Saturday, June 6, 2009

A fresh approach to carbo-loading

I've just spent the past 9 hours doing a post-marathon clean of the house. What a workout! I have absolutely no need to run or go to the gym today! I have to say that when in training I do become a master of the art of "skim cleaning" - it is just one of those chores which gets put on the back burner as I hate it so much, so the place really needed some serious attention! 

We had our first taste of the new season's peas today. Exquisite and packed with nutrients, with good amounts of vitamins, minerals, fibre and protein. Popped directly from their pods, they taste unbelievably good. There are all sort of ways of cooking peas if you can manage not to eat them straight from the pod -  simply boil them in water for a couple of minutes and serve with a knob of butter and a few sprigs of mint or chervil, or with some feta cheese and bacon, or fresh tender baby leeks. You could also try them cooked in a little stock with a few fresh wilted lettuce leaves. But for us athletes, they make the most delicious summery risotto - fresh tasting, quick to make and really high in carbohydrate. The combination of risotto rice and fresh peas is pretty low G.I. and will keep you sustained for hours, fantastic for the night before a long training session or a race. 
Creamy Risotto of Fresh Peas and Chervil (use mint or flat-leaf parsley as alternative).

Serves 4

50g unsalted butter, plus a knob of butter for the end

1 onion or leek, finely sliced

1 stick of celery, finely chopped

80g pancetta cubes, or bacon, cubed (optional)

350g Arborio risotto rice

1¼–1½ litres vegetable bouillon or chicken stock

250ml white wine

300g fresh peas, podded

large bunch of fresh chervil, chopped

100g freshly grated parmesan

salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Heat up the stock in a saucepan so that it is ready to ladle onto the rice.
  2. In a large heavy-bottomed pan, gently sauté the onion and celery in the butter/oil over a low heat until translucent. Add the pancetta and sauté for another couple of minutes.
  3. Add the rice and stir until the grains become translucent and glossy.
  4. Add the wine and stir until it has been absorbed.
  5. Add a ladle of hot stock and stir constantly until it is almost absorbed. Add the rest of the hot stock, a ladle at a time, stirring constantly. You need to make sure that each ladleful is absorbed by the rice before you add the next one. This should take about 18–20minutes. Youmay need more or less stock according to the type of rice and the rate of absorption.
  6. When the rice is almost cooked, add the peas and the chervil or mint (save a little to sprinkle over the top). The texture should be nice and creamy. You may need to add some salt at this point, it depends how salty your stock is.
  7. When the rice is cooked, turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and a knob of butter. Let the mixture stand for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining chervil or mint and a few grinds of black pepper. 
  8. Serve with a rocket salad and some fresh parmesan shavings

1 comment:

Rob Miller said...

Cool site.