Fit for an athlete

Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Fit Food, by Gordon Ramsay, published by Hodder & Stoughton, RRP $49.99.
Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Fit Food, by Gordon Ramsay, published by Hodder & Stoughton, RRP $49.99.
Turns out Michelin-starred chef Gordon Ramsay is also a fitness fanatic of the ironman triathlon and ultramarathon variety.

It was not always that way; the punishing working life of a chef meant sugary snacks and little time for exercise.

When his chef whites got tighter and he felt sluggish, he decided to make some changes and now at 50 is hooked on exercise.

''For me, healthy eating involves eating well and taking exercise. This sounds obvious but I can't stress enough the importance of doing these things in combination.''

The idea behind Gordon Ramsay's Ultimate Fit Food is that what you put into your body makes a difference to how it functions.

''I want the food that I eat to be tasty and satisfying as well as good for me. When I'm in training I don't want my tastebuds to get bored by eating the same things over and over again. And I don't ever want to feel deprived.''

The book is divided into three sections - healthy, lean and fit - and each one offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, sides and snacks.

The healthy section is about nourishing recipes for general wellbeing, the lean recipes encourages healthy weight loss and the fit section covers pre- and post-workout dishes to build strength and energise.


Photos: Jamie Orlando Smith
Photos: Jamie Orlando Smith
Southern Indian fish curry

This is a lightly spiced, creamy curry with a delicately sweet-and-sour flavour that is popular in the southern regions of India. Serve it with boiled basmati or brown rice for a perfectly balanced pre-exercise meal.

Coconut is rich in a certain type of saturated fat which is metabolised more rapidly than that from animal sources. This means that coconut makes a useful energy source for endurance sport and competitions.

Serves 6

½ Tbsp flavourless oil, e.g. peanut, for frying
2 onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp ground cumin
3cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated
1-2 long red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped, to taste
1 400ml tin reduced fat coconut milk
1-2 Tbsp tamarind paste or watered-down tamarind block
1 small aubergine, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 carrots, chopped into bite-sized rounds
200g green beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
600g meaty white fish (e.g. cod), cut into bite-sized pieces
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
coconut and ginger brown rice (see opposite)
2 tbsp desiccated coconut, toasted (optional)

1. Place a large, shallow saucepan or a high-sided frying pan over a medium heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the sliced onions with a pinch of salt and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, until completely soft.

2. Add the spices and continue to cook for a further minute or until you can really smell them, then add the ginger and chillies and stir over the heat for a further minute.

3. Pour in the coconut milk, tamarind paste and 400ml of water (use the empty coconut milk tin to measure the 400ml). Season with salt and pepper, stir well and bring to a simmer.

4. Once the sauce is simmering, add the aubergine and continue to cook for 5 minutes, then add the carrots and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the carrots and aubergine are tender and the sauce has thickened a little.

5. Add the green beans and cook for a further 3 minutes, then add the fish. Stir well to coat, then cook for 3-4 minutes, until the fish is just cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.

6. Serve the curry with rice in warmed serving bowls, sprinkled with toasted desiccated coconut, if using.

kcal 342 | fat (g) 8.0 | saturates (g) 5.0 | carbs (g) 42.0 | sugars (g) 7.0 | fibre (g) 5.0 | protein (g) 23.0 | salt (g) 0.22


California fried chicken sandwich

As a family with four teenage children, we are always looking for healthy ways of preparing not-so-healthy fast food favourites such as pizza, burgers and fried chicken.

This recipe is brilliant because it looks and tastes like a fried chicken sandwich, with the satisfying crunch from the chicken and the creaminess of the mayo, but is actually made with baked chicken and a yoghurt dressing. The kids love it, we know they're eating well and everyone's happy.

Serves 4

50g wholemeal flour
200ml buttermilk (or 2 eggs, beaten)
150g puffed rice
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder or granules
4 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried sage
8 mini chicken breast fillets
4 wholemeal buns
1 ripe avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced
½ iceberg lettuce, shredded
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To serve
Mexican hot sauce, such as Cholula (optional)

Yoghurt dressing
75ml Greek yoghurt
½ garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp cider vinegar

1. Preheat the oven to 180degC.

2. Put the flour, buttermilk and puffed rice into three shallow bowls. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and dried sage to the buttermilk and mix well. Crush the puffed rice with your hands so that the pieces are broken down slightly but not powdered.

3. Dip a piece of chicken into the flour so that it is completely covered. Remove and shake off any excess, then dip into the buttermilk. Allow any excess buttermilk to drip off, then put the chicken pieces into the puffed rice. Turn over to make sure they are completely coated, then place on a baking tray. Repeat with the remaining chicken pieces.

4. Put the tray into the preheated oven and bake for 2530 minutes, until golden and cooked through, turning halfway through cooking.

5. Meanwhile, make the yoghurt dressing; mix together the yoghurt, crushed garlic and vinegar with a little salt and pepper. Taste and add more vinegar if needed.

6. Slice open the buns and divide the avocado slices between them. Top with shredded iceberg lettuce.

7. Once the chicken is cooked, place on top of the lettuce and spoon over dollops of the yoghurt dressing, as well as a drizzle of hot sauce, if desired. Close the buns and serve immediately.

kcal 510 | fat (g) 13.0 | saturates (g) | 4.0 carbs (g) 67.0 | sugars (g) 10.0 | fibre (g) 8.0 | protein (g) 27.0 | salt (g) 1.30

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