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Tribal Clash 2014 | Rich Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge (Vegan)



Well, I have an announcement… this is my first post using a Mac! *Sorry that the announcement was pretty lame…* But I’ve managed to get the hang of a Mac preeeeetty quickly already! 🙂

At the moment I’m still preferring Windows… but I don’t know if that’s because I’m still getting used to the Mac’s shortcuts. Although, there are some things I do prefer about Microsoft (such as their Office package), I do love the speed of the Mac and some of their functions. But I quite like being up-to-date with some of the leading brands… I’m usually quite slow with this sort of stuff, as it was just last year I got a smartphone (which is Android!), but I’m going to try and make more of an effort to stay in the know! 🙂

Oh, and did I mention how lightweight my little MacBook Air is compared to my previous laptop (which was 4.5 years old and still functioning as well as it was on the first day I received it!), and combined with its battery life (my old laptop has about a 40-minute battery life) will definitely make travelling to Manchester and back a little nicer, knowing that I can do some work or reply to emails whilst waiting int he airport and actually at the conference. I’m rather nervous, as I’ll be presenting at Particulate Systems Analysis 2014, and also a poster presentation at 12th UK Particle Technology Forum 2014. Next week my colleagues are going to listen to me and I’m actually quite nervous for that! I hope it goes well. 🙂

Anyway, this post was done rather hastily because quite a few people have PMed me on Facebook asking for the recipe to this fudge; out of all of the food photos I posted, I didn’t think this one would get quite so much attention, but it did! So I decided to put together a quick blog post; besides, it’s about time I updated!



I’d love to write about some of the recent trips I’ve been lucky enough to have this summer to Paris, Santiago de Compostela, and Provence, but that’ll have to wait until I have more time to go through all of my photos and reminiscence fondly about these experiences, unfortunately. However, I will speak of this year’s Tribal Clash (here’s a link to last year’s event!); it happened just last weekend, and the weather for it was once again beautiful! It was one of the best events of the year for me, and I had such an awesome team (same bunch that I competed with last year!). I actually had post-holiday blues after the event! Thanks to Claire and Natalie for the lovely photos! 🙂



Because this was Luke’s last competition before leaving for a whole year to work in Australia, we all decided that we’d just have a blast! After the first day (3 events), we were 12th out of 144 teams! The following day saw 2 events, and we dropped a whopping number of places and sat in 27th, which still isn’t too bad. It highlighted to me that I’m better than I thought at certain things, and know myself quite well (I didn’t ache whatsoever after the day, but I think that’s because I knew when to rest and when not to… or just my teammates did all the work for me, so they were effectively working as a team of 3!).



The WODs were super varied and we all had a go at proper Atlas stones! The girls had stones weighing 20, 35, 45 and 65kg, and we could choose which one to do. The jump from 45 to 65kg is massive, especially without adequate warm up, and one girl tackle the 65kg stone once… and then Samantha did 65kg for many, many reps! I was so proud of her. 🙂 I think that she realised then that she’s capable of far more than she thinks she is, too! And of course, Sam (who was also on Samantha’s team) doing his 95kg Atlas ball multiple times was amazing to watch! Their team did very well in that event, as Rachel and Doug were lifting both fast and heavy!



And as fun as the Atlas stones were, my shoulder certainly didn’t agree! Although it just felt like a little bruise and didn’t hurt at all, the colouring was quite impressive!



But it gave me some rejuvenated motivation for competing next year and believing in myself a little more. It’s great to have goals and feel completely inspired by other people’s commitment to them as well. And just being with good company from CFP in a beautiful and natural environment will always make for a perfect weekend, anyway! There has been talk about Luke, Simon, Kim and myself competing again next year, and hopefully we will get to! 🙂



Anyway, onto the dessert! I absolutely love this fudge because it’s so simple to make! Definitely keep this fudge in the freezer and get it out whenever you want to eat it; even if you eat it straight from the freezer, it tastes absolutely lovely when it melts in your mouth. And the sea salt and cacao nibs really make for a nice aftertaste. Tim and I love this with fresh fruit and double cream as a dessert.



Oh, and while we’re talking about fudge, my teammate recommended this almond butter, and I had to try it because it sounded like it’d taste amazing, and it didn’t let me down whatsoever! It tastes rich and smooth; just like fudge itself, and also has the consistency of fudge as well, so thought that it’d be appropriate to speak about it here.


With goji berries and walnuts, and with cashews:

Rich Chocolate and Peanut Butter Fudge
Adapted from: Apple of My Eye and The Wimpy Vegetarian
Enough for a 19 x 13 cm dish

Ingredients
• 1 cup coconut oil
• 1 cup peanut butter (or any other nut butter)
• ½ cup cocoa powder
• ¼ cup honey
• Dried fruits and walnuts (optional)
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• Pinch of coarse sea salt
• Sprinkling of cacao nibs

Preparation
Melt the coconut oil, peanut butter, and cocoa powder over a bain marie. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a baking dish (lined with parchment paper). Pop into the freezer for 10 minutes, and then sprinkle with salt and cacao nibs. Pop back into the freezer for storage.

Take out anywhere between approximately 10-30 minutes before you want cut it and enjoy it. 🙂

PrimalCon Lake Tahoe 2013 | Detoxing with Green Smoothies & Juices

PrimalCon 2013 at Lake Tahoe… to sum it up in one word: incredible! (Yes the bottom right picture is in San Francisco; we also visited LA, Las Vegas and Reno!).

I met so many new people and made new friends from Australia, India, Ireland, and all around the USA! It was so refreshing to connect with people who shared similar values of bettering their health, all at different stages of their journey. Some people had only recently started eating paleolithically or primally, and others had been on that road for a long time. Some ate paleo and were stricter, while others were primal and allowed dairy. Some were around my age, while others were a lot older. Yet we were all united at the same event with the same goals in mind.

I was fortunate enough to have met Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and Sarah Fragoso. The first book I ever read about the paleo diet was by Robb Wolf, then by Loren Cordain, and then Mark Sisson. I have a deep respect for the amount of knowledge that these people have in their area of work, and it’s not just the knowledge, but it’s the passion that is translated through their work, too. I am an avid reader of Mark’s Daily Apple, as well as a listener of Robb’s Paleo Solution podcast when I work in the labs at uni. And Sarah Fragoso’s paleo recipe blog was really the first paleo recipe blog I came across, and opened up a world of amazing recipes and exquisite tastes.

Robb came to give a Q&A session, and at the end I managed to interrupt his dinner, ask for a signature and a photo. He is a really friendly guy, because if that was me trying to eat my dinner, I probably would have torn people’s heads off!



There were many other inspirational and knowledgeable people there, but I had never come across their area of expertise before, and so this conference opened up new topics to pursue that are important in which to gain knowledge in order for primal living in this crazy modern world. For example, I loved that Monisha White, the daughter of Esther Gokhale, was there to promote the Gokhale Method and teach all about posture. She was saying that babies and people who live in tribes untouched by modern day life have naturally good posture. It translated so much to my Crossfit movements that I was really surprised! Hopefully I can improve the slight sway/over-pronounced lumbar curve I have in particular movements.

There was also Chef Rachel Albert giving demonstrations on how to prepare various dishes that featured apples. We got to try a few, and they were amazing. Not only did she give practical kitchen tips, such as how to hold a knife and cut properly, but she also had an incredible insight into her cooking methods. For example, she advises to toast nuts before use to aid the destruction of anti-nutrients and also to add a nuttier flavour, and to keep them in the fridge or freezer in order to prevent the oils (particularly the delicate omega-3’s, I can imagine) within going rancid. I would love to have bought her book “The Edible Garden,” but unfortunately it was far too big for me to take back to the UK, and isn’t available on Amazon (unless I’m willing to pay over £100). She also said that that particular book will not be printed again, which saddened me. Hopefully she’ll make a Kindle edition… maybe I should bug her a bit!

Oh, and considering this was a paleo conference, I should comment on the FOOD! My photos don’t’ do it justice (flash photography at night when you’re ravenous doesn’t cut it!), but let me tell you, the menu was divine! Here’s a sample menu from the Friday night (I sneaked into the kitchen one afternoon and the smell was incredible!):
Rib rost
Salmon
Salsa/sauces: tomatillo, chimichurri, tomato basil
Southern greens with bacon, onions, garlic and vinegar
Sautéed mushrooms with pearl onions, thyme, white wine and butter
Asparagus with brown butter and almonds
Sweet potato mash with toasted coconut and pomegranate
Spring salad cob style with bacon, eggs, blue cheese and tomatoes
Fennel citrus salad with arugula, red onions, oranges, mint and red wine vinaigrette

Definitely have requested the recipes for these!


It’s a Shame that Jenny LaBaw wasn’t there, although she was on the list of people presenting originally, but there were still plenty of amazing presenters and attendees anyway! To read a summary of the day and all the presenters on Mark’s blog, please click here.

I went to PrimalCon with a friend, Scott Bird, who owns Rising Dragon Martial Arts School, and I really hope he got a lot out of it, especially in relation to his school. I’m glad we stayed in touch after more than 5 years. He’s currently working n expanding his school. I’d love to visit again one day, because my China trip will always hold a special place in my heart thanks to that school. I have so magical experiences and it was the start of a whole new person emerging; a person I’m still working on today.

Despite the really healthy and nutritious foods available at the conference, I still ate in an unhealthy fashion. My eyes are way bigger than my belly and overeating, as we all know, is not healthy! Not only that, but we also treated ourselves to some really unhealthy foods by the end of the trip! All in the space of one night, we had sushi, pancakes, cake, ice cream and burger and chips!

It was quite liberating to let loose and eat all of the foods we haven’t touched in what feels like eons. But the following day quickly revealed just why we don’t do it on a regular basis; it makes you feel like rubbish!

We started off eating relatively healthily on the trip; salads, vegetables, etc. But eventually there just comes a time when you can’t eat clean while you’re on the road. For example, every time I ordered eggs for breakfast, they would always be cooked in bad oils, be covered in cheese, and even if I asked for no cheese, they’d be smeared in sour cream. Even salad dressings had sunflower oil, rather than something I would usually have, like avocado or macadamia nut oil. Eventually it clogs you up and drags you down.

So these next few weeks I’ve decided to go for making green smoothies in order to detox my system and see if this is a brand new way I can get more greens into my system!

A friend of mine that I met via the Open University has been praising juices and juicing for quite some time now, as did another friend of mine a couple of years ago. The idea did intrigue me, however I stayed away from it because of a few things Robb Wolf mentioned:
• You can drink way more calories than you can consume (i.e. you wouldn’t eat as much as you put into a smoothie or a juice, right?)
• The juice or fruits, and even veg, is concentrated sugar, and the liquid form means it will spike insulin a lot faster than if it was in its solid form.
• Juicing removes the insoluble fibre.

However, in various podcasts, even Robb says himself that he’s always learning, and he is a lot more flexible in his approach than he was when he first entered the paleo world. Counter arguments I’ve read have been that:
• Juicing makes the nutrients more easily absorbable by the body.
• Calorie quantity doesn’t count, but it’s the calorie quality that counts.
• Blending plant foods (i.e. making smoothies) breaks the cellulose down of the plant and so makes the nutrients more readily absorbed by the gut, especially as we don’t have the jaw structure we used to (because we don’t chew properly due to our hectic modern day lives).
• We need to approximately half of our daily food intake in the form of greens, as our DNA is 99.4% that of chimpanzees, and they graze daily on leaves, and so an easy way to get the greens in it to have them in smoothie form!
• It’s a nice transition to become accustomed to eating the amounts of greens we actually need to optimal health, because we have been deconditioned to them via too much over-stimulating sweet foods (chocolate, fast foods, junk, etc.).
• It’s a great way to detox an already sick body that has grown accustomed to the SAD (Standard American Diet).
• There are a lot of claims and testimonials celebrating juicing and smoothie-ing!

I certainly don’t think it would hurt for me to try, and in fact, I’m really looking forward to it! I thoroughly recommend reading “Green for Life” by Victoria Boutenko, as it contains so much information that I hadn’t covered in paleo books, and why greens as so important to us.

She talks about how all sorts of natural products are just lumped under the categories of “fruits” and “vegetables,” when in reality they are far more complex than that. She points out that we shouldn’t be eating as many root vegetables as we do, because they’re full or more sugar, and have nowhere near the nutritional content of leafy greens. And she also points out that we need to rotate our greens as to avoid alkaloid toxins from only one species (alkaloids are good in small doses; hormesis is important!), and in order to gain the maximum amount of nutrients available to us.

I’m going to try out green smootheis, and not juices, because 1) I’m still struggling on purchasing a juicer (i.e. how much to spend, what brand, and what specifications), and 2) I don’t want to miss out on all of the insoluble fibre, as that acts as a sponge to remove toxins from the body.

For me, I’m hoping that I’ll see improvements in training, a less bloated stomach after meal times (especially if I sub maybe breakfast or supper for a green smoothie chocked full of leaves!), and let’s see what happens to my energy levels! Oh, and hopefully I’ll get less bouts of eczema during stressful times! Not only that, but it’ll be a great lunch to take to work/uni – I can just swig goodness throughout the day!

Today I made three from Victoria’s book (yes, I got overexcited!); one with lettuce, and one with kale. The lettuce one came out really nicely, but the kale one, although tasted lovely, was still quite chunky. Unfortunately, I only have a hand held blender and a small food processor, which have served me well so far, but for quite a while I’ve been wanting to get a nice blender. Have I finally come up with an excuse to get one?! 😀

There were so many blenders on the market; some really expensive, some quite cheap, but I always get really hung up on the reviews, especially the negative ones. And I’m always a bit wary of buying from Amazon, because sending it back if something goes wrong is just hassle, whereas buying from a local retailer means I can just nip in and return it, rather than queuing at the post office (which ALWAYS has huge queues!). I settled on the Kenwood SB266 Smoothie Maker from Tesco Direct. It was only £10 (£32.83 on Amazon, wth!?) so wasn’t really expecting much, but it suits my needs perfectly. I can even make banana ice cream! 😀 (Note that the smoothie on the left with the kale was a little too thick and the kale kept getting stuck in my throat. After buying the Kenwood blender, it was very smooth and actually quite nice to drink!)

I was really surprised at how easy they were to drink and how pleasant they tasted. Green smoothies are not something that’s new to me, but they never stuck because greens can be rather pungent. Once, a long long time ago, I made a raw broccoli smoothie, thinking it was going to be fine, because I love broccoli (even raw! It just gets stuck in my teeth!). But when it was blended, not only did it smell extremely strong, it wasn’t pleasant to drink. Now, I know broccoli and greens are different, but I was imagining similar results would occur with these greens. But mixing with a little bit of fruit definitely makes it rather pleasant! I’m really looking forward to feasting on delicious cocktails that will heal my insides.

Monday’s WOD:
Warm Up (for time!):
30 walking Lunges
800m run
In to 2 rnds of:
5 burpees
10 press ups
10 plate GTOH 15/10
10 plate thrusters

Strength:
Front Squat 5-5-5-3-3-3-1-1-1 (every 3rd minute)

OMEM for 9 mins:
High hang power snatch
1-2-3-1-2-3-1-2-3

The recipes for my current favourite one is as follows:

Strawberry Fields
Adapted from: Green for Life
Makes 1 litre

Ingredients
• 1 x large ripe banana
• 1 cup of strawberries
• ½ head of lettuce
• 500 ml (2 cups) water

Preparation
Blend well.

Raspberry Dream
Adapted from: Green for Life
Makes 1 litre

Ingredients
• 2 ripe pears
• 1 x handful raspberries
• 2 x large kale leaves, stripped from the stem
• 500 ml (2 cups) water

Preparation
Blend well.

Overnight Matcha (抹茶)-Banana Oaty Breakfast Parfait

Yesterday a little tin of matcha arrived for me! 🙂
Blog post is here.

I’m really happy with how these photos turned out! The cranberries look like little spheres of glowing goodness; they remind me of the souls in Onimusha (so geeky, I know, but nostalgic!). I would have liked the banana to hav ebeen a little more yellow, so that’s why I tried to put a banana in (as the skin is quite yellow) but I felt as though ti crowded the photo too much and I struggle with composition even more when there are more elements (hence why all my photos are minimalistic for now!). At first I struggled with the composition, but it didn’t take long this morning to get it “right!” It’s a matter of playing around.

I think I’ve managed to find the place in my flat where the light is perfect; it’s not direct and it’s not too dark. It’s not necessarily the positioning, either, but it’s the angle that makes all the difference I find. And I think, maybe it’s because I’m right handed, that I like the light coming in from the left, because I feel as though it’s easier for me to compose my photos.

Now, I’m really going to have to resist trying to use it all to bake things and make little desserts instead of drinking it! Buuuuut, I’m going to have to try pancakes this weekend, at the very least! 🙂

Friday’s WOD:
Weighted pull ups – 5 x 5 with 2 minutes rest in between sets @ 12.75kg (more like 5 x 2!) Uh oh… I guess I have poor strength capacity, as that’s ~85% of my 1RM
Weighted ring dips – 5 x 5 with 2 minutes rest in between sets @ 12.75kg

Photo: Taken by the lovely and amazing Shelley Charlton!

Sprints!
Hero WOD The “Seven”
7 rounds for time of:
7 HSPUs
7 thrusters 60/40
7 knees 2 elbows
7 deadlifts 110/75
7 burpees
7 kb swings 32/20
7 pull ups

41:44 rx’d… ugh!

Overnight Matcha (抹茶)-Banana Oaty Breakfast Parfait
Serves 2

Ingredients
• rolled oats
• mixed dried fruit
• 1 tsp matcha
• whole milk
• 1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
• 1 tbsp flax seeds
• thick yoghurt (I used coconut, although Greek or any other will work, too!)

Optional:
• jam
• cinnamon
• flaked almonds (or other nuts)
• grated dark chocolate
• good quality cocoa powder
• Nutella
• toasted/desiccated coconut
• peanut (or other nut) butter

For the parfait layers:
• banana
• peach/nectarine
• juicy berries (strawberries, cherries, blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
• other fruits

Preparation
In a 500ml mason jar, fill it about ½-¾ full with oats. Add enough milk to cover the oats, add the matcha, peanut butter, flax seeds, and about 3 or 4 generous tablespoons of the thick yoghurt. Mix well, and leave in the fridge overnight. Voilà, a delicious breakfast ready for the morning!

Then in the morning, you can eat it straight from the jar, or layer it in a cup with fruit, etc. Top with dark chocolate, almonds, cranberries, etc. 🙂

Enjoyed 08.08.2013 🙂

Banana-Coconut Tropical Ice Tart

Blog post is here.

A couple of weeks ago I made this really tasty iced banana pie, which was perfect for the hot weather – but now it’s just sitting int he freezer waiting for the next heat wave (knowing the UK, that probably won’t be for another several years…). Hopefully the weather will be nice though for the Tribal Clash at the end of August!

The sweet potato pie post photos were published on Foodgawker! Tastespotting didn’t like the composition of the photo though. I’ve only had two photos accepted by Foodgawker, but more accepted by Tastespotting. Anywho, you can always tell when your post gets accepted and is on the front page for a while; suddenly loads (the most I’ve ever had, anyway!) of hits on your blog!

The crust is exactly the same crust as for the sweet potato pie, and freezes really well. The place where I got the recipe for this originally made banana frosty cups, but I thought a tart would be a little more dinner-party-esque.

Make sure you take it out of the freezer about 10 minutes before cutting with a large knife.

Banana-Coconut Tropical Ice Tart
Adapted from: Healthful Pursuit
Serves 8

Ingredients
For the chocolate crust:
• ¼ cup flax seed
• ¾ rolled oats
• ½ cup mixed dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, blueberries, etc.)
• ¼ good quality, 100% cocoa powder
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

For the filling:
• 4 bananas
• 1 tin of coconut milk (400 ml)
• 1 tsp vanilla essence

Preparation
For the crust:
Soak the dried fruit in ½ cup water for 40 minutes. An alternative would be ½ cup of orange juice. Put the oats in a blender and blend so it’s almost like a fine flour. Blend the dried fruit until they’re a paste.

Add all of the ingredients together and mix until homogenised, then press into a 20 cm diameter silicon cake mould so that it forms a pie case.

For the filling:
Cut the bananas into slices, reserving 8, and put them into a blender, along with the coconut milk and vanilla essence. Blend until smooth.

Pour the filling into the pie base, and pop the bananas pieces on top. Decorate with other nuts, desiccated or flaked coconut, and put into the freezer until it’s set.

Before serving, take out of the freezer for 10 minutes and cut with a large kniife. Sprinkle with cocoa powder if desired. 🙂

Eaten with my bro on a hot summer’s day: 24.07.2013