Recipe | Beetroot, chicken and bulgar wheat salad

 

Beetroot, chicken and bulgar salad

 

At the moment my lunches are consisting of batch cooking some sort of grain and combining with protein and salad. I’ve been really enjoying the different combinations I come up with, and this one last week was definitely too good not to share. Initially I struggled to think of what I would be able to have for lunch that week, having not been shopping, but thanks to some chicken in the freezer and raiding my Nan’s vegetable plot I came up with something delicious for the whole week!

To give you five lunches you’ll need:

large chicken breast (mine was about 230g raw)//150g dry brown bulgar wheat//tin of chick peas//12 cherry tomatoes//red pepper//2 spring onions//1 grated carrot//2 small grated beetroot//vegetable stock cube

Place your chicken under the grill and cook for about 20 mins, checking and turning often.

Meanwhile put the bulgar wheat into a saucepan and cook up according to the instructions with a veggie or chicken stock cube.

Whilst the chicken is grilling and the bulgar wheat is bubbling away, prep your veggies. Quarter your cherry tomatoes, dice up your red pepper, slice your spring onion, and grate your carrot and beetroots. Drain and empty your chick peas and place all in a big mixing bowl.

Once the bulgar wheat is done allow to cool slightly before adding to your big bowl. Slice up your grilled chicken into thin slices, and then dice. I had mine a similar size to the pepper, which meant the chicken felt like it went a lot further.

Mix it all together, and it will turn a fabulous pink colour thanks to the beetroot! I served this up every day on a bed of salad leaves and combined with a yogurt it made a very filling and nutritious lunch.

What do you like for lunches?

Your last meal?

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Not my choice currently, but cheese would have been a few years back!

I was having a discussion with a colleague this week at work about what we would chose for our last meal would be if we got a choice. He chose a 1990′s Big Mac, plus a pint of larger, plus some sort of chicken and lentil curry with Keema naan and rice. Very specific, and not quite a meal in so many words, more a buffet of food!

When having a think about what I would chose myself, I got really stuck. I love food so much, how could I possibly chose just one thing, or just a starter/main/pud. I then decided I was thinking about it too much, and just to go with the first things that came to mind. So, my choice would be…

My Mum’s macaroni cheese. If you’re really nice I might share the recipe for this with you soon, it’s soo good and worth feeling horribly uncomfortable after knowing I shouldn’t eat cheese.

Yorkshire puddings. I’m not sure if it’s due to my Yorkshire heritage or something else, but I can’t get enough of Yorkshire puddings. I think one New Year’s Eve I ate nearly 20. #sorrynotsorry

Fish pie. Again, my Mum makes a cracking fish pie, and I always request she puts boiled eggs in it. So good, and again, worth the uncomfortable feeling from the creaminess. I think I’m going to try and whip up a dairy-free version of this using dairy free milk soon!

Marks & Spencer lemon drizzle cake. Not just any lemon drizzle, it has to come from M&S. I’ve never had a lemon drizzle taste any better, not only does the icing taste citrussy, but it permeates the sponge too, which is so moist, citrussy and just yum.

I’m starting to wonder if I could combine a macaroni cheese or fish pie with a yorkshire pudding element and work out some sort of toad in the hole-esque hybrid. What do you think?

What would be your last meal?

Street eats take two

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Earlier this month I headed to a local street food festival with two fellow bloggers S and P. This was the second street food festival our little town held, and at the first one I had a delicious burrito, so I had high hopes! As we walked through the food sellers we ummed and ahhed over what to have, some with bigger queues than others, our options included pizza, fish, Ethiopian and Hungarian food.

Having done a full lap of the stalls, we all decided to try something different and then meet back up to enjoy our food. I went for the Cilantro Dave from Olly’s Fish Shack. The fish was so fresh and meaty, it tasted so good, and the batter was amazing, I definitely made the right choice!

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S went for the Ethiopian food from Abycina, which she was really impressed by, and P went for the Hungarian food by The Langos Company, where I’m not sure the food quite made up for the long queue and rude people in the queue.

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Unfortunately I’m on holiday for the next street eats, but luckily there will be a few street food vendors at the Lashings at the end of this month, definitely a reason to watch cricket if ever I heard one!

Sunday strolls to Leith Hill

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Ever since Megan and I went to Denbies last summer I’ve been meaning to get over to Leith Hill, just outside Dorking, to see the views of London from the top. A couple of weeks ago on a clear and bright Sunday afternoon I headed out to clear the cobwebs for a sunny walk.

I can’t believe I waited so long to head over here, the views were stunning, and once we reached the tower we were rewarded with a cute little tea stand selling cold drinks, teas, sandwiches and cakes. From the very top you could even see the Shard. We spent an hour enjoying the sunshine and views, before heading back down the hill, cobwebs cleared and feeling energised.

I think the trails around Leith Hill would be amazing to go running, so I’ll definitely be back!

Race recap | The Great City Race

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Great photo-bombing action!

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Last week I took part in The Great City Race with some colleagues, which is a corporate 5K held in London one weekday evening. I’d been looking forward to the race for ages. I’m really lucky to have a great group of like minded run loving colleagues who are always up for a RUNch time session. There’s no competitiveness between us, just great energy, support and enthusiasm.

The race takes place within the ‘square mile’ and we got to run past some pretty cool sites, including the Bank of England, the Guildhall and St Paul’s. Getting to the race ahead of the 7.15 start time was very straight forward from work, and we had plenty of time to spare to meet up with friends, drop off our bags with a colleague who wasn’t running, and go to the plentiful portaloos.

There were four corrals, two for the super speedy amongst us (two from my work), a 19-27 minute corral, and then 27minute+. The remainder of us running headed into the slowest corral and discussed our goals for the race. Mine was simply to have fun and enjoy myself and the sights around, I didn’t even wear my Garmin!!

As the race started I decided to try and keep my two speedier colleagues in sight for as long as I could, knowing that I could push myself and that it would all be over within 30 minutes. The course was busy, with plenty of people walking and I had to keep weaving myself in and around people.

I kept my colleague s in sight for almost 2K, and then lost them as it got even busier along the course. I felt really good as I kept running and wondered if I could achieve somewhere close to my sub 30 goal for this year. I don’t really remember seeing any KM markers until 3K, and I knew I was over half way through.

Before I knew it 4KM was on us, and with a vague notion of how long I’d been running for I thought to myself that I wouldn’t be close to my 30minute goal for the year. I finished the race feeling strong and pleased with my effort, but with no real idea of my time.

The goody bag given to us was probably one of the best I’ve ever had – three drinks, samples and plenty of snacks including a pink lady, my favourite! The queue for the finishers t-shirts moved quickly and before I knew it I was back with all my colleagues discussing the race and looking forward to our free pint from the Fullers bar.

The following day I found out I finished the race in 30:05, a PB for me, but gutting that I was just six seconds shy of my sub 30 goal. If I’d worn my watch I’m sure I could have pushed myself harder for six seconds, or tried to find a more efficient non people dodging route through the crowds. But, I can’t change things and I know now that sub 30 is definitely achievable on a flat-ish course in the near future!

I had a great experience at the race, it was brilliantly organised, an interesting course with plenty of support on the streets and it was great to feel part of a team with my colleagues as opposed to normally racing on your own. I can’t wait to have another go at it next year!

A simple supper

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I’ve been so busy at weekends lately that by the time it gets to Monday evenings my fridge is looking a little sorry for itself and it’s a struggle to have the motivation and creativity to put together a decent dinner. However, this week I decided to skip run club and spend a little time getting some chores done, and have a proper dinner. It turned out so well, and it was so simple, I think I’ll be returning to this combination of veggies time and again. The way I prepared the chicken is a method I use all the time, it’s so simple and gives the juiciest chicken every time.

To recreate you’ll need:

//a selection of vegetables to roast. I used butternut squash, courgettes, green peppers and onion //olive oil//pomegranate molasses//black pepper//salt//chicken breast//garlic powder

//Preheat your oven to 200oC.

//Chop up your veggies and place on a baking tray, and drizzle with a tbsp of olive oil and a tbsp pomegranate molasses. Mix it all really well in the tray so all the veggies are coated, then dust with a little black pepper.

//Pop your chicken breast on some foil, and drizzle with a little olive oil and a sprinkle of the black pepper and garlic powder. Coat on both sides, then fold up all the sides of the chicken to make a little parcel.

//Pop in the oven for 25 minutes, taking the veggies out once to give a good stir.

//Once out of the oven drizzle the chicken breast in a little more pomegranate molasses and serve up.

I’m always after new ways to use my bottle of pomegranate molasses, so if you have any recommendations, let me know!

Cook book challenge | Vanilla cupcakes

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Last Monday I was home alone and feeling restless. What does one do when feeling restless at 9pm on a Monday? Have an early night? Pah! I say make cupcakes! Luckily I had all the ingredients I needed for these which makes them a perfect go-to recipe if you suddenly realise you need cake. And who doesn’t suddenly realise they need cake?! The recipe comes from The Hummingbird Bakery book, which I’ve made a couple of things from before, all of which turned out really well.

I used some of my homemade elderflower cordial and a little icing sugar to top the cupcakes. They tasted good, but I wanted something a little more elderflower-y, so maybe next time I’d add a little cordial to the cake batter.

Ingredients: plain flour//caster sugar//baking powder//salt//butter//milk//egg//vanilla extract//

Taste: These cupcakes were light and airy and fluffy, just what you want from a cupcake.

Good: Really easy to make, quick to cook, all the ingredients are always in my cupboard, so (rather dangerously) can be made at anytime.

Time taken: 20 minutes to cook, and maybe 20 minutes to bake. Cupcakes ready to eat in less than an hour!

Likeness to the book: Hard to tell, in the book their covered with frosting, whereas I just used icing sugar and elderflower cordial to top mine.

Improvements: I’d use bigger cupcake cases as mine overflowed a little!

Cost: Next to nothing because I had everything in my cupboard already!

Overall score: 5/5. I think this will be my go-to cupcake recipe for the future!

Om yoga | July and August edition

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Om yoga

I’ve really started to look forward to the little notification pinging up on my phone that there’s a new issue of Om yoga to download each month, and this issue was no different. It’s like the people who create the magazine are able to see inside my mind and read my thoughts, as there were two topics in particular covered that were exactly what I am all about this month.

1. Yoga for cyclists

As I ramp up the training for my upcoming duathlon I’ve been spending more and more time in the saddle. The more time I’ve spent in the saddle, the more my shoulders (and bum!) have been taking the strain and feeling sore. So the spread on yoga poses that are great for cyclists is just what I need! The article recommends five poses that stretch out some of the muscles you use whilst cycling, and the one I’ve been using two I’ve been using the most is the snake pose, and cat pose which apparently you can do whilst on your bike, although I’m not sure I’m quite that stable and confident just yet!!!

2. Yoga sources online

One lunchtime I found myself googling yoga bloggers. I’d had such an inspiring yoga class the night before that I wanted to learn more about other people’s experiences of yoga. Then that same week Om yoga had a whole feature on the best yoga sites around including virtual classes and resources, talk about great timing! Going to yoga classes can also get pretty pricey, and I can never remember all the moves we do in yoga to go through a whole flow at home, so being able to stream a class is a great option for me. My favourite new to me site that I discovered through the article was the site Movement for Modern Life, which streams yoga classes from trendy locations around London, including Blue Cow Yoga, which I’m desperate to go to after reading about the studio on different bloggers website. I’ve already signed up for a 14 day trial which I’m looking forward to making more of, and I’ve been regularly checking back on their blog too!

Om magazine is full of other tips and article about how you can fit yoga into all parts of your life and wellbeing, not just on the mat. As I said before, I love reading each issue as soon as I get the ping that it’s ready to download from your mobile too!

 

Life lately

Aside from this week the blog has been a little quiet of late, and that’s because life has been anything but quiet!

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I’ve been running a lot preparing for my third half marathon, and cycling a bit (not as much as I should) preparing for London Duathlon. I’ve been taking running steady though as I’ve had a few niggles, particularly behind my left knee. Cycling has been a slower process, although I conquered a huge fear and went out on my first group ride one night after work. The team cycled London2Paris recently, so needless to say joining some of them for a ride was pretty daunting. Luckily it went much better than I expected and I picked up some really great tips, including working on changing gears and pedalling up hills! This week I went on a ride on my own, got a bit lost, and ended up doing just shy of 19 miles. Not bad for a Thursday evening! At one point my chain came off my bike and three cyclists in a pack all shouted from the other side of the road to check and double check I was ok. I love the sense of community from runners and cyclists!

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I tried golf for the first time at Top Golf. I say first time, because I’m pretty sure crazy golf doesn’t count! Whilst I’m certainly not going to be the next Tiger Woods, I had a really good time, and even won my second match! Top Golf was really good fun for a beginner like me, it was fun to practice my swing and try to hit different targets, and I’d definitely go back!

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That same weekend I headed down to Brighton on the Sunday to watch Jaws at the outdoor cinema. We made a day of it with plenty of sunshine thrown in and had a lovely day. It was my first time watching Jaws, and I have to say it was a good choice by me to watch next to the sea outdoors. I loved when the whole audience clapped when he said, ‘We’re going to need a bigger boat!’.

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P and I got up super early one morning to go Paddleboarding! Undeterred by the thunder and lightning we managed a good hour trying to balance on a board and work our way round the lake before we decided to head in for warm food and coffee.

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I’ve been practicing yoga at a new studio a lot more. The studio is so friendly and welcoming, and all the classes I’ve been to have been just what I needed, like they read my mind. I thought I preferred a faster flow class, like I was used to in hot yoga classes, but having taken some yin classes and a slow flow, I realise that I like other yoga too. Taking the classes slower, focussing more on my breathing and getting deeper into each pose has left me feeling so calm and serene. Reading Om magazine has definitely inspired me to practice more too, their recent feature on teacher training really got me thinking…But, I have a half marathon, a duathlon, a marathon, and a whole load of exams for my course through work to get through before I can even start to think about that. But a combination of running, working, and yoga sounds just blissful, doesn’t it?

What’s going on with you guys?