The great advantage of hosting a dinner when you are training is that you can be sociable but you get the opportunity to decide on the menu - ie. you can choose food that is going to help, rather than hinder, your Sunday morning run. The disadvantage is that you cannot dictate when your guests leave and you have to clear up. Also, no matter how hard I try to be virtuous, I always end up having a few glasses of wine and going to bed in the early hours.
This Saturday night was an exception, as one of our guests slipped on the way down the hill to our house, broke his arm and smashed up his elbow and the rather nice bottle of wine he was carrying. Mark, my husband, fetched him in the car and took him to casualty, where he was kept in overnight and then operated on in the morning. So, no guests to eat all the food!
When Mark finally returned from casualty at about 10pm, we decided to eat the food anyway, as it was too tempting to leave and would not have frozen well. The kids ate the leftovers the next day, much to their delight!
Fresh local asparagus with some delicious italian cured ham, pecorino shavings in a lemon/white balsamic dressing
Seared tuna on a warm salad of butter beans, preserved lemon dressing(see below, very good running food) Lovely plate of cheese including a prize winning caerphilly cheese - gorwyyn I think?
Seville orange tart (recipe to follow)
Homemade almond biscotti with Vin Santo (not so good for running!)
Warm salad of seared Tuna with butter beans
My husband refuses to eat canned tuna and refers to it as cat food, but fresh tuna is in a totally different league. It is really delicious and is particularly high in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, protein and minerals. It is very important to buy it really fresh and use it on the day you buy it. Also don’t overcook it as it will turn into a tasteless rubber lump! Wait until the pan is really, really hot (I start to heat it up at least 10 minutes before cooking) and just sear it on both sides for a minute or so. If you can’t get hold of fresh tuna, a piece of salmon fillet is a good alternative. The white beans (use butter beans or canellini beans) are a nice summery alternative low G.I. carbohydrate to rice and pasta, high in low G.I. carbohydrate, and are also a good source of fibre, protein, potassium, iron and other minerals…all good stuff for running.
4 thick tuna steaks
160g butter beans, soaked over night and boiled for about 30 minutes or 3 cans butter beans, drained
small pack of pancetta cubes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
large handful fresh chopped parsley
1 preserved lemon, sliced very finely, pulp removed, plus a little of the brine for the dressing
Bunch of rocket, watercress or spinach
Tbsp extra virgin olive oil for the bean mixture plus 2 tbsp for the dressing
8-10 sunblush sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
juice of ½ lemon
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- Saute the pancetta gently in a little oil for five minutes until cooked. Add the garlic, butter beans, tomatoes, lemon juice and half of the parsley and heat through. Season with salt and pepper.
- Make the dressing by mixing together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, the preserved lemon the rest of the parsely, salt, pepper and the preserved lemon brine (1tsp) to taste.
- Arrange the rocket or watercress on 4 plates (it looks good in really large flat-bottomed pasta bowls) and spoon on the white bean mixture.
- Lightly brush the tuna with oil and heat the griddle pan or frying pan. When it is really hot, fry the steaks for a couple of minutes on each side. Don’t overcook them. They should be pink inside and they will continue to cook slightly after you have removed them from the pan.
- Place a steak on top of each bed of white beans and generously drizzle over the dressing.
14 mile hilly run
This wasn't too bad until the last 2 miles, when I really started to run out of steam. I was running with my "fast" buddy, who was luckily not in the mood for hill reps, so we only had to go up the hills the once! I think after 12 miles, the earlier hills, the Vin Santo and the late night started to rear their ugly heads. Also, I had not managed much of a breakfast - just two weetabix, so enough for an hour's run, but not for any longer. Anyway, that's one long run out of the way for the training for the Brecon Beacons run on 21st June. I'll do one next weekend and then start to taper.