World class athletes need world class nutrition and expert sports nutritionist Nigel Mitchell has revealed some of his best recipes for feeding our cycling champions! Over this wonderful summer of sport, Nigel will be relying on his favourite kitchen appliance - a Thermomix.
Nigel is a passionate and creative cook who is constantly working on new and better ways to provide good nutrition via appealing food, not only for Olympians, but for his family at home too. In fact it was Nigel's wife who persuaded him to buy a Thermomix and Nigel quickly realised the full potential of Thermomix for creating healthy meals not only at home, but for his athletes too.
Nigel is the Head of Nutrition for British Cycling who are gearing up to compete in the London Olympics, and he also works with Team Sky Pro Cycling who are currently competing in the Tour de France. Nigel has a vital support role for both teams - he is in charge of the overall strategy for feeding and nourishing our record-breaking cyclists including Sir Chris Hoy, Bradley Wiggins, Mark Cavendish and Victoria Pendleton.?
What is this most desirable gadget? Thermomix is a multi-function, cooking, steaming, mixing, prepping, all-singing, all-dancing kitchen machine. It's German designed for the home kitchen but so well made that it's also on almost every chef's wish list.
Why do you use it Nigel? "I use Thermomix as it's so fantastic for consistency, quality, and control and I decided it was perfect to use in my mission to keep our top cyclists at their best for the Tour de France and the London 2012 Olympics. For example, it is essential to maintain the optimum weight to power ratio for each rider for peak performance - for some, every extra pound is an extra pound to push around the track, and for others, increased weight is needed to keep them at their highest power level. Thermomix helps me control exactly what they are getting from each meal. Team chef Søren Kristiansen and I find that Thermomix allows us to cook quickly and easily and it's doubled our productivity. We can even use it in hotel rooms when the team is travelling to international events."
Janie Turner, director of UK Thermomix and author of two Thermomix recipe books, had a wide smile when she said, "How exciting to get behind our sporting heroes and to look forward to new world records and plenty of gold medals! We are delighted to be supporting the cyclists of Team Sky and Team GB and we wish them the best of success!"
Nigel's recipes can be used to nourish the athletes you feed at home too!
Gluten Free Gnocchi
Some of the Team GB and Team Sky cyclists avoid wheat during intense training periods and long races so these gluten free gnocchi are the perfect alternative. This recipe was developed by Nigel for Ed Clancy MBE, Olympic Gold Medal winner and five times World Champion who says, "This gnocchi is one of my favourite meals!"
50 g parmesan, in 3 chunks
200 g floury potatoes, 2 cm cubes e.g. Desiree
200 g sweet potatoes, 2 cm cubes
2 large (60g each) free range eggs
400 g gluten free plain flour
1 tsp fine sea salt - optional
Grate the parmesan by dropping it onto the running Thermomix (TM) blades at Speed 10 - it will be done in a few seconds (you'll hear it). Tip out and set aside.
Use the built-in electronic scales to weigh 500 g water into the TM bowl. Insert the internal steaming basket then add the potatoes with the sweet potatoes on top. Steam 15 to 20 minutes/Varoma Temperature/Speed 3 or longer until cooked through and tender. Use the hook on the TM spatula to lift the steaming basket. Set aside until the potatoes are cooled, discarding the steaming water.
Return the cooled potatoes to the TM bowl with the parmesan, eggs, flour (and salt if using). Mash 10 seconds/Speed 4.
Knead 30 seconds/Dough Setting. Roll the potato mix on a generously floured countertop into long rolls measuring 1 to 1½ cm in diameter, gently press the top with the tines of a fork to create a ridge pattern (or roll down a gnocchi board), then snip into 2 cm long pieces. Bring a pan of salted water to a rolling boil, add the gnocchi and cook until they float plus 5 minutes longer (gluten free gnocchi take longer to cook than wheat flour gnocchi). Drain and serve.
Nigel's Serving Suggestions: Serve straight away with freshly made pesto or tomato sauce. Or you can do alternate layers of cooked gnocchi and tomato sauce, spinach, basil and mozzarella and bake it in the oven 25 to 30 minutes at 180°C until the cheese is golden and the sauce is bubbling.
Nigel developed this recipe to feed Team GB and Team Sky while competing in endurance events. This dense rice pudding slab is a high energy, low fibre snack which is very popular with the riders. It also helps provide some of their daily fluid requirement as each serving provides 15 ml water along with 25 g carbohydrate and 5 g protein. The cyclists say it's good fuel and they've won lots of races with it!
500 g short grain pudding rice
1 litre water (= 1000 g)
30 g unrefined sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon (TM ground is best for flavour) or 1 tsp real vanilla extract
300 g cream cheese, broken/cut into 1 cm chunks
Weigh rice, water and sugar into the TM bowl and add the cinnamon. Cook 14 minutes/100°C/Speed Spoon/Reverse Blade Direction.
Stir with the TM spatula and cook again 10 minutes/100°C/Speed Spoon/Reverse Blade Direction.
Stir in the cream cheese with the TM spatula until it's melted. Line a baking tray with cling film, pour in the rice mix and spread evenly about 1½ cm thick. Cool for 20 minutes then chill in the fridge until cold. Cut into 3 cm squares and wrap in individual parcels ready for when needed.
Variation: For a slightly sweeter version, pour half the rice mix into the tin then spread with a thin layer of jam or chocolate hazel nut spread before covering with the remaining rice mix. There's a great recipe for chocolate hazel nut spread in Janie Turner's Thermomix book Fast and Easy Cooking.
Omega 3 Seed Mix
Nigel loves the fact that Thermomix is great at milling seeds in seconds. Having them freshly milled means that our bodies can more quickly and easily absorb all of the important nutrients. As soon as seeds are ground they begin to lose their nutritional properties and are usually rancid after about 6 weeks - not many people know this. By grinding the seeds fresh each time, you are optimising their nutritional content. It's also much cheaper to buy whole seeds than ready-ground.
The seeds in this recipe are an excellent source of Omega 3 essential fatty acids and are high in most of the B vitamins, magnesium and manganese. Seeds really are one of nature's true Superfoods!
One serving = 1 Tbsp or 20 g. Nigel's cycling athletes have 2 servings a day.
20 g flaxseeds = linseeds
20 g sesame seeds
40 g sunflower seeds
40 g pumpkin seeds
Grind the seeds 10 seconds/Speed 10 or until fine. Store in an air tight container in the fridge. Use within one week.
Serving suggestions: Try adding a tablespoon of ground seeds to your porridge, cereal or smoothie in the morning. Add a sprinkle to your salad or soup at lunch, or on a curry or stir-fry in the evening.
High Energy Rice and Quinoa
Rice provides the carbohydrate part of this dish whilst quinoa's protein content is superior to any other grain; it contains all nine essential amino acids. Our bodies cannot make these so we must get them directly from our food. Quinoa is also high in lysine, an amino acid important in tissue growth and repair, as well as being a good source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and iron. Nigel often serves this well balanced mix to the cyclists and uses the Thermomix Varoma to steam some vegetables at the same time. Serves 4 to 6.
1 litre water for steaming
1 generous pinch sea salt
100 g red or black rice
100 g basmati rice
100 g quinoa
Weigh the water into the TM bowl and add the salt. Insert the internal steaming basket then weigh in the red or black rice, the basmati rice and finally the quinoa.
Rinse the rice 10 seconds/Speed 5 then cook 22 minutes/Varoma Temperature/Speed 4. Transfer to a large serving bowl and stir. Serve hot or cold on its own or as an accompaniment to a meal.
Nigel's Serving Suggestions:
Add chopped hard-boiled eggs for extra protein.
Add chopped dried apricots and salad leaves.
Serve with tomato sauce.
Add minced shallot, cubes of feta cheese, chopped mint and parsley, and a few olives if you wish, then stir with some balsamic dressing.
Serve on mixed green salad leaves. Serve with a curry or stew.