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Since 2011

The Primal Games 6 | Hasselback and Egg-Stuffed Potatoes



Well, that time of year is coming up again… Christmas! I’ve been eating a lot of stodge recently, mostly in the form of sugar, chocolate, and cheesecake… so I thought I’d share something that isn’t in that form… for now! This is definitely the sort of stuff I love to eat over the winter period; tonnes of vegetables, starch-y goodness, and lashings of gravy, so thought I’d share a recipe for some potatoes (a definite winter staple!). Having these with pork and apple chips definitely makes for a real treat (breakfast!) to dip into the egg. 🙂

This past week has been pretty busy, rather stressful, and a bit naff since my previous blog post, which spoke about Recession Proof Body coming to CrossFit Plymouth. They posted a link to that particular blog post on Facebook, and I had a flurry of people come onto the blog again – how lovely. 🙂



And, to top it off, the Primal Games 6 (held at CFP) was a few weekends ago, and it was SO MUCH FUN! Not only did I equal my snatch PB of 60 kg (I had only done it once before and was pretty surprised that I managed it in a comp this time) but got my first ever bar muscle ups! 🙂 The team I was with were also super fun and encouraging, and it was an amazing day all around… it left me buzzing for the WHOLE WEEK afterwards! It was great that everyone seems genuinely supportive of one another, regardless of what level of fitness or ability, it was just an amazing environment.

I was quite surprised about the bar muscle ups, considering how little I’d ever practiced trying. But I was the only member of my team not doing them, and I think that the sheer desire to want to contribute to some points and help them out was my driving force. Never have I ever been more determined to get over the bar or do something as I was then; usually, when snatching heavy weight or doing movements like muscle ups, I get quite scared at the prospect of injuring myself or the movement going wrong, but during this instance I never thought once about injuring myself, I just thought about getting to the end of the movement. It goes to show how the real desire and intention to do something makes that something happen!


In September, I went to the Particulate Systems Analysis and conference and UKPTF, and whilst in Manchester I stopped off at an amazing box called Train Manchester (the home of Samantha Briggs!). I managed my first real muscle ups there (i.e. starting with straight arms at the bottom)… I reckon it was because Samantha Briggs’ touched the rings, and some of the magic transferred to me! I’m not amazing at muscle ups, but even though deep down I knew I had the ability to do them, I didn’t really believe it… until I did just the one… then I did four more afterwards. When I got home, I then did an OMEM drill, and managed fourteen muscle ups, one every minute for fifteen minutes… I failed one once, but still, that’s a big improvement from zero, to being able to do them overnight!



It’s nice to be busy with so many projects going on, but I cannot believe that I’ve hit the ripe old age of twenty-five; where has the time gone? I absolutely cannot wait for Christmas, where the time will hopefully slow down a bit and I can catch up with some important people. Even though times can be busy, stressful, emotional, etc., personally, I feel stronger mentally and physically than I have in a long time; I used to be scared of getting older, and of course, I still am, as we all are, because the future is never certain or guaranteed, but as I get older I learn more and more, and life keeps getting better and gives me amazing gifts. So although getting older is sometimes seen as a negative (i.e. ageing, more responsibility, less time, etc.), it’s actually something to be proud of, and to simply enjoy (unfortunately, some don’t get the chance to be older). In some ways, I can’t wait. 😀



♪ Hasselback… hasselback POTATO ♫

Egg-stuffed potatoes
Adapted from: Cheese and Chocolate

Ingredients
• pre-baked potatoes
• eggs (as many as you have potatoes)
• butter
• salt and papper
• various other fillings (my favourites being bacon, sausage, spinach, broccoli, roasted garlic, cheese, etc.)

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 175°C. Find where you potato stands upright, and slice off the top to make a lid. Scoop out enough of your potato to make room for your fillings (you can save the flesh to mash up and have as mash another time).

Add some salt and pepper to the inside of your potato, place some of your fillings in, and crack in your egg. Sprinkled with more salt and pepper, and add some cheese.

Bake for about 25 minutes, although the baking time depends on how you like your eggs, and serve.

Hasselback potatoes
Adapted from: BBC

Ingredients
• white potatoes
• butter
• pepper
• salt
• parmesan cheese (although I like cheddar)
• breadcrumbs

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 220°C. Wash the potatoes well, and dry. Score the top of the potatoes ¾ of the way through. You can slice through the potato whilst it’s sitting in a large serving spoon to prevent slicing cleanly through the potato. Put a lump of butter on top of each potato and pop in the oven for 5 minutes. Then bast using the melted butter and sprinkle on some salt and pepper. Return to the oven and bake for 45 minutes. When done, remove, sprinkle with the cheese and breadcrumbs, and return to the oven for 15 minutes until the potatoes are soft and the crust is browned a little.

Bacon would also be a nice addition. Even without the cheese and breadcrumbs, these potatoes offer a different texture to a regular baked potato, mashed potatoes, or roast potatoes.

Divided We Fall 2014 | Mum’s Pecan Pie

According to the recipe in this cookbook, this pecan pie is “a classic American version of our own old-fashioned treacle tart.” It was a lovely surprise! The weather this past week has been absolutely spectacular and this weekend my brother and I have escaped to our country manor (a.k.a. our parent’s house) for some great company and good grub. 😀

We went for a a lovely walk around the last castle built in England: Castle Drogo, built in 1911. The weather was a lot more overcast than in Plymouth (which makes a change!), and unfortunately I forgot my DSLR. The hot chocolates were really good; not sweet at all! And sitting outside in the beautifully well kept gardens was lovely for the soul. Next time we go we’ll take a picnic and my camera, as the valley and rolling hills were absolutely stunning, especially when bathed in sunlight. The only downside to the beautiful weather was that my hayfever played up a bit this weekend. But no matter; it’s still beautiful around here and as the days go by the more I’m pleased that I decided to do my undergraduate and PhD here, in the South West of England; close to my beloved family <3 . Last weekend, we (team Chocolate Thunder) went and competed at the Divided We Fall games to compete with 99 other teams. Some of the photos on this page are from RX’d Photography. Another person from out box went up to volunteer as a helper for the weekend, and he was awesome! Such a supportive teammate 🙂 I learnt a lot during this weekend. I learnt a lot from this weekend.


WOD 1 felt pretty good; it was definitely nerve wracking, but at the same time I also felt as ease, because we already did this one before (it was one of the qualifying WODs; hence why it was called “repeat”) I knew that we just had to do it again! The last 100 wall balls between Samantha and I sucked; I just wanted to take a break for a few seconds but knew I couldn’t! We did better than I thought we would: we came 26th for this WOD! Although still way off of the times of the top teams (they did it in 22 minutes or something like that!).

REPEAT
For Time 600 Wallball 20/14LB
EMOM 30 DU

NOTES
All 4 athletes will complete this workout.
2 Male athletes start:
300 Wallball 20LB
EMOM 30 DU
Once the male athletes complete 300 Wallball the female athletes begin immediately the clock does not stop or reset.

2 Female athletes continue:

300 Wallball 14LB
EMOM 30 DU
One athlete working at a time partition reps for Wallball and DU as needed
The Wallball cannot be continued until all 30 DU reps have been completed. If the DU are not completed when the next minute begins another 30 DU are added. Athletes may have the skipping rope in their hands but cannot begin until the start of each minute.
STANDARDS

Wallball: The wallball shot, the medicine ball must be taken from the bottom of a squat, hip crease below knee, and thrown to hit the target. If the ball hits low or does not hit the target, it is a no rep. If the ball is not caught between reps, it must come to a full stop on the ground. Catching the ball bouncing off the floor is not permitted. Athletes can switch after the ball has hit the target while the ball is in the air provided the standards mentioned are achieved.
Double Unders This is a standard double-under in which the rope passes twice for each jump. Only successful jumps are counted, not just attempts.


WOD 14.1: Repeat

Samantha and Luke did WOD 2; and they did really well 🙂 What more can I say? 😀

UNBROKEN
In a 9 Min Window
Establish an Unbroken GTOH
9 – 6 – 3 rep max

NOTES

2 athletes are needed – 1 Male 1 Female
In minute 0-3
9 Rep Max Unbroken GTOH.
In minute 3-6
6 Rep Max Unbroken GTOH.
In minute 6-9
3 Rep Max Unbroken GTOH.

1 athlete lifts at a time. The remaining team mate can help load / deload when not lifting. The athlete must call out the load to the judge before attempting the lift and collars must be used.
The athletes can decide how many attempts each athlete has in each time window. If a Rep Max is not achieved in a given time window a score of 0KG will be recorded.
Example: Male athlete fails to get a unbroken 6RM during minutes 3-6 scoring 0kg but the female athlete achieves an unbroken 6RM of 50kg the score for that section is 50kg (0+50kg).
The scores for both athletes and all 3 sections are added together for a total score.

STANDARDS

GTOH The barbell is taken from the floor and finishes with hips the knees fully extended, feet under hips showing control with elbows in front of the bar. The athlete may use a Power Clean, Squat Clean, Muscle Clean or Split Clean.
Once the barbell is on the shoulders it must finish with the weight fully locked out overhead. A shoulder press, push press, push jerk or split jerk may be used, as long as the elbow, shoulder, hips and knees fully extend, and the bar finishes directly over the heels with the feet inside shoulder width. If a split jerk is used, the feet must be brought back together with the hips, knees and elbows fully extended before the repetition is completed.
All reps must be touch and go. Resting overhead is allowed. Resting at the hang or rack is also allowed. The bar cannot be rested across the thighs.
Updated standards video:


WOD 14.2: Unbroken

Simon and I did WOD 3, and this was the one I was the most nervous about. I know Simon’s knee was painful, so he was nervous for that. But I had no excuse other than I’m rubbish at pistols. I can pistol on my right leg, but my left leg has always been hit and miss. I wore oly lifting shoes but the heel elevation just isn’t high enough (when I do happen to do pistols at the box I always put my heels on a 2.5 kg plate, and that works just fine). I also think that I took too long to hold my foot and set myself. Such time wasting! But oh well, it definitely was a weak point of mine. I also struggled with the chest to bar… if it was pull ups, I could have done them quite well (as I can do pull ups while hanging from the bar with only my fingers), but chest to bar requires me to have more of a grip, and I found that my hands kept slipping off of the bar! I think it was just too slick, and I guess my hands were sweating more than usual, too. All in all, this WOD didn’t highlight my strong movements, and was the one I was the most nervous about. Oh well. I was so disappointed with this and after this WOD my morale was at rock bottom. As you can see, this really made up drop a lot of places.
CLAY
10 Min AMRAP
12 Burpees
8 Pistols
6 CTB Pull Ups

NOTES

2 athletes are needed – 1 Male 1 Female they cannot be the same athletes from 14.2 UNBROKEN
1 athlete works at a time and must complete a full round before next athlete can begin. Athletes completing a round must “high 5” at the end of a round before the new athlete begins.
Score is total reps.
STANDARDS

Burpees – Each burpee must be performed so that chest and thighs touch the ground at the bottom. There is no requirement for how they stand up. At the top the athlete must jump so that feet leave the floor, the hip is fully extended and the athletes hands are clapped behind their head.
Pistols (One Legged Squats) – Athletes must alternate legs for each repetition. If at any point they cannot complete a repetition on a leg, they cannot alternate legs until a repetition has been completed on that leg. The one-legged squat begins with the athlete standing and the hip fully open with the knee fully locked out on the squatting leg. The hip must pass below parallel at the bottom of the repetition, and the opposite foot (non-supporting leg) cannot touch the ground until the repetition is completed with control. The non-supporting foot must be in front of the supporting foot during the entire repetition. You may hold the foot of the opposite (non-supporting) leg with your hand while performing the one-legged squat.
CTB Pull Up – This is a standard chest-to-bar pull-up. Dead hang, kipping or butterfly pull-ups are allowed, as long as all the requirements are met. The arms must be fully extended at the bottom. At the top, the chest must clearly come into contact with the bar into contact with the bar below the collarbone.


WOD 14.3: Clay

I was also dreading WOD 4, because I know my deadlifts are bad and doing that many overhead squats at a heavy-ish weight (38-39 kg) is not pleasant. Samantha went first out of Samantha and I, and I think she struggled with this one. Perhaps she was fatigued from the previous WOD and I know she was having shoulder pain. I took over her last 9 overhead squats, and had I have known earlier that I could have swapped with her at any time (once we swapped, though, we couldn’t swap back), I think it would have been best to have just done 7 minutes each. Oh well! I’m pleased with how well I did in the last few minutes I had to do. It was certainly a boost for me after the previous WOD!

ANARCHY
FOR TIME
21-15-9
DEADLIFT 225/155LBS
OVERHEAD SQUAT 135/85LBS
NOTES
All 4 athletes will complete this workout.
1 Male and 1 Female athlete will be working at the same time. Athletes will have a bar each but will need to change the load at the completion of each Deadlift set 225lbs to 135lbs for Men and 155lbs to 85lbs for Women. Then again at the completion of each Overhead squat set. 135lbs back to 225lbs for Men and 85lbs to 155lbs for Women. The resting athletes cannot help with changes. Collars must also be added.
Once the first Male athlete completes the 21-15-9 the next male may begin. Once the first Female athlete completes the 21-15-9 the next Female may begin. Time is called when the last athlete finishes.
There is a 15min cap for this workout and each uncompleted rep will incur a penalty.
STANDARDS
Deadlift – This is a traditional deadlift with the hands outside the knees. Sumo-deadlifts are not allowed. Starting at the floor, the barbell is lifted until hips and knees reach full extension with the shoulders behind the bar. The arms must be straight throughout.
Overhead Squat – The hip crease must be below the top of the knee at the bottom. A full squat snatch is permitted, but not required, to start the movement if standard depth is achieved. The barbell must come to full lockout overhead with the hips, knees and arms fully extended, and the bar directly over the middle of the body.


WOD 14.4: Anarchy

I believe that we were supposed to do WOD 5 on day 1. But as the event ran way over time we did it first thing on day 2. I was nervous for this one, but it turned out to be one of my best WODs. The guys’ morale was really quite low on day 2. Luke was knackered and Simon nearly broke his thumb when power cleaning, and as a result I think he struggled with them. When Samantha and I jumped in we really did quite well and I think this definitely would have been our WOD!

GUN RUNNER
For Time:
42-30-18
Clean 185/135lbs
Burpee Box Over Jumps 30/24in

NOTES
All 4 athletes will complete this workout.
Male athletes go first and can break the work up as needed – only one works at a time. Once they complete the clock does not stop or reset and the females go. When performing the burpee box jump if alternating the athlete cannot begin the burpee until both of the previous athletes feet have hit the ground after the box over jump.
There is a 20min cap for this workout and each uncompleted rep will incur a penalty.

STANDARDS
Clean – The barbell is taken from the floor and finishes with hips the knees fully extended, feet under hips showing control with elbows in front of the bar. The athlete may use a Power Clean or Squat Clean.
Burpee Box Over Jump – The bottom of the burpee has the athlete face down with the chest and thighs touching the ground. There is no requirement for how they stand up. The athlete must face the box and jump over the box to the other side. The jump must be a two-footed jump. Landing on top of the box is allowed, but not required. Each rep, including the final rep, is complete once the athlete has jumped over the box.


WOD 14.5: Gun Runner

WOD 6 was a simple WOD. Unfortunately, the morale was so low at this point! Simon was frustrated because he couldn’t snatch with the state of his thumb, and that cause a little ruckus. But I was pleased with how I did! I got 47.5 kg (105 lbs) and did 1 hang snatch at 115 lbs (52.5 kg) and failed on the 2nd. I think I could have done the 3 had I have been calm enough and there was enough time; that 10 minutes between 4 people goes REALLY quickly! There’s a picture of me snatching at the bottom of this page, and for some reason the mobility in my legs looks a little worse/shaky than usual. I’m going to attribute that to the ache in my quads from the pistols adn 300 wall balls the day before!

ABEL
In a 10 minute Window
Establish a team total 3 RM Hang Squat Snatch
NOTES
All 4 athletes will complete this workout.
Each athlete will have as many attempts as they wish to establish their heaviest 3-rep hang squat snatch. The workout will begin with an empty barbell and a stack of plates. It will be the team’s responsibility to load the bar for each lift and declare the weight to the judge prior to lifting. The score with be the total of each athletes heaviest 3 rep hang squat snatch.
STANDARDS
This movement begins with the athlete deadlifting the barbell and stopping at this position prior to snatching. The athlete may not lower the bar past the knees after deadlifting the weight. The barbell must be received in the overhead squat position. A power snatch followed by an overhead squat will not be permitted. Only the feet may touch the ground during the lift.
Resting overhead is allowed. Resting at the hang is allowed but the bar cannot be supported by any part of the body.


WOD 14.6: Abel

I think everyone was pleased that this was the last WOD! I was at the point where I felt like the group’s morale was so low that I just wanted to go home. Samantha did so well with the rowing (she rows better than most guys!), as did Luke and Simon. I was to roe 500 m and only rowed about 300 m (maybe less?)… I got down to a 1:37 m /500 m split, but only for about 100 m. My quads then cramped and I had to get off the rower as I slowed right down to 1:55! This has highlighted how much I need to learn to push with my glutes, and then have the “quick hands” with the pull into the rest, as Samantha says. When Luke got on after me, he was surprised how little he had rowed… then realised that was because I didn’t row the 500 m! Samantha got on to finish the last 750 m or so. There was a point where she got so tired and stopped, and she had less than 100 m to row! We were shouting at her to switch, but then realised that she may as well continue. Unfortunately, in those few seconds, the team next to us (an awesome team from CrossFit Cumbria that we spoke to for the whole event!) beat us by a second! It goes to show high tight competition is! And how important planning is and knowing your strengths and weaknesses are. The placings were separated by only seconds. But after this, I felt so bad, especially in combination with doing badly on the pistol WOD.

SAMCRO
Row 3km For Time:
NOTES
All 4 athletes will complete this workout.
Teams can break the work up in any order
There is a 15min cap for this workout and each metre not rowed will incur a penalty.
STANDARDS
Row – Final Athlete must remain on the rower until the display reads greater than 3000 meters. The athlete may coast over the required distance, but cannot make an attempt to get off the rower (e.g., unstrapping early or standing up) until they are past the required distance. The athlete may adjust the damper setting and foot positions at any time during the row and team mates can help with this. Athletes must keep feet in footstraps when rowing.


WOD 14.7: Samcro

After all that, we finished 44th… not the best finish (I think Luke was disappointed), but we did say that we wanted to be in the top 50. And it’s true, that it’s not the placing, it was definitely yhe experience. And sometimes it’s good to do these things to realise more about yourself and keep yourself motivated. I guess for me it was a make or break thing. It was our first big comp! And it highlighted the importance of planning and that playing to your strengths can be a huge advantage when the WODs are in your favour! I saw on Facebook that the team that qualified 112th (so must have been invited when teams from the original 100 qualifying teams dropped out) came 28th after the weekend!

The comp then cut to the top 12 teams, who then went on to do 2 more WODs.


Our final placing…

Post-DWF I was feeling so unmotivated that I didn’t go to the box to train all last week. I learnt that you need to train around the right people to get the best out of you, and that in the world of sports, things are very ephemeral; just because you do badly doesn’t mean you’re bad and can’t improve, and just because you do well doesn’t mean that you’re the best. It also highlighted to me how that I really need to stay on top of my own training and start programming myself, and really build some tenacity when WODing. I was going to try out some programming but Maz at the box convinced me that I’m intelligent enough to programme myself, and that I should utilise all of the knowledge at the people from the box. She’s right, she really is. I can do it myself! 🙂


Anyway, after DWF, and spending some time to recover mentally, someone had also made the Oreo cake, which seemed to be a huge hit! It really made me smile!!! 😀


Oreo cake was a big hit!! 😀

Anywho, after a stressful week (re: uni work… starting to slow down a bit now; waiting around for my supervisor to read my report, and struggling with this modelling stuff… I don’t think I’m going to be able to do it. And now Paris is getting closer, I’m wondering if it’s wise that I do go and present my work… as much as I’d love to, I just feel like I need more time to prepare myself mentally and physically… time’s moving too fast :'( ), and spending it indoors, it was lovely to train for fun yesterday morning, and be treated to some lovely food by my lovely mother. 🙂 Thanks, mum and dad! 🙂 🙂 <3 🙂 🙂

Pecan Pie
Page 224 of The Dairy Book of Family Cookery
Serves 6-8

Ingredients
• 200 g (7 oz) English butter
• 175 g (6 oz) flour
• pinch of salt
• 3 x eggs
• 15 ml (1 tbsp) milk
• 175 g (6 oz) demerara sugar
• 150 ml (¼ pint) maple or corn syrup
• 2.5 ml (½ tsp) vanill flavouring/essence
• 175 g (6 oz) pecan nuts, halved
• fresh double cream to serve

Preparation
Whisk 150 g (5 oz) butter. Gradually stir in the sifted flour and salt; beat well after each addition. Add 45 ml (3 tbsp) cold water and mix thoroughly with the hands. Knead lightly with extra flour, as this pastry is sticky to handle. Chill.

Roll out the pastry and use to a line 23-cm (9-inch) ovenproof flan dish; flute the edge. Chill the case while preparing the filling.

Beat the eggs and milk together. Boil the sugar and syrup together in a saucepan for 3 minutes. Slowly pour on to the beaten eggs and stir in 50 g (2 oz) butter and vanilla flavouring.

Use half the nuts to cover the base of the pastry case, spoon the syrup mixture over and cover with the remaining nuts. Bake in the oven at 220°C (435°F) mark 7 for 10 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 170°C (325°F) mark 3 and cook for a further 45 minutes, until the filling is set. Serve warm or cold with the fresh cream.

Devoured on a beautiful summer’s day at my parent’s: 17.05.2014

Mum’s Plum and Raspberry Crumble | DWF 2014

Mmmmm, I dream about this dish; this crumble is certainly one of my favourites! When mum makes it for my bro and I to have, I’ll usually have the leftovers cold the next morning for breakfast. It really is a delicious dish, hot, cold, with cream, ice cream, leftover chocolate ganache (from making macarons). It really is just delicious and packed with fruit. It’s so comforting; perfect for a winter’s day, or a summer’s evening.

This is a simple dish that gives great results. It can be made ahead, so is perfect to have on a busy day, but the flavours are so good that you can have it for a dinner party dessert. I love this with Cornish ice cream. The topping can also be made ahead and frozen. It’s an Ina Garten recipe; she’s one of my mum’s favourite chefs and she loves to watch The Barefoot Contessa cooking programme.

Hmmm, so any recent news? Nothing too spectacular. I went to Aberdeen last week for the Unconventional Gas conference and stayed with Ed. It was probably the highlight of my PhD; things have been going really well recently, and spending a week in great company tops it off (especially as attending conferences generally motivates me, anyway!). And I bought mum a haggis as a gift from Aberdeen.

Maurizio, Katie and I drove there and back! It took 11 hours to get there, and the journey was smooth. We stopped only once and Maurizio drove all the way. He also drove all the way back, but unfortunately we were stuck in traffic for 3-4 hours, which put a dampener on things, but road trips are always fun with good company! It was also great going out in the evenings with great people, and it’s even better when everyone gets along and talks about varied things!

I also found some beautiful dresses from AX Paris, which is probably now my new favourite place to buy things! I don’t really deviate much from Amazon to be honest, and certainly don’t’ buy clothes online, but I recently bought two beautiful dresses: this beautiful blue cocktail/bodycon dress, and this skater dress.

I told Ed about these dresses, and said to him that if I am able to present in Paris, then I’ll wear the blue dress. And before I knew it, Ed had surprised me by having it delivered to my address! I was quite touched by it, and thought it was really thoughtful, but Ed seemed to think nothing of it really. Some other friends and my mum certainly agree that it was a romantic thing to do! 🙂 <3

Oh, and on April 1st, Google launched their Pokémon challenge! I managed to find just over 100 Pokémon without help (by going to famous landmarks, Japan, etc.). But I needed a few guides (1, 2, 3) to help… either way, it was a great way to procrastinate in uni and a nice way to chill after Crossfit in the evenings while watching South Park or something with my bro before bed. Below are some screenshots of my phone, which turned into my Pokédex, of Japan, London, and I also included screenshots from San Francisco. I love Japan their culture, language and traditions, and of course, London. But San Francisco is one of the more recent places I’ve visited and loved it, so thought I’d pop them in here. That place/trip holds important lessons for me so thought I’d just use screenshots from the very areas I have visited. 😀

Anyway, onto the *bigger* news… our team made it to the Divided We Fall (DWF) Games! That means Samantha, Luke, Simon and I have to travel to Cardiff at the beginning of May to compete!

We did 3 qualifying WODs as a team, and had someone to judge us. I was feeling ill when we did them the week before I went to Aberdeen. We did three in the space of, like, 25 hours, and I think those WODs pushed me from being ill to getting pretty ill. I really don’t know how I did what I did when I felt so bad, but I hope I didn’t let my team down! One thing that did really scare me though, was that Luke went blind because he pushed himself so hard… maybe it was s side-effect of the supplement combined with how hard he worked (he did do three rounds of 5 ground-to-overhead at 80k, 10 box jump overs (24”) and 5 toes 2 bar in, like, 3 minutes. It really scared me and I’ve never seen such a thing before. I’d never push myself to that sort of effect but I hope it won’t happen again!

Samantha and I tried our first pre-WOD supplement (literally a shot each), before the guys went to do their 300 wall balls (the guys had to do 300 wall balls between the two of them, and then Samantha and I had to do 300 wall balls between the two of us, and had to do 30 double unders on the minute, every minute, before we could proceed with the wall balls). I don’t know what it was called, but we spoke about a supplement called Jack 3D, and I just Googled the stuff, and two worrying articles appeared: this one, that says it has been banned in Britain because of potential lethal side effects, and this one, that says this guy nearly passed out a few times and had a racing heart. I think I’ll stick to the au naturel way, thank you very much!

Samantha and I got a little hyper because of it, I think. Although it may have been because of the nerves. While the guys were finishing off their 300 wall balls, we were dancing a little! But an idea was to create a pre-WOD cake! If I can make it paleo, the better (yeah, right!), but I’m thinking it’ll have to be as moist and as tasty as the Oreo cake, and as colourful as Rose’s cake to show how it’ll make you feel! Maybe it can have pre-workout stuff, protein powder, post-workout stuff, supplements, etc. I don’t take all of these things, myself, but it’ll be fun to try and incorporate it into a cake!

When I first checked on the night just after all of the scores had to be validated, we were in 42nd place. I have just checked where we are now, and we’re currently 51st, so after the processed the results we moved down quite a significant number of places. 🙁 But fortunately, we were still in the top 100 teams out of 298 teams that registered. Although I counted the number of teams that didn’t’ submit any scores, and that totalled to 83. So I guess we were 51st out of 215 teams. Not too bad I suppose… I’m surprised that more teams didn’t register, but oh well! It’ll be an experience to compete!

I’m really excited, but at the same time so nervous that I’ll let the team down and be the weak link. All I can do is try my hardest, but right now I feel the most unfit I’ve felt in the past couple of years. I’ve really lost motivation for training, and can’t seem to get hold of my nerves at the moment. I always get pretty nervous heading down to the gym/box, but recently it’s been out of control and I need to reign it back in. It’ll be a real challenge but it’s making me get really upset with myself as I’m not being the person I want to be. But at least my teammates are really encouraging and fit themselves. It’s fantastic to train with people who inspire you and are fun to be around.

Maz, who came 2nd in the CrossFit Open for her age category, has asked me and Alan to train with her! We had our first training session on Friday, and it was super fun! She’s got such motivation and is in amazing shape (her age doesn’t even come into play to be honest; she could beat anyone half her age, except for Samantha Briggs, I think!). I’m really inspired by her and she’s so much fun to train with! 🙂

Thank you Kayleigh for the DWF photos! 🙂

Anyway, the take home message: when you’re resting (I’ve been doing far too much of that these days…), it’s great to indulge in this delicious crumble. Thanks, mum! This makes me think of you, every time! 🙂 🙂 🙂

My mum gave my brother and I two of these in slightly smaller aluminium trays… I ate a whole one for breakfast with cream. I’m not ashamed! I have a big appetite, ok!

Plum and Raspberry Crumble
Ina Garten, Food Network
Serves 6

Ingredients
For the cake; 2 x 9″ cakes:
• 1 ¼ cup (160g) plain flour, sieved
• ½ cup (45g) rolled oats
• 115g butter (or coconut oil), diced
• ⅔ cup brown sugar
• pinch of salt
• ½ cup (25g) slithered almonds
• 2 tbsp orange juice
• 450g sliced plums
• 2 punnets (500g) raspberries

Preparation
Wash fruit. Preheat oven to 175°C.

Pop the plums, ⅓ cup sugar, ¼ cup flour, orange juice and raspberries in a large baking dish. Toss well so everything is coated nicely.

In a bowl, add 1 cup flour, ⅓ cup sugar and salt into a food processor. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. Pour the mixture back into the bowl and add the oats, working with your hands until it’s a crumbly mixture. Add the almonds, mix well and spread on top of the plum and raspberry mix.

Sprinkle with some extra almonds, if desired, and pop into the oven for 45 minutes until the fruit is tender and bubbly, and the top is golden brown.

These particular crumbles were made in March 2014.

Paleo Quiche with a Grainless Crust | Primal Games 3

What an event! The Primal Games 3 was just so epic! What a way to send off the old before moving into a brand new venue just down the road after Christmas. I can’t WAIT! 😀 The only thing that marred it was having to wash the Tupperware boxes when I got home. 😛

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to compete this time, but was able to cater, along with a very strong and lovely physio friend, Sam (who makes a killer primal cheesecake!) 🙂 …she’s pictured in the yellow hat below!

Well, who won the event? Crossfit Kernow! Followed by CFND (North Devon) coming in second place, and third place was taken by Crossfit Exe!

Everyone hit PBs in some kind of way, and the atmosphere was electrifying! It was so fantastic to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. One woman from Crossfit Avon told me that when she last saw me do a load of kipping pulls ups that it inspired her, and that’s something she holds in her memory bank. It really touched me and I’m so glad that I’ve made a positive impact on someone. It’s one of the most amazing feelings I’ve experience in life, and don’t think there are too many more feelings that can top that! 🙂 I will remember that for the rest of my days, and will make a mental note to remember this when I’m feeling blue!

The food went down a treat! I hope we made a profit (yet to count everything up!). It all sold out (apart from a few salad boxes), and I had people throughout the day asking me for recipes for things, and got great feedback in general… I even already have people on Facebook and in person asking me for some more goodies! I’m so honoured!

On the menu we had:
*Savoury*
A huge salad (with tomatoes, cucumber, carrot, coconut, dried apple, nuts, egg, etc.) and dressing (balsamic vinegar and vinaigrette).
~ 25 slices of pork, apple and sweet potato meatloaf
~ 25 honey and lemon roasted chicken drumsticks
~ 20 homemade beef burgers
16 slices of paleo pizza (made with almond and coconut flour) topped with tomato, cheese, spinach and mushrooms

*Sweet*
24 slices of sweet potato pie with an chocolate-y oat-based crust
~25 banana & nut paleo brownie bites
~25 coconut brownie bites
~20 banana and date sponge cake bites
~ 20 protein balls made with a combo of nuts
~20 slices of primal cheesecake

And of course, there was Sam’s cheesecake. Oh boy, that stuff is lethal. If ever she is in my debt for anything, she’d have to pay me back in cheesecake, I’ve decided.

Throughout the day, I heard cheers and shouting and screaming and barbells hitting the deck. Unfortunately, where I was, I couldn’t see the action at all, so whenever I heard the crowd go wild I’d get this surge of energy go through me; I wanted to WOD so badly! And seeing these people perform was incredible! Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and seeing teams having to communicate and work together was definitely eye opening. Crossfit is very tactical, indeed.

Oh, and I even saw an amazing woman deadlift 165kg. I’ve never seen a deadlift look as easy as this one. It’s great to know that it is possible to do such feats! And Alan from CFP got a 130kg clean I believe! How cool is that?! I can’t even fathom lifting that much!

I was so worried about how the food would go down. Making food for over 100 people definitely came with its challenges, especially as I wasn’t using my own kitchen and equipment…. especially when the oven is very different to your own! And so things didn’t come out the way I had expected, and I worry so much as to what people will think of everything. It was lovely to have a kitchen other than my own to work in, but I think when you know your own gadgets, equipment and are in your own place, it’s so much easier!

The oven didn’t seem to cook the sweet potatoes well enough, and so I wasn’t very happy with how my brownies came out (they’re like my signature baking item, I suppose!), especially the banana ones, so I redid them, and they came out a little better. The gas oven in the kitchen I was working with cooked the brownies thoroughly on one side, but the other side remained uncooked, so I turned the pan around to even them up, but they just ended up being overcooked. I also wasn’t happy with the meatloaf in that the apple and sweet potato weren’t homogenised in with the pork as much as I would have liked. And I didn’t like me sweet potato pie because being unable to homogenise the sweet potato properly meant my pie looked slightly anaemic! And the pizza base came out too thick due to the size of the pan I had to use, but in some ways I think that actually was quite nice to have a thick crust, so people could sample some primal stodge!

I really hope that everyone feels as though the food warranted their money. Sometimes cooking for the masses takes the fun out of a hobby, and making things in a production line style takes away the time that you’d normally spend on preparing dishes for special, individual people. That’s not to say I didn’t put love and care into what I did, just that it was stretched out in such a short space of time, and there’s only so much to give!

I also spent the end of last week and weekend worrying entirely, not to mention the next few days I’ll probably spend worrying what people thought of the food! The day before and the morning of the event I was so nervous (as nervous as doing the Battle of London WODS, of which I cried during 2 out of 3 of them!)! I just need to learn to relax, focus on what’s at hand, and forget about what’s done. But I think that’s something a lot of us struggle with. 🙂

I would love to do this event again in the future (of course, if I’m allowed), but unfortunately we’ll have to see how my studies go down. Studying for a PhD full-time and doing other degree modules part-time, as well as training and general life is hard enough as it is, and I’d rather be decent at what I do than spread myself too thinly (as tempted as it is to take on more than what I can chew; I am rather ambitious!). We will have to see! But whatever happens nit he future, I’m a part of CFP’s history, and for that, I’m proud!



If anyone’s reading this from the Primal Games and feels to leave a genuine comment about the food, please leave a comment on this blog post (or on Facebook!); you can leave it here anonymously (or email me; go to the “contact” page), if you so wish.

Anyway, onto the recipe in this post!

I was also testing out a reflector I bought from Amazon. It’s awesome! It has four different reflectors and a diffuser that compresses into the size of something you can easily store in a cupboard. You can see in the photos above the difference with using no reflector and just natural light (on the left), and the silver reflector (on the right). It definitely highlights the colours a lot better than without. But different situations, angles, light and composition calls for different techniques. 🙂

I also have a 500W halogen lamp and a 135W 5500K tungsten lamp to try out, that I managed to buy cheaply! Can’t wait to try!



You can’t see the crust so well, as I had way too much egg filling, and after baking the crust (which naturally shrinks a little), the eggs spilt around the outside of the crust, and so was baked around it! But it tasted great, either way!

The egg mixture was very creamy! I liked it, but I think most people are used to their quiches with cheese. Cheese would have definitely gone down well! 🙂

Paleo Quiche with a Grainless Crust
Adapted from: Preppy Paleo
Makes 8 slices

Ingredients
For the crust:
• ¾ cup coconut flour
• ¼ – ½ cup melted butter or coconut oil
• 2 x eggs, beaten
• 1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:
• 5 x eggs
• ½ cup coconut milk (or regular whole milk, if primal)
• ½ tsp crushed garlic or garlic powder
• pinch of pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• any other fillings! I used mushrooms, chives, halved cherry tomatoes, and cooked pigs in blankets! 🙂

Preparation
Preheat the oven to 175°C.

For the crust:
Combine all of the ingredients into a bowl until well incorporated. Then press and spread into a cake tin (I used an 20 cm diameter beautiful silicon cake mould), all up the sides, too, to make a pie case. Prick the dough with a fork and bake for 15 minutes.

For the filling:
Beat the eggs in a bowl and add in the remaining ingredients. Add to the pie crust and decorate as desired (with leftover mushrooms, for example), and pop into the oven for another 30-35 minutes, or until the centre is firm and cook through.

Leave to cool completely, as this enables it to be cut cleanly. Or can you just eat hot if you don’t mind slightly messy slices! 🙂

Baked: 14.11.2013

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
-burpee
-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:
100-70-40
Push press 35/25
SDHP 35/25
KB swing 24/16
Press ups
Sit ups

Banana & Nut Brownies
Adapted from: Eat Drink Paleo

Ingredients
• 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)

Preparation
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

Ingredients
• 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

Preparation
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

Ingredients
• 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

Preparation
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

Ingredients
• 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

Preparation
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

Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars

Blog post is here.

Photo: I actually find this book really quite useful; but there’s a lot of material to get through. How do people finish doctoral projects in 3 years?! With the amount of mistakes and wrong turns I’ve made…

I have a love-hate relationship with studying and writing, although I think most people do.

I’m kind of stuck in a weird limbo at the moment. I’m writing and revising from home, because that way I can start early, use cooking and preparing food as a break, and walk around, talk to myself, have limitless cups of tea, and stay in my PJs. I also have my brother to chat to and I just feel more comfortable at home. When I get restless from sitting down all day, I can stretch, walk around and do whatever without looking weird.

Some days I really enjoy writing and being productive, and really get into what I’m learning, and I actually learn for the sake of learning. Whereas other days I just can’t do it.

My productivity is really determined by my emotional state. I don’t mean “if I’m happy I do well, if I’m sad I do badly,” but more a case of mental clarity. I suppose it’s because most days I have to think meticulously about what I’m doing, so when I’m clouded mentally with mind junk (which happens often) I just can’t focus. And doing only a few hours of work a day (whether it’s writing, lab work, planning, revising…) just isn’t enough.

And it’s not just a case of brushing off a bad day; it’s the guilt and worry that comes with wasting a day, which further adds to the mental bog and decreases further productivity.

I’ve been trying to read through the Foundations of Colloid Science, and it’s a good book. I find it clear and interesting. I also am reading through Dani’s thesis, and now I have a better understanding of colloid science and the background of the stuff I (think I) need to know, sometimes I think “hey, I get this, and last week/month/year I didn’t! Maybe I can do this! This doesn’t seem so bad!” And other times, I really worry as to whether I can actually produce anything like that, and worry and guilt start to enter my consciousness. And depending which line of thought dominates my mind will determine my attitude towards the PhD, studying, and sometimes even life.

Last Friday, I only did a few hours revision, and again on Sunday, and as a result, I felt really refreshed yesterday. I have also been getting more sleep too, and that really helps. Although sometimes it does make you resentful when your whole day is dedicated to working – I usually get up earlier so I can pursue my own hobbies, but what’s the use if you feel tired all the time? I tend to go through cycles where I sleep more and do fewer hobbies, and then I sleep less and do more hobbies, which eventually leads to me being quite tired and run down, so I sleep more.

The other day I made some these chocolate oatmeal peanut butter bars as a break, and I really do find cooking, trying things, etc., relaxing. It’s a nice break and makes you immerse your mind into something completely different!

Photo: There’s nothing like reliving Japan days (ahem) by drinking some delicious green tea – very soothing!

I also used to cook a lot of Japanese food when I was younger, which stemmed from a love of martial arts, to Oriental culture, and to the unique language, customs and of course, food! Even the icon for my blog is a little piece of sushi! 🙂

Of course, there are just too many things to do in a lifetime! Not only is there the stuff I do now: science-y stuff, Crossfit-y stuff, and the occasional cooking, but I’d love to learn Spanish, French and continue Japanese, as well as pick the piano up again, play badminton again, and all sort of other sports too long to list here! (That’s another post!)

I used to study a lot of Japanese and its culture, including its history (inspired by video games – how geeky!), and I feel as though I’ve already been there! I “relive” it often 🙂 It’s a dream to go to Japan one day, maybe with someone I feel close to and can have a good time with, not just for a typical “holiday,” but to do all sorts of things. For example, on my life, I’d love to visit Kyoto, Himeji Castle (and others, too!), go on a pilgramage around the island of Shikoku stay in a traditional ryokan and have some kaiseki, climb Mount Fuji, bathe in an onsen, see a Kabuki play, visit lots of cultural sites, Shinto and Buddhist shrines, take all of the JLPT tests, see a Kabuki play, visit the Ninjutsu dojo (my ultimate dream at one point in my life, hehe!), spend time on the lovely beaches in Okinawa (of course, maybe get some Karate training in, too – and visited Crossfit boxes around Japan, of course!)… and stop off at other places like Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines 🙂

One can dream, right?

Wednesday’s WOD:
In teams of 3:
a) 5 mins max ring dips
Rest 3:00
b) 5 mins max HSPUs
Rest 3:00
c) 5 mins max kb swings 24/16
Rest 3:00
d) 100 burpees
100 press ups
100 wall balls

Chocolate Oatmeal Peanut Butter Bars
Syrup from: Yummy Recipes
Makes 10-12 bars or 20-24 squares

Ingredients
• 1 cup crunchy peanut butter
• ½ cup honey
• ½ cup coconut oil (no substitutes, this is what gives its creamy texture and flavor)
• 2 cups rolled oats
• 1 ¼ cups milk (and/or) white and dark chocolate
• ¾ cup dried dried fruit and a few glaceed cherries

Preparation
In a milk pan, melt the peanut butter, honey, coconut oil and chocolate over a low heat. Remove from the heat, add in the oats and dried fruit, and stir until combined. Line a 23 x 23 cm pan with baking/non-stick parchment, and then spread the mixture in that. Put in the fridge until hardened. If you want to speed it up, pop into the freezer. Keep in the fridge! 🙂

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 🙂