Carina writes a monthly column each month for Scots Magazine, a monthly publication packed with entertaining and informative features on Scotland’s people, places, culture and leisure. Every issue is a celebration of Scotland’s rich urban and rural life – from the great outdoors to the vibrant city scene; all complimented by stunning photography. Read more at www.scotsmagazine.com
Meanwhile, here’s the latest column – enjoy!
This month we will see over 100,000 fit, lean and keen runners at the starting line on London Road or Regent Road for the Edinburgh Marathon. The route will take them through Holyrood Park, down to Leith and all the way to Cockenzie and Port Seton – my neck of the woods – before finishing in Musselburgh. If it’s a nice day, how lovely for the spectators, who might be able to sneak an ice cream cone at Luca’s
I’ve always greatly admired long distance runners. I was sporty when I was younger but I never mastered running.Even when I was fit (aged 14 at school), I was a short-distance girl – 26.2 miles is about 26 miles too long for me – and the memory of cross country class can almost reduce me to tears, even now. But we all need a challenge, and inspired by the bountiful energy and inspiration of those hardy marathoners, I’m committing to a 10K walk per week to join in the exercise and not feel too much like a couch potato. The actual distance for me isn’t really the challenge – it’s finding the time. But with the lighter nights upon us, I plan to enjoy a twilight stroll every week and dream about finishing a marathon one day instead of a Mars bar.
We all know that different food groups have different health benefits. The more I read about losing weight and, more importantly, about healthy eating, the more I appreciate that the best diet is enjoying everything in moderation.
My grandfather played football for Celtic in 1919. Amazingly, almost 100 years ago his team were coached on a very strict diet very much along those lines, and it stayed with him all his life. His morning ritual was the same every day well into his 80s: one boiled egg, one slice of brown toast with honey, half a grapefruit, a bowl of porridge, a cup of tea, three prunes and – wait for it – a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. He had a light lunch and never had more than a cup of tea, a biscuit and a piece of fruit in the evening. He was as fit as an octogenarian as he was as a left back at Park Head. My mother is cut of the same Hilley (Irish) stock.
My stock is far more like my father’s (Italian), with a sweet tooth and a reluctance to say no to anything I really love.
For any of you heading for our capital city on 28th of May, this is a fantastic recipe to incorporate into your healthy-eating training regime. Packed with protein in the form of delicious flaked cod and broad beans, the carbohydrates come from the potatoes, and the deliciousness comes from the rich parsley pesto. Bon appetit!
Baked parsley pesto cod with broad bean, mint and potato salad
Serves 4 (or 2 x marathon portions)
For the cod fillets
- 4 x 200g cod fillets
- 4 tbsp parsley pesto (see below)
- extra virgin olive oil, for greasing
For the parsley pesto
- 1 garlic clove
- 100g flat-leaf parsley leaves
- 25g fresh breadcrumbs, very lightly toasted
- 1 preserved or unwaxed lemon, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp small capers in salt, rinsed and drained
- 75ml extra virgin olive oil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad
- 500g new potatoes
- 250g new-season broad beans, podded weight, blanched and skinned
- 50g mint leaves
- 25g garlic chives, finely chopped
- 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Make the pesto: finely chop the parsley and garlic and put in a large bowl. Fold in the breadcrumbs, lemon, capers and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. This can be stored in the fridge for up to a week.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C and lightly oil a baking tray. Wash and dry the cod fillets on kitchen paper, then place them – skin side up- on the oiled baking tray. Spoon a generous tablespoon of pesto onto each fillet. Bake in the preheated over for 10-12 minutes until the skin is crispy. The fish should be form to the touch and the flesh translucent.
- Wash the unpeeled potatoes and put in a pan with salt and cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until tender. Drain well and leave to cool. When cool enough to handle, slice thickly onto a large serving platter. Scatter the broad beans, mint and garlic chives on top. Dress with olive oil and season with a little salt and plenty of black pepper.