1.4kg whole chicken (I used yesterday’s chicken carcass, plus a pack of boneless thighs)
4-5 sticks of celery
1 Onion coarsely chopped
1 Bay leaf
A few fresh Parsley sprigs
A few fresh tarragon sprigs (or use dried)
2.5 litres/4 pints cold water
3 large leeks
2 potatoes cut into chunks
150ml dry white wine
2-3tbsp single (light) cream
Salt and ground black pepper
A few rashers of streaky bacon grilled until crisp
1. Cut the breasts off the chicken and set aside.
Chop the rest of the chicken carcass into 8-10 pieces and place in a large pan (if using a pack of chicken thighs, place these in a large pan).
2. Chop celery and add to the pan with the onion, bay leaf, Parsley and tarragon. Pour in cold water to cover the ingredients and bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 1.5 hours. You’ve made chicken stock!
3. Remove the chicken from the stock, cut off the meat and reserve for later. Strain the stock, then return to the pan and boil rapidly until reduced to about 1.5 litres/2.5 pints.
4. Meanwhile, set about 150g of the leeks aside and slice the rest. Slice remaining leeks and celery.
5. Melt half the butter in a large pan. Add the sliced leeks and celery, cover and cook over a low heat for about 10 mins (or until softened, but not browned). Add potatoes, wine and 1.2 litres/2 pints of your chicken stock.
6. Season well with salt and pepper, bring to the boil and reduce the heat. Part-cover the pan and simmer the soup for 15-20 mins, or until potatoes are cooked.
7. Remove skin from the reserved chicken breasts and cut the breasts into small pieces. Melt butter in frying pan, add chicken and cook 5-7 mins until tender.
8. Slice remaining leeks, add to the pan and cook for a further 3-4 mins.
9. Process the soup with the cooked chicken reserved from the stock in a blender or food processor (I used a Nutribullet). Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Add more stock if soup too thick.
10. Stir in the cream, plus the chicken and leek mixture. Reheat soup gently. Serve in warmed bowls. Crumble the crispy bacon on top.
4 tbsp goose or duck fat (I had none, so I used butter and oil)
6 Cumberland sausages
4 rashers of bacon
1 large onion, halved and sliced
5 garlic cloves, peeled
Several handfuls of kale
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbsp red wine vinegar (or rice vinegar)
600ml chicken stock
400g can Butter Beans, drained
1 tbsp tomato purée
2 Rosemary stalks, leaves picked and chopped
Handful parsley, finely chopped
Crusty bread, to serve
Heat oven to 140C/120C fan/gas mark 1. Put a large ovenproof pan (with tight-fitting lid) on the hob on a high heat. Add fat, diced bacon/pork and sausages and cook for a few mins to seal the edges, stirring to cook evenly. Reduce the heat to low, add the chopped onion, whole garlic cloves and fennel seeds, and simmer gently for a few mins.
Pour over the red wine vinegar, scraping any meaty bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the stock, kale, tomato purée, and half the rosemary and parsley.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 10 mins, then season, cover with a lid and put into the oven for 2 hrs. Stir occasionally and add the butter beans with 30 mins to go.
I’ve gone from leaving home at 7.30am to 6.30am this year just so I can have a better journey to work, and a seat on the train! Because of this I’m struggling to fit breakfast in and often end up buying something on the way to the office. I find a protein based breakfast, such as eggs, keeps me going longer than say, cereal or croissants.
Solution: I decided to make a batch of breakfast Muffins that I can grab on my way out in the morning!
10 whisked eggs
Cracked black pepper
Fill a greased muffin tin three-quarters full with whisked seasoned egg and then add the chunky ingredients on top. (I put the bacon in raw as it will cook in the egg).
Put them in the oven on about 180 degrees for about 10 minutes and boom! Delicious.
I’m definitely going to make these again and try some different ingredients too…
I got home from work today and decided to whip up an energy boosting smoothie for the next couple of mornings. I’ve gone and enrolled on level 3 of rhythm tap after enjoying last week so much and emailing my teacher, so I’ll be dancing levels 2 & 3 from 6.45-8.45pm every Wednesday (with a 15 min break between), and getting home nearer 10pm for the next few weeks at least, so I definitely need something to keep me going:
My Green Smoothie
Guava juice (I used Rubicon juice)
Squeeze of lime
I also have some post-dance snacks and fruit in my bag (Creative Nature free-from Goji Goodness raw flapjacks) and my homemade lunches are ready in the fridge at work 🙂
Last year I was in survival mode trying to get through to the finishing line of moving house and I gave into frothy coffees, chai lattes and comfort foods. Amazing what stress and lack of sleep does to you.
Now I’m trying to get back on track with healthier eating and making lunch rather than buying. (I’m good with bulk prepping evening meals, but not lunch so much – I get bored quickly!) My lunch of the month is homemade stir fried rice, having got the idea from a meal prep blog that I follow.
My rice dish is basically:
Basmati rice (cooked a few hours before)
Chicken or lean pork
When they’re all prepped for the week I’m not tempted to buy anything out. OH YEAH
At lunchtime today I went to the gym and finally used my PAYG pass! (I had intended to go last wednesday, but I was too tired and didn’t want to run myself down).
Although I didn’t train mean, I did do 10 minutes on the crosstrainer plus a cool-down, several reps on the leg press and hamstring curl weight machines, then I spent 10 minutes stretching on the mat.
All in all a short, sharp lunch hour workout! I have to say I felt much more energised afterwards. Unlike this guy:
Something that has been on my mind recently – while I agree it is good to eat healthily, this ‘clean eating’ thing has become a bit annoying. As well as the current OBSESSION with ‘smashed avocado’, there is also a huge trend at the moment of only eating a raw, plant-based diet and juice-cleansing at every opportunity. If you want to do that, great. However, I think it can become another food-focussed obsession that feeds into the realm of disordered eating where you may view certain foods to be ‘good’ or ‘clean’ and (most) other foods to be bad or ‘dirty’.
I recently read about a wellness blogger who had a best selling book called $25 Five Day Cleanse, but by obsessively following her own advice of raw food veganism and juice cleanses, her hair fell out and her periods stopped.
A quote from her blog:
“I was on a quest for perfection. I was laser-focused on being my healthiest, cleanest, most pure self. But eventually, that focus started to dominate my life. My desire for “perfect health” trumped everything else, and for a long time, I didn’t even realize it.”
Maybe it’s the Instagram effect, but there’s a real pressure to be your best self at all times. I don’t have an Instagram account and I don’t want one, but I think any online social media presence can start to have a similar effect, which then creeps into everyday life…especially more so if you have more perfectionist tendencies and/or are unhappy in your current self. Thankfully the blogger got the help she needed.
As dancers we need to fuel our bodies (or “power-up” as I like to say), but dancers can also become obsessed with better, more, perfect… especially in the ballet world. There’s definitely nothing wrong with being vegetarian or vegan. I even went pescetarian for a while because I wanted to consume more fish, less meat and feel a bit healthier (didn’t last!). But it definitely shouldn’t be to the detriment of your health and enjoyment of life.
(While I am not a nutritionist, I have a real interest in sports nutrition and studied this as part of a fitness qualification I did a few years ago, so I could talk about this all day…)