Who knows food better than the hungry swimmer? That dripping banquet hunter, exhausted after wrestling chop and fatigue – deprived of all but a few morsels scoffed while laid-out floating on the water, otter style.
In this blog, we’re forgoing old methods of wolfing down carbs and sugar loading. Instead, we're catering for aquatic foodies by giving that SwimTrek globe a quick spin and following our stomachs on a delicious trip around the planet. We’ve compiled this list based on the principle that fresh food tastes way better after a stint in the water. That's why these recipes are all matched with popular SwimTrek destinations. And we’ve also sprinkled in a few post-swim treats from trusty SwimTrekkers for good measure - we asked what your favourite 'post-swim foods were' and you came back with these answers. The offerings ranged from trail mix (nuts and raisins) to fresh salads, meandering through all kinds of mouth-watering fruit, fish, chicken, broths and, of course… sponge cake!
What's Your Favourite Post-swim Food? ‘Fresh fruit!’ (Pauline Tester)
Stew Chicken with Rice and Beans – Belize
Belize serves up turquoise waters, white powdery sand and the world’s second largest coral reef! The local cuisine is a mix of recipes from Africa to the Mexico. There's plenty of seafood, slow-cooked meat and tropical fruit. For this recipe, we've picked the popular stew chicken - one of the most common dishes come lunch or dinner time in Belize. Most ingredients can be found at local grocers and the chicken also be matched with tasty fried plantains and cabbage salad.
1 4-lb. Chicken cut into small pieces // 1 garlic clove // 1 tsp thyme, salt and pepper // Small slice of ginger // 2 tbsp onions (chopped) // 1 tbsp green pepper (chopped) // 1/4 tsp cumin // Coriander // 1 tsp brown sugar // 1 small tomato // A few pinches of red recado // Lime juice
Rice & beans:
Red kidney beans // 1 small onion (sliced) // Rice // Black pepper // 1/2 tsp thyme // 1 tsp salt // Garlic (crushed) // Coconut (grated) // 6-8 cups of water
First up, wash your chicken pieces. Then season with the lime juice, recado, pepper, salt, thyme, coriander and cumin. Next, heat up 2 tbsp cooking oil and add brown sugar into a pot. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn. You need the sugar to cook until it melts and turns dark brown. Add in your garlic clove (chopped up as fine as you possible). Then throw in the ginger and stir and fry, waiting for the ginger to brown, at which point you need to remove it. Add in your chicken and cook on all sides. Add the rest of your seasoning, including a half cup of water. Reduce the heat to medium and cover your pot. Allow your stew to simmer and keep adding water so the pot never dries completely. Cook for up to an hour and serve up when the chicken is tender.
(For the rice and beans) Soak your beans for up to 4 hours. Then boil them up with garlic and onion - boil until tender. After that you need to season your softened beans using your black pepper, salt and thyme. Pour in your coconut oil and stir, taste and let it all boil. Meanwhile, clean and wash your rice. Finally, add your rice to the seasoned beans and stir before you cover it. You'll need to cook the rice and beans together until the water has been absorbed. You can add water to keep going until the rice is tender.
What's Your Favourite Post-swim Food? ‘Homemade cake with a cappuccino in my own mug with a good friend’ (Jenny Gibson)
Basbousa – Red Sea Liveaboard, Egypt
Time to make some traditional Egyptian basbousa (yoghurt-based semolina cake) after a dip in the Red Sea!
450g caster sugar // 2 tbsp lemon juice
100g butter // 280ml Greek yogurt // 200g sugar // 1 tbsp baking powder // 240g semolina
Take out a cake tin (it needs to be more than 6cm deep) and grease it with melted butter and then line the tin with baking paper. To make your syrup you need to add your sugar to a pan of 340ml cold water. Place your pan on a medium heat and wait until the sugar has fully dissolved. Next you'll need to add in your lemon juice and bring the water to a boil. As the syrup starts to boil, reduce your heat to low and allow the mixture to simmer gently for up to 10 minutes, before removing the pan from the heat.
Pre-heat your own to about 180°C. Take out a a mixing bowl and combine your butter, sugar and yogurt and mix it all together with a metal spoon. Using another, larger bowl, combine your semolina with baking powder and then slowly fold your butter mixture into the semolina. Finally, oour this batter into your tin and bake it all for 25 minutes. When it comes out it needs to be golden - push a skewer into the middle and ensure it comes out clean. To finish, pour your waiting syrup over the cake until it is totally absorbed. Allow your cake to cool before turning it out onto a large board and cutting it into diamonds, ready to to serve.
What's Your Favourite Post-swim Food? ‘Fig rolls and a cuppa’ (Colin Stringer)
Salt and Pepper Squid – Lan Ha Bay, Vietnam
There's no better way to finish a swim in the wild waters of Lan Ha Bay, than with a taste of the local salt and pepper squid - a crisp and mildly spicy treat that's something of a specialty in Vietnam.
4 squid // 2 tsp black pepper // 2 tsp sea salt // 1/2 cup cornflour // Cooking oil
1 red chilli (chopped) // 1 half cucumber (diced) // 1 small red onion (chopped) // 100ml rice wine vinegar // 1 tbsp caster sugar // 2 tsp fish sauce
Firstly, mix all your sauce ingredients (listed above) into a small bowl and stir until the sugar dissolves. Set this mixture to one side. Mix your cornflour and flour together in a large bowl with black pepper and sea salt. Also, line a tray with kitchen paper. Then heat roughly 6cm of cooking oil in either a wok or deep pan and use this to coat the squid once it's hot enough. Remember to only use squid that has been totally cleaned.
Now, cover your squid with your flour mix and fry it in batches for up to 2 minutes, until it comes out crisp. We advise you to use a slotted spoon when you lift the squid from the oil and then drain it on the kitchen paper and sprinkle salt over the top to finish. You can scatter spring onion and chilli over your squid and serve up the sauce as well, as a dipping side.
What's Your Favourite Post-swim Food? ‘[Swim Guide] Francesco Cavaliere‘s delicious Italian pastas!’ (Roberta Bernet)
Nasi Goreng – Bali Escape, Bali
Nasi goreng is a simple stir-fried dish you can serve up in 50 minutes - it's a delicious staple across Indonesia and not too difficult to get right. Though it never tastes quite as good as when you're out there!
4 eggs (beaten ) // 100g green beans // 300g long-grain rice // 2 chicken breasts (cut into chunks) // 180g prawns (raw & peeled) // 20g garlic (chopped) // 200g shallots (sliced) // 2 red chillies (medium-hot & chopped) // Balinese spice paste // 1 tbsp tomato purée // 1 tbsp sweet soy sauce // 1 tbsp light soy sauce // 3 tbsp vegetable oil
Pour your rice into saucepan and cover it with water. Bring the water to the boil and stir and cover with a lid. Slowly reduce the heat to low. Then cook for a further 10 minutes, uncover and spread over a tray. Set this to one side to cool as you move on. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan at a medium heat. Pour in a beaten egg and break into flakes with a spatula as it cooks. Cook your omelette for several minutes and then flip and transfer to a plate to cool. After that you need to cut the egg into long shreds.
Once this is done, drop your beans into a separate pan of boiling salted water and cook for 3 minutes. Then drain and refresh under a cold tap. Heat the oil you have left in your wok or pan until it almost smokes. Add in your prawns and stir-fry for 1 minute - no more. Tip in your shallots, garlic and chillies and stir-fry again for 2 more minutes. Now, add in your spice paste and stir for another minute. Add in your purée , cooked rice and beans and go on stir-frying over a high heat for 2 minutes. Finally, pour in your soy sauce and shredded omelette and toss it all together. To complete, serve it all up with a slice of cucumber, medium tomatoes and a sprinkle of crispy fried onions.
Saskatoon Berry Pie – Canadian Wilderness
Last on our list, is this warm slice of nutty Saskatchewan berry pie - hearty prairie food to warm up and refuel your body after a colder stint in the open water.
3 1/2 cups of local berries // 1/2 cup water // 3/4 cup sugar // 2 tsp lemon juice // 3 tbsp corn starch // 1 tbsp butter // 1/2 tsp almond or vanilla extract
2 cups pastry flour // 1 tsp salt // 1/2 cup of lard // 1/4 cup water (cold)
Let's keep it simple for this last one - first, for the pie filling, you'll need to cook your berries in water until it boils (reduce the water quantity if you choose to use frozen berries). Then add in your mixed corn starch and sugar and boil it all until the mixture clears. Remember to stir constantly as you go. Remove your mixture from the heat and add in the butter, almond/vanilla extract and lemon juice. Allow the filling to cool.
For the pastry, you first sift your flour with salt. Then cut the lard into small, almost pea-sized pieces. Mix in the cold water and form it into a ball. Roll the ball out with a rolling pin and place it onto a waiting pie plate. You'll need to leave extra pastry for the sealing crust. Finally, bake for 15 minutes at 210°C and leave the pie to cool once you remove it from the oven - don't leave it anywhere near hungry Saskatchewan swimmers or bears!
What's Your Favourite Post-swim Food? ‘Salad and homemade lemonade at Agia Roumeli, Crete’ (Sian Williams)
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