Kung Fu Café
Since 2011

New Fridge-Freezer and Personal Posts | Paleo Banana Bread

What a week! I feel slightly sleep deprived, but despite that I’ve been doing really well with WODs at CFP this week! I’ve trained 6 days out of the week so far… not sure if I’ll train tomorrow because I have a lot to do, but I feel quite fresh and restless to lift things! We’ll see :) Maybe it’s also the fact that I’ve eaten a tonne of good fats and veggies? But one thing’s for certain; I’m definitely having a lie in tomorrow! :)

Yesterday, while in uni, I came across a really interesting blog post about a restaurant called Lutèce, and the history behind it. It really captivated me. This blog authour really has a way with words and makes it so fascinating. I absolutely love the way their passion for the subject comes out through their writing. It’s an insight into someone else’s mind, and sometimes it’s incredible to think that other people give meticulous thought to various other aspects of life, and that passion for learning, knowledge and expertise, in my opinion, is what makes people interesting and leads to the most amazing of conversations. To me, it’s things like this that determine whether I think we’re going to be good friends or not; it’s all about their attitudes and what they spent a majority of their time thinking and pondering over. And if those things are aligned, then spiritual connections are made. :)

Anywho, that aside, my fridge-freezer broke! I knew it was on the fritz, and it was slowly dying, but we managed to order a new one through Appliances Online and they were brilliant! One of the best companies I’ve come across so far! They’re quick, smooth and friendly. :) Initially it was weird having a grey box in our fridge, as my old one had all sorts of inspirational posts all over it. But now I’ve put them back on, it feels more comfy and like home. :) I love these particular quotes because they all ring true to my head (luckily my brother doesn’t mind them on the fridge!)… especially the passion quote. Passion is vital in every aspect of life and it makes any type of work joyful. It is also my belief that one cannot be happy without working; working hard, striving and achieving things. I truly believe that you have to push yourself to be happy, and to enjoy what life has to offer. Without doing such things, all you will do is stagnate and become ungrateful. This world is full of amazing things, and they’re all yours for the taking, but only if you’re willing to strive for it. That’s what my fridge posts are there to remind me.

I also have posts on the notice board in my room, not to mention an album of photos and inspirations quotes I have on an album on my iPod and computer. They really help to motivate me, and bring this sense of unfaltering determination that just fills me with energy. I can do this! We all can! :)

One thing that also helps relax me is cooking. When it’s too complex and there’s not much time, it gets stressful, but preparing delicious, simple, natural food, is something I think all humans can enjoy. It’s a real sense of achievement to eat something that you’ve poured your love into and can share with other cherished ones. I decided to make a banana bread because it was quick, simple, and great for having in the evening when my brother and I get in late from the gym to save time. Tim liked his with peanut butter, but I preferred mine with macadamia nut butter. Hazelnut butter is also a treat! Nom nom nom! :)

Saturday’s advanced WOD @ CFP:
30 minute AMRAP in teams of 3 of:
20 muscle ups (I did jumping ones from boxes!)
20 bear complexes (power clean, front squat, push press, back squat, push press); each team member has to do at least 2 before swapping 80/50
400m run
40 2-4-1 wall balls 9/6
40 HSPUs

Oh, and here’s a video from the Wolfpack Dominance Series, WOD 2, on Friday night (last night). This is me three rounds through my 5 minute AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) of 4 power cleans (45kg), 24 double unders and 10 pull ups… but I’m really proud of my form! Let me tell you, that at this point in the game I was hanging, and for my form to look that good is great! I certainly didn’t feel like it was, though! Although, of course, there’s always room for improvement. :) I need to decide if I’m going to do the London Throwdown/Battle of London qualifiers. I need to, as I need to push myself mentally and do these things that are terrifying. But at the same time, it’s easier not to, and I just don’t feel ready…

Paleo Banana Bread
Adapted from: Civilized Caveman Cooking
Serves 1 (in my case, at least!)

• 4 x bananas (mashed)
• 4 x eggs
• 4 x heaped tbsps coconut oil
• ½ cup (~ 8 tbsp) almond flour/ground almonds
• ~ 2 generous tbsp flax seed
• a load of dried fruit
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 tsp baking soda
• 1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 175°C. Homogenise the ingredients well. Put into a silicon baking dish (mine was 20 x 20 cm) and bake for about 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. If in a loaf tin, maybe 1h -1h 10m.

Enjoy hot and cold, with a spread of macadamia nut butter (my favourite!). :)

Tribal Clash 2013 | Apple “Coffee” Cake & Upside Down Summer Berry Sponge

Wow, where do I start? I’m currently in a nice hotel in Reno just waiting for our flight home from the amazing PrimalCon Lake Tahoe 2013! I have so many things to write about but that’s for another post! I was supposed to briefly write about another event that took place at the end of August. Although it feels like it was eons away, it will always hold a special place in my heart: The Tribal Clash 2013.

The Tribal Clash was seriously an epic event, with brilliantly crafted WODs, squatting 50kg logs, ocean swims, tribal runs up and down huge hills through a trail run, running on shingle (hardest thing I’ve ever done!), tyre deadlifts, beam pull ups, the works! I learned that I’m not actually bad at running, and I’m actually not bad at all at swimming, either! I hadn’t swam since school, and I think I did really well! If improved my technique, who knows? That’s just another thing I need to learn to do with everything else!

The same team wants to go again with me next year, so hopefully we’ll be more prepared! We were first in every heat, which gave us a serious disadvantage. I believe we came 30th overall out of 100 teams; after the first day we were 12th. Not bad considering we had no strategy for any of the WODs and just winged it! Next year will hopefully be just, if not more, epic! :)

The reason I have chosen this particularly unhealthy recipe was because my mum made it that weekend (and the weekend before I believe!). She made a delicious apple cake with fresh apples from our garden, my grandmother’s garden and the garden of our local friends! :) Actually, at PrimalCon, chef Rachel Albert demonstrated some delicious reecipes with apples – some I’ll definitely be trying soon and then posting on here! :)

The apple cake (which I’m quite proud of how the photos turned out; I really struggled at first, but think I got there in the end!) was used with a third less sugar than the recipe called for. In fact, I think a lot more of the sugar can be omitted. And of course, the apples can be subbed with various other fruits. The sponge was very soft, especially straight from the oven, and with double cream it was divine! This cake will make a great basis for other flavours and fruits! Great to take on picnics, good to give away, for impromptu coffees with friends, etc. It really is an all purpose cake, but the name sounds too plain! It should last for a few days and keep its springiness!

We tried it with berries following this simple fruit sponge recipe, and although it turned out really nicely, it wasn’t cooked in the middle. We tried it about three times, and each time the outside was starting to burn but the inside remained uncooked. I think a lower temperature fro longer *should* do the trick! You can see from the pictures above that the inside was rather “smushy.” But it was still really creamy in texture and super silky soft. Either way, it was delicious!

Apple “Coffee” Cake
Adapted from: BCC Good Food 1 and 2

For the cake:
• 125 g softened butter
• 80 g caster sugar
• 3 x eggs, beaten
• 50 g ground almonds
• 100 g self-raising flour
• 2 x large apples (i.e. the size of cooking apples), cut into chunks
• 75 g raisins or sultanas
• cinnamon

For the topping:
• 2 tbsp brown sugar
• 2 tbsp softened butter
• a handful of flaked almonds

Heat an oven to 160°C. Beat all of the cake ingredients together in a bowl, and transfer to a silicon baking dish. Add the topping ingredients evenly to the top of the cake. You can even reserve some apple to do so, too! Pop into the oven for 50-55 minutes until a skewer/knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Moroccan Kefta Mkaouara & Flat Bread (Khobz)

I’m so glad that exams are finally over! My final exam was on Friday, and on Saturday I thought I’d be feeling really good, but in actual fact, I didn’t. I’ve done really well with my coursework, and was desperately hoping to get a first, which I have! However, my exams have really brought my marks down. Even though I studied hard, it got to a point where even if you know everything on the lecture slides and the stuff we covered throughout the year, none of us could answer the questions on the papers because we just didn’t cover them! Quite infuriating! Anyway, Ed came and stayed the night on Saturday, and we played badminton. The on Sunday, we went to our tennis club’s open day, where it was the busiest I’ve ever seen it! It’s quite rainy today, but luckily yesterday the weather held out and it turned out to be a pleasant day. :-)

For my family today, I made the kefta tagine. In Morocco, Tim and I had kefta, but not in a tagine with eggs quite like this. When I looked the at the recipe, the photos looked really nice, but I thought it as just gonna be a sort of bolognaise sauce and didn’t really think it’d be too nice with rice. But it turned out ok actually! Would probably go just as well with pasta!

Below you can see some pictures of some of the food we had with the Moroccan flat bread. I never took a picture of the bread, but fortunately it managed to sneak its way into some of our pictures. I also didn’t take a photo of the kofta we ate that one time… The top left picture is one of the only times we ate pasta, and the top right was in Tangier, the day we left for Madrid airport.

I also made some Moroccan flat bread, which they have everywhere in Morocco, and it turned out to be just like it (which I was surprised about, because the last time I made bread it was a hard rock of something completely inedible)! I was pretty pleased, and I love fresh bread from the oven, when it’s warm and smells of yeast. :-)

Moroccan Flatbread
Adapted from: About Moroccan Food
Makes 2 loaves

• 4 x cups plain white flour
• 2 tsp salt
• 2 tsp sugar
• 1 x sachet dried yeast (7g)
• 1 ¼ cups warm water
• 4 x tbsp olive oil
• extra flour

Prepare a baking sheet with grease-proof paper, and 2 tbsps olive oil. Sieve the flour in a large bowl, and add the salt and sugar. Make a well in the centre, and add the yeast, 2 tbsps olive oil and water into the centre. Mix together, and knead on a floured surface for 10 minutes. Make sure that the dough is soft yet firm, but not sticky to the touch.
Split the dough into two, and form into balls. Place on the baking tray and cover with wet kitchen roll for 10 minutes.
Then, use your hand to flatten the dough out into about ½” thick discs, and score two lines through the dough in a cross formation. Cover with the wet kitchen roll for an hour.
The pop them into an oven preheated to 180◦C for 30-35 minutes.

Moroccan Kefta Mkaouara
Adapted from: Almost Bourdain
Serves 4-5

• 2 tbsps oil
• 500g minced beef (or lamb)
• 1 tsp paprika
• 2 tbsp dried parsley
• Salt and pepper, to taste
• 1 x onion, diced
• 2 x garlic cloves, diced/minced
• 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
• A small handful of fresh corianders leaves and finely chopped stalks
• 4 x eggs

Pop the minced beef (or lamb), parsley and ½ tsp paprika into the bowl, and a good shake of salt and pepper. Use your (dampened) hands to mix it all together, and form tight little balls; I got 26.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in an oven-proof dish over the stove, and brown the meatballs all over. Remove them with a slotted spoon and put them on a plate.
Add the diced onion and garlic into the remaining oil and fry until they start to turn brown. Add ½ tsp paprika, the coriander stalks and a few leaves and the tinned tomatoes (with another shake of salt and pepper). Simmer for 10 minutes before adding the meatballs
Bring to the boil, and cover, leaving to simmer for 15-20 minutes.Preheat oven to 200◦C.
Crack four eggs onto the top of the dish, and pop, covered, into the oven for abotu 10 minutes (or until the eggs have just cooked).
Serve with salad, the remaining coriander leaves, soft, fluffy rice, and khobz!

Bon Appétit!!

Chicken Korma with Homemade Naan Bread | Dan’s Birthday Meal

Yesterday was Dan‘s birthday. He came over for a birthday meal, and then we surprised him with a lovely chocolate cake! I know that a curry isn’t particularly a special meal, but I thought that one made from scratch, along with naan bread, would be a nice effort for any occasion!

This curry was actually a really nice level of spiciness. I like a bit of heat, but I find that too much just overpowers and destroys the rest of the flavours in the dish. This was perfect. There was spice, but you could still taste the other flavours. However, the curry looked a little anaemic; so I improvised and added some turmeric to make it a deeper colour of yellow.

This was also a nice opportunity for me to make some naan bread! The original recipe stated that you should stick the naan with water to the pan, and then turn it upside down to expose the top of the bread to the flame to create those large blister-type bubbles on top. But I didn’t want to create a mess, and decided to play it safe. They came out more like pancakes…but they still looked quite nice and people always appreciate when you’ve gone to extra lengths. The dough however, was extremely sticky (which I believe is what naan bread dough is supposed to be like), so next time I’ll try it the way the original recipe stated.

We served this curry with a really nice salad; with olives, fresh strawberries and hard-boiled eggs. My mum makes such amazing and colourful salads. And this curry definitely thickens up the next day!

Well, I hope you enjoy making this beautiful and aromatic dish as much as I did! I absolutely love cooking for others, because for me it’s not only nice to see people enjoy and compliment something you’ve worked hard on, but it’s also a way to share time together and bond. Food is something that everyone has in common, which is most probably why going out for a meal is always something people find a socially fun thing to do.

Chicken Korma
Adapted from: Jamie’s Ministry of Food, pages 74 & 99
Serves 6

For the curry paste:
• 1 tbsp walnut oil
• ½ tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp garam masala
• ½ tsp sea salt
• 1 tbsp tomato purée
• 5 tbsp desiccated coconut
• 2 tbsp ground almonds
• 2 tbsp dried coriander leaves
• 2 x cloves garlic
• ~20g fresh root ginger
• 1½ fresh green chillies

For the curry:
• 800g diced chicken (or chicken breasts, thighs or legs)
• ~40g fresh root ginger
• 2 x onions
• a large bunch of fresh coriander
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1 tsp butter
• 1 x drained can of chickpeas
• 1 x 400ml can of coconut milk
• curry paste (as made above)
• turmeric (optional)
• enough natural yoghurt for a large dollop each
• 1 x lemon
• enough rice for 6

For the curry paste:
Pop the cumin and mustard seeds into a frying pan, and put on high heat. Don’t add any oil, but leave the seeds on high heat until you can smell their wonderful aroma and you can hear them start to crack. Don’t leave it for any longer though, otherwise they’ll shoot out all over the place.

Finely peel and chop the ginger and garlic cloves. Not forgetting to cut the chilli, too. Pop that, along with the toasted seeds, into a small blender. Then add the rest of the ingredients to a blender, then whiz everything together until it’s a nicely ground paste.

For the curry:
Peel and finely cut the garlic along with the onions. Remove the leaves from the coriander and set aside for garnishing later, and finely chop the stalks.

Put a large casserole dish on high heat and throw in 1 tbsp olive oil. Add the chicken and brown it all over, then toss in the onions, ginger and coriander stalks. Add 1 tsp butter and cook until the onions are soft, but not browned.

Then, add the curry paste, the coconut milk and the drained chickpeas. Fill up half of the coconut milk tin with water and mix that into the curry, too. Bring the mix to the boil, and then leave to simmer for 45 minutes. If the curry looks a little pale, add some turmeric until you’re satisfied with it’s colour.

In the meantime, cook the rice! And when that’s all ready, serve with a fresh wedge of lemon, a dollop of yoghurt and a sprinkle of coriander leaves.

And for the naan…

Homemade Naan Bread (Pancake Style)
Adapted from: Rasa Malaysia
Makes 6

• 2 cups (330g) plain flour
• ¾ tsp baking powder
• ¾ tsp bicarbonate of soda
• 1 tsp sugar
• ¾ tsp salt
• ½ tsp olive oil
• ½ cup (150g) yoghurt
• ½ cup (125ml) warm milk
• butter for brushing
• coriander, lemon, garlic, coconut, black peppercorns (for the type of naan you want)

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, and add the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar and salt.

Form a well in the centre, and add the oil and half of the milk. Then mix together and add the rest of the milk slowly, until a dough is formed that’s slightly sticky to touch, but leaves an indent when you press it.

Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes, and then cover and keep in a warm place for 2 hours.

Separate your naan into six balls (it will be hard as the dough is sticky wet your hands to make it slightly easier).

Then, heat a non-stick pan on high, and use a brush to brush a little butter to thinly cover the surface.

Stretch out one of your naan balls into an oval, and place it in the skillet/wok. After it has cooked on the bottom, use a spatula to flip it over, and press down on the naan to make it thinner and to spread it out, so as much of the dough is cooked as possible. This is similar to the technique I used for making banana pancakes.

Continue to cook on both sides until they’re slightly brown and crispy.

Do this with the other 5 balls, and set aside to cool. Then, you can reheat in the oven at 200°C for 5-10 minutes (or under the grill for a few minutes) with a sprinkling of water when you’re ready to serve them with your curry!

Enjoy your meal. :-)

Banana & Raisin Bread | A Breakfast Fit for A King

I love bananas, and I love bread, so why not combine it to make beautiful banana bread? This bread is lovely for breakfast toasted or untoasted with peanut butter, dulce de leche or my favourite, Nutella. However, make sure you spread it thinly! The banana taste is quite subtle and you’ll kill it with too much spread. As a result, it’s even nice on its own, and I would take slices with my into uni to have with a cup of tea for lunch and for snacks.

The smell of this bread when it’s in the oven fills the kitchen with such a sweet scent, everyone will want a piece by the time it’s been baked. It smells wonderful and tastes absolutely scrumptious when it’s eaten straight out of the oven.

Banana bread smells wonderful and tastes amazing when it’s fresh and warm, straight from the oven. :-)

I originally made a loaf with half of the measurements that I’ve given in the recipe; it didn’t rise too much, and was pretty pathetic looking. Therefore, I doubled the recipe to yield twice as much, as I found it a lot easier to bake with more dough because 1) it looks more impressive, and 2) it seems to rise a little more.

The things with this recipe, is that it doesn’t have to be banana and raisin, you can replace the raisins with other dried fruits, chocolate chips, nuts, or anything you wish! You could perhaps also add spices and flavourings of choice, such as cinnamon and vanilla essence.

Banana and Raisin Loaf
Adapted from: Food For Torte
Makes 18 scrumptious slices, but the recipe can easily be halved

• 370g plain flour
• 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 75g butter
• 75g low-fat vanilla yoghurt
• 130g sugar (this can always be reduced or substituted with low-calorie Hermesetas sweetener)
• 4 x eggs
• 5/6 bananas, preferably overripe
• 50-60g raisins (or: walnuts dried fruits, chocolate chips, etc.)
• 1 tsp butter to grease

Chop the bananas up into a bowl, and mash the bananas with a fork or a potato masher.
Preheat the oven to 180◦C.
Melt the butter in the microwave and mix in the sugar.
Then sift in the flour, bicarboante of soda and baking powder, and mix.
Beat in one egg at a time, and then fold in the bananas and raisins (and whatever other ingredient of choice).
Grease a loaf tin using a sheet of kitchen roll and a little butter.
Spread the batter into the tin, and try to even out the top. Bake for about an hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean (make sure that you don’t mistake batter for banana!).

Enjoy. :-)