Curried Apricot & Raisin Couscous

Lunch, Salad

Couscous is a perfect option for batch cooking. Cooking in batches at the start of the week or over the weekend is the secret to maintaining a healthy diet or working towards a nutrition goal.

As it is officially summer at home in Ireland, it’s time for salads. Adding some grains to your salad is an easy way to bulk up your lunchbox at work. I have used giant or Israeli couscous here but regular couscous, bulgur wheat, rice or quinoa would be perfect replacements.

Serves 4 as a side.

Couscous, dried fruit, curry, Delalicious

  • 200g couscous grain
  • 400ml boiling hot water
  • 2 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 dried apricots, diced
  • 2 tbsp raisins
  1. Mix the couscous with the water in a bowl or saucepan. Cover and allow the grain to absorb all the water or cook the grain as per packet instructions.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.Couscous, dried fruit, curry, Delalicious
  3. Taste and if you prefer a stronger curry flavour just add some more.

 

 

 

Summer Salad Jar

Lunch, Salad

Sun, sea and salad – just a few of my favourite things about summer!!

Salad is one of the easiest things to make at home, you can create a really tasty meal super fast and with very few ingredients.

Transporting salads can be notoriously difficult and can end in a sad, soggy mess. Using a jar is not only great for the environment but also the ideal way to create a simple layered salad. So next time, keep a big one aside for your next salad feast.

When using a jar or lunchbox, the key is how you layer the ingredients. I prefer to put the messy ingredients – yes I’m looking at you tomatoes or beetroot at the bottom. Add a layer of grain on top followed by your remaining ingredients. Finish with the delicate leafy greens on top. Keep dressings separate in a small jar or tub and add when you are ready to eat .

Serves 1.

Salad, Lunch, Couscous, Delalicious

  • 1/2 large tomato
  • sea salt
  • 2 tbsp Curried Apricot & Raisin Couscous
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • black pepper
  • 50g smoked mackerel
  • 1 large fistful baby leaf spinach
  1. Dice the tomato and mix through a pinch of sea salt.
  2. Spoon the tomato into the bottom of the jar followed by the couscous.Couscous, Summer, Salad, Delalicious
  3. Create carrot ribbons using a vegetable peeler or mandolin.
  4. Add the vinegar and a pinch of black pepper to the carrots and mix well.
  5. Place the carrot ribbons on top of the couscous, followed by the mackerel and top it all with the spinach.
  6. Place in the fridge until ready to eat.

Dark Chocolate & Apricot Oat Balls

Snack

Oat balls are perfect for a healthy snack on the go, they are made for outdoor adventures or lunchbox treats.

These balls are a no bake version so you never have to worry about them falling apart or sticking to the baking tray, so a real winner in my eyes.

Dark chocolate gives you an antioxidant boost whilst the dried apricot adds an all important sugar kick. I have used almond butter in this recipe but your nut butter of preference would be perfect.

I love to have these as a snack on the way to training and matches or as a sweet treat in the late evenings.

The inspiration came for these from one of my favourite food bloggers Gina Matsoukas who blogs at Running To The Kitchen so be sure to check out her site.

Makes 12.IMG_7451 (1)-01.jpeg

  • 30g dried apricots
  • 20g raisins
  • 2 tbsp fresh orange juice
  • zest of 1/2 small orange
  • 2 tbsp coconut chips
  • 3 tbsp milled linseed
  • 100g jumbo oats
  • 50g dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 75g almond butter
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Method:

  1. Roughly chop the apricots and place in a bowl with the raisins, orange juice and zest. Mix together and allow the apricots soak up the juice.
  2. Place all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and add the apricots and raisins.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond butter, honey and vanilla essence until smooth.
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry either with your hands or a fork until well coated.
  5. Dampen your hands and roll 1 tablespoon at a time of the mixture into ball shapes. Place on a tray lined with parchment. Repeat with the remaining mixture.
  6. Place the tray flat in a freezer for at least 20 minutes to set. Once set, you can transfer to a resealable box or bag and store in your freezer or fridge.
  7. When eating them from your freezer, allow them to defrost for 5 minutes before eating.

Fruit & Nut Yoghurt Bowl

Breakfast, Snack

I don’t know about you but I love waking up just to have breakfast. It really is my favourite meal if the day! 

Breakfast needn’t take forever to prepare and this is one of the quickest recipes to ensure you get plenty of your 5-a-day in terms of fruit in whilst the yoghurt, nuts and seeds provide protein and all important essential minerals.

Serves 1.

Fruit, Nut, Yoghurt, Breakfast, Delalicious

  • 1/2 large apple
  • 1 kiwi, peeled
  • 2 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • 1 tbsp mixed seeds (pumpkin, sunflower or as you like)
  • 2 tbsp chopped nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews or as you like)
  1. Chop the fruit into chunks and place in a bowl.
  2. Spoon over the yoghurt.
  3. Sprinkle the seeds and nuts on top.

Delalicious & Sportswomen.ie 

Let's Talk Food & Sport With...., Uncategorized

Delighted to announce I’m teaming up with Sportswomen.ie. to provide recipes, foodie tips and my “Let’s Talk Food & Sport With…” interview series. 

Sportswomen.ie Keep an eye out every Saturday morning for a new post. First up is my interview with Tipperary Ladies Footballer Samantha Lambert discussing all things food and sport.

Check out the interview in full here.

Food & sport interview Samantha Lambert

Let’s Talk Food & Sport with … Gráinne Dwyer

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As the Basketball Ireland Women’s Superleague comes to a close this weekend with Ambassador UCC Glanmire facing off against Courtyard Liffey Celtics, I caught up with Glanmire star Gráinne Dwyer about all things food and sport.20170329_191207-01Fellow Tipperary woman Gráinne hails from Thurles and first showed her class by lighting up the Irish school’s basketball scene whilst representing Presentation Thurles. Based in Cork, she competes in the national super league and cup with Glanmire winning four senior cup titles and two MVP awards in previous finals. Glanmire are also vying for their fourth consecutive super league title this weekend in a repeat of this years cup final against Liffey Celtics. On the international scene, Gráinne has competed with the traditional 5v5 team at both underage and senior level and in 2014 on the 3v3 team alongside her sister Niamh qualifying for the European Olympic finals.

Tell us about your first or favourite sporting memory?

Winning the 2013 cup final against UL Huskies in overtime.

What advice would you give to a young aspiring athlete in your sport?

Work hard! You are not entitled to anything, you have to earn it.20170329_191128
What advice would you give to someone who was dealing with a tough time in their life or a setback in their sport?
I find sport a way to escape from reality and  it helps that I love and enjoy it. Sport is my happy place in life.
As we all know research has shown loads of benefits from sport both physically and mentally. I think someone dealing with a tough time should find their happy place and have a good support system around them. After all, a problem shared is a problem halved.

What emphasis do you put on food and diet relating to your performance or do you think food and diet has any importance for your performance?

In the last few years I definitely have begun to watch what I eat a lot more. Monday to Saturday I’m usually pretty good, eating as healthily as possible but once we play on a Saturday evening I like to eat what I want. I have see an noticeable change in my energy levels since making small changes to my diet.

How do you find the time to plan and prepare meals or do you eat out every day whilst juggling a career in banking and playing with one of the top ranked basketball teams in Ireland?

Food prep is a killer for me ( I always forget to defrost my meat from the freezer!!). However, I try to bring my dinner to work everyday . When preparing meals, I usually prep for two days at a time. I’m not the best cook in the world so what I eat is very basic and would be similar to your typical Irish dinner of meat, chicken or fish, vegetables with sweet potatoes substituted for regular potatoes.
I find it can be quite difficult at times finding time to prep food as I could leave the house at 9:30am and not get home till 11:00pm. Starting is the highest part but once you do it only takes 30 minutes to get sorted and it’s so beneficial to your health and performance.20170329_191150
 Give us some insight into your typical match day food?
I like to eat light on match days, I feel there is nothing worse than feeling like lead playing a game. I eat 4-5 hours before my games and I tend to eat scrambled eggs with avocado, tomatoes and salmon. If we are on the road travelling to a game, I eat the same for my brunch and just have a snack like some fruit, a banana or orange.

What is your favourite type of food to eat or dish to cook?

I love a good burger you just can’t beat it! If I was to cook something nice for myself it would have to be fillet steak, homemade chips, fried mushrooms and onions with a pepper or mushroom sauce.

When travelling abroad to represent Ireland in competitions, is there any food you miss?

I love my food and I’m not overly picky so when we travel away I don’t really miss anything. Our meals are nearly always provided and are largely pasta based with an option of meat, fish or vegetables, so I’m usually pretty happy.20170329_191048
 What are your favourite places to eat out in Ireland?
I live in Cork so when I eat out I love to go to Quinlan’s seafood bar on Prince’s street. I was also a big fan of the tapas menu that used to be on offer in Il Padrino. I’m also a big fan of the set menu in Napoli, Monkstown – an Italian style delicatessen that’s really cool and the food is unreal. Places like Sober Lane, SoHo and Son of a Bun are great for pub grub and a pint.

#exerciseforlent – The Ups and Downs of Life

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#exerciseforlent, illness and injury

With any challenge, goal or quest in life there is always going to be conflicting times due to barriers some within our control and other times completely outside our control. One such barrier can be injury and illness. Nobody likes to be sick or injured. Initially, one or two days off work or school is nice but then the boredom sets in and if your in pain or physical discomfort there is nothing nice at all about this time.

My goal for Lent was to set myself a challenge. Instead of giving up, I was going to take up something and in my case get back strengthening my body whilst I travel the world. My aim was to complete three High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions per week in my #exerciseforlent campaign.

Like all good intentions, the first week was full of vigour and enthusiasm. The second week was a bit tougher as it clashed with a four day Lost City trek but I still managed to squeeze in the sessions before and after the trek. Week three and I was back on track, fitting in sessions daily if not every second day until week four. I had just landed in San Gil, a market town nestled in the mountainous regions of Santander state and otherwise known as Colombia’s adventure capital. I was all set to try some extreme sports and thankfully got to try rappelling and rafting until trouble struck. I got sick, no need to get into details but extreme tummy trouble should suffice. I was flat lined, no energy, no appetite and obviously a HIIT sessions was out.

#exerciseforlent, Delalicious, HIITSo after five days out from exercising, I feel like I should be pushing myself to do a session but just walking around is enough for me. I have two major treks planned in the next two weeks so they are my priority to be well enough to complete them. I’m not the kind of person to walk away from a challenge but right now I need to listen to my body for the long run. This is tough for me as I’m not used to being sick or not exercising in some way. The lack of positive effects on my mental well being from exercising daily is also beginning to kick in.

I am confident that with a few days more recuperation, I’ll be back to full steam but this is the thing about goals and setbacks. Goals never go from start to finish smoothly, they are more likely to match a roller coaster ride and the knocks, setbacks and tests along the way will make the result all the sweeter. Returning from injury and illness is just the same. No two individuals are the same and therefore their recovery can never be compared. All you can do is listen to your body and the professionals treating and guiding you.#exerciseforlent, #Delalicious It’s never too late to get moving yourself and join me on my #exerciseforlent campaign.

#exerciseforlent

TheTaste.ie March Issue

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After the great success of my two recipes that were featured in February‘s issue of TheTaste.ie. I was asked to contribute on a regular basis to the monthly food and drink magazine. Here are my two recipes that featured in this month’s issue:

Roast Butternut Squash & Carrot Spiced Soup – soup never goes out of fashion and is one of my favourite things to make. wp-image-333789580jpg.jpg

Sweet & Savoury Tapioca Crepes – inspired by my recent travels to Brazil, Tapioca crepes are naturally gluten-free and a great way to use up leftovers as fillings.Tapioca Crepe.1.jpg

 

Let’s Talk Food & Sport with …. Jenny Murphy

Let's Talk Food & Sport With....

Ahead of this weekends clash between England and Ireland, with the winner taking all in this years Women’s 6 Nations championship I spoke to Jenny Murphy about two of my favourite things food and sport.

If you don’t know who Jenny Murphy is, you’ve surely seen her bone-crunching tackle in the opening match of this years 6 Nations against Italy or will recognise her distinct curly locks. Jenny has been a member of both the Irish women’s rugby team in 15’s and 7’s for the last few years helping Ireland win their first 6 Nations and qualify for the World Cup in 2014.  She is also a very accomplished gaelic footballer having represented at county level with Kildare. She even dabbled with camogie whilst playing GAA for a summer in Boston.

So what is your first and secondly favourite sporting memory?

The first vivid sporting memory I have was the 1999 Champions League Final, Man Utd. came back from behind to beat Bayern Munich in the dying minutes of the game. My uncle and I went absolutely ballistic in my Grans living room.

My favourite sporting memory was getting my first cap. I came off the bench against Italy, I still get a rush of adrenaline thinking about that moment when I stepped on the field.

What advice would you give to any young aspiring athlete in rugby?

At the end of the day you are your only limit. Work hard, keep your feet on the ground and continue to learn everyday.

What advice would you give to someone who was in a similar situation as yourself coming back from a serious injury or just dealing with a tough time in life or setback in their sport?

Focus on small goals and take it step by step. Acknowledge the little victories but also know that’s it’s OK if sometimes you take a backward step.

What emphasis do you put on food and diet relating to your performance or do you think food and diet has any importance for your performance?

It’s massively important. Correct diet gives me the fuel I need to perform to my best ability. Without the correct nutrition I wouldn’t be able to recover or gain muscle efficiently or effectively.

How do you find the time to plan and prepare meals or do you eat out every day?

I put aside an hour or two each week, normally on my day off, to plan or prep meals I plan to eat during the week. Sometimes it’s just making sure I have ingredients whilst other times I’ll cook something ahead of time so it’s ready to go.

My top tip is to freeze lentil dhals, which are very handy and they keep for months too. I enjoy cooking so an hour or two on my off days prepping the main bits of the meals can save you a lot of time in the long run. Chucking a quick but tasty salad only takes 5-10 minutes when you have the main part of your meal ready.

Give us some insight into your typical match day food?

It varies depending on kick off times. For example a 12pm kickoff, breakfast of porridge with honey and half a banana. Cup of coffee. Maybe a fruit juice or smoothie. Pancakes and lean bacon if I can manage it.

Pre match meal – I prefer to get the bulk of my carbs in the morning, I don’t like being too full getting on the bus to the match. So my meal would be lighter, chicken and pasta with some tomato based sauce. Beetroot drink  (I’m not the biggest fan of the taste). Plenty of fluids.

Is there any food that you miss from home whilst travelling overseas for competitions or training?

I do enjoying trying the local foods so I don’t tend to miss any foods too much. However by the end of 2014 World Cup, I was seriously craving my mam’s mashed potato.

What is your favourite type of food to eat out or dish to cook?

Favourite dish to eat out would probably be sushi. My favourite dish to cook, Shakshuka.

What are your favourite places to eat out in Ireland?

Bunsen, Musashi, Brother Hubbard, Elephant and Castle, Ballymore Inn…to name a but a few.

Keep an eye out to see who’s next on the list for my monthly feature of “Let’s Talk Food & Sport with…”.

Exercise For Lent

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As I’m hoping most of you feasted on some pancakes yesterday, I’m sure many of you pondered the question “So what am I going to give up for Lent?”. The usual answer is sweets, chocolate, drink etc. Then the next 40 days and nights are spent trying to avoid these items and feeling bad when you do succumb to temptation. To be honest I don’t like the whole notion and concept of giving up something or banning something from your diet so I normally try to take up something.

This Lent I’m taking up exercise! Yes very simple and something you probably might think I get enough of but since I’ve started travelling in December my regular exercise routine has disappeared. In work I’m normally on my feet all day treating patients as a Physiotherapist before going to football training or gym sessions. All my fitness and strength training is planned by my coaches so I really don’t have to think about any of it, just follow the plan and push myself as hard as possible at training.

Now I’ve no routine, no scheduled training sessions or gym membership. Sure I’m doing walking and cycling tours, dancing until the sun comes up and some hiking but no strength training and to be honest I’m beginning to see the deconditioning. You can eat all the healthy food in the world but you need to exercise too!Our bodies are majority bone and muscle, which both require continuous strengthening for maintenance and development. This doesn’t mean lifting heavy weights and walking around looking like a bodybuilder. This just means working yourself a little harder than normal and most importantly working up a sweat and feeling a bit out of breath. HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is basically body weight exercises performed repeatedly for a short duration in a circuit format and are perfect for strengthening. They require no equipment just you, some space, a stopwatch and plenty of determination. Add in an exercise mat for comfort and a chair to make some exercises harder. The range of exercises you can do are endless so just Google “bodyweight exercises”, “HIIT exercises” or complete a program suggested by your Physiotherapist, personal trainer or favourite social media fitness person. Just remember if you are completely new to exercise or carrying some injuries it is worth getting advice from a professional and I am obviously going to recommend a chartered Physiotherapist.

When starting any new exercise program, your body will take time to adapt to it, the next morning you will more than likely feel some muscle soreness. Stretching and a proper warm-up and cool-down are essential to prevent muscle soreness. Stretching is also paramount to prevent injury and increase flexibility. Physiotherapist and yoga instructor Orla Crosse has some great stretching advice so check out her website and social media accounts.Our health is really our wealth. But how many of us now spend the majority of days in sedentary positions? How many of us de-prioritise our health and fitness for long hours in the office or time spent looking after others when really we should be looking after ourselves and our health. One of the best ways to maintain any new skill or commitment is consistent practice and repetition until it becomes a habit. Exercise is a habit, it is a lifestyle option and a really positive one not just for you but for your friends, family and colleagues. As more than likely you will begin to exercise together or simply walk up the stairs to that meeting or go for a weekend hike together. Having an exercise buddy is great, it makes you accountable to someone, you won’t want to let them down by missing a session and likewise they’ll feel the same. A group environment has also proven benefits for motivation, socialisation and participation levels.

So let’s get moving and #exerciseforlent! I’ll be sharing my exercise locations via my Instagram story. My aim is to do a minimum of 3 HIIT sessions a week so if you catch me slacking be sure to call me out!! Any questions on this type of exercise or advice on injuries just get in touch. #exerciseforlent