A NIGHT-IN THAT WON’T AFFECT YOUR ON-PITCH PERFORMANCE
Just because you are committed to your rugby doesn’t mean the rest of your life, especially your romantic side, needs to be shut down completely – even scrum-half stars have the odd romantic meal with their other halves! Magnums of champagne are an option, but only for winning silverware, there are however other romantic beverages – and meals to make your mouth water.
Salmon for Two
Salmon could be your Valentine’s Day staple, so think about sautéing two salmon fillets in a teaspoon of olive oil at a medium-heat heat for four minutes on either side.
Add another two teaspoons of olive oil, a quarter teaspoon of ground black pepper, half a teaspoon of salt, one-and-a-half tablespoons of lime juice and 120g each of grapefruit and orange sections to a bowl (without skin).
Mix in 80g each of thinly sliced shallots and a handful of fresh flat-leaf parsley and stir the bowl thoroughly. Add the mixture to your cooked salmon fillets and enjoy
Risotto for romance
A second recipe for romance is lemon-herb risotto:
Microwave at a high setting 480ml of unsalted chicken stock until warm. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add 80g of onion, 80g of chopped fennel bulb, a handful of thyme, and two chopped garlic cloves; sauté this for four minutes. Add 255g of rice, and then cook for one minute, stirring constantly. Add 120ml of stock mixture; cook for four minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated. Add 240ml of stock mixture, about 120ml at a time, stirring often until each portion is absorbed before adding the next, for about twelve minutes.
Next, stir in 60-80ml stock mixture, 170ml of beans, and half a teaspoon of salt; cook for three minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Stir in prawns; cook for four minutes or until done. Stir in the remaining 60-80ml of stock mixture, two teaspoons of lemon rind, one tablespoon each of low-fat cream cheese and fennel fronds, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Serve immediately.
Staying dry at night
Even though in 2009, a study of 230,000 adults shows that alcohol drinkers were 100 per cent more likely to take part in vigorous exercise than those who are abstinent, drinking dehydrates you, so will work against your rugby diet regime. You should be drinking two to three litres of water a day just to stay hydrated during your training and matches – don’t make your body play catch-up!
Excessive drinking can also reduce the blood flow in the muscles, therefore weakening them, so running after you’ve enjoyed a night of alcohol can lead to you picking up injuries, especially in your leg muscles. And, of course, everything becomes mentally harder to perform when you’re hungover from the night before.
Booze ruins snooze
Alcoholic-free beverages needn’t bore the life out of you, or destroy your romantic night-in. Drinking disturbs your sleep patterns, leading to deficiencies in the levels of hormones and antibodies that fend off illness in the body.
If you’re settling down for a night with your partner, think about sparking fruit juices as non-alcoholic cocktails.
As well as well-known apple juices, there are also recipes for drinks like virgin strawberry daiquiris and Shirley Temple cocktails. For the former, fill your blender full of cracked ice, and then add 30ml of fresh lime juice, 85-90g of frozen strawberries, and 5-10g of sugar.
Blend the ingredients until they are smooth, adding a little water if the contents are deemed too thick for your tastes. For the latter, over ice in a tall glass, pour 110ml of ginger ale and 55ml of orange juice, adding a splash of grenadine syrup and a single maraschino cherry. Both ‘mocktails’ should provide the ideal accompaniment to dinner on a romantic night at home.