Food has always been important to me as I have given my body a very hard time in terms of physical demands I have made on it! For as long as I can remember, I have lived a life of perpetual motion and relentless sport, firstly rowing internationally and now competing internationally in endurance riding. So it occurred to me early that the fuel I put into my system was paramount and something I had complete control over.
At different times of my life I have been dairy free and vegetarian. Now I eat most things (organic, as far as possible) although I am gluten free. I have followed the Hays System of ‘food combining’ (not mixing protein and carbohydrate foods) for about 30 years, though I don’t stick to it so rigidly now – it was a way of maintaining optimum body weight as you can’t store fat with this system of eating, though it is not a diet. I also take lots of supplements (vitamins, minerals, enzymes) determined by muscle testing which is a way of tuning into your ‘smart body’.
With not a Waitrose in sight and being a long way from any big towns, I grow some of my own food and buy the rest locally. Nothing is processed. I cook everything from scratch, eat well and keep it simple and quick! Here are some of my favourite foods, from meals to snacks.
Lemon sole with something on the side!
Supper had to be wholesome, healthy, home-cooked and quick! Sadly, I am not able to catch Lemon Sole in my stream, so I either buy it fresh from the mobile fish man who visits the local town once a week or frozen via mail order. I like to add generous knobs of butter and an incy-wincy sprinkling of rock salt (blink and you miss it). It goes in a low oven for not very long, probably 10 minutes so it’s just cooked but soft and melts in your mouth. (It’s easy to overcook fish and then it goes rubbery!) I usually have rice to accompany and a vegetable such as spinach (I’m a big spinach fan) but it depends what’s in the fridge, so it might be a puree of a few veg such as potato, watercress, red peppers and courgette or sauteed potatoes (ordinary, sweet or both) go.
Organic gluten-free ginger, almond and something else cake!
175 g goats butter (melted)
200 g gluten-free flour
175 g soft brown sugar
125 g ground almonds
4 large eggs
1 heaped tsp gluten-free baking powder
A large amount of spliced and diced fresh ginger (the more the better and it’s very good for you but it depends on how much you like it)
Throw it all into the Magimix and bake for an hour and 10 mins in a slow oven, less if a hotter oven (you’ll have to experiment). Variations include adding a mashed banana, or half a block of melted 70% dark chocolate or an orange (grated rind and half the juice). Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve. Utterly delicious! A piece of organic white chocolate on the side to dunk in coffee and suck, is a must! Coffee is a home made equivalent to Cappuccino. I make a pot of real coffee, boil the milk until it froths and rises to the top of the pan and pour milk and coffee into the mug together. Cake and coffee is my ‘addiction’; it’s my carbohydrate fix after doing the horses and training, so there is always a cake in the tin. It’s also very sociable when you have guests and a great ‘thank you’ for people who help you out! For me, there is nothing better than baking on a Rayburn (except an Aga). I never tire of this cake. It’s totally non fussy.