Monday, 30 November 2020
Although I'm not a huge fan of rogaining, the one Jon and I did last December in St Helens was a bit of a revelation. Before that I wouldn't have thought that I could possibly cover so many kilometres in one day. Together we walked and ran about 50k before going to bed just after midnight then the next morning we got up and walked another 16.
Since then Clare and Jon and I have planned and executed (and also, due to various reasons, cancelled) a number of epic hikes. Clare and I did a 37k walk at Freycinet in July, and yesterday, while Jon and the kids were doing another rogaine at South Arm, Clare and I did the an el-cheapo version of the 3 Capes Hike. We were basically going to do 2/3rds of the route of the fantastic 3 night walk that we both did a few years ago with kids.
As it was so long, I wanted to get an early start so I forced us to drive down the afternoon before and pay for non-tent style accommodation. In retaliation Clare forced us to stay in a cabin for which its greatest attribute was that it housed a cheese grater. Fancy huh? Actually if it had been so fancy as to contain a couch as well, we could have sat there and admired its steely shininess all night.
Anyway, after a night spent tossing and turning (I have a bad habit of lying awake fretting about adventures the night before actually doing them - in fact I may as well have been in a tent after all), we got up at 6, made ourselves lunch (using a plate as a chopping board because.. well you can guess) and were heading off from Fortescue Bay in the light drizzle by 7:30. We weren't the only ones starting out with grand plans - about half an hour in we overtook a group also heading to Cape Pillar. Wisely they were just doing the out-and-back route, as opposed to our out-and-back-and-then-around route.
The first hour and a half is spent on the old Cape Pillar track, which is really pretty, particularly in spring with all the flowers. After a delightful 10km we arrived at the first of the huts whereupon we chatted with the nice ranger (who was happy for us to fill our water bottles), and admired the view from the deck.
From there it was out and back to Cape Pillar - 6kms each way from the hut. It was typical Tasmanian spring weather - occasionally windy, sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy - we must have put our rain jackets on and off about 50 times during the day.
It was pretty nice when we got to Cape Pillar - so after admiring the stunning view we enjoyed some lunch in the sun before returning to the hut to refil our water again. We passed lots of people on day 3 of their hike also making it to Cape Pillar. In fact during the day we passed people on the 2nd, 3rd and final day of their respective trips. It certainly seems to attract a mixed bunch of decrepit old hands, fit teenagers, families and hiking newbies. It's fantastic that the provision of such nice accomodation makes the trip so accessible (at least physically if not financially) for so many people.
With half of the journey done we then faced our highest climb - the ascent of Mount Fortescue.
I'm not sure how it gets to be a mountain as it's really not that high, and without big heavy hiking packs it only takes about 20 minutes to hike up. After that we had a delightful 5k lope down the hill to the intersection of the shot but steep out-and-back track to Cape Huay. With 30+ k under our belts the relentless steps were starting to get a bit tiring but we toughed it out and got some spectacular views from the end.
Thankfully from back at the junction it was another mostly-downhill section to the finish. By this time Clare's toes were getting pretty sore, and my knee was a bit niggly so it was a bit of a relief to be in the final stretch. We arrived back at the beautiful Fortescue Bay beach and had just enough the energy to walk another 500 metres to make sure the total trip was over 40km.
So we did it! yay us. We both agreed that apart from our annoying injuries (Clare's toes, and my knee), we felt pretty good considering! I am a bit sore today but otherwise fine. What's next?
Oh - and while we did our hike, Jett and his team-mate covered almost 30k on foot, Zali did about 20k, and Jon and his partner did 71 (but they were on bikes).That's a lot of kilometres between us in one day!
Sunday, 29 November 2020
Clare and I had big plans for the Tasman Peninsular on Sunday, so we headed down there on Saturday to prepare ourselves. We also decided to try out the upgraded Crescent Bay track - 8km return to one of the most beautiful beaches in southern Tasmania I reckon.
I know what you are thinking.. How can there possibly have been room for almost 40 recipe books on your shelf? My thoughts exactly, but unfortunately there is room for many more than 40 books, so we aren't done yet. At least I am getting some variety.
The last time I had a macaron was in Paris. We bought some from an alleyway near Sacre Coeur. Those were the days.
Anyway - I didn't want to have to buy a whole lot of ingredients so my choices were limited - in the end I went with hazelnut recipe with chocolate ganache filling.
I followed the slightly complicated and time consuming recipe exactly, and if I do say so myself, the results were spectacular.
Another perfectly fine book we should have let go a few years ago as we've kind of outgrown it.
It's filled with very basic baking recipes. I searched in vain for something I could motivate myself to bake among the recipes for red sausages wrapped in pastry, angel cupcakes and toasted cheese sandwiches.
Then Zali and I realised we could do this with the recipe for alphabet letters....
(see what we did there).. then we did this:
proving that the book probably isn't too childish for us afterall..
Sunday, 22 November 2020
We were forced to contribute to, and then buy this book as part of a school fundraising event. Aside from noting that the vegetarian section included a number of fish dishes, I've barely opened it since. We contributed 'our' choc-orange mousse recipe although I'm sure copyright lawyers would have some issues with the claimed ownership of much of the contents of this book.
Unlike other more fancy recipe books I've used lately, this one did feature some pictures, unfortunately they were done by 8 year olds.
I took a chance on the lemon drizzle cake recipe, and it was fine.
I sent Jon and Jett shopping on Friday to buy come new gear for our planned South Coast hike in December. They both came home with new packs and fancy new boots, so we went for a short hike on Saturday so they could wear the boots in a little.
Zali, who has chosen not to do the South Coast, came along with us and proved that $25 kmart trainers are quite adequate in many circumstances!
The weather was beautiful and it was the first time in quite a few visits it hasn't been absolutely freezing on top of Hartz Peak.
Sunday, 15 November 2020
Every year there is a big Point to Pinnacle running race (P2P) from Wrest Point Casino to the top of the mountain. I've never done it because it only goes on roads and I'd rather give Pinto a bath than walk or run 22kms on a road. On the other hand Denny has done it quite a few times and I think she's made it into the top ten females at least twice which is really really impressive.
So anyway - this year it's become the P2P "Challenge" instead of a race. Using Strava, the challenge is to climb the elevation of the mountain (1279m) in the course of a week
This means you can do the challenge over a number of days and locations, or, you can simply go up the mountain via the tracks and trails which is what Clare and I decided to do on Saturday morning.
We started bright and early at Cascade Gardens:
Then we followed the Cascade and Myrtle Gully tracks up to Junction Cabin.
From there up Hunters Track to the road.
Along the road for a bit, then up Panorama Track which was awash with spring flowers. Last time I was on this track it was covered in snow.
Then back on the road again for the final push to the top:
And we made it! It took about 2hrs 20 minutes including the stops we took to gasp for breath and give our shaking legs a break.
It was pretty quiet at the top, so we were able to quickly use the shelter as a changing room to get out of our sweaty clothes and into dry ones for the journey down. We ran most of the way except for a few quick stops for photos and a longer one at the Springs for delicious treats.
We made it back to the cars by about noon. Challenge Completed.
Except that it wasn't. When we got home we realised we were 50metres or so short of the total height - largely due to starting at Cascade Gardens rather than the CBD. So after lunch and a fair bit of sitting down, we met up again and went for a short walk from Clare's place to get that last 50metres. Challenge Actually Completed.
Friday, 13 November 2020
Well hello again Paleo Pete:
It's been a while. In fact it's been 5 years since we undertook a 5 week pizza-by-the-recipe-book challenge in order to break out of our pizza habits. We challenged ourselves to make a fresh pizza each week from Pete Evan's book that I bought spontaneously at the post office one day.
I don't think we've opened the book more than a few times since, so it was actually quite nice to look through it again. As we discovered the first time around these pizzas aren't cheap in terms of time or money, so once I'd bought the expensive ingredients I started mine nice and early in the day in order to be eating by midnight.
Mine. It was really really good.
I only noticed when I reviewed my old blog posts that I've actually made my pizza before - luckily Jon and Jett chose new recipes.
I thought I would have a go at both the recipes pictured above. The tortillas turned out great but the sweet potato wedges were a charred, yet soggy, inedible disaster which was quite disappointing. I'm not sure whether it way my fault or the book's.
Still, the book gets to stay. It doesn't take up much room on the shelf and there are plenty of other recipes for me to ruin at another time.
When I saw this recipe booklet was next I knew it was going to be a somewhat tedious task, but in order to comply with my own rules I had to make something from it before hurling it into the bin.
The first and most obvious annoyance was that the booklet doesn't match the version of the breadmaker that we have - it belongs to the one that broke a few years ago. Then, to cut a long story short, after choosing a banana and pecan cake I was forced to mix the mixture with a spatula, then transfer it into a regular baking container to bake in the oven after the kitchen filled with smoke from the breadmaker attempting the same task. So I actually did all the work and the breadmaker did nothing.
The end result was fine while it was warm, but decidedly average once it had cooled down. Onwards.
Ah yes, the famous Flip Shelton.... what? you haven't heard of Flip Shelton? But you must have! She's famous! I mean she must be. Because every single photo in this recipe book is of her. EVERY SINGLE photo is of her. There are no photos of the dishes. The closest we get is of her chopping vegetables, the rest of the time the photos are of Flip bothering the storekeepers while shopping at what I assume is the Adelaide Central Market. Here is a small selection:
Now I must point out that this book was a gift to me. From a very nice South Australian. And it turns out that Flip is a South Australian media personality, which goes some way to explaining things. From her website: "Flip Shelton is a writer, presenter, broadcaster, natural muesli maker and mum." Okaaaaay.
Luckily for Flip, she is spared a more scathing review as her recipes are actually exactly as described - simple vegetarian dishes from around the world. So while I can't let her completely off the hook for thinking her readers would prefer to see pictures of her leaning over tomatoes rather than images of the dishes, I will acknowledge that they are generally pretty good recipes and I will post this picture of the coriander tabouli I made with our homegrown herbs and move on. Flip feel free to use this image in your next edition.
Sunday, 1 November 2020
This recipe was our biggest success of the weekend. It's from a 'free' recipe book that came with the 'free' doughnut shaped baking tin that came with a Better Homes and Gardens magazine that Zali insisted I buy a few years ago.
You might notice the sub heading is 'A 'HOLE' NEW WORLD OF BAKING 'N' MAKING. So witty.
The doughnuts are really just doughnut shaped muffins or cupcakes (as they aren't deep fried), but as I'd made the poppyseed cakes already this weekend I couldn't face baking any more cake type items - so Zali and I decided to go down the 'N' MAKING route and make the one item every household needs - doughnut shaped chalk. The other non-food recipes were dog treats, birdseed rings, and doughnut shaped crayons.
I did have to go to Bunnings to get the main ingredient - plaster of paris, but we had everything else.
And they turned out a treat!
Definitely a winner.
Another recipe book that has hardly any pictures. Sigh. And then when they do have colour pages, they use half of them for useless images of bowls of beans and rolling pins. Double sigh. Shame on you Charmaine Solomon. Although to be fair, I guess when these books were published the internet wasn't a serious source of recipes, so recipe books didn't have to compete. Now I'm spoilt for choice so I have little tolerance for books without images (and again - good on the Womens Weekly for having images of every recipe well before everyone else started doing it)
When I finally found something in this book - it was one of the few recipes which had a photo. A spicy eggplant puree to be served with roti and/or rice. So a curry really.
And it was fine. Jett doesn't like eggplant unfortunately so it was untouched by him (otherwise he's generally up for most of my recipes), but Jon and I thought it was okay. It hasn't saved the book though - up until now we've used exactly one other recipe from it in all the time I've had it so it's doesn't really justify the space on the shelf.
Like my other book from this set and era (90s) of books, I think the recipes are a little outdated. Nevertheless I couldn't fault it for variety as it covered lots of different asian cuisines from Korean to Laos to Thai to Japanese. But as it wasn't specifically vegetarian it was hard to find something I felt like making - so I went for something embarrassingly easy and a bit boring. Red Thai Curry
And it tasted fine. Whatever.
It's been a big weekend for the recipe challenge - for better or worse I got through 4 books with some help from Zali.
My first attempt was from a cupcake cookbook I've used extensively - so the challenge was to find something edible that I hadn't already made.
I settled for these yummy looking orange poppyseed bar things..
However I had some setbacks. Firstly I needed a mini loaf baking tray. There were none to be found in our locals stores, but luckily Clare was heading to Kmart and agreed to get some for me. Sadly Kmart didn't have any stock and despite visiting 2 other cooking supply shops for me, she returned empty handed. Well almost - she did buy me a nice rubbish bin that I wanted so that was something.
So I settled on making them in regular muffin tray. The baking part went ok, but then I realised I had next to no icing sugar, so I couldn't do proper icing, or the cute flower. So by the time I'd drizzled them with a poor substitute for orange icing, I'd run out of motivation and energy to do anythng impressive with the poppyseeds. I'm almost too embarrassed to show the final result here.. but here you are..