl melt the butter and chocolate. Resist the urge to dunk fingers into the bowl, it will hurt.

Molten chocolate does look and smell awesome though. Leave to cool.

This is where my recipe differs slightly from others, it works for me but do whatever you’re comfortable with. Beat the egg white and stop before it gets to the stage of being soft peaks. Add the sugar and egg yolk, and beat again until it’s pale, soft and creamy.

Add the chocolate

And stir until well mixed. My favourite part is when it takes on a marble-like effect

Fold in the flour, and add to the ramekins.

Shove into the oven for 12 minutes, cooking at 160 degrees C.

Remove and behold! Leave them to cool for a couple of minutes so the edges come away from the sides easily. I find this time handy to scoop up some vanilla ice cream. Turn them upside down onto a plate and leave again for a few moments, and then with the gentlest of shakes, they should come out whole.

Eat like it’s your first/last meal.

3 comments April 21, 2008

Gym: TT

I think I’m going to bite the bullet and order Turbulence Training. I don’t really spend much on myself in terms of indulgence (most recent buy was a book on Extended Matching Questions in clinical medicine Zzzz…) but I think this will be brutal so it’s not indulgence as such…

But I’m still undecided. It’ll probably be better on a day where I’m feeling less frugal. I might be a cheapskate and go halves with a friend of mine.

Thoughts?

Add comment April 20, 2008

Food: GN Butternut squash soup

I was trying to find an effective way to communicate how I feel about this recipe, and came up with this.

YOU

HAVE

TO

TRY

THIS!!!

Ignoring how good butternut squash is for you (high in fibre and antioxidants) this soup is like instant happiness (not even the best SSRIs can beat that). It has a delicious aromatic heady blend about it (thanks to spices such as cinnamon and cumin) and I opted to use my auntie’s homemade chilli oil which transformed it into liquid sunshine in a bowl. I decided not to use turkey or leftover chicken as a garnish as I didn’t want to distract my senses, but obviously you’d want to have some protein to balance it out if you wish.

The only downside to this recipe is that butternut squash requires peeling. I normally cut the neck off and peel the separate pieces as I would peel an orange. I’ve found this method keeps me sane but if you have better ideas, please let me know!

The result of 15 minutes of torment:

Saute the pieces in a large saucepan until they’re lightly browned. I decided not to use butter or coconut oil and used the chilli oil instead. I then added some chopped onion, grated ginger and garlic and sauteed for another couple of minutes. Then 1tsp of ground cumin and cinnamon, along with a few cups of stock (I used chicken stock, but it’s completely reasonable to use vegetable).

Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until the squash is soft. Blitz in a blender or use a handheld one until smooth.

Liquid sunshine.

3 comments April 20, 2008

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