March 24, 2013

3 Great Rinkside Recipes To Make Your Life Easier!

So first of all, I want to say YAY! I'm managing to type little and often now, so naturally one of the first things I wanted to do on my computer was get down a new blog post for all you lovely readers who are being patient with me and my on-going hand injury.

Today I was warming some soup (as you do when it's so cold outside you actually avoid going out. At all), and as the seemingly-mystical vapours of Heinz's Cream of Chicken wafted up into my nostrils, it hit me that cooking recipes for busy skaters (read: skating people, especially parents) might make for an interesting topic of discussion. So here we go!

When you're sitting for long periods of time, often through meal times, on the road towards that competition or test, or actually sat at an event for hours (if not days) on end, it's logical to bring some good ol' fashioned home-made foodstuffs along to keep you warm and satisfied in the often-miserable land of ice rinks. Oh and did I mention you'll save money too? Bye-bye overpriced icky rink-cafe food, hello wholesome home-made fare made in bulk to save cash. I even mentioned a food flask as one of my 2012 Christmas Skating Gift ideas, and I stand by my suggestion! Food flasks rule. But what do you put in them?

Here I'm going to share three of my favourite recipes that work great in food flasks. One has been in my family for generations, the other I've been making for years, and finally the 3rd one... well I just made it for the first time last week and boy, was I pleasantly surprised! So without further ado... to the kitchen my lovelies! *wields wooden spoon while trying to do a twizzle in fluffy socks on the kitchen floor*

Scottish Red Lentil Soup
My mum taught me this when I was a youngster, and it got me (and my mum, for that matter) through many a cold day at the rink. My grand-mother taught my mother, and it wouldn't surprise me if it went further up the family tree still. So here's the recipe for traditional red lentil soup! (psst! I'm kind of approximative with the amounts... just go with your instincts and if you have too much, freeze it for another day).

Makes: Roughly enough for 6 people (great for sharing at the rink or feeding both you and your skater between practice sessions)
Ingredients List:
- 3 carrots, grated
- 2 leeks, sliced
- 1 large potato or 2 small potatoes, grated and/or cut in to small chunks
- 1 large mug of red lentils
- Vegetable stock cubes
- 1 turnip, grated

- Prepare all your veggies. Grating them makes for a nice thick soup, whereas cutting them into chunks will yield a thinner consistency soup in itself, with whole pieces of veg. I like to grate everything except maybe one potato, which I'll cut into chunks for a bit of diversity.
- Place your lentils in a sieve and wash thoroughly to remove the bulk of the starch (otherwise this forms a foamy layer when boiling them which you'll need to remove, which is quite frankly a pain in the hoo-ha!)
- Make up 1.5-2 litres of vegetable stock (use as many cubes per litre as is recommended on the packet). The amount of stock you'll need depends on the amount of veggies you have: you need to keep your veg covered at all times to ensure even cooking.
- Place washed lentils and veg stock in a large sauce pan, and boil for 10 mins.
- Add all vegetables, and cover.
- Turn down the heat to a light simmer.
- Check OFTEN (cannot stress this enough! I've ruined pans with lentils burning in to the bottom of them before!) and keep stirring.
- After about 45 mins / 1 hour, all your veg should be very soft.
- Et voila ! 

Serving Suggestions
Freshly milled black pepper and a hunk of crusty bread hits the spot every time.

Mushroom Risotto
This is a great dish that keeps well in the fridge and will fill your stomach right up! If you don't like mushrooms, you can substitute them for peas, or pretty much any vegetable you fancy.

Makes: enough for 4, or two very very hungry Horaces!
Ingredients List:
- Arborio rice, aka risotto rice. Don't make risotto with other types of rice, they don't have the right shape, and don't have the same amount of starch that gives it that lovely sticky consistency. 
- One large pack of mushrooms (looks enormous at first, but they shrink right down when cooked!).
- One large red onion.
- Copious amounts of garlic (you probably know better than me how much garlic you like in your food, just add accordingly).
- 1.5-2L vegetable stock.

- Wash your mushrooms (if you keep them under running water a long time they will take up a lot of the water, which will ultimately be released into your dish. The best way to wash mushrooms is to wet some paper towel, and then rub any dirt off of them. This is incredibly time-consuming, I'm not gonna lie).
- Slice your mushrooms up finely.
- Slice garlic and onions however you see fit.
- Make up your vegetable stock.
- Weight out your rice, I usually do about 200g for this amount of veg, but the packet will suggest a serving size per person.
- Fry your garlic and onions in a little oil of your choice (olive works great), and then add the chopped mushrooms. Toss all together. The mushrooms will start to shrink.
- Add your rice, and stir constantly, making sure the rice doesn't stick.
- Add the stock as soon as your rice is nicely coated with oil/vegetables.
- Mix well, and stir almost constantly. 
- Stirring is key. I cannot stress this enough. If your rice sticks to the bottom of the pan, you're in for some burnt garlic odours, which will ruin the dish.
- And that's it!

Serving Suggestion
Copious amounts of parmigiano cheese works a treat, as does ground black pepper.
This is classic fork food, so you needn't worry about bringing a ton of cumbersome cutlery with you to the rink! A fork or spoon, and you're good to go!

Sloppy Joe Meatballs 
I picked this recipe up from one of those free in-store magazines at the super-market. It was super fun to make (great if you have kids who want to get involved as making the meatballs is messy fun!) and they tasted just wonderful. I did deviate from the recipe in that instead of using fresh chopped garlic I went for the dried powered stuff for quickness.

Makes: 12 large meatballs
Ingredients List:
- 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
- 2 carrots, finely chopped
- 1 large red onion, finely chopped
- 1 400g can of chopped tomatoes
- 1 large tablespoon of tomato paste (I used sun-dried tomato and herb for extra flavour - yummy!)
- Garlic as needed (fresh or dried)
- 400g ground beef (although I guess you could mix some pork in there too)
- 1 large tablespoon of dried mixed herbs
- 1 egg
- 100g of breadcrumbs (just grate some bread you have lying around the kitchen)
- A bit of flour to make forming the meatballs easier
- 200ml vegetable stock

- Cut all the veggies
- Fry the onion and garlic in a largs sauce pan, and remove half in to a bowl for later use.
- Add the chopped veggies, stock, tinned chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, and dried herbs to the sauce pan.
- Cover the sauce pan and put on low heat. Let simmer for approx. 30 mins, while you make and cook the meatballs.
- Put ground beef, egg, the remainder of the onion and garlic, and breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl. Get yours hand dirty now: mix it all together!
- Have a small bowl of flour near-by. Lightly flour your hands, and start to form your meatballs. Try not to cover them too thickly in flour, because this will just burn when you go to fry them up.
- Put a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan and cook off the meatballs, turning frequently.
- Aaaaand, you're done!

Serving Suggestions
We had ours with hot-dog style finger rolls: split the bun open, place meatballs inside, then spoon over sauce. Next day we ate the left over meatballs and sauce with fresh spaghetti, which was also delicious! Even on their own they'd be great. Remember that if you decide to add pasta to your food flask, cook it for a few minutes less than you usually would: the pasta keeps cooking with the heat inside the flask and you don't want it to over-cook and be mushy!


So those were my 3 top recipes for taking with you to the rink! What do you usually take along with you? Get in touch here, on Facebook, or via Twitter!

Until next time, keep warm at the rink!
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1 comment

  1. How did you know lentils is one of my favorite post skating meals! Usually I just open a can and term it up but this recipe is an easy to make variation, thanks!

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