Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Quorn and the finer points of face punching.

This weeks blog reading music is Gagarin by Public Servic Broadcasting. This is so silly and so much fun, love the video too.

Been talking to a few about stretching and yoga recently, I've posted it here before but if you're one of those people (or indeed if you're not) here's a link to the free online yoga course I did, you can do the course at your own pace or sign up and then get an email every day with a link to a 15 or 20 minute class, perfect for beginners and there's plenty of other online classes if you get a bit more into it.  Erin Motz is perfect for me for yoga, none of the new-age mock spirituality rubbish that winds me up so much, doesn't take herself too seriously as a yogi (even posts wine recommendations) - just stretches and breathing and clear and concise instruction.  I'm also doing a weekly yoga class in Old Street on a Tuesday which I'm really enjoying and there's a ridiculously good offer on for that, £29 for 3 months of classes, and Olivia who runs that class is similarly no nonsense.  Seriously, if you find you're sore after exercise or generally stiff and tense get some yoga in to your life.

Yoga's all well and good but it's hitting things that's really fun.  I've really enjoyed being at 12 Rounds Boxing this week, last year was all about losing some weight and just getting active again but this year it's getting better and better being at classes where we're hitting pads and working on some technique, thinking about your head positioning or your foot placement when throwing a combination makes that the fact I'm getting a work out feels almost secondary.

My awesome Nan and my awesome Saku shirt.
Had a sit down with Kat from 12 Rounds this week about setting some goals for the future and how I'm feeling about things, lifestyle stuff as well as diet and the gym which feels like it's helped to refocus.  Small goals set but attainable ones I think - dropping another jeans size, doing a proper chin up (still beyond me, still utterly intimidating).  I never used to get that with the dead-eyed drones at Fitness First who swiped my card...   the time I wasted at that place and never got results.  I did hit one small goal this week, Diana bought me an awesome Kazushi Sakuraba t-shirt for Christmas that was too tight and this week I fit in it nicely. Small goals but attainable ones.

Right, I love to cook and I had a request for recipes in the blog so here's a couple of simple, very healthy, one pot winter dishes that keep well so are good for lunches the next day too.  Skip to the end for this week's cat video.


Chili con Quorny

Ingredients:
1tsp coconut oil
3 cooking onions or 1 big Spanish one, roughly chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
2tsp chilli powder
1tsp cumin
1/2tsp smoked paprika
1tsp oregano
2 bay leaves
2tsp worcestershire sauce (skip this to keep it a vegetarian dish)
300g bag Quorn mince
2x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 can kidney or borlottii beans. Drained and rinsed.
250g mushrooms, finely sliced.
1 bunch coriander
Splash of red wine vinegar
Salt & pepper

I'm not a vegetarian but I do eat Quorn.  It's inexpensive, high in protein, high in fibre and very low in fat but it is a bit bland so needs robust reasoning.  This recipe will work with beef mince, just brown it in another pan and drain the fat off.

Method:
1. In a large saucepan melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and add the garlic and onions.  Stir and cover the pan for a couple of minutes until softened then add the chilli powder, cumin and paprika, stir so the onions are coated.

2. Add the frozen bag of Quorn (or beef mince) and stir through, it should only take a couple a minutes until the Quorn takes on the spices and starts to defrost at which point add the tinned tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, worcestershire sauce and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to almost a boil and then leave to simmer on a low heat for at least 25/30 mins, if you can cook it on a very low heat then the longer the better just be sure it doesn't dry out or burn to the bottom of the pan.  If you can cook it for a while and then turn it off and come back to it later in the day or even the next day then bonanza!

Note - If you're buying tinned tomatoes always buy chopped ones unless you want to keep them whole on your plate, tomato tinners (tinneries?) use the more ripe tomatoes for chopping.  Theo Randall said so and he's great.

3. For the last 10 minutes of cooking stir in the sliced mushrooms and beans and a splash of vinegar.  Check your seasoning as you might want to add some more salt at this point too

4. Once the mushrooms are cooked you're ready to go.  I like to chop coriander and stir it through once the pot is off the heat.  Serve with brown rice or if you're going low carb then a green salad or steamed broccoli.  Top with more chopped coriander, chopped spring onions a dollop of greek yogurt or sour cream.




Green Soup

Ingredients:
1tsp coconut oil
3 anchovy fillets (skip this to keep it a vegetarian dish)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped.
2 red chillies, finely chopped.
1 onion
400ml chicken or vegetable stock (a couple of stock cubes dissolved in boiling water is fine)
2 heads of brocolli
100g kale
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
1 lemon
Salt & pepper

Green is good.  This is delicious and packed with stuff that's great for you.

Method:
1. In the same pan you made the chilli in melt the coconut oil over a medium heat and add the anchovy fillets, give them a minute and they will melt away.  Add the garlic and chillies (seeds and all, but leave the seeds out if you're a delicate flower) and once they've had a moment add the onion and cook on a low heat until softened.  You could also add a couple of chopped sticks of celery at this point.

2. Pour in the stock and bring to a boil and drop in your broccoli and kale and the zest of a lemon. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of fresh black pepper, don't go too mad on the salt as the anchovies and kale are both pretty salty already.  Simmer for about 10 mins or until the broccoli stalks are softened.  Pretty much any green veg would do well in here, cabbage, spinach, peas, definitely must mint if you have peas.

3. Transfer the mix to a blender and add your fresh herbs, stalks and all, and the juice of half a lemon.  I like my soup thick like in the picture but you can blend it super smooth or blend half smooth and half thick and mix back together depending on how you prefer the texture.

4. Poor it back into your saucepan and add any more seasoning or lemon if it needs it, a good slug of hot sauce at this point could also do it wonders.

5. It's good to have some protein so serve with a poached egg like mine above (runny yolk in green soup is wicked), crispy bacon, crème fraîche or parmesan cheese.


Thanks for reading, here's a video of cats being confused by waterbeds and another of a SpaceX rocket exploding on landing (no one was hurt, it's an awesome guilt-free kaboom).

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