I’m not exactly in competition prep just yet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t focus on having the majority of my diet clean and healthy but still treating myself when I want too, it’s all about moderation and something I am still learning.
One thing I have found challenging is knowing that I can eat ample amounts of clean food, such as veggies, proteins and good carbs, and than remembering that when I decide to have a cheat meat that I need to decrease this serving size. I used to find myself overeating and eyes far to big for my belly. While I wont say that I don’t overeat on the odd occasion (tonight’s dinner I certainly did!) I have been finding ways to manage, for starters; not finishing people’s left overs and eating just what I put on my plate, no seconds! and considering the serving sizes of those around me as a guideline to a more appropriate serving, but remembering not to compare to my dad as his serves are still to big for me! I know it takes practice not to go nuts on the taste of sugar and carbs after dieting for a comp for so long but it’s about understanding you body – something that will be addressed in later posts!
When you think ‘cheat meal’ you think naughty food, such as pizza, burgers, chocolate and ice-cream, all high fat and high carb food. This is okay, the purpose of your cheat meal helps to boost your metabolism, fuel the body and satisfies your cravings to allow you to keep going. I like to think of my cheat meals more like reward meals, that doesn’t the content is any different, but it’s a reward to myself for my hard work, for sticking to my diet and goals. When we aren’t dieting, we celebrate birthdays, graduations, and achievements with good food, it’s a reward. We don’t look at it then that we are ‘cheating’ we only put this label on it once we start what we consider a ‘diet’. when you start labelling things they become a restriction.
For me it isn’t a diet, its my lifestyle and what makes me feel good. It isn’t training at the gym its my ‘me’ time, how I like to start my day and a commitment I have made myself. It isn’t impossible, it’s a challenge to overcome, and it isn’t a cheat meal, its a reward meal. All of these in my opinion help. If I am about to start a difficult set, if I tell myself I can, I most likely wont, if I tell myself I will and I can, I most likely will. Its mind over matter with most of these things, and it takes training of your thought process to change your ways, but like everything, you do something enough it will become habit.
So this means, Sunday night was my ‘reward meal’ and it involved a three coarse meal! Initially I had intended for just two, but when I turned up and my parents house, dad had other plans.
Sticky BBQ Pork Ribs with potato gratin and basmati rice
Homemade Apple and Rhubarb Pie with crème anglaise and homemade Vanilla Bean Ice-cream
For me I would have to say the Ribs were again my favourite, but the vanilla bean ice-cream was a tight second and the crust of the pie was super short which made it delicious.
Now, not everything was perfect, and it shouldn’t be, after all dad and I are only home cooks! The elements that didn’t work however come at only out own fault, in my opinion the recipe works perfect. It was due to lack of attention and failure to listen that the other two occurred.
The errors in our dish; the crème anglaise, and I need to take full responsibility for this, I had placed it back over the heat to bring the milk to the boil prior tot he addition of adding eggs, might I just warn you once milk comes to the boil it happens fast and I very quickly had a spillage and burn stove top. This resulted in a slight reduction in the amount of mixture. After this, it was after the beaten egg yolks and sugar were added that the mixture had to be returned to the heat. I allowed it to get to hot which resulted in a curdle of the eggs. While I removed it immediately I should have poured it straight into a cold bowl, instead I left it in wondering about whether I could save it. I did, we ran it through a strainer and placed it in the fridge. The end result was the mix was runner than intended but the flavours still there.
The second error I do blame dad for this, it was the sweetness of the pie mix. I do think I have mentioned the occasional disagreements dad and I have whilst cooking. Generally I don’t follow much of a recipe or navigate away from it, dad how ever likes to follow exactly. So when we were cooking much of what I was following did not have a recipe, which had started to get on dads nerves. So when I improvised and decided to use 2 tbsp. of sugar into the pie mix instead of the intended two cups (it is a huge pie), dad was convinced that this would mean the mixture would be bitter and tart. I however believed that with the sweetness of the crème anglaise and ice-cream that this would be well evened out. I allowed dad to take charge of the remainder of the recipe and he made the decision to add the two cups. This resulted in an extremely sweet pie that some did fail to finish.
The Ribs were as good as the last time I made them (which was only last week!) the recipe is on my previous post; http://wp.me/p4ETnG-1v this time however I also added a good splash of soy sauce, I would say about 1-2tbsp. As we were serving a total of 6 people as well, I tripled the recipe and I also needed 2 slow cookers. Don’t forget hat left over sauce is great tossed with your chicken in wraps or a salad! freeze it for next time as well! Don’t waste the liquid gold. My sister commented that ‘these are the best things I have ever tasted’.
The ice-cream, I would have to say was brilliant, extremely creamy and melt in your mouth with the right amount of sweetness! there were leftovers of this, and unfortunately I was going to take some home but left it at mum and dads, I doubt it will be there next time! Dad went for seconds of this. the basic recipe can be found here; http://wp.me/p4ETnG-12 instead of the essence I changed this to 2 tsp of vanilla bean paste. YUM!
The oysters – In my opinion what’s not to love! these were Kilpatrick’s with the addition of parmesan on top, just done in the oven and very tasty.
So how to do all of this? aside from the ice-cream and ribs which the links to the recipes are above, the other components;
5 bacon rashers
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius fan forced. as pictured arrange foil on the trays, this keeps then upright so the fillings will stay in! (this is the purpose of the salt in restaurants).
In a pan add your bacon, diced (could use spec) and fry off till getting crispy – not charred.
Add about a tbsp. of Worcestershire sauce to each oyster followed by some bacon, and top with some grated parmesan.
Place in the oven and cook until the cheese has melted.
This is basically a potato stack made of potato and cheese! delish.
we used 6 small ramekins but you could do this as a whole single serve if you wanted!
2 garlic cloves crushed
grated parmesan and cheddar cheese 1:2 ratio
first sauté your shallots and garlic in a pan with some olive oil until tender.
slice your potato, as thin as you can (if to thick the cooking time will be horrendous!)
now for assembly; first place 1/2 tsp. of butter in the bottom of the ramekins and follow with a layer of sliced potato.
top this with cheese, then more potato, cheese, potato etc. until filled to the top. We added out shallots to the middle layer.
We also got about 4-5 layers in our containers.
Bake for at least 45mins to until a skewer will run through the layers smoothly as you know the potato is tender.
if the rest of dinner isn’t ready just leave in the oven (with oven turned off) to remain warm.
To serve, run a knife around the edges and turn our onto your plate.
note; these reduce in sixe by about half. so make sure you squash your layers in and consider this when choosing ramekin size.
The basmati rice, cook as per normal instructions.
makes approx. 6 cups
can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge
2 cups of milk
2 cups of cream
tsp. vanilla bean paste
cinnamon – tsp. ground or a stick
6 egg yolks
300g caster sugar
1. combine your eggs and sugar in a bowl and whisk until creamy and light in colour. set aside
2. on a hotplate add your milk, cream, vanilla and spices and heat, stir and bring to the boil, remove from heat.
3. allow the milk mix to cool slightly before continuously whisking whilst you slowly pour your egg mix into this.
4. return to a low to medium heat and cook stirring continuously for about 8 minutes of until it has thickened and coats the back of a spoon – this is where you need to be careful to avoid curdling.
5. remove your star anise and cinnamon stick and discard.
6. pour into a jog and serve either immediately, warm or keep in fridge until ready and serve cold.
Apple and Rhubarb Pie
Makes a LARGE pie!
310g butter softened at room temp
500g SR flour
60ml boiling water
pinch of salt
8 granny smith apples, peeled cored and diced 2cm cubes
2 bunches of rhubarb peeled and diced about 1inch
2tbsp sugar (or two cups if you want extra sweet!!)
2 tbsp. orange marmalade
1. To make your pastry: sift the flour into a processor, pour your boiling water over your butter and mash together add this and your salt to the flour, pulse on your processor till combines. tip out onto your bench and mould into a ball and place into the fridge for 30mins.
2. add your apples and rhubarb to a large pan and stew till softened. drain out some of the excess water once done and add your sugar, cinnamon, butter and marmalade. set aside to cool. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius
3. roll out half your pastry on a floured surface – it is delicate and if your kitchen is hot it will be difficult to work with due tot he high butter content. make about 1/2cm thick and place into your pie case/s. We baked ours before adding the filling for a bit – I think this is a good idea, just 15 minutes should do (less if making small ones). – I think if I did this next time I would make mini ones.
4. pour in your pie mix. Roll out the rest of the pastry and slice into strips, fold these into a lattice design over the filling.
5. place into oven until golden.
6. serve with your ice-cream and crème anglaise!
note: if slicing this hot it will most likely not keep tis shape, it will remain prettier in small ramekins rather then a big pie!
Notes for Timing;
1. Read all your recipes well in advance to starting them, that way you know what need to be done what can be made ahead of time and where you can save yourself time!
2. write out a time you want things serves, writing down clears your head and helps it make sense or where things overlap!
3. cross things off as they are done, that way you don’t double up!
Timing for this dinner recipe:
1. start the ribs the day before, they need to marinate over night.
2. make your ice-cream either the morning or of or the day before, it needs to set in time!
3. start the slow cooking 4.5hrs before you want it served, I put mine in at 2:30pm for a 7pm dinner.
4. cook your apple and rhubarb at any time you want, this will save you time later. store in the fridge till ready – same with the crème anglaise, this can be heater when you want it.
5. make your pie pastry as well, after half hour do the bottom layer and cook lightly, remove from the oven and just set aside until ready to use later.
6. for a 7pm dinner, we put our potato gratin in at 6pm, once it was ready (about 6:45) we just turned the oven off and let them sit.
7. start your oysters around 6, this will have them ready by 6:15, and allows you plenty of time between meals and get organised.
8. after 4hrs of slow cooking take your ribs out of the sauce and cover in foil, and place in the oven with the gratin to sit until service. Now is time to put your rice on and begin reducing your sauce to thicken it. To reduce the time this takes halve the mix into two saucepans.
8. everything should be ready at the same time so you can serve your ribs, rice, potato and sauce up!
9. after diner finish your pie! all it needs is time to go golden I the oven, heat your crème anglaise if you want and done! perfect timing 🙂
Note: it is important when making so many elements to keep a tidy work bench, make this priority, even if its stacking everything in the corner. A untidy workbench will make for errors and confusion!