Crayfish Salad – (and some pretty exciting news!)

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Another interesting flavour combination to tickle your tastebuds!

Ingredients

  • 1 portion crayfish tails
  • 1/2 mango
  • Small amount of chopped chorizo
  • Salad leaves

I used half a pack of the crayfish tails you can get from Lidl, but I didn’t think to note down the pack size, hence the vagueness of my ingredients list! Also the chorizo I bought was a cheaper chorizo-type thing from Aldi of which I used two slices, but I know chorizo usually comes in different forms so I will leave it to you to deduce the amount to use. I found a little goes a long way.

I’m really enjoying combining fish and fruit at the moment, I think the fresh combination of sweet and salty works really well especially in these summer months. I have one more to try out before I move into a lower-carb phase (so no fruit) which I am very excited about, and will be sure to post!

Training of late has been a little frustrating, with my bench shirt difficulties and struggling to get to depth in my squat suit I have been feeling a little unprepared for the British. Sometimes all it takes though, is some outside perspective to remind me of my successes. Speaking to a friend of mine on Facebook I was reminded that although I have been struggling with these two lifts, my deadlift is sailing and the 130kg british standard is well within my reach.

I’ve also tried to remind myself that the weights I’ve been working with inn the region of my opener for squat and bench are still pretty darn heavy, and if I was repeatedly doing singles at an equivalent weight raw I’d be congratulating myself! Kit lifting is such a different game to raw and it definitely doesn’t always go right. I just need to trust that my coach is right when he says we’re just where we need to be at the moment, and the British will go as swimmingly as I need it to!

Which brings me to my next point, which I have somehow forgotten to mention in the past few days! Some very exciting news indeed! Following some email conference with one of the head honchos in the GBPF, I am delighted to announce that I have been nominated for selection for the World Junior Championships in Hungary. This doesn’t mean that I am definitely going, as my performance at the British will be assessed before I am officially selected, but I am definitely in the running. One step closer to my goal!

Although there is a lot of pressure for me to perform well at the British, I will have one less pressure on me in terms of my weight. I weighed myself at 52.0kg this morning, two weeks out and not even having done keto (though I have been restricting my carbs a little) I’m well on my way to being safely within my weight class. I’m going to let this be a lesson to me for future competitions; to start early and put less pressure on myself! It also means that the kit is fitting me more like it will actually fit me at the competition, as even a kilo can make a massive difference.

The frustrations I’ve been having with my kit, while putting me in a grump during training, have actually made me more determined to get things right and make sure I’m fully prepared and confident for the British. Looking forward to the next week or so of training and tuning up, of which I will keep you all updated.

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Flavour Combinations – Mackerel Salad

I’ve been trying out a few new flavour combinations for salads in recent weeks, but it feels a bit wrong to post them as recipes, as combining the ingredients in a dish is hardly taxing!  So I’ve made a new category; flavour combinations, where you will be able to find all my ‘recipes’ for interesting salads.

First of which is a delicious but slightly weird mackerel salad, inspired by my mother.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 fillet smoked mackerel
  • 1 steamed beetroot
  • 1 satsuma
  • Salad leaves (I used a mix with rocket)

I know it sounds weird, but the sweet of the satsuma really complements the saltiness of the mackerel.It’s also quite a stunning salad with the purple of the beetroot and orange satsuma. Don’t knock it before you try it!

This salad is a nutrient powerhouse; mackerel is an outstanding source of omega-3 fatty acids and is also rich in vitamins B6, B12 and D. Beetroot is high in folate and manganese, and also provides magnesium, potassium and iron. Satsumas are high in vitamin A and C, and full of antioxidants, while rocket is a great source of vitamin K and alpha-linoleic acid. Makes you wonder why people rely on multivitamins when combinations like this exist…

 

Shepherdess Pie

With my mission to have a varied diet, I’ve been experimenting a bit in the kitchen lately, so you can all look forward to some more healthy recipes in the coming weeks.

This is my (relatively) low-carb take on a shepherd’s pie, using celeriac and leek for the topping and pork mince for the base. This is one of the first recipes that I’ve made entirely from my own imagination, and I’m really proud of how it’s turned out, hopefully you’ll like it too! I hadn’t ever tried celeriac until a few weeks ago in a lovely vegetable pie that my friend made me, so this is my first time ever using it, and I think it works really well against the rich flavour of the pork mince. This took me about 40 minutes to prepare but I’m not very efficient in the kitchen, and was making it up as I went along, so you could realistically make it in about 30 minutes. I’d love to know what people think of this recipe, so if you try it  out do let me know what you think 🙂

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Ingredients 

For the topping

  • 1kg Celeriac (AKA celery root)
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 50g low fat cream cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the base

  • 1 medium white onion
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 1/2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
  • 500g reduced fat pork mince
  • 1x 500g carton passata
  • 1/4 tsp stevia (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (optional)
  • Frying oil of your choice

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Makes 4 largish portions or 5 Susie-sized portions

Method

  1. Peel and chop the celeriac into cubes, then put on to boil for approximately 20 minutes
  2. Peel and finely chop the onions and garlic, and fry over a medium heat (I used coconut oil but you can use whichever oil you prefer) for 5 minutes until softened, adding the crushed fennel seeds after about 4 minutes
  3. Add the pork mince to the onion mix and fry over a medium-high heat until browned
  4. Add the carton of passata to the pork, reducing the heat to low-medium and allow it to simmer
  5. At this point chop the leeks and put them in to soften with the celeriac for the remaining few minutes of boiling
  6. If using, add the stevia and salt to the pork at this point. I always add some sort of sweetener to tomato dishes to combat the acidity, but usually don’t use salt. The salt and sweetener are entirely optional
  7. If you want the top to be a little crunchy, preheat your grill now
  8. Drain the vegetables and allow them to steam off for a few minutes, then use a hand-held blender to puree these along with the cream cheese. I didn’t thoroughly blitz the mix and left some leek pieces in tact for added texture
  9. Take the pork off the heat (it should have simmered for about 10 minutes now), and pour into an oven dish, spreading the veg mix on top
  10. Sprinkle the top of the pie with any seasonings that you fancy, and place under the grill for about 5 minutes until a little brown and crispy
  11. Serve and enjoy!

Seeds

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With so many competitions in the recent months, the subsequent need for a keto-ish diet for weight maintenance, and my tolerance for a very repetitious and unvaried diet has meant that I have probably been missing out on some key nutrients. Although I’ve been hitting my target macros, I’ve almost certainly not paid enough attention to my micros, with a diet consisting of mainly green veg, meat and fats I’ve likely been missing out. This may be the cause for my recent exhaustion.

So, to combat this I have done a number of things. To start with, I’m trying to vary the meals I have each week. With pre-preparing meals this can be hard, but I am trying to not eat the same meal for more than 4 days at a time.  I am also trying to incorporate more colour into my diet. Having eating so much green for so long, I am eating more of a range of colours as this will mean more of a range of nutrients. Peppers, aubergines and blueberries have all found their way back onto my plate, and I’m loving it.

One particular food which I feel is often overlooked as an amazing source of minerals and fats is seeds. Holland and Barrett do a great little mix called ‘Omega Sprinkle’ of which I’ve had 2 bags sitting in my cupboard for an age, so I decided to do something with them so I’m more likely to eat them. I’ve come up with a really simple way of adding some extra flavour and crunch to them, which is probably all over the internet already but here’s my take!

Ingredients

– 1 and 1/2 cups mixed seeds
– 1 egg white
– Pre-prepared spice mix of your choice

Method 

  •  Pre-heat the oven to 180 °C (350 °F )
  •  Line a baking sheet with grease-proof paper
  •  Whisk the egg white until reasonably firm
  •  Sprinkle the seeds with the spice mix (as much or as little as you like)
  •  Fold the spiced seeds into the egg white and spread across the baking tray
  •  Sprinkle with some more spice for added flavour
  •  Bake for 7 minutes or so, then break up the mix a bit with a fork
  •  Continue baking, checking and mixing every 4-5 minutes or so, and remove when the mix is evenly browned and crunchy
  • Allow to cool, and store in an air-tight container

These seeds are perfect for afternoon snacking, or sprinkling over a salad. I used a cajun spice mix, which is absolutely heavenly. I also made another batch using a little vanilla extract and some stevia, great for sprinkling on top of some greek yoghurt. Let me know what you think of this recipe 🙂

 

Chocolate Nut Butter Drops

This is a recipe from a fellow Bournemouth Barbell lifter, a third year nutrition student who’s heading to the IPF World Championships in July.  He’s been a massive help with my diet in recent weeks, and this is one of his recipes I’ve tried out for when I fancy something sweet. Check out his page here.

I’ll warn you now, these are addictive….

Chocolate Nut Butter Drops

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  • 3 table spoons of coconut oil
  • 4 table spoons of unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 tablespoon of sweetener
  • A bunch of any natural nut butter of your choice!
  • Silicone ice cube tray (I used a penguin mould 🙂 )


1) Melt the coconut oil down and add the sweetener and cocoa.

2) Fill the ice cube tray 1/3 of the way. Freeze for 5 minutes.

3) Add a teaspoon of the nut butter into each cube. Freeze for a further 5 minutes

4) Fill the rest of the ice cube tray sections with the remaining cocoa and coconut oil mixture. Freeze and leave in the freezer until they are needed. Simply pop one out and enjoy!

These may be low-carb, but they are still high in calories so don’t go mad (advice that I need to take too haha)

Can’t wait to finish writing this post and have one of these as a treat after my deadlift session tonight. Got into my newly sugar-washed squat suit, which didn’t seem too much tighter so I may have to wash it again, and did minimal warm ups; singles at 60kg, 80kg, 90kg and 95kg. Next onto more singles at 100kg, 110kg and then an attempted 115kg. Quite easy off the floor but didn’t quite have the adrenaline necessary to lock out. Felt good though, so looking forward to seeing what I can do next. Went back down to 100kg for doubles working on pulling my shoulder blades right back and straightening out my back so I have less work to do locking out at the top of the lift.

Finished off the session with some easy squatting, tried another member’s suit one size smaller than the one I normally use and it worked quite well for me. Unfortunately I won’t be able to use it for the Welsh, but my coach is looking into finding me a smaller one. Warmed up with a few at 60kg and 75kg. Then put my wraps on for 90kg, and straps and tighter wraps for 105kg for two. Working on unracking and setting up with confidence so I don’t have another fiasco in comp. I think doing unequipped comp so close to the equipped comp left me a bit out of practice with equipped lifting, so I have more confidence that with the next few days of practice the next comp will go a bit better for me.

 

Creamy Pesto Pork

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I probably won’t be able to update again until Sunday after I’ve competed (how exciting!) so I thought I’d treat you all to a very simple yet delicious keto recipe that I’ve been having a lot in the last week. It’s recipes like this that make you feel like you’re not on a diet; truly indulgent, warming and delicious.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 2 medium courgettes (zucchini)
  • 2 medium leeks
  • 3 pork chops
  • 4 tbsp pancetta
  • 2 tbsp green pesto
  • 40ml single cream
  • 1 tsp butter for frying

Method 

  1. Thinly slice the courgettes and fry in butter for 2 minutes to soften
  2. While the courgettes soften, slice the leeks and dice the pork, then add these along with the pancetta to the pan
  3. Fry the mixture for 5-7 minutes until the pork is almost cooked through, then add in the pesto and stir
  4. Pour in the single cream and leave the mixture to soften and cook for a further 5 minutes or so, serve and enjoy!

I usually make 3 portions, eat one and then refrigerate the other two for the following two days. Eating this doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing out on carbs at all as it’s just so delicious! Though be warned, if you’re not used to eating that much veg in one portion you may want to tailor the recipe slightly…

50 followers!

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I’ve been super busy this week with Uni, training and work so I haven’t been posting as much as I would like. Though it seems in my absence people have been liking what I’ve posted, as I’ve now reached 50 followers! Having only started this blog just over a month ago, I can’t quite believe that 50 strangers are regularly seeing and reading what I post! It’s actually quite exciting, so thank you all! 🙂
Currently at Uni for 6 hours of health promotion lectures, so only have time for a quick post. Just wanted to share my recipe for baked broccoli, nothing groundbreaking and like the courgette fritters I’m sure there are tonnes of similar recipes out there, but this is what I did:

Makes enough for 4 servings

  • 1-2 rashers bacon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 30g butter
  • 3 florets broccoli

Chop the broccoli into large chunks and place in a large oven dish. Slice the bacon into small pieces (I did rough centimetre chunks) and distribute evenly through the broccoli. Chop the garlic finely, or crush (I chopped) and sprinkle over the dish. Finally, slice the butter thinly and place sporadically over the broccoli, as this will melt while cooking. Bake at 200°C for roughly 40 minutes until slightly blackened and soft, mixing once during cooking. Enjoy!