by Aaron Vinten
Ed. Note—The Athletes Table is back! Fresh off another triathlon adventure at The Wildflower Experience, Aaron Vinten/The Athletes Table returns for his monthly dose of great food, great writing, great images, and generally high level of stoke! He tracked down Rachel McBride after her journey to Ironman South Africa to get the DL on the following dish, which this particular editor will be trying for sure in the next few weeks.
What do South Africa, Bartlett pears, a cafe called 26 Grains and a purple tiger have in common? Hmmm, a purple tiger? That’s a good one. Well, if you're a fan of triathlon then you might just know exactly what I'm talking about. Or better said....WHO I'm taking about. That's right, professional Ironman triathlete Rachel McBride…aka THE PURPLE TIGER. Let’s rewind a bit and explain how the pears, 26 Grain Cafe and South Africa all get factored in. Yes, today we have the unstoppable force that is professional triathlete Rachel McBride (Wattie Ink., Diamondback Bikes, Reynolds Cycling) who most recently competed in IRONMAN South Africa. She walked away from that race with a fantastic result, finishing as the 4th place female and nailing a marathon lifetime best of 3 Hours 17 minutes AND full distance triathlon personal best of 9 hours 18 minutes. YEAH, RACHEL! She summed up her race experience pretty well on her facebook page.
“The smiles say it all. 4th at Ironman South Africa (African championships) today with a fastest marathon of my life (3:17!) and 9:18 PB. Came out of the water in 2nd, 4 min down from Lucy Charles. Came off the bike in 2nd after working the 2nd loop with Susie Cheetham. Goal marathon was 3:15 and IM time 9:15, so was so stoked to get pretty close. Progress in pacing, nutrition and running!! Of course MASSIVE THANKS to all my friends and supporters who get me to these start lines as well as all of you loved ones who stayed up all night watching the live stream! Also can’t thank my bro enough for all his help and support this weekend.”
Huge congrats to her on such a stellar performance, she has earned it. We met Rachel out at Heather Jackson’s 2018 Dream Camp and have seen first hand just how hard she works. It is beyond impressive to say the least. She has a great sense of humor and is also incredibly kind and humble, taking the time to talk with all the camp athletes and share her experience and knowledge. We also spotted her enjoying some delicious food from The Athletes Table
(shameless plug intended!). Additionally, she is an accomplished cellist as well as a board-certified Genetic Counselor with two graduate degrees in genetics. Like, really? Two graduate degrees on top of being professional athlete and you have a cool nick-name? Seriously, enough with over achieving already. I kid, I kid. The Purple Tiger definitely earns her title as “The Most Interesting Woman in Triathlon.”
So here’s where the story gets delicious. While traveling back to Canada from South Africa, Rachel and her brother had a ten-hour layover in London. As I’m sure many of you know, the hunger hangover after a race can be a multi day affair, especially after a FULL Ironman race. The pair decided to venture from the airport and into the city and explore the sights and sounds of London and also find some food.
"Not knowing exactly where to go, we turned to Google…Rachel says, “We did a simple google search for 'best brunch Convent Garden' on the train ride into town. Out of all the options listed, this unique oatmeal joint seemed like an affordable, healthy option on a long travel day. We arrived there just after opening and it was already packed! Situated in the most adorable little courtyard called Neal’s Yard, the tables in this tiny establishment were already almost fully occupied, and there was a line around the corner! "
I’ve since learned that 26 Grains has become known around the city for their unique approach to making both sweet and savory porridge bowls. Rachel and her brother choose to try the Rhubarb Cardamom Granola
(Almond Milk Oats, Rhubarb, Greek Yoghurt, Cardamom Granola) bowl and the Nordic Pear Porridge
(Coconut Milk Oats, Spices, Seeds, Cacao Crumble, Greek Yoghurt, Pear, Maple). Both are top sellers on the menu
“We snagged seats at the bar, less than an arms length from no less than 5 staff members dancing the most incredibly orchestrated porridge-assembling, egg-making, espresso-pulling, order-taking, table-serving dance in the tiniest of kitchen spaces (including 26 Grains creator Alex Hely-Hutchinson!). It was quite a sight to see! We served ourselves some lemon water and watched as tables for 6 got packed with 3 separate couples and those without seats waited in the courtyard for their tasty bowls.”
“I’m currently obsessed with cacao. The Nordic Pear goodness had a really wonderful combination of flavors and textures with just a touch more sweetness from the maple syrup."
Both bowls were AWESOME and Rachel proclaimed them to be "one of the best things she has ever eaten."
We certainly don't doubt her, so you know that we have to make it! Being the diligent Chef that I am, I reached out to the folks at 26 Grains to get the inside scoop on the Nordic Pear Porridge and also ordered a copy of their cookbook. The recipe for the porridge wasn't in the book and they weren't allowed to give it out, but let's just say that I was pointed in the right direction. Wink, Wink. And let me tell you, Rachel wasn’t kidding. This oat based porridge is delicious. Spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, turmeric, ginger, flax seed, and maca powder, it’s warm, hearty and delicious. To complete the bowl, the porridge is topped with cacao hazelnut granola (recipe in the book), yogurt, mixed seeds, fresh pear and maple syrup. It is well worth the little bit of extra effort to pull it together and still very easy for you to make at home. Because Rhubarb can be somewhat challenging to find this time of year, we choose to make the Nordic Pear Porridge and intend to come back and add the Rhubarb recipe a bit later. Let’s get cooking and share this awesome recipe!
Special thanks to Rachel McBride for allowing us to share in her post IRONMAN South Africa London adventure and letting us take a peek into her world. You can follow her on Instagram (@rachelmcb)
and also learn more about her on her website, RachelMcBride.com.
Also, thank you to the crew at 26 Grains
and Chef Alex Hely-Hutchinson for letting us share this awesome recipe of one of their signature menu dishes. I highly recommend picking up the cafe’s cookbook via the website or on amazon.com
. We can’t wait to start making some more of their recipes. Next time we see Rachel, there won’t be any question what we are going to be making her for breakfast.
STEP 1: PRINT THE RECIPE.
Print this EASY
recipe card below and follow along with all the pictures. If you don't see that card below, CLICK HERE
! [yumprint-recipe id='30']
STEP 2: GATHER & PREP YOUR INGREDIENTS
Pre-heat your oven to 300 degrees. This recipe has two parts. The first part being the cacao hazelnut granola and the second being the nordic spiced porridge. Both are super simple. Start by making the cacao granola first and while the granola is baking, you can make the porridge.
While it does have a number of ingredients, the spiced oat porridge comes together quickly and easily on the stove top in a matter of minutes.
Just toss all ingredients in a pot and heat until the oats are cooked through. Five to Ten minutes is plenty of time depending on how you throughly you like your oats cooked.
STEP 3: BAKE THE GRANOLA
Heat the oven to 300 degrees. This granola can be made days in advance and will make more than what you will need for this dish. Perfect for a nice chocolatey bowl of granola.
In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, chopped hazelnuts, cacao powder and salt and mix throughly to even distribute the ingredients. Secondly, add in the olive oil and maple syrup and quickly mix to prevent the liquid from saturating in a single area. I ended up doubling both the amounts of maple syrup and oil. Just my preference.
Spread the granola out on a sheet pan and bake for 15 min @ 300 degrees
. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. When cooled, store the granola in a airtight container.
STEP 4: COOK THE PORRIDGE
While the granola is baking, start to make the porridge. LOOK AT ALL THOSE SPICES!
In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine all ingredients and quickly stir together to prevent the spices from clumping. I would also recommend using gelatinized maca powder
for the recipe as it desolves MUCH
better that standard maca. This step should only take about 5 minutes. The porridge will turn a beautiful yellow color and you will smell all the spices! SO GOOD
. Add additional liquid to maintain the desired consistency as water evaporates during the cooking process. At this point you should have the granola out of the oven and cooling and the porridge almost completed.
STEP 5: BUILD YOUR BOWL
To build your porridge, place the pear, yogurt, seeds, spiced oat porridge and granola in front of you.
In a bowl, place a portion of the spiced porridge in the bottom of the bowl and then a thin layer of the cacao hazelnut granola. Sprinkle on some sunflower & pumpkin seeds and also a large dollop of your preferred yogurt right in the middle of the bowl. Next, cut up the pear and place it right on top of the yogurt.
To finish off the dish, drizzle a bit of maple syrup over the entire bowl! FINISHED!
STEP 6: EAT!
What a way to start the day! This Nordic Pear Porridge is really, really delicious. A super healthy and satisfying breakfast from the start. Full of slow burning carbohydrates, sweet bartlett pear and powerful anti-inflammatory superfood ingredients of maca powder, flax seed, turmeric and cinnamon, you can’t beat it!