So, Week One of Crossfit Induction – done. I’m bruised and quite sore, but absolutely buzzing about this week.
I know Crossfit comes in for a bit of criticism for being a bit ‘culty’, but I can totally get why people really get into it: both as a way of working out and as a lifestyle. I have never worked out so hard, or in such a supportive environment.
As we’ve been doing the induction course there has never been less than four coaches on hand watching over our every move and making sure we’re nailing the techniques. There’s a real range of fitness amongst the inductees, the great thing is that the workout is adjusted to suit each one of us individually and once you’ve finished (and can breathe again) you cheer on the rest of the team.
On the flip side, I’ve genuinely never come so close to puking through exercise as I did that first monday night: kettle bells, box jumps and shuttle runs (in the rain) at 10.15pm…. bleurgh.
I can’t wait to finish the induction this Friday so that we can get WODing in the main gym every day.
Now, the most important thing for exercise? Fuel.
I feel as an ode to Crossfit that I should do some paleo-style recipe cooked on an open fire in a cave overlooking the plains of the Serengeti. But, I love bread, salt, oil and being vegan, so that’s not going to happen.
Bread Bowl Butter Bean Stew
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons plain white flour (unbleached for my American friends, UK and EU don’t worry about it as we can’t get bleached flour)
- 675 millilitres good strong vegetable stock
- 400 grammes pre-soaked butter beans
- 1/2 white cabbage, shredded then cut into 2 centimetre squares
- 2 cloves finely chopped garlic
- Pinch of dried chilli flakes
- Handful of fresh herbs, I just used thyme for today but this also works really well with a mix of thyme and chopped rosemary.
- Four good sized crusty bread rolls (or cobs as we call them here in Nottingham)
- Optional : 4 vegan sausages grilled and cut into two centimetre chunks. Linda McCartney sausages work especially well. If you’re not a fan of fake meat products, then just omit these – the dish stands well with just the cabbage and beans.
If I’m honest, this dish is actually half way between a soup and a stew, but given that I’ve already done three soup recipes I’m concerned you guys are going to think I’m a one trick pony, so we’re just going to call it a stew and not question it further. If you want it to be more of a soup, add more stock, it’s that simple.
- Start by making a roux using the oil and flour. Traditionally roux is made with butter, which has a lower burning point than oil, when using oil you need to be careful not to get this too hot as this will adversely impact on the taste at best, and at worst congeal and burn the flour. Heat the oil in a sauce pan and mix in the flour with a wooden spoon moving continuously. We’re making a ‘white roux’ which is the lightest of the roux styles and so you only need two – three minutes to cook off the flour. If the roux starts to stiffen too early, just start adding small amounts of stock to keep this nice and loose.
- Gradually add all of the stock to the pan, keep stirring continuously so that the roux doesn’t go lumpy.
- Bring the temperature up to a light simmer then throw in the butter beans, garlic and crushed chillies, simmer for six or seven minutes, add the cabbage, herbs and sausage and simmer for a further six or seven minutes or so until the cabbage is lovely and soft and the sauce is rich and creamy.
- In the mean time, cut the top off the rolls and use your fingers to pull out the bread from the lower section.
- Serve the stew in the bowls and replace the top to act as a lid.
- Viola! Don’t forget to eat the bowls thereby significantly reducing the washing up.