Bibi Rodgers serves up a protein-packed vegan brunch to revive the limbs of a close-knit running community
What was the occasion?
My mum, Jayne, and I share a passion for running. I got into it about four years ago and now I can’t get enough of it. For us, it’s a fun way of keeping fit with our friends.
Another passion we share is vegetarian food. We run a blog called veggie runners, which we started because, try as we might, we couldn’t find any advice about post-run recovery nutrition for vegetarians. We’ve found the blog has been a great way to connect with the running and foodie community.
We’re both currently training for the Great North Run (a half-marathon) in September, and after that we’re having a go at the Yorkshire marathon in October.
After each race it has become a tradition for us to host a post-event brunch, and this occasion was the Jane Tomlinson 10K in Leeds. It’s a huge annual event with 10,000 runners – the vast majority taking part for charity. It attracts all levels – from elites (a pregnant Paula Radcliffe ran it three years ago) through to beginners.
There were eight of us from various running clubs taking part and the atmosphere was typically lively … halfway round we all got soaked by a bloke at the car wash, which was most welcome as it was sweltering.
Both mum and I recorded personal worsts as a result of the heat, but we had a grand old time, and afterwards we descended on my mum’s city-centre flat for a feed, which is only a 7-minute hobble from the finish line.
What was on the menu?
My mum and I were the chefs for the occasion. We had to prepare everything the night before, so that we could refuel quickly on the day. An added predicament this time was the whole menu had to be vegan – our friend Giorgia is intolerant to dairy, so we had to be a bit creative.
The first thing we needed to do was get some protein into the muscles, and our vegan solution was lots of tofu, which is more versatile than you might think. Like scrambled egg, you can add it to all sorts of dishes. There was also a big pot of quinoa, which is surprisingly high in protein for a grain.
We also made a spiced leek and chickpea dish, for yet more protein, plus roast veg, pico de gallo (a kind of salsa) and classic guacamole with green rice (basmati cooked in shallots spinach and coriander).
For dessert we made Mexican chilli chocolate pots and a vegan chocolate tiffin with whipped non-dairy cream, all polished off with several jugs of icy water and a big bottle of Champagne.
What did you talk about?
There was the usual post-race hum about running, personal bests and running clubs. And we are all very excited about the visit of Le Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Yorkshire next year – we were wondering what Veggie Runners could do to celebrate the occasion.
Pico de Gallo
This salsa is perfect for when you have a glut of sun-plump tomatoes. It adds life to just about anything in the kitchen, from scrambled eggs to burgers and avocado on toast.
Serves 4 as a side
4 ripe tomatoes
½ onion, very finely chopped
A large handful of coriander leaves, chopped
1-2 jalapeno peppers, to taste
½ lime, juice only
Salt and black pepper
1 Cut the tops off the tomatoes and squeeze out the seeds. Chop finely.
2 Combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Delicious fresh or the next day.
Mexican chilli chocolate pots
A little goes a long way with these dark and decadent dessert pots. It’s up to you if you want to tell people that they’re vegan – they’d never know otherwise. Bear in mind that you will need to refrigerate the can of coconut milk the night before you want to make the “whipped cream” and that it absolutely must be full-fat.
300g 70% dark chocolate
250ml almond milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp chilli powder, or more to taste
300g soft tofu
For the whipped “cream”
1 x 400ml can full fat coconut milk
¼ tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp icing sugar, to taste
1 Take your refrigerated can of coconut milk out of the fridge, flip it upside down, then open and drain the coconut milk into a bowl. Set the milk aside, so you can use it later as an ingredient in a smoothie or soup.
2 Scoop the coconut cream into a large, cool mixing bowl and whip until you’ve created stiff peaks. You will need a little perseverance here, because it takes a bit longer to get the correct texture with coconut than it does with regular cream.
3 Stir in the vanilla extract and icing sugar. Put the cream back into the fridge until you’re ready to serve. It will keep well for several days in an airtight container.
4 To make the pots, first melt the chocolate in a bain-marie.
5 Measure the other ingredients into the bowl of a blender. Break the tofu up a bit with a wooden spoon. Add the melted chocolate, then buzz in the blender for about 45 seconds until you have created a smooth, chocolate cream.
6 Pour the mixture into ramekins, teacups or shot glasses, then refrigerate until you are ready to serve, or for at least 1 hour.
7 The chocolate pots can be made in advance and kept in the fridge overnight. Serve with the whipped coconut cream topping.
You can read this at the Guardian here.