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A Smoothie + Flapjack fit for an Olympian

I’m not usually much of a sports fan but the Olympics are different. I’ve gone to bed watching cycling and had my morning coffee to the repeats from the night before. There’s something mesmerising about watching so many people at their absolute peak.

Four years ago the Olympics were literally on my doorstep, our house is a stones throw from the stadium and we heard the applause and music every night. The bit of Hackney we live in has changed for good, not just in the new building but it created a sense of pride and belonging which I think we needed. The Olympics will forever be special to me now.

A huge part of any athlete’s success is down to the food they fuel their body with, and there is a really interesting initiative called The Food Champions project which aims to share some of the nutritional expertise behind Team GB so that we can all eat a little better (whether we are professional sportspeople or not.) Athletes from team GB and beyond have shared their favourite recipes for training and for everyday dinners and I have found it really interesting seeing what these incredible humans put in their bodies – from chia porridge to frittatas. I think there should be more crossover between sports people, who are so in touch with their bodies and in being so understand the effects that food has on our systems with much more subtlety and chefs who know how to make things taste good.

Here’s my take on some Olympic worthy energy bars – I made them a couple of weeks back for John as a post-surf snack, along with this kale smoothie which may not seem like much but it’s a gentle green smoothie and even my little boy drank it for breakfast.

p.s. Incidentally the energy bar recipe is named after Dame Mary Peters – an Olympic gold medallist who set a then world record to claim gold in the 1972 games in Munich. More than 40 years after her Olympic triumph, The Mary Peters Trust supports young sportsmen and women, able-bodied and disabled throughout Northern Ireland to realise their full potential – what a babe! Some serious breakfast inspiration to enjoy with your smoothie.

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Makes 16 bars

200g porridge oats
200g dried dates, finely chopped
100g dried figs, finely chopped
75g goji berries or raisins
75g dried blueberries
2 tablespoons of chia seeds
the seeds from a vanilla pod or a teaspoon of natural vanilla extract
2 tablespoons of pumpkin seeds

Preheat your oven to 150C/130C fan/gas mark 2.

Toast the porridge oats in the hot oven for 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Place the dates and figs into a pan and add 600ml of warm water, bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes until you have a quite smooth sticky date paste. Add a little more water to the pan if it looks a bit too dry and hasn’t turned to a smooth paste yet.

Allow the date mixture to cool a little then stir in the goji berries, dried blueberries and chia seeds and mix well then leave to stand for 10 minutes. Next stir in the oats, vanilla and pumpkin seeds and mix well.

Spoon the mixture into a lined baking tray (about 20x20cm) bake for 40 minutes. Allow the mix to cool before slicing into 16 squares.

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Serves 2

300ml thick greek or coconut yoghurt
the juice of 1 lemon
1 ripe pear
3 large kale leaves, stalk removed
1 avocado or 1 banana
a handful of ice cubes

Place all the ingredients in to a blender and blitz until you have a smooth vibrant green smoothie. Add a little more ice or cold water if you like your smoothie a little thinner.

Photographs: John Dale

Posted: 19.08.16 6 Comments


Posted by Jay at 3:11 on the 22.08.16

I grew up in N Ireland, and we were all hugely proud of Mary Peters. She was a good-news story at a time when those were very rare.
I’m also smiling at your teeny typo ingredient in the kale smoothie recipe. Love it!
Thanks x 2!

Posted by Anna at 7:51 on the 23.08.16

Thanks for your message Jay. Totally agree on Mary Peters – and have corrected the typo thank you!

Posted by Laura at 2:41 on the 29.08.16

Hello Anna, I find it really interesting how you simmer the dates and figs to make a syrup / paste. Normally, recipes like this just add dried fruit to a oat / nut / seed mix and “glue” it together with coconut oil and honey or an other sweetener. Your approach seems sophisticated and easy at the same time – I think I’m going to make them for our late summer vacation trip as a snack.
As I’m not british I’m never really sure if “porridge oats” are normal rolled oats (the bigger ones) or the finer, thiner “quick” oats (which I think often pre-steamed). Which ones are best for this recipe?
Thanks 🙂
P.s.: I’m a big fan of “a modern way to eat”, such an inspiring yet easy approachable cookbook. Thank you for this masterpiece!!

Posted by Tasnim at 1:00 on the 30.08.16

Hi Anna, made the energy bars last night and they have turned out quite well. I did not have dried blueberries so instead used raisins. Thanks for the recipe xx

Posted by Carl Osvald at 6:54 on the 21.01.18

Anna! I simplu love breakfast and discovered and tried 2 thunhs today! The french toast – oh so good – and the smoothie! Good too but I found the lemony taste a bit sour for my taste. Will try orange next time! BR C

Posted by Carl Osvald at 6:55 on the 21.01.18

Oh, sorry for all the misspelling…too fast on the iphone key board…

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