Soy & Wasabi Salmon Skewers

salmon skewers

This is hands down, my favourite recipe. The taste from the soy & wasabi glaze is out of this world. Don’t worry about the wasabi being too hot, when it’s mixed with the soy and cooked, it becomes more of a salty, spicy marinade rather than the mind-blowing wasabi paste you have with sushi. Wasabi paste is available in all supermarkets now, so don’t be shy if you’ve not cooked with it before, it’s nice and easy to find.

This is perfect with my sticky coconut & coriander rice.

Adapted from Dale Pinnock’s ‘Healthy Everyday’

Serves 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp (or a good squeeze) Wasabi paste
  • 4 spring onions
  • Wooden/metal skewers

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan. Line a baking tray with foil.

Mix the soy sauce and wasabi paste in a medium size bowl and whisk together to form a smooth marinade with no lumps. Set aside.

Remove the skin from the salmon fillets by gently running a sharp knife just underneath the skin, away from your body. Cut the salmon fillets into 5-6 chunks. Stab each chunk with the knife to make a little cut. This allows the marinade to penetrate the salmon so you don’t have to soak it for hours. Add the chunks to the marinade bowl and use your hands to coat the salmon pieces in the japanese sauce. Leave to marinate for 10 mins (or longer, if you have time).

Clean the spring onions and chop the ends off. Slice each onion into 5 sections, each about 4cm long.

Take your skewers and thread the onion and salmon pieces alternately. Place the skewers on the foil-lined baking tray and bake for 20 mins, turning after 10. Be careful of the skewers – they get hot!

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Spice Up Your Rice – Sticky Coconut & Coriander

coconut rice

The second part of my Spice Up Your Rice mini-series, this has become a firm favourite in boosting my clean bulk. Super easy (as ever) but with a richer, creamier taste than standard Basmati and a perfect compliment to Asian style dishes. Cooking the rice in coconut milk does increase the fat content of this rice, but it’s all monounsaturated, meaning your body utilises it for energy quickly, instead of storing it.

Ingredients:

  • Basmati rice (75g per person)
  • 1 can Coconut milk
  • 1 bunch fresh coriander
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

Melt the coconut oil in a saucepan over a medium heat. Add the rice grains and coat evenly in the oil. If you’re doing a large portion, you might want to add a bit more oil, so all the rice is coated.

Tip the contents of the coconut milk into a bowl and mix to a smooth consistency. Measure out the same volume as the rice, eg. 75g rice = 75ml coconut milk. Add to the pan, along with the same amount of water. Bring to a strong simmer, whilst stirring; then cover and turn the heat right down to it’s lowest setting. Cook the rice like this for  10-15 mins, stirring regularly to ensure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. The rice should be slightly sticky and not watery in texture when it’s done – you shouldn’t need to drain it.

Top with fresh chopped coriander and serve.

Let me know if you want a particular rice recipe via twitter or the comment box below!

 

Chicken & Peanut Buckwheat Noodles

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Another day, another tonne of carbs! Buckwheat noodles are the centre of this clean, gluten-free dish which satisfies cravings quickly and provides a steady supply of energy for hours afterwards (well, 2 hours…did I mention I’m bulking?!) You could use average noodles for this if you’re not fussed about eating clean, but buckwheat or soba noodles give it a Wagamamma’s feel and are much more nutritious.

Everything can be cooked from scratch and it’ll take about 30 minutes, or take a few short cuts and have it ready in 15. It’s a great one to whip up for a quick post-workout dinner, making extra for tupperware glory at lunchtime the next day.

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Ingredients (for 2):

  • 2 nests buckwheat noodles
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice 1 lime
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tbsp nut butter (peanut or cashew work best)
  • 1 tsp Tabasco
  • 200g pack pre-cooked chicken (or 2 chicken breasts you’ve already cooked)
  • 1 red pepper, sliced
  • handful sugarsnap peas
  • sprinkling of sesame seeds (I’ve used black sesame here for colour)
  • handful dry roasted peanuts, bashed up with a rolling pin.

Method:

If making from scratch, cook your chicken breasts at 170C (for 25-30mins). Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the noodles. Simmer for 4 mins. Meanwhile, combine the sesame oil, soy, lime juice, honey, nut butter, Tabasco and a splash of water in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 45 secs. Stir well to combine into a smooth sauce.

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Add the sauce to the noodles and then chuck in the chicken, pepper and sugarsnaps. Sprinkle with the dry roasted nuts and sesame seeds and serve!

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Spice Up Your Rice!

spice up your rice

Apologies to everyone who’s been asking for recipes recently, I moved house this week so blogging kinda went out the window. BUT, as of today, my content will be much more frequent and I’ve got tons of fab recipes to share.

As anyone who follows me on twitter will know, I’m currently doing a clean bulk. My PT has increased my intake of complex carbs by about tenfold and after two weeks, I’m pretty god damn bored of sweet potatoes and rice. So for the past week I’ve been trying to find ways to jazz it up, while keeping it clean.

This is the first part of the INCREDIBLY exciting mini series ‘Spice up your rice’ (I know, try to contain yourselves…) I’ll post 4 ways I’ve started eating rice which helps me on my way to hitting my massive 400g daily carb target, without going insane. For those of you who meal prep, you can still cook a giant batch of plain rice, then portion it up and add the flavouring ingredients afterwards. First up, Spicy tomato rice.

Ingredients:

  • Rice (I used 75-100g wholegrain rice per serving for this)
  • 3-4 tbsp Tomato Puree
  • 2 peppers (I used 1 red, 1 yellow, for sweetness and colour).
  • 4 spring onions
  • 1/2 chilli (optional)

Method:

Cook the rice according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile, finely chop the peppers and chilli, if using. Slice up the spring onions, but separate the green and white parts.

Heat a large frying pan on a medium heat and add a little oil. Add the white parts of the spring onions and when softened, add the diced peppers. If you like it really hot, add the chilli now too. If not, add it cold at the end. Once the veggies are softened, but still retain their shape, add the tomato puree and rice. Mix everything up well, so the puree colours the rice, and allow the rice to fully heat through. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over the green parts of the spring onions for crunch.

This is great with a chicken breast and chipotle sauce if you’re stuck for a decent dinner and need to hit some macros.

Don’t forget to tweet me some pics if you make any of my recipes! Next up…Sticky coconut rice with coriander

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Peachy

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This week I’ve increased my calorie intake to 20% above maintenance (SHOCK HORROR – not all women are trying to lose weight) in effort to get stronger and build more muscle. Eating so many calories of food that’s actually nutritious can get pretty difficult, especially when half of it is from sustainable carbohydrate sources. I’ve found that at the end of the day I usually have some carbs to make up in my macros and at 9pm in the evening, I don’t want more oats, sweet potatoes or brown rice.

I’m not good at eating fruit in general, I don’t particularly like it, especially not for dessert, largely because it’s not cream or chocolate. However, I absolutely love it cooked. Stewed apples, caramelised bananas and my latest obsession, roasted peach.

Peaches are so sweet and juicy at this time of year and easy to make into a delicious pudding. This dish is very high in carbs, which I know isn’t suitable for a lot of people, especially mid-cutting season!! But if you struggle with sugar cravings and want a fuss-free, delicious summer pudding, you can’t go far wrong. Yeah, it’s sugar, but at least it’s natural sugar and with the addition of greek yoghurt, you get a liiiiittle bit of protein too.

This isn’t even really a recipe as such, more of a construction. Just a side note – peaches are one of the fruits you really should buy organic. They’re so sweet that they require a gas tank of pesticide to keep flies away, so organically grown peaches are much safer and more delicious.

  • 1 peach per person
  • 170g Total Greek 0% fat yoghurt
  • handful pistachios, roughly chopped
  • handful blueberries
  • maple syrup
  • cinnamon

Approx macros per serving: Kcal – 221 Carbs – 44g Fat – 2g Protein – 6g

Method:

Heat the oven to 150C. Halve and stone the peaches, then fill the indent with blueberries. Put into a baking dish, sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with maple syrup (I could drown in the stuff, so use 2 tbsp per peach, obviously adjust it if you care about dental health). Bake for 40 mins, until peaches are very soft.

Serve with the Greek yoghurt and chopped pistachios. And maybe some more maple syrup…..

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Instant Gratification Chocolate Mousse

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Ok so the title for this post is a little weird…but this really is instant gratification in so many ways! It takes barely 2 minutes to make (plus a little refrigeration), uses only a few ingredients and is genuinely good for you! That, and calling it ‘instant, sugar-free, dairy-free, vegan, clean chocolate mousse’ didn’t really work.

The secret ingredient is avocado, which seems weird in a dessert, but actually does a similar thing to what bananas do to smoothies. A blended avocado gives a velvet texture, a whole bunch of decent fats and a creamy taste to this pudding. Plus, it’s angelic just for the fact it’s a mousse without cream and sugar!

Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fat that is easily burned for energy. This makes them ideal for meeting calorie intake and getting in some healthy fats without seriously increasing your carbohydrate intake. Monounsaturated fats are vital for glowing skin, strong hair and nails. They’re also an excellent source of fiber, B vitamins and folic acid, which women are often deficient in. So there literally is no reason not to make a massive vat of this mousse and eat it all guilt free!

For 2 mousses:

Ingredients:

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 3-4 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp 70% organic cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp 100% cacao, melted (optional – increase cocoa powder to your own preference, or use 70% dark chocolate instead)

You might want something to serve it with, I used hazelnuts and raspberries.

Method:

Squeeze the avocado flesh from their skins into a blender & blitz with all other ingredients, until smooth. Chill in the fridge for 40 mins or so and serve!

mousse

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Nourishing Nut Milks

milk

It was only a couple of years ago that if you were lactose or dairy intolerant, soy or rice milk were your only options. All well and good if you actually liked them but with such a distinctive taste and weird texture, I always thought they were terrible in cereal, tea or coffee. Now, even small convenience stores at least have almond milk available and larger stores, a plethora of oat, hazelnut and coconut milks as well.

I started trying nut milks in smoothies and protein shakes to add some more nutrients and a different texture. If I have one of these drinks for breakfast, I want something that’s going to keep me full and not make me bloated like dairy can. Nut milks are also fantastic in baking, desserts and cocktails (particularly coconut milk in the latter) and I love an almond milk chai latte.

I still drink dairy as I’m not intolerant, but I much prefer nut milks for a more luxurious depth of flavour and better nutrient profile: tons of calcium and vitamins B2, 12, d and E and no added preservatives, artificial flavouring, colours, lactose or animal fat. Great for those who like to eat clean, vegans, or anyone looking to increase the nutritional value of their food. Alpro come out on top for their broad range of milks, both original and unsweetened. Rude Health also have an amazing oat and almond drink, which almost tastes like a milkshake in itself.

Don’t pass up nut milks – whether you can tolerate dairy or not – they’ll fit right into your routine and are a great change from the norm, particularly at breakfast time.

 

 

 

 

Life lately – a month in pictures

I’ve been super busy at work recently, so haven’t been blogging anywhere near as much as I’d like. As it’s getting a bit quieter again until September, I’m really looking forward to getting back into it. I need to get my Instagram up and running properly, but until then, here’s my month in pictures! I love the quote in the middle, I’ve set it as my phone background so I remember to take a step back and get outside whenever things get a bit stressful. Easier said than done sometimes, but even the words ‘Log off’ inspire a sense of calm, don’t you think?

PicMonkey Collage

Spring pea & bean salad with mint and feta

bean salad

In the warmer weather, I always crave fresh, green, light food that’s nutritious and full of summer flavour. I love small dishes and make this Spring Salad a lot for my vegetarian friends as part of a tapas table. It’s a great lunch or solo supper with wholemeal pittas and hummus cut with creme fraiche and paprika.

If you’re a carnivore, it’s a fantastic accompaniment to grilled chicken and won’t be out of place at a BBQ either.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can white beans (I use Canelleni)
  • 1 cup/ 300g broad beans (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup/300g peas (fresh or frozen)
  • large handful mint
  • large handful corriander
  • 4 spring onions, finely sliced
  • glug extra-virgin olive oil
  • juice of 1/2 squeezed lemon
  • crumbled feta
  • Wholemeal pitta breads and creme fraiche mixed with hummus & paprika to serve

Method:

Drain and rinse the white beans and add to a large bowl. If using frozen broad beans and peas, simmer on the hob for approx. 3 mins, drain and immediately tip into a bowl of ice water to blanche and keep the vibrant green colour. Drain again and add to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the bowl, except the mint. This will turn black in a few hours, so keep it until you want to serve. Season to taste & preferably eat al fresco!

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Secrets of a Flat Stomach

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Of all the tweets and messages I receive, by far the most common questions are related to how to get abs. A problem area for the majority of women, the lower stomach is particularly stubborn to shift. Despite the title of this post, there are no magical secrets to a flat stomach. Just a few golden rules that will help dispel diet myths and let you quit those 100 daily crunches.

Firstly, be realistic. I’m lucky that I’ve never stored fat on my tummy, it all hits my thighs and glutes. I lust over quad definition the same way other girls dream of washboard abs. At the end of the day, you can’t fight genetics, or where your body chooses to store fat; just like you can’t target where you lose fat from. There will always be areas which take much more work to show results than others and these are different for everyone.

Secondly, if your workout is based around compound exercises like barbell squats, deadlifts and pull-ups, your core will be working hard and those elusive abs should start to show much more quickly than hours of slavish crunching would allow. Fat-torching cardio, good form on heavy lifting compound exercises and an hour a week on abs has worked better for me than high rep sit-ups on the living room floor.

Finally, but also most importantly, abs really are made in the kitchen. Protein based meals, good fats from oily fish, nuts and avocado, alongside slow release carbohydrates will keep you fuller for longer and free from bloating. Listen to your body, if something bloats you up, don’t eat it for a week and see if you notice a difference. Sugar, refined carbs and alcohol will wreck your digestion and sabotage your brick wall stomach. Everything in moderation, but if you’ve got an event or holiday you’re desperate to wear a crop top for, then limiting these nasties in the immediate weeks before it will help.

I’m no PT, nor do I have perfect abs, but I wanted to do a post to help many of the girls who have messaged me get started and pass on what worked for me. I focus solely on abs for one 30-45 minute session a week, before a yoga class; in addition to my upper and lower body workouts. Below are the key exercises in my current routine which gets me a good burn!  If you try it, let me know how it goes for you!

Decline sit ups – 3 sets of 12-15 reps. Hold a dumbell if you find this too easy!

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Standing oblique crunches 3 sets of 15 reps. I actually use a kettlebell for this, one hand behind the head, really think about squeezing your abs to bring yourself upright.

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Hanging leg raises: 3 sets of 5. Try this with your knees tucked to start with, then extend up to kick the bar when you get stronger. Then do simple pikes at 90 degrees before the full thing. These are hard – I can only manage 3 full reps with good form!

 

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Plank: 60 seconds. Hips forward, bottom down, shoulders above elbows, strong through the lower back. Try plank leg lifts, or superman’s (see lower image) to change it up a bit.

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Swiss ball Jack knife: 3 sets of 10. These are super fun! Roll the swiss ball in with your ankles, bringing your hips as high as you can and your shoulders over your hands. You’ll need to clench your core seriously hard to maintain balance – don’t get phased if you fall off several times, took me about a month to nail a whole set of these!

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Medicine ball sit ups: 3 sets of 20 reps. As you lie down, bring your arms over your head and the medicine ball to the floor behind you. Pull in your stomach and sit back up, bringing the ball back over, to parallel in front of your chest. If you’re finding it hard to sit up, put your feet further out in front of you and be careful not to lock the elbows. If you’re with a friend, sit facing each other and pass her/him the ball when you sit back up, taking it in turns.

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V-sits: To failure. Start by keeping a bend in the knees. These are tough on the quads as well as the core and for some people, nearly impossible, depending on flexibility and strength. If you’re really struggling, move these to further up in the workout. Do as many as you can with good form; no half measures at the end – do fewer reps and finish strong.

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Images courtesy of womenshealth.com