I do apologise for the large periods of silence around these parts lately. I’ve been stretched rather thinly in the real world so unfortunately when that happens blogging tends to be put on the back burner, but I’m happy to report that all is well and it’s good busy, not bad busy!
I’ve been having minimal trouble from my knee and ITB issues. I really think the sports massage treatment I had last week did a great job – what exactly it did I am not sure, but I’m certainly feeling the benefits. I went out on Sunday with the intention of doing 6 miles along the Deeside Railway line, but I felt so relaxed and happy that I decided to keep going and in the end ran 11 miles in 1:35. That’s 8:40 pace!! It was one of those runs where I completely found my groove and was able to push out mile after mile at a decent clip. The weather was a little odd however – I was wearing a tank top and shorts with sunglasses as it was sunny when I left. At mile 9 when it started pelting hail and snow, I began receiving some very odd looks from dog walkers and other people hurrying home…
We’ve been plagued with really bad weather recently and I have to admit my shorter runs have suffered – it is not possible to squeeze in short runs in between day and evening work when it is pouring with rain. I frequently work front-of-house at concerts so looking presentable is a must – not easy to do after taking an alfresco shower in the great outdoors.
I think I may have lost some of the blinding optimism of my last post – Baker Hughes is now only 9 days away and the prospect of knocking out six sub-8 miles on the trot is as scarey and alien as ever, but perhaps not completely out of reach. I am mindful of the fact that there is another 10k shortly after Baker Hughes (The Running Shop Beach 10k, on 12th June) which is entirely flat and without the crowds of Baker Hughes so that may well be a better bet for me to achieve my sub-50 goal, but I am still out to destroy my PB of 52:36 on May 20th and celebrate the start of my 3rd year of racing with a strong race.
It’s been some time since I’ve posted about food on the blog, so to make a change from endless narcissistic chat about my 10k training I’d like to share this recipe with you which I created and enjoyed this week. As a vegetarian ‘athlete’ I get asked quite frequently what on earth I eat to fuel my running, and honestly the answer depends on what I’m training for. In general however, I try to eat a diet as full of as many different fruits, vegetables, grains and pulses as possible, I tend to steer clear of dairy and eggs as much as I can (although I am not vegan) and am concious of sneaky added salts and sugar that can creep in to my diet when I’m not looking.
Processed food in general is a no-no for me, and instead of buying ready meals to eat throughout the week when I’m short on time, I prefer to make a big pot of something at the start of the week which will last a few dinners. This particular dish is a prime example of a typical meal which I enjoy; except this was given an unusual twist when I got the chance to use a somewhat unusual ingredient…
Last weekend my gentleman friend and I were enjoying some unnecessary and indulgent food shopping around some of the boutique specialist premises in the West End of Aberdeen and we came across this Garlic Beer. My love for unusual alcoholic beverages is well documented here, so unsuprisingly I picked up a bottle of this when I saw it on the shelves at Hammerton Stores. When I took it to the till (alongside bottles of Brewdog Paradox Jura, Bitch Please Islay Cask, several smelly cheeses, vegetable pates and a loaf of locally made bread…) the server asked me if I was going to cook with it! The thought hadn’t crossed my mind, but then later in the evening when we tried the beer it seemed like quite a good idea.
I poured a small glass to try it – it’s very, very aromatic and smells just like freshly crushed garlic. It tastes immediately like a hoppy IPA but follows with an intense garlic flavour which sticks around in your mouth for some time. It is certainly not a session beer! I have to admit I struggled to finish the small glass and immediately got to thinking about how I could use the rest.
Garlic Beer and Vegetable Stew
- Box of chestnut mushrooms
- 2 x medium onions
- 1 x pepper
- 1 x large courgette
- Bag of quorn chunks or similar (I used Asda’s own brand)
- Half can of Chickpeas (drained)
- Small can of sweetcorn
- Can of chopped tomatoes
- 1/2 pint of GARLIC BEER!
- 300ml Vegetable stock
Heat a decent swig of olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan and lightly fry onions until soft.
Add chunkily chopped mushrooms, courgette and pepper and cook for 5 minutes, stirring.
Gently add half of the beer and the vegetable stock and cook for further minute or two.
Add can of tomatoes, sweetcorn, chickpeas and quorn chunks, stir well, add spices and allow to simmer for around 10 minutes.
Add remainder of beer and simmer until desired sauce thickness is reached.
This recipe is fairly adaptable in that you could season it in many different ways – I went for a spicy Cajun flavour but you could as easily add a blend of Indian, Middle Eastern or Italian spices to creat a completely different dish. I mixed approximately 1tsp each of garlic powder, paprika, cumin, black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, chilli powder and thyme into the pan, alongside a couple of dashes of liquid smoke. Being a huge hot-head I also used around a tablespoon of my current hot sauce of choice, 100% Pain.
I served this with cous-cous and wholemeal pitta bread. It was amazing and this pan gave me two more dinners. You could easily replace the Garlic beer with your favourite Stout or IPA perhaps, if you can spare some that is. I will certainly be trying beer in more of my recipes – it gave the stew a unique flavour and depth which was very enjoyable!