Red Wine Runner

A Scottish Running Blog

Tag: vegetarian athlete

RECIPE: Haggis Cannelloni

Two weeks ago on the 25th of January it was a very special day; not only was it Burns‘ night, but it was also the birthday of my darling betrothed. With the confluence of these two great annual events came the opportunity to showcase my dazzling culinary skills and create a delicious birthday meal for Kynon. Both of us love Haggis (I stick with the vegetarian option of course), so I decided to make a Haggis based dish with an unusual twist and decided to make Haggis Cannelloni.

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My Mum first made this dish for me years ago, and inspired by it I have since experimented with haggis as a mince substitute on a couple of occasions, creating haggis lasagne and haggis tacos. It’s really quite a simple recipe but it just takes a little time to prepare the various components before assembling the dish for baking. It can be incredibly healthy as well (depending on how much cheese you put on the top), and can be made vegan by exchanging the ricotta for a vegan soft-cheese substitute.

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Vegetarian Haggis is made with lentils, grains and beans so is a great protein-packed food for vegetarian athletes. Lots of spinach also adds a nutritional punch as well.
This recipe will give you 4 hearty servings, or you could stretch it a bit further if you’re serving with accompaniments such as bread and and salad.

Haggis Cannelloni by Rhona Mitchell

Prep time: 20 mins, bake time: 40 mins

Ingredients
250g vegetarian haggis
Box of dry cannelloni
150g fresh baby spinach
40g fresh basil (chopped finely)
150g mushrooms (chopped finely)
2 cloves garlic (crushed and chopped finely)
125g ricotta cheese
Large jar of tomato pasta sauce (I used 660g Lloyd Grossman Tomato and Basil)
Bag of shredded mozzarella cheese
1tsp olive oil

Method
1. Set your over to pre-heat to 200C. Cook your haggis as per the packet instructions and set aside in a bowl to cool.

20130125_1752512. Finely chop basil, garlic and mushrooms

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3. Heat the oil in a large wok and saute the garlic, mushrooms, basil and spinach until the spinach is completely wilted.

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4. Add the sauteed vegetables and ricotta cheese to your bowl of haggis and mix thoroughly.

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5. Blanch cannelloni in salted water and set aside out of the water to cool.

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6. Fill the cannelloni with haggis mixture using a blunt knife – push the mixture to the middle first of all then stuff each end til they are full.

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7. Place filled cannelloni in a greased baking dish. Fill as many as you like – just make sure you have enough tomato sauce to cover them! I did two layers.

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8. Cover the cannelloni in sauce, making sure no pasta edges are peeking out.

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9. Bake in your pre-heated oven for 25 minutes, then add your shredded mozzarella and cook until brown and bubbly – probably about another 15 minutes.

Leave to cool for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven, then serve and enjoy with lots of wine and bread!

Moray Marathon Training Update

This time last year on the approach to my first marathon, I was merrily spurting out training re-cap posts for you once a week with in-depth analysis of every training session and pictures of my newly-minted manky marathoner feet. I could go ahead and do the same thing this summer for the sake of producing content, but it’s not something I would find particularly interesting to read (or write!) so I’m just going to dispense some intermittent updates which hopefully will be more enjoyable. If you have anything in particular that you’d like me to address on the blog, then please leave a comment or drop me an email. I will even post some pictures of my horrendous feet, if you’re missing that kind of thing.

Right, so where are we? 51 days out from the Moray Marathon, that’s where. I’m currently in hell month and getting more and more battered by this training cycle but everything seems to be going well for the most part.

I’ve been continually churning out the miles and not missing a single session which I’m really pleased with. In the past I’ve found it rather too easy to cut the third weekday run of the week due to work fatigue/run fatigue/any other lame excuse, but this time I’m getting myself out for 5 runs a week which is new to me. For my D33 training I took a spinning class on Tuesdays (sometimes…) which was great cross training but the class timetable doesn’t work for me any more so Tuesdays are now a hilly 6 mile run.  I am also finding that doing my mid-week middle distance run on a Wednesday works a lot better as I’m less tired and more positive about heading out for after-work double digits.

Here’s what last week looked like. Saturday was a mile short – I’m still not sure why as the route I made on mapmyrun came out as 9, but I only finished up with 7.5. It was a horrendously wet day and I was soaked through and shivering by the time I got back to the front door, so I called it a day at 7.5.

I was a little nervous about the big long run on Sunday; I never seem to be able to shake the nerves even though I’ve run these distances umpteen times before. I think it was just the anticipation of the pains that 19 miles on tired legs by myself in terrible rain would bring, and the inevitable worry that my ITB would start hurting again leaving me stranded. That worry never goes away. Nevertheless, I woke up naturally at 0515 and decided to grab the crazy opportunity and make a break for it whilst it was still dry. I was in Stonehaven and headed out on a planned circular route, half road half trail, but decided to make it an out-and-back on the road when I saw how steep the trail was going to be. Normally I’m not one to shy away from hills, but that day I wanted to be running consistently not walking up a hill. The run out was predominantly uphill and hard work, but the run back was nicely downhill and gentler on my tired legs.

I made friends with some young cows who were very interested in me and ran alongside me as I passed by their field. I also saw some lovely Clydedale horses, lots of baby bunnies and a heron. My feet were giving me major grief (plantar fasciitis, blistered toenails and still aching bones and ankles from the WHW race support on that horrible rocky trail), my left ITB packed in after about 13 miles and started huge knee pain, and I twanged a hamstring which was a brand new level of pain. The 28 hard miles already in my legs from that week weren’t helping matters either. I was glad to have brought some painkillers with me; at times I was struggling with myself and had a few ‘Why the hell am I doing this’ moments. The kind when it’s stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning, you’re hobbling along the side of a road in pain in the middle of nowhere by yourself, and you haven’t seen another human for hours. The kind that really leaves you with no other option than to HTFU and run – you bleed in training so you can fight in the battle.

Not a single car passed me until I was on my way back into Stonehaven at about 0830. However despite my aches and pains I completed the run only 15 mins slower than planned and I was home and back in bed by 0930, with hot toasted buttery bagels and chocolate milk. It was as if the run had never happened and I got the rest of the day to relax with Kynon. This week I get to do 20 on Sunday, with 31 already in my legs. I’m not sure where to go yet but I think I might do an Aberdeen – Stonehaven via Drumoak adventure again.

How am I feeling? Drained, exhausted, aching, hungry. Encouraged. Fulfilled. This training is tough, but I’m tougher. I might be feeling like crap right now but that generally means I’m doing it right. I actually love putting myself through this and crossing off the miles week by week as I feel myself get stronger and stronger. The horrendous weather that we’re having isn’t making getting out there any easier, but at least it’s not cold.

What am I eating? Good question. Like many first time marathoners I put on weight last year in my training cycle, so I’m obviously not wishing for a repeat performance there. I lost weight training for the D33 and have kept it off since; I currently seem to be shedding further still and growing some muscle tone to boot so I must be doing something right.

Breakfast: Coffee, cup of branflakes+raisins and/or protein shake
Snack: Banana or cereal bar
Lunch: Can of Vegetable based soup, 2 wholemeal pittas toasted with hummous

Pre-run: A couple of jaffa cakes, a gel, or some jelly beans
Dinner: Veg/tofu stirfry with noodles, bean/veg stew with cous cous, vegetable+rice bowl, wholemeal pasta with pesto+veg – basically vegetables with a grain. The night before a long run – pizza!

In short – Vegetarian and low in dairy. I drink tonnes of water throughout the day, and maybe a couple of bottles of beer mid-week …with a couple more and some wine and gin at the weekends.

What else am I doing? Not a lot. I’ve pretty much re-entered hermit mode and haven’t seen many friends or family for ages unless it’s been to do with running. Work, run, eat, sleep, repeat. Right now even if I wanted to have a social life I’d struggle to be much fun – I’m usually asleep in front of the TV by 9pm! I have found, to my horror, that cutting back on the booze gives far better training results. Who’d a thought?!

So that’s a round up for now. Since I have no races until the Marathon, there won’t be any more race re-caps this summer! I don’t want this blog to be entirely made up of training re-caps til then so if you have something you want me to write about please do shout.

‘Til next time…

Minor Progress and a Recipe

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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Method:

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.

Spices

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!

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