Kung Fu Café
Since 2011

Recession Proof Body Workshop | Peanut Butter Energy Bars (Vegan)

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Recession Proof Body visited us lot at CFP to give a workshop all about street workout and calisthenics.

The image above is of Lee, Ranjit, and Sai (from left to right), and I nabbed some of these images from their Facebook page (the others are either from my phone or from Claire Summers!).

Lee and Ranjit took the course that day, and of course, the first thing we all notice about them is the size of their arms. I knew what sort of movements we’d be going over today, and I had only ever seen people perform them on YouTube before, and so I feel that that standard of skill in calisthenics wasn’t actually real; I couldn’t wait to see them being performed before my own very eyes!

I do believe, as well, that these guys are being featured in every issue of Muscle and Fitness magazine for 6 months showcasing their various abilities and progressions to achieve their skills.

There were around 20 people in this workshop, and the workshop itself involved learning about some movements and their progressions, and trying them out ourselves, as well as watching some amazing demonstrations! The movements we covered were:
• Push up variations
• One arm push ups
• Pull ups
• One arm pull up
• Ring muscle ups
• Bar muscle ups
• Front lever
• Back lever
• And various progressions!

The picture above is Ranjit just before completing a strict one arm pull up, and Lee doing a strict ring muscle up with an extra 20kg plate!

The emphasis with street workout is that everything is strict! Most people have this idea that in Crossfit we ‘kip’ everything. Kipping is great to keep the intensity in workouts, but we do train a lot of strict stuff in Crossfit, too! I love it! I feel so bad-ass when I rep out strict pull ups and dips. Yeah buddy. I just find the gym memes on Facebook really hilarious! For example, take the one I found here:

The last time I checked, Rich Froning, Jason Khalipa, Dan Bailey, etc., sorta looked like the guy in that meme, am I right? Anyway, going a little off topic now! Back to the movements…

The great thing about these sorts of workshops, is that people discover their hidden skills; some people were pleasantly surprised with how strong they were! But of course, no one is going to be able to replicate the skill that these guys have, but they do give very useful progressions that people can follow, and how they achieved their ability. It’s a great reminder that we’re only human, yet with hard work and dedication, we can indeed achieve superhuman abilities. I will definitely be incorporating these things into my workouts, because I had no idea how to go about keeping strength training interesting and displaying strength in so many different ways.

Personally, the things I’m quite good at are the basic strict movements, such as pull ups, dips, and push ups. But I need to work with my front lever (I couldn’t get my abs to engage… just my arm pits!), and my explosive strength!

A lot of these moves are incredibly creative. We saw Ranjit perform strict bar muscle ups, which involves incredibly explosive strength, and then he showed us the sort of things they would do “for fun” or at comps, such as a cross grip bar muscle up, or a bar muscle up where you start with your hands with a chin up grip, and end with a pull up grip!

These displays of skills and strength were incredibly beautiful to watch, and these kinds of things are what I like to fill my weekends and spare time with. Some people don’t understand, but fitness is its own reward. I’m always working towards achieving various goals in a wide range of disciplines (currently it’s my PhD, Spanish, and Crossfit – all of which encompass many goals), and so I don’t understand why there’s so much hate in the world. Instead of hating another group of people or directing your energy towards destruction, why not create a better world for yourself, and others, by inspiring others and pushing yourself beyond your limits? I genuinely believe that if more people strived towards goals, there would be less hate.

So, yes, if you’re looking for motivation or even just a show, these are your guys! I was so buzzed the week after (and even now just thinking about the workshop) that I had such a brilliant week after, just because I was feeling so inspired after talking to these guys and being coached by them! I had rejuvenated energy, and more guidance for my own strength goals after just a one-day workshop, and so if they come back to the South West again, I’d love to see them in action again! Hopefully by them, I would have hit some of my own strength goals. 🙂

I’m definitely incorporating these progressions into my own training. I remember at the beginning of the workshop, Lee said that they don’t squat too much because they don’t want their legs too big for things like front levers, etc.! I still can’t tell if he was being serious or joking playfully :-/ Ranjit mentioned that if you did want to develop leg strength, pistols don’t really do anything for you, unless they’re weighted, and I agree, from personal experience! He also said that he runs and squats, but he focuses mostly on street workout now.

After being inspired by the amazing Recession Proof Body group, I thought I’d write up this recipe for peanut butter energy bars, because if you’re going to be doing their routines, you’re going to need a lot of energy! These bars are great to take into work or competitions, as they’re easy to wrap up or pop into lunch boxes.

If you store these in the fridge, I’m sure they’ll keep longer, but the texture changes as I suppose the peanut butter solidifies. I prefer these when they’re room temperature, if not warm!

Also, I LOVE these when they’ve come straight out of the oven, covered in the melted chocolate, popped into a bowl, and smothered with double cream… it is absolutely the BEST comfort dessert!

Not only does this recipe make for some amazing bars, but it’s a clever way to sneak in more fruit! Especially bananas; they can improve insulin sensitivity and provide an abundance of minerals to treat your DOMS… so these really are a great workout snack! Check out Well-Being Secrets to learn more benefits of eating bananas and the best ways to keep and store them, as well as for a few more banana recipes. 🙂

Peanut Butter Energy Bars
Adapted from: All Recipes, Peanut Butter Girl, and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
Enough for a 20 x 20 cm mould

• 4 x bananas
• 2 cups peanut butter
• 2 cups oats

• 2 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tbsp cinnamon
• 1 tsp nutmeg
• 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup seeds
• ¾ cup whole almonds (cashews, walnuts, etc.)
• ¼ cup whole pistachios, shelled (macadamia nuts, pecans, etc.)
• A handful of toasted coconut
• ¼ cup goji berries (cranberries or other dried fruits)
• ¼ cup cacao nibs
• ⅓ cup honey (optional)

• 200g dark chocolate
• 3 tbsp coconut oil
• Pinch of desiccated coconut, cacao nibs, or flaked almonds, to decorate

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Mash the bananas with a fork in a large bowl. You may wish to gently melt the peanut butter over the hob in order to make it mix more easily. Add the oats and mashed bananas into the peanut butter, mix well, and then transfer back to the bowl.

Add the rest of the ingredients (the above ingredients are what I added, but I didn’t use honey. Feel free to add in whatever you want!) and mix well, before transferring to a baking dish lined with non-stick baking parchment (I used a silicon mould, so it was non-stick anyway!). Bake for 20 minutes.

Break the chocolate up into small pieces and place in a saucepan with the coconut oil. Melt over a very low heat whilst stirring to combine. Pour over the top of the bars, and leave to set. When partially set, I sprinkled the top with cacao nibs and desiccated coconut. Flaked almonds would also work well, too!

Store in an air-tight container in the fridge. I prefer to eat them when they’re room temperature, though!

First made: 19.07.2014

Two-Ingredient “Healthier” Pancakes with Nut Butter and Honey Sauce | Shrove Tuesday

Happy Shrove Tuesday everybody! Today is the last day before Lent (a time of abstinence before Easter Sunday), and so pancakes were eaten and indulged in as they contained all of the things that were forbidden during Lent (such as butter and eggs!).

Now sure, you’re probably saying “Pancake Day is always on a Tuesday and I’m just too busy to make pancakes before going to work.” So I’m going to show you a recipe with minimal ingredients for some really simple, but delicious, American-style pancakes! (I do love Crêpes, but that’s for another post 🙂 ).

These pancakes use only two ingredients that are pretty much in everyone’s pantry. And to be honest, you can make these pancakes with just eggs and NOTHING else! Just follow the same recipe below, but leave out the flour portion. My brother and I go through phases where we have eggy-crêpes almost every morning with nut butters, fruits, sometimes leftover meat and maple syrup. Delicious!

For the past few months I’ve been eating lots of junk food. And I’ve put on weight! But I’ve also gained strength. I am a large advocate of the paleo diet; always have been, always will be (unless the scientific evidence proves otherwise). But I’ve always known that the paleo diet promotes health and is great for fat loss, whereas the Zone, for example, is something that focuses on performance. I know a few people down at CFP who have complained about a loss of energy when doing WODs when following a strict paleo diet. I do agree, from my own experience, that it’s great for daily energy levels and body composition, but personally, I think it did hinder my strength gains a little (it’s difficult to tell though, to be perfectly honest! It’s a combination of a lot of things, but I think that eating more calories, even from junk food, have helped to make me stronger). So I think, for me at least, a paleo diet with a few modifications (i.e. more carbs, perhaps? More general calories? But NOT just junk food full of sugar and wheat!) would suit me and my training well, and I think that these pancakes fit the bill!

There are lots of recipes I’ve found, paleo and otherwise, and some also call for many ingredients that I don’t feel are necessary. Most recipes that make the softest and fluffiest pancakes call for the fewest ingredients. Maybe when you understand the function of ingredients a little better you can alter things a bit to your tastes, likings and needs at the time.

You can replace the oats with other flours and ground things, like flax seeds, almond flour, coconut flour, oat flour, etc. It has the same effect although the texture may vary a little. Try is out to get your favourite flavour and texture! This recipe is similar to this paleo pancake recipe, although as the oats in this recipe cook and makes the pancakes slightly less eggy. Either way, they’re all delicious combinations, and there’s no point in me talking about it. Just try them out and decide for yourself which flavour combinations you prefer! 🙂

I love these pancakes with different fruits in the mixture, on top of the final pancake, cooked, raw, etc. I also love nut butters, syrups and honey, lemon juice, fruits, meats, etc. So good!

You can also freeze them, and to pop them in the toaster to reheat on really busy mornings!

Anyway, I took these photos a long time ago, and am pleased with how they came out! I still don’t know anything about anything when it comes to photography, but I remember trying to play with the backgrounds a little more than just having a plain ol’ white background (although easier to work with!).

I like to keep the backgrounds as simple as possible, because as an amateur, I find that the more elements there are in my frame, the more difficult it is to arrange something with a nice composition and flattering colours – at my level, the simpler, the better! And sometimes, simple photos are nicer, too, as I also dislike crowded photos with too many elements. I guess I get that minimalist side from my dad!

I’m pleased with the first photo in this post, because I think that it sets a scene, and I love photos that do that. It makes me think of someone’s worktop in a modern kitchen, who’s just prepared their pancakes whilst drinking OJ, quickly slapped some butter on top and has just turned around to pop something in the sink before taking their pancakes to the table to scoff before a busy day. 🙂

These photos have no post processing either (the same with all of my photos – only a few I’ve attempted to correct for white balance. I used to shoot in RAW as well as JPEG… but I stopped because I just don’t know what to do with a RAW file! All I know is that they take up a LOT of space! So when I learn how to use them, then I’ll start shooting in RAW again. I think I’m getting better at composition and food styling, as well as knowing which angle would complement the food better along with the type of lighting, even though I still don’t know what I’m doing with a camera on manual. At least my intuitive senses when working with light are getting better. More of my photos are being accepted by FoodGawker and Tastespotting (although just because they accept or reject a photo, doesn’t mean that your photography is good or bad… Emma Gardner has stopped submitting photos to these two sites), although I do have about four times as many photos rejected than I have had accepted. But it doesn’t bother me. I’m still proud of my photography progress, considering it’s only a hobby and not the focus of my life or career (for now!). Ironically, the very food photo I took with my DSLR was accepted by Foodgawker, even though I’d tried desperately to get something accepted using only a digital camera (I had previously with Tastespotting). So in that way, it is the camera that takes nice shots, and not the photographer! Hee hee 😉

Happy pancake-ing! I’ll be making them for breakfast AND dinner! 😉 What will you have with yours?

Two-Ingredient “Healthier” Pancakes with Nut Butter and Honey Sauce
Syrup from: Southern Plate
Makes 6 pancakes

For the pancakes:
• 6 x eggs
• 6 heaped tbsps of rolled oats (or flax seed, coconut flour, almond flour… of course the texture of the final pancake will be different)

Optional extras for pancake batter:
• 5 tbsp milk (or coconut milk, almond milk, buttermilk…)
• 2 tsp vanilla essence
• dried fruit
• cinnamon
• toasted coconut
• nuts
• chocolate chips
• fruit (see below)
• bacon
• peanut butter

• banana
• blueberries
• nectarines
• strawberries
• cherries
• apples
• etc!

For the peanut butter sauce:
• crunchy peanut butter (or nut butter – or even chocolate or Nutella!)
• honey (use twice as much honey as there is butter)

Other optional syrups/sauces:
dulce de leche
• Nutella
• honey
• (whipped) double cream
• yoghurt

For the pancakes:
Mix the eggs, oats, and any extras in a bowl until homogenised. Heat a large non-stick frying pan until hot, so that when the batter is dropped onto it, it sizzles. Use a large spoon to spoon on two dollops of pancake batter, and turn the heat down to medium-low. Cook for about 4-6 minutes. Then use a spatula to flip and cook for about 2 more minutes.

Fruit preparation:
Chop up the fruit before making the pancakes. You can either incorporate the fruit raw into your pancakes or serve on the side, or you can fry in their own juices on low (or a little higher with some butter) and serve them on the side or incorporate into the pancake batter.

For the syrup/sauce:
Put the honey and butter in a non-stick milk pan, and continuously stir over a low heat until it all blends together and is nice and runny. If you would like a sauce, as opposed to a syrup, keeping cooking and stirring over a low heat until the syrup thickens into a sauce. Be careful not to overcook it though otherwise the texture will be dry and a little brittle.

Sunday treat: 04.08.2013

Rave at the Box (any excuse to bake!) | Quadruple of Primal Treats

Menu du jour:
1. Banana & nut brownies
2. Coconut brownies
3. Honey, lemon & almond cookies
4. Chocolate & pistachio biscotti

What a week and what a crazy weekend! Where do I start?

Firstly, I should probably apologise for a very photo heavy post. But these brownies are just so damn photogenic. I love the colours of these banana brownies in particular, and the fact that they’re a little thicker/taller than the coconut ones (although the coconut brownies are a little gooey-er) makes them slightly easier to shoot.

I also tried a slightly different set up when taking these photos; I put my white boards on a coffee table so I could get differently angled shots easier than before, and it seemed to work! I took the Friday afternoon off because a) I was being incredibly unproductive that afternoon and all of the labs were packed, and instrumentation I needed was in use, and b) it was sunny and so I wanted to make the most of the light (as it had been dark and raining all week!). Although, it did get too sunny that afternoon (too sunny?! Yes!) and the direct sunlight made the shadows too harsh! Can’t win, eh? But I managed to get around it. 🙂 (I have posted a photo of my set up, but please excuse the cables; I was testing my internet connections and there usually aren’t that many!)

So anyway, onto the food!

Although these treats are technically primal (paleo for the most part), they’re still concentrated (i.e. too many nuts, lots of honey, maple syrup, dried fruits, etc.), and so they’re still only a treat. I need to keep reminding myself of this; I swear there were twice as many of these treats before I took them to the party at CFP, but I just ate most of them in the space of two days. I tried my hardest to resist, but I just couldn’t. I would have eaten them all if it wasn’t for the potential shame of turning up with an empty box and broken promises!

Of course you can alter the sweetness with the amount of honey/maple syrup you add, and as well as the squidgy-ness with the amount of sweet potato and flour. Also, the more things you add, the less squidgy they will be (hence why the coconut brownies look a lot moister than the banana ones!).

These also go superbly well with coconut cream! How do you make coconut cream, you ask? Just open a tin of coconut milk, mix well, put in a mason jar and pop into the fridge overnight, et voilà‎! Coconut cream! It’s light to taste and so delicious! Although these brownies are moist enough to enjoy without anything else. 🙂

Just make sure that the brownies are cold before you cut them, otherwise they’ll crumble a bit too much! Although if you’re like me and put a million different things in them, it’s always going to be difficult to cut a clean slice every time.

And don’t get rid of your sweet potato skins! They make excellent pizza bases! Just put on some toppings and pop them in the oven. 🙂 I would love to try and make these with avocado or beetroot. I would also like to try these with oats, too. I’ve used black beans in brownies, and they came out really well, although a little drier. I think my next test will be to try them with mung beans as they’re a little bit mushier in texture and may make for a softer brownie. We will see and I will post the results at some point! If they come out well, I may well try and scale it up to make it in to a cake for my brother’s birthday. He’s into health foods and getting as much protein as possible. Beans have a lot, so I’ll make it into a protein cake! I could even add protein powder and peanut butter, but I think adding a large chunk of meat will be taking things a bit too far…

The honey almond cookies were supposed to be biscotti, but I think I accidentally put in twice the amount of honey and syrup, as well as too much baking powder! So when I popped the batter (yes, batter, not dough!) on a baking sheet, I thought that it was too runny, but it sort of kept its shape. And when I had baked it for the first time, it was as flat as a pancake (and just about spilling over the edges, too!). It still tasted really nicely though, and would have been a shame to have got rid of those lovely ingredients. So I scooped the batter back up, made them into cookie shapes, and baked them again. And ta daaaa! Saved biscotti turned biscuits!

I’ve never even been a big fan of biscotti. They definitely have nice feelings and associations… when else do you have biscotti other than with tea or coffee? And tea and coffee means either a break, time to relax, or good old ramblings and nattering with someone special. Or that first cup of tea in the morning… that’s to die for! Anyway, getting off topic… the photographs on the other blogs made the biscotti look SO divine, so I thought I would give it a go! But one thing that puts me off of biscotti is that they are SUPER crunchy! I like crunchy things, but sometimes they’re too hard… maybe I’ve just had bad biscotti in the past? But either way, the ones I baked weren’t hard at all – they were still quite soft and fairly chewy with a really nice taste! More like soft biscuits/cookies than hard biscotti and remind me of Roman sweets. 🙂

The brownies are definitely my sort of thing though! Especially the banana ones, as I love banana! But then again, the coconut ones were so chocolately and moist, so I liked those, too. I did have a lot of complements the night that I took them to the rave at the box! And even afterwards, on Facebook, someone posted that they only remembered having little brownies/cakes that tasted delicious. I’m glad they went down so well! I’ve even had several people ask me for recipes, and so, here they are! Today, someone from the box even posted photos of this sweet potato pie that they had made, but added pumpkin in, too, and served it with Swedish glacé (dairy free ice cream)… and it looked so good!

It turns out that I have inspired quite a few people to cook more things and eat more paleolithically, and I’m always really pleased to hear such feedback. And not even regarding food and nutrition, but I’ve recently had feedback about how I inspire some people down at the box with their training and various other things. It really touches me every time I hear something like that, and really makes me feel great, as though my work on this planet is helping me to fulfil what I set out to do. If I can inspire people to try new things and push harder in order to try and better themselves in some way, then I am very happy, indeed. 🙂 That’s what I believe we’re all here for, and I believe that’s what optimises the human experience!

Earlier that day we had a “leaving WOD,” beautifully crafted and it was a partner WOD, too, which are always fun. The atmosphere was epic! I was with Emily and we kicked butt! The WOD was as follows:
Cash in: kettlebell handwalk in plank position in pairs (using 3 KBs)
WOD: 30 partner alternating wall balls 9/6
30 partner alternating pull ups
30 partner alternating sit ups
30 partner synchro skips (1 rope)
30 partner alternating press ups (legs of one partner on another)
30 partner alternating plate complex 20/15
-cluster to overhead
-2 x alternating OH lunges
Both partners then stand on a 2.5kg plate for 5 seconds to finish WOD!

The photos from Crossfit are not mine, but nabbed from Facebook. 😀

The photos of the hoodie are also another surprise in the post I received last week from a friend I made at PrimalCon a few weeks ago! It was such a thoughtful gift, and the postcards are of Emerald Bay around Lake Tahoe, as we toured there one evening on a beautiful boat. In return, I have posted a load of English tea to the US! He has tea most probably for life! Although if he drinks it at the rate I do, it certainly won’t be for life! I was very touched by this gift, as it was incredibly thoughtful, and will take place in my heart along with a few other special gestures I’ve received in my lifetime. Thank you. 🙂

Oh, what else? Plymouth Raiders won their basketball match on Sunday night again Durham Wildcats! It was a great match to watch and I’m so glad I was with my favourite people!

I could go on about a lot of different things, but I will stop there, and maybe save it for next time. 😉 Here’s Monday’s WOD!

Monday’s WOD at CFP:
(After-party WOD I think!)
“The Grim Reaper and his gurned up mate”
In pairs with a 40 min timeout:
Push press 35/25
SDHP 35/25
KB swing 24/16
Press ups
Sit ups

Banana & Nut Brownies
Adapted from: Eat Drink Paleo

• 3 x small sweet potatoes
• 2 x large bananas, chopped (+ 1 for decorating!)
• 2 x eggs, beaten
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup honey
• ½ cup coconut oil
• ~1 cup dried fruit and nuts (I used a mix of walnuts, dried cranberries, dried goji berries, pecans, dried physalis, large raisins, golden raisins and a handful of macadamias!)
• 1 cup of good quality, unsweetened, cocoa powder
• 2 tbsp coconut/almond flour
• 1 heaped tbsp baking powder (gluten free)

Put the sweet potatoes, whole, in the oven at 175°C for an hour, or until they’re soft when inserting a knife in the centre. Leave to cool.

When cool, peel off the skin and mash the insides in a large bowl (keep the skins to pop in the oven for a primal-style pizza!). Add the rest of the ingredients (dry ingredients first, followed by the wet ingredients) and mix until well homogenised.

Spread in a baking tin lined with non-stick parchment paper (I used a silicon baking tin; they’re fantastic!) so that they’re 1″ thick. Use the one banana reserved for decoration by chopping it into 25 slices and arranging them on top of the batter. Cook for 25-30 minutes at 185°C, and let cool. Carefully remove the brownies and cut into sizes as big as you like. (In my case it’ll just be one big portion all for me!)

I used a 20 x 20 cm silicon baking tray, but I think a slightly smaller one would have been better for thicker brownies.

Coconut Brownies
Adapted from: Eat Drink Paleo

• 3 x small sweet potatoes
• 2 x eggs, beaten
• 2 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup honey
• ½ cup coconut oil
• ½-1 cup of toasted, flaked coconut
• 1 cup of good quality, unsweetened, cocoa powder
• 2 tbsp coconut/almond flour
• 1 heaped tbsp baking powder (gluten free)
• White chocolate and double cream to decorate

Put the sweet potatoes, whole, in the oven at 175°C for an hour, or until they’re soft when inserting a knife in the centre. Leave to cool.

When cool, peel off the skin and mash the insides in a large bowl (keep the skins to pop in the oven for a primal-style pizza!). Add the rest of the ingredients (dry ingredients first, followed by the wet ingredients) and mix until well homogenised.

Spread in a baking tin lined with non-stick parchment paper (I used a silicon baking tin; they’re fantastic!) so that they’re 1″ thick. Cook for 25-30 minutes at 185°C, and let cool. Carefully remove the brownies and cut into sizes as big as you like. (In my case it’ll just be one big portion all for me!)

I used a 20 x 20 cm silicon baking tray, but I think a slightly smaller one would have been better for thicker brownies.

I melted white chocolate (not paleo, I know!) with double cream, spread it across and sprinkled flaked coconut all on top for decoration.

Chocolate & Pistachio Biscotti
Adapted from: Paleo Spirit

• 1 cup almond flour
• ¼ cup coconut flour
• ¼ good quality cocoa powder
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp salt
• ½ cup maple syrup
• ½ cup pistachios, halved/crushed
• 100 g milk chocolate, broken into pieces

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until homogenised. The dough should keep its shape when pressed together, otherwise you may have added too much syrup!

Form the dough into one 1″ thick log on a baking tray lined with baking paper, and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely (about an hour).

Cut into ½” thick slices, place on their side, and put back into a preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Allow to cool before decorating and serving. I covered the biscotti in the white chocolate/double cream glaze I made for the coconut brownies, but it didn’t look as nice as I hoped it would! I think pure, intense white chocolate would have been better, but we live and learn! 🙂

Honey, Lemon & Almond Cookies
Adapted from: Steak, and Sass

• 1 cup almond flour
• ½ cup coconut flour
• ½ tsp baking soda
• ¼ tsp salt
• zest of 1 lemon
• 8 tbsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup maple syrup
• ½ cup honey
• ½ cup slivered almonds

Preheat the oven to 175°C.

Mix all of the ingredients together in a large bowl until homogenised. Spread onto a baking tray (with large sides!) lined with baking paper, and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely (about an hour).

Scoop the dough up, shape little balls of equal size, and press onto a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Let cool entirely before serving.

All baked in my lovely kitchen: 24.10.2013

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!). 🙂

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!

Hero WOD The “Seven”
7 rounds for time of:
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

• 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!)

• 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

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

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

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

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. 🙂

Banana Pancakes | A Weekend Treat

I remember when I persuaded my family to let me cook these for them when dad was away in London one weekend. We had a late breakfast, and they were getting pretty hungry waiting for me to carefully cook these pancakes. But trust me, the time and effort paid off! They were delicious. 🙂 Of course, Tim had bacon and sausages with his! Typical. 😛

Banana pancakes with bacon, sausage, and a whole lotta syrup.

I found this recipe on Smitten Kitchen‘s website: they looked so perfect I just had to try these! I really love the colours of the photographs and wish I could use photo-editing software like that. Deb’s pancakes just look so fluffy and delicious. I used banana and a little cinnamon in mine, and they were a success! I agree with Deb though, that they could have done with a little more oomph, like vanilla, more cinnamon, or something else. But with maple syrup…yeah!

Mmmm, even dry these look tasty!

The lovely pancake batter.

I seriously suggest that you follow Smitten Kitchen’s 10 pancake tips. They were extremely useful and helped me to create lovely fluffy American-style pancakes that didn’t break, rip, or stick at all! I paid particular attention to the following tips:
• Mix the dry ingredients in with the wet until barely mixed: to keep the batter as light as possible!
• I used “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light” and I brushed half a teaspoon worth onto the pan when it was heated. Then I placed three ¼ cups of batter in at a time. Once they were cooked, I put another ½ teaspoon onto the pan and brushed it all over, then put three more heaps (each heap being a ¼ cup) and started again. Definitely ensured an even coating!
• Cook on the low-medium heat! Trust me; the time is worth it. 🙂
• The time to flip the pancake is when there are bubbles appearing on the surface. And they really don’t take long at all once the first side is slipped!
• Pancakes were reheated/stored in the oven with the cooking sausages, at around 175◦C until they were all cooked and ready to eat. 🙂

This is what the pancakes look like when it’s time to flip ’em. You can see the little bubbles on the surface.


Banana Pancakes
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen
Makes 14 pancakes (using a ¼ cup as a measure for the batter)

• 2 x eggs
• 375ml (1½ cups) milk
• 300g (2 cups) plain flour
• 1 tsp baking powder
• ½ tsp salt
• ~25 g (¼ cup) sugar
• 3 bananas, mashed
• A huge heap of ground cinnamon
• 2 tsp butter for frying
• + syrup, sausages, bacon…

1. Beat the eggs with the milk in a large bowl. Then add the sugar and salt, and sieve in the flour and baking powder. Whisk to combine.
2. Then stir in the mashed bananas!
3. Then, heat a large/wide pan over the hob on a low heat, and use a brush to brush a thin layer of butter over than pan.
4. Put a ¼ cup measure of batter onto the pan, and wait until bubbles begin to rise to the surface before flipping.
5. Flip and cook on the other side. This side won’t take as long!
6. Store in an oven on low heat until ready to serve. 🙂

Banoffee Pie | “Oh I made it…”

Marjorie Dawes: … And what the hell is this supposed to be?
Tania: Oh I made it, it’s banoffee pie.
Marjorie Dawes: [mimicking in a deep voice] Oh I made it, it’s banoffee pie. You Tania, are playing Russian roulade with these people’s lives! If anyone one of these fatties has a single bite of this, they could drop down dead! Shame on you Tania. Boo hiss boo! [takes pie home].

Have you ever watched “Little Britain?” It a popular TV sketch show that last half an hour. So quite short and sweet. One of my many favourite sketches is the Fat Fighters one. My mum absolutely loves the Bubbles Devere character, and Tim and my dad just love them all! Anyway the quote “Oh I made it, it’s banoffee pie” is from a series two, episode six sketch, where Paul and Pat have prepared food for an engagement party. You can watch to the funny two minute sketch below:

You probably won’t get the quotes following the pictures unless you’re a “seasoned” fan.

Marjorie Dawes from Fat Fighters

Carol Beer: “Computer says ‘no.'”

Kenny Craig: “Look into my eyes, look into my eyes, not around the eyes, not around the eyes, but in the eyes.” *Clicks fingers.” “You’re under.”

My boyfriend has told me that many of his French friends don’t find Little Britain funny, however he does. I mean, in some ways, can you blame them? But I suppose even if you live in another country, but are raised to be British, then there’s truly no escaping the British sense of humour! So to celebrate Little Britain and all of its British glory, what’s the best way other than to make a truly British dessert?

A typically British banoffee pie.

However, because I used so many fattening products, I decided to calculate the calories from each ingredient:

For the crust:
• 103g “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter Light” (365kcal)
• 13 x digestive biscuits (884kcal)
• 1 tsp cinnamon

Total = 1249kcal

For the filling:
• 3 x bananas (261g; 233kcal)
• 1 can (397g) sweetend condensed milk (1295kcal)

Total = 1528kcal

For the topping:
• 1 pot (284ml) double cream (994kcal)
• 1 x square of chocolate (30kcal)
• 2 tsp coffee granules

Total = 1024kcal

Grand total = 3801kcal

So, divide that by 8 and you get 476 calories a slice! Ouch! This truly is a real Fat Fighters dessert. 😐 But then that’s quite a large piece. So if you have a sixteenth of the pie, then it’s only 238kcal (although that’s still a lot!).

Truly British Banoffee Pie
Serves 8 large fattening slices, or 16 regular slices
(and then you have the privilege of attending Fat Fighters with Marjorie)

For the crust:
• 100g butter
• 13 x digestive biscuits (or other oaty biscuits, like Hob Nobs)
• 1 tsp cinnamon
For the filling:
• 3 x bananas
• 1 can (397g) sweetend condensed milk/dulce de leche
For the topping:
• 1 pot (284ml) double cream
• 2 tsp coffee granules
• 1 x square of chocolate

For the crust:
I whizzed the biscuits in a food processor to get them nice and smooth, and melted the butter over the hob in a non-stick pan. I then combined them together, pressed them into a 7-8“ diameter non-stick baking tin (made of silicon-type material – useful for getting pies off of them, but make sure that you don’t break the crust when removing it from the oven!). I popped the crust in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 175◦C.

For the filling:
Now, make the toffee (dulce de leche) filling. This is done by emptying the condensed milk into an oven-proof dish, covering with tin foil, and then placing that in another dish that’s filled with about 2.5-3cm of water. Then, bake in the oven for an hour at 210-220◦C.
When that’s finished, remove the dish from the oven, and wait to cool slightly. In the meantime, chop the bananas up and spread them across the base. Then spread the toffee across all of the bananas, making sure to cover them all (so that they don’t go brown).
This is best done as soon as the toffee comes out of the oven, otherwise it will solidify a little and will be harder to spread across the bananas.
Cool in the fridge for at least one hour. I suppose you could keep the pie like this for a few days, and then follow the whipped cream stage on the morning that you intend to serve the pie. Products with fresh cream always go bad quickly, but I have a feeling that this pie won’t be around for long anyway!

For the topping:
Add the coffee to the cream, and whip in a food processor/electric beater until still peaks are formed. Then, spread across the pie creating pretty patterns. Grate some chocolate over the top, and voila!

Keep in the fridge. I would say for up to three days, but once you’ve popped the cream on top it should ideally be within 1-2days at most.

You could change the pie crust to oreos to create a black/chocolatey colour.
If you make a thicker base by using more biscuits (remember, the more biscuits you use the more butter you’ll need to hold it together), you could present the pie on its own, rather than in the dish, as the base will be stronger. But then you’ll probably want a bigger dish so that you can actually fit the filling in. So it’s just a matter of playing around with the amounts of ingredients to suit you. 🙂
I’ve seen variations where the toffee is put on the pie base, then the banana coating, and then the cream, however, the toffee will help hide the fact that the bananas tend to go a little brown, and may (I hope!) even help the process slow down or even stop.
Maybe you could mash the bananas instead of slicing them. This way it’ll probably be easier to cut!
You could top it with desiccated coconut, or add it (perhaps along with fresh coconut, too?) in with the bananas for coconut and banoffee pie. Or you could add a bit of rum or Malibu into the mix?
You could add sugar in with the whipped cream or into the crust for a little extra sweetness. Icing sugar or brown sugar will probably help to whip the cream up a little more.
Vanilla essence could be popped in somewhere, such as in with the bananas, or it would be really nice to have vanilla flavoured cream.
I suppose you could use whipped cream from a can instead. 🙂
Also, you could melt the chocolate and drizzle it across the cream for a different effect as opposed to grated chocolate. Or just sprinkle across cocoa powder instead.
You could use nuts!

I hope you enjoy your banoffee pie! 🙂