Thursday, January 24, 2008

11 miles steady fuelled by saffron rice!

I am sure last night's saffron rice really helped me to keep going this morning - 11 miles steady was a breeze. I also had a nice slow warm-up session with some running buddies for the first 3 miles (they then disappeared for a coffee and a chat and left me to it..... lightweights!), but it did make the next 8 miles much easier.

Here's how to make the saffron rice. It is dead easy to make and so much tastier than plain rice. We had it with some salmon steaks and fresh spinach, but it would be really good with lamb, a tagine, or other oily fish. It could also be a meal in itself.  Basmati rice is a great fuel for athletes. It is low in fat and an excellent source of vitamin E, B vitamins (thiamin and niacin) and potassium. It has a medium GI, which means that it breaks down slowly during digestion, releasing glucose gradually into the bloodstream and therefore supplying energy to the muscles more gradually...and it is easy to digest. The almonds are full of magnesium and potassium and the cranberries are a great antioxidant and full of vitamin C.

Saffron Rice - serves 4

First rinse the rice really well until the water runs clear. If you use brown basmati, you will need to cook it for a bit longer and add a little more water.
100g unsalted butter
cinnamon stick
6 cardamom pods, crushed (I used 1 tsp powder last night, as I had run out of pods)
crushed black peppercorns (about 4)
bay leaf
250 - 300g basmati rice
50g flaked almonds (pistachios are also nice as an alternative)
small pack of dried cranberries
pack of dried saffron (0.5g) soaked in a few tbsps. boiling water and left to infuse for 10 minutes
freshly chopped parsley or coriander to sprinkle on top
  1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the cinnamon, cardamom, bay leaf and black pepper. Gently saute over a low heat for a few minutes until the spice aromas start to be released.
  2. Add the rice, stir to coat in the butter.
  3. Add the nuts, cranberries and saffron water and then pour over enough water to cover the rice by about 1 cm. Add some salt at this stage. Bring to the boil, cover tightly and simmer very gently for 10 minutes, or until the rice is cooked. The rice will soak up all the water, so you will not have to drain it.
  4. Serve in a dish sprinkled with fresh herbs.


Andy Shelling said...

Hi Kate, the saffron rice recipe sounds like a great idea. I never realised that rice was as good as pasta for carbo loading. After relying on the traditional, and deeply uninspiring, spaghetti bolognese to carbo load for several years I think it's time for a change.

Good luck with the programme...and the weather.

Andy S.

mark collingwood said...

Hi Kate. Tucked into a couple of your recipes of late. I like to think I`m a pretty good cook myself - my wife says I spend too much time at it - but my goodness me, your ideas were delicious! Just as tasty as a large steamed treacle pudding and lashings of custard - but 10 times more nutritious I reckon, and so much less of a burden on the long 10 milers! Wouldn`t mind some more ideas on the breakfast front as I often run early. Keep up the good work. More recipes please!

jmjmccarthy said...

Stuck for supper ideas again so tried the safron rice. Everyone agreed it was delicious, lovely subtle flavours and it seemed to serve hubby well on his 15 miler the next morning. Shame we're not all running it off though. What other excuse can I find for carbo loading the rest of the family?!

Andrew said...

I do hope the book comes out soon as I am about to take up Marathon running, starting off with a half marathon in March.

Andrew said...

This sounds like not only fantastic food from the Marathon endurance side of things but also great food to help eat away those winter blues especially if you go for the oily fish option!