It may still be summer but I have a house full of big muddy teenagers who are on pre season rugby camp this week, shaking off the summers lethargy and getting tuned up for another hard season on the field.
It is important to stage what your children and teens eat when when they are training – before, during and after. Before training they must be fuelled and well hydrated, letting them exercise longer, aiding better performance and allowing them to concentrate for longer periods. Carbohydrates are the name of the game here – slow release, high quality energy which will enable them to last the distance of intensive training and be better digested than other food groups. I feed them about 2-3 hours before they have to go so they have time to let their food go down but not too long that they’re feeling hungry again.
I have used baked potatoes here for a creamy, buttery flavour, added to leeks for vitamins and fibre and a lovely velvety finish to the end result. There will be specks of brown skin throughout but this to my mind adds to the flavour and certainly ups the fibre content. If you are dinner partying this, simply strain through a sieve afterwards or scoop the fluffy potatoes out before adding to the leeks.
Accompany with a thick slice of Bangin” Bread or a carrot bread roll for a satisfying start to the training session. Oooh, and maybe a small chunk of mature cheddar cheese. A glass of milk or juice will do the trick on the side. I usually double the quantities shown here as I rarely know how many are going to land for lunch and it makes a great freezer stand by anyway.
For posh, snip some chives over to garnish or I sometimes crumble some crispy dry fried pancetta over it, which never faces any resistance.
Baked Potato Soup – Serves 4/5
2 x large baking potatoes
2 x large leeks, sliced and chopped
2 tbsp coconut oil
800ml of chicken stock – if not, vegetable stock
3 tbsp low fat crème fraîche
salt and pepper to taste
Bake the potatoes until crisp in a hot oven (200dg/Gas 6) for about an hour until cooked through and crispy. Leave to cool.
Clean and slice the leeks and cook them slowly with the heated coconut oil in a large saucepan until they soften and take on a bright green colour. Chop up the cooled potatoes, crispy skin, everything and add to the pot. Stir about a bit and add the remaining ingredients bar the seasoning.
Warm through and simmer for 10/15 minutes. Then take a stick blender and gently work through the soup, blending it all into an even, velvety texture. Season well (I find this takes a lot of sea salt) to your taste and serve. If you are using a regular blender, leave the soup to cool well first or it’ll redecorate your kitchen ceiling.
This will hold well in the fridge for a couple of days and freezes like a dream for a comforting, warming lunch for any member of the family.