Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Pre-run food: The ugly duckling of the food world!

Currently listening to: "Against all the Odds" - Phil Collins

As mentioned in previous blogs I'm doing a half marathon in October. Well training is in full swing now and I can comfortably run longer distances, all I need to do is bring the pace up to race speed... I'm at my parents this week so I have nothing to do so I'm going to have a go at a 9 mile run. When I was younger I was a member in the GBR Youth Sailing Squads and this taught me all I need to know about pre-event nutrition so I'm applying the same rules to my running, so for my lunch today I made a high slow release carb meal with a bit of saturated fat to help.

The theory is if I have this meal about 90-mins before I go on the run the carbs will start releasing energy shortly after I start and will keep releasing them throughout the run. I'll also take some bananas with me as a source of quick release carb.

Anyway enough of the nutrition babble...

Bacon, Mushroom, Chilli & Tomato Pasta

Now it doesn't take a genius to workout how i made this one!

Fry all together whilst the pasta is cooking!

Anyway, my 90-mins is up. Better go on this run :(

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Naked Bolognese

Currently Listening to: "Queen Symphony - Mvnt 3" - Tolga Kashif

I woke up really early this morning (not like me) so my body clock is all messed up and I ended up having lunch at 11.20! Today I made a classic that I haven't made for ages Penne Bolognese, my housemates always comment on how it's the best Bolognese ever. Considering half of one of my housemate’s family is Italian and she spends most of her holidays in Southern Italy I think it's quite a compliment. Anyway enough bigging myself up...!

Today I made my "Naked Bolognese" which is my simplest yet most loved version of my recipe.

Normally I'd make my own sauce with fresh tomatoes but I hadn't got enough in to make a sauce so I went for second best, Tomato Passata.

  • Fry some very finely chopped (I used a blender to get them very fine) onions and one crushed clove of garlic.
  • One the onions and garlic are just about cooked add the whole carton of passata and break up an oxo cube into the mix.
  • Add a large pinch of oregano and chopped coriander, then leave to simmer for 5 mins.
  • Whilst the Sauce is simmering fry your mince with a splash of Worchester Sauce at the being and once the mince is starting to brown add the smallest splash of ruby port.
  • Mix the sauce and mince together then serve on any pasta.

The thing I've learnt recently with this recipe that less really is more, don't drown your mince in sauce, just use enough to cover the mince.


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Rocky Roadkill

Currently listening to: A choral piece I started working on today! Don't normally listen to my stuff after I've stopped composing for the day but one little bit is nagging me so i need to listen to it over and over to try and solve it! Anyway I've uploaded an extract of some of the piece, sorry about the high pitch buzz, windows movie maker is playing up. Please click here

Anyway; I've been using a lot of creative juices today whilst composing so I needed a HUGE sugar boost. Also we're my house is watching the BAFTA awards tonight (looking out for ex-college people in Cranford and Gavin & Stacey) so I wanted to make a snack for us to dip into all night...

Rocky Roadkill

My rocky roadkill is a variation on a rocky road cake; just replace the cherries and raisins with Jelly Babies! This makes it full of sugar so I also omit the the syrup that I normally use to make it more sticky.

700g Milk Chocolate
4 small bags of Malteasers
1 large bag of chopped Marshmallows
2 bags of Jelly Babies

Melt all the chocolate (I use the microwave, stirring frequently)
Cover deep baking tray with foil and pour 1/3 of the melted chocolate to cover the base.
Scatter the Malteasers, Marshmallows and Jelly Babies over the coated base and cover with the remaining chocolate.
Pop in the fridge for about 90-mins

Due to omitting the syrup the result is more like a Rock Road slab then a rocky road cake, still a great snack. In the past I've used chopped nuts instead of Malteasers and chopped fruit instead of Jelly Babies.

Hope you are all well.


Thursday, 17 April 2008

Sweet Jazz

Currently listening to: "Clocks" Coldplay & Buena Vista Social Club

It was my turn to cook for friends again tonight as we were going to a Buena Vista Social Club gig tonight and as all my mates were in work/lectures 'till late I made food so we could eat and get to the gig in time. If you've not heard the Buena Vista Social Club, you haven't lived!

Anyway, I thought I'd mess with some flavours today and for once it did work!

Honey, Stilton and Chilli Chicken

Now I know you're thinking I've lost the plot but this meal was really nice.

Firstly, roll some diced chicken in a tiny bit of tandoori spice mix, don't use much as you'll be adding more spices later. Then fry it off. When the chicken is nearly cooked, add two finely chopped chillis, garlic and the juice from a whole lime.

Once all of this is cook turn the heat to low and add a table spoon of honey. Mix well.

Now cover in stilton cheese sauce using my 'easy cheese sauce' recipe.

For extra flavour add a few dried apricots.


Australian style Thick-shake

Currently Listening to: "Hide & Seek" - Imogen Heap

It has been beautiful weather the past few days, so I've been working out in my "garden" on the laptop, whilst trying to catch some rays! I've been writing library music for the Welsh version of Songs of Praise this week - quite ironic considering I'm an agnostic non-welsh speaker!

Halfway through the afternoon today I really needed a sugar boost that was also nice and cold so I made a Thick-Shake. I picked up the "chilling thickening" idea whilst travelling Australia a couple of summers ago and decided to give it a go again.

Chocolate, Vanilla, Banana and Nutmeg Thick-Shake

Put 4 healthy scoops of vanilla ice-cream (I used Tesco Cornish ice-cream as it's gorgeous and cheap...), one large roughly chopped banana, enough chocolate milkshake powder (I use Milka powder, unfortunately you can only get it on the continent so i have to my Austrian friend to bring some over every time she flies home) and 1 pint of milk into a blender and blast repeatedly.

Pour into tall glasses and grate dark chocolate (Lidl do amazing 70% stuff) and nutmeg on top to taste.

Serve immediately

That really sorted me out for the afternoon.

Right, got to get back to my composing...


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Ready steady cook stylie!

Currently listening to: "Somewhere - Westside Story" - Leonard Bernstien

I was invited for dinner round to a mates house last night on the condition I cooked from ingredients that they had in their cupboards. As ever I was in a pasta mood and made chicken, bacon and leek in four-cheese sauce.

I used this recipe that my Mum taught me, it's so easy and works better then more complicated recipes.

Easy Cheese Sauce

I table spoon of Corn Flour
½ pint Milk
Any cheese, and as much cheese as you want!

Crack pepper (to taste)

Add corn flour to milk, and bring to boil stirring continually
Add cheese, pepper and turn heat right down, keep stirring.
Stir ‘till all the lumps have gone and serve

I just butterflied the chicken and chopped it into strips to fry off. Then finely chopped the bacon, leek and garlic to add to the pan at the last minute.
Take off the heat and stir in the cheese sauce.

After the meal, one of my mates commented on how if he had that meal at a good Italian restaurant he would be sure to go back again!

Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me so I couldn't take a pic :( so instead I've uploaded one of my random travel photos from Australia!


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Getting better

Currently listening to: "Fratres- for Violin & Piano" (this clip is only the opening section of the piece)- Arvo Pärt

I'm finally getting better - YEAY! I've been to the doctor and I know it's nothing serious...

Also my appitite returned today - the last time I lost my appitite was when I was about 2 years old when on holiday in Gran Canaria, but thats another story. When I got home from the doctors I made myself a sort of carbonara. I used the cabonara bit of the resipie from a this BBC food page, however I used ham instead of pancetta and I also added garlic and sweetcorn.

Anyway, not really got much else to talk about after yesterday's rather lengthy blog!


Tuesday, 8 April 2008

too ill...

Currently listening to: "Cloudburst" - Eric Whitacre - I'm now addong hyperlinks of youtube videos of the more unusual pieces I listen to, as people keep asking me where they can hear some of the pieces I blog.

I've been ill for a few days now, since my housemate "cooked" a chicken curry... I used the word cooked in the loosest sense of the word! I normally have a strong stomach but for some reason this time something really isn't making me feel too well. My housemate seems to be fine, so it might just be a bug.

Fortunately his coffee making skills are a lot better then his curry! This week I got some more of that azorieblue coffee, Starbucks and Cafe Nero will never taste the same... I've been drinking it black Americana style (I usually have just a small dash of milk with any other brand of coffee bean) and it really is the most amazing thing since sliced bread, can't get enough of its natural smooth taste. Even my other housemate (the one who didn't try and poison me with bad chicken), who doesn't normally like coffee, drinks azorieblue. He's never liked the bitterness of coffee but he likes this stuff as there is still a slight bitter taste but also an unimaginable smoothness to it. It's beyond me how a company can make a coffee the appeals to both coffee addicts like myself, and coffee newbies like my other housemate. This is a sign of a truely great coffee.

When I’m better and feeling upto it, I’ll blog my Espresso Martini – it’s the sophisticated way to get a Vodka Redbull kick with out the horrid taste of red bull!

I haven't found
azorieblue in any shops in Cardiff yet, but you order through their website which is gonna turn into a lifeline for me when work loads start to build.

Anyway, time to make my lunch of rice, sweetcorn, pineapple and tomato ketchup. Sound's horrid, but it normally makes me feel better when I'm ill and tastes just like rice with sweet and sour sauce.

Sorry no original picture today... didn't think you'd want a picture of me lying in bed, so I nicked one off the
azorieblue website.

Thanks for reading, and a big thank you to all of you who have so kindly donated to
Sail4Cancer, they really are a great charity. Unfortunatly training for the half marathon has been off the adgenda for the past few days due to illness - such a shame!


Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Please help me raise money for a great cause...

Currently Listening to: "Chariots of Fire" - Vanglais

I lost a bet and as a forfiet I have to run the next Cardiff Half Marathon on 19th October 2008.As have to do it I may as well make it for a good cause so I'm running to raise money for the charity Sail4Cancer

To donate online please click here.

Sail4Cancer - As its name suggests, Sail 4 Cancer aims to raise significant funds for cancer treatment and research through the organisation of high profile sailing events. Sail 4 Cancer also provides sailing opportunities for cancer patients and their families, in the hope that their quality of life may be improved.

On another note, my eldest sister sent me a ration pack with a sample of Azurieblue coffee. Just want to say, I am a complete coffee freak but I think I've found my favourite blend, mmm...

Anyway, well done to everyone who spotted my April Fool post!


Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Currently Listening to: "This Fire" Franz Ferdinand

I think the picture speaks for itself:

My landlord is not amused.