I recently spent some wonderfully peaceful days at the beautiful Chateau de la Chèvre D’Or (full ‘active escape’ review forthcoming) in Eze, France, where I enjoyed some exquisite and healthy mediterranean cuisine, and have returned freshly inspired! Apart from seafood, the locally-grown organic vegetables are a recurrent feature in the region’s cuisine, often prepared via steaming. Whilst I may not be able to replicate the beauty of the piece we photographed above (I’m not Michelin-starred!), I believe it IS possible to simulate that same mix of flavours and textures at home! Click more to see this mediterranean-inspired vegetable recipe, focussing on the benefits of steaming, and which is a fantastic pre-workout dish to help fuel your session! (MORE)
Steaming For Your Workout
This recipe is inspired by a little starter named ‘Local Baby Vegetables’, which I enjoyed (and artistically admired) at their 2-Michelin-starred restaurant, La Chèvre D’Or. This exceptional venue has been serving up culinary innovation since 1954, and one of the dishes I was fortunate to enjoy was the ‘Local Baby Vegetables’ entree, composed of raw and steamed veggies, with a red wine Barolo vinegar on a bed of Sicilian Caponata. Needless to say the flavours and textures amazed, proving more than the sum of their baby-vegetable parts. For me, it really brought to light how delicious and exciting healthy eating and the greenery of nature can be! Beyond that, the presentation was utterly spectacular – a delightful piece of fine artistry, almost too fabulous to eat…
ABOUT THIS DISH:
I set about recreating a pared-back version of the dish which you can easily access; one which I think is a great pre-workout dish, best consumed c. 60-90 minutes before the session. Aside from ensuring maximum intensity and strength, this sort of meal comes in handy when you start to tire during training, and your glycogen stores run low so that finally your body will utilise muscle as the next source of energy. If you’re unable to push yourself (and your muscles) to maximum, in order to make micro tears, you’ll not be challenging yourself and may find your results start to plateau.
Everyone is different in how their body responds, but personally I tend to eat and hour or two before, and I like to make it a proper meal. This meal typically includes a source of lean protein, a low GI source of carbohydrates and good fats. I personally prefer a small shot of espresso before my workout. It wakes me up and puts me in a ‘heightened’ state. Caffeine if you read my previous post ‘benefits of coffee’ you’ll know is a stimulant and in moderation, at the right time etc has its benefits.
THE BENEFIT OF STEAMING:
The way in which we prepare our foods massively determines the residual nutritional value at the point of consumption. Vegetables are low fat, low calorie foods with high nutritional value; I always opt to steam my veggies to soften them, maintaining a bit of crisp crunchiness. The process also keeps the taste intact and really doesn’t require any flavouring afterwards (e.g. frying with butter). Instead you could just add a drizzle of delicious olive oil or fresh lemon juice afterwards.
Above all else though, steaming preserves the majority of the nutritional value. When steaming I like to use filtered water in order to reduce the chlorine/impurities in the water, and help me get the taste that nature intended! You’ll just want to be sure not to over-steam the vegetables, especially with leafy greens like spinach, which can wilt into a soggy mush if overdone! Vegetables contain a lot of water-soluble vitamins (for example plenty of vitamin C, Vitamin B) which are easily damaged and can break down if they make direct contact with boiling water. Steaming your veggies means you loose less of these water-soluble vitamins in the cooking process, transferring more of them to your body! Vegetables, aside from being vitamin and mineral rich contain all sorts of bonus cancer-fighting compounds – cruciferous vegetables, such as bok-choi cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower – steaming these at a low temperature keeps more of the anti-carcinogenic compounds intact along with the enzymes that help your body break down glucosinolates during the process of digestion. With that in mind, here’s how you can recreate it yourself…
INGREDIENTS (amounts will vary to taste):
Tender stem Broccoli
1. Wash, peel (where relevant) and chop the vegetables into similar-sized one-inch pieces, to help them cook broadly at the same pace.
2. Fill a large saucepan with 1-2 inches of BRITA filtered water (which I believe helps to ensure maximum freshness and purity) and wait for it to simmer on a medium heat-mark.
3. Place a sieve above the water bath, fill it with the assorted chopped vegetables, and replace the saucepan’s lid.
4. Set a timer on your phone for 4-5 minutes, then revisit the progress of your veggies.
5. Once ready, plate them in as adorable a manner as possible, then drizzle a little mixture of olive oil and pesto over your vegetables.
6. Devour and then hit the gym when you’re ready! Faya x