Friday, September 12, 2008

Count-down to the Half Marathon...Time to Carbo-Load!

I have most certainly not done enough training for the Bristol Half Marathon to beat my PB and get a fast time (for me), so I have decided to 'enjoy' it rather than go all out for the kill. The Bristol Half is nice for a provincial girl like me because I know the route and so many of the spectators are friends, family or acquaintances. It makes such a difference and boosts the morale so much more than complete strangers cheering you on.

I have been drinking lots this week to keep my hydration levels up, in the anticipation that we will get a hot sunny day, but in fact the weather forecast is for perfect running weather - cloudy with light showers and 16 degrees. At this stage we should be eating about 60-70% carbohydrate so I have been testing out some new carboloading recipes. So far this week we have had:

griddled tuna steak on a bed of spiced, cranberry couscous, with mango and avocado salsa

salmon with basil oil with local baby new potatoes, and

slow-cooked lamb with green flageolet beans and spaetzle.

Friday night will be tagliatelle with spinach, bacon and green garlic sauce and Saturday night will be my good old pre-race vrey high carb. staple - spaghetti with fresh basil, parmesan and toasted pine nuts....and of course I will start Sunday morning with a bowl of Go Faster Porridge, with blueberries, honey and walnuts.

My favourite this week has been the griddled tuna on spiced cranberry couscous- it just oozes flavour, it is fantastic for training and it's packed with goodness. The salsa contains a wide variety of vitamins and the couscous is a good low fat, medium GI carbohydrate. It goes without saying that fresh tuna is one of the better sources of omega 3 fatty acids – good for you heart and good for your brain.
And it takes moments to make:

Ingredients for 4:
4 fresh tuna steaks
For the Salsa:
1 mango (not too ripe), cut into small cubes
1 avocado (not too ripe), cut into small cubes
Handful of firm cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 shallot (very finely chopped)
Bunch of mint, roughly chopped
Bunch of coriander, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin

pinch of chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander seed, crushed in pestle and mortar
Juice of one lime
1/2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
For the Couscous:
250g couscous
Small pack dried cranberries
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

1. Prepare the salsa: combine all the ingredients, season and refrigerate.
2. Turn on the griddle and leave it to get really hot.
3. Prepare the couscous: add a drop of olive oil and about 150ml stock (check pack for exact amount - an approx. measure is an equal volume of liquid to couscous), stir and leave for 5 minutes. In a separate dish, pour boiling water on the cranberries and leave for a few minutes to soften. Strain and stir into the couscous when it is ready, fluffing it up gently with a fork. Season couscous according to taste.
4. When the griddle is smoking hot, season the tuna steaks with salt and black pepper and then place on the griddle for about 2 minutes each side, less if they are not very thick. They need to be pink in the middle or they will be tough.
5. Give the steaks a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, season with more salt and pepper and serve on individual plates with the couscous and the salsa.

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