Cycling by torchlight, running by lamppost, cooking by gas
Here’s what I’ve been up to since my hike up Ben Cruachan and its neighbouring peaks last Friday. I’ve been a hungry boy this week…
Saturday: over to my in-laws for a night of beer, chinese takeaway and general over indulgence.
Sunday: my legs really hurt. It’s always the second day after a major effort that the tight muscles really start to complain. My knees are also pretty grumbly & stairs are my arch enemies today. A fried breakfast is traditional after a night of over-indulgence. Who am I to go against tradition? Black pudding, sausages, potato scone, fried egg, crispy bacon and a few rounds of generously buttered bread. Effing marvelous!
Monday: back to the grindstone & back on the bicycle. If I’m on the bike by 7am at the latest I can fit in the commute, a quick weight circuit, shower and still be at my desk for 8.40am. So… 6.5 mile cycle in the dark to my work and then a quick change into gym gear for a 30-40 min weight session. Cycle home.
Tuesday: Repeat of Monday’s efforts but this time I went easy on my legs at the gym. I normally split my weight circuit so I cover most muscle groups, but I left out the lunges and weighted squats & stayed away from my usual 5-10 mins cardio warm-up. Two reasons for skipping out the legs. Firstly my thighs need a break and secondly I’ve arranged to have a run with my local running club tomorrow. Still manage 13 miles on the bike and a gym session though!
Wednesday: I take the car to work. My legs are still tired after cycling home last night. To give me a chance of feeling fresh, travelling to work in a tin can seems the best option.
It feels strange to have warm air blowing around me as the rain bounces off the windscreen outside. I stay on late at work and drive straight to meet the Kilbarchan AAC runners for a set of loops. Some big loops, some small with a wee bit of uphill & downhill. All told we do 6.5 miles training. It’s all on tarmac and my right ankle and foot feels wrecked, & both my knees feel ready to burst.
At home, I quickly rustle up tomorrow-nights dinner while still in my running gear. I make a family-sized quiche with the local farm’s free range eggs. I also give it some chopped bacon, scoops of ricotta, double cream and marscapone before slipping in a few green beans and a dollop of English Mustard. While it cooks I apply myself to a cold shower, and then a hot one. Twenty minutes later, everything is warm and smelling nice. I wrap up the evening with a G&T. And why not?
Thursday: I sleep past my alarm for the first time in ages – must have been all that running last night! After cycling in, I carry my bike up two flights of stairs. This lets me know I should skip out the gym session – the knees are creaking! A total of 13 miles cycling is all I can report today. Oh, and the Quiche is fine and quickly dispensed.
Friday: Early start required, so on the bike before 7am. I do a mix of cross trainer, free weights, core work and rowing machine, but keep everything low impact on the joints. I cycle home in fine weather and am looking forward to a home-made steak pie. My wife has floured and browned some aberdeen angus beef and cast it adrift in some simmering stock, in anticipation of my arrival. On getting home I take the boy to the scout hall, and then hotfoot it back to the house. I have just one hour to get things ready.
I set about the careful construction of our steak pie. Into a wide dish goes the simple filling. It has to be simple. Good beef, in a thickened plain beef stock with a scattering of mushrooms and some fresh thyme. I crown it with some ready-made puff pastry, liberally decorated with pastry trimmings and a mess of beaten egg. Into the oven for 25 mins.
As I’m volunteering with the local Scout group tonight, I don’t see the cooked steak pie until 9.40pm. It is worth the wait.
A few slippery well-seasoned new potatoes are at hand to help with the mop up. I’m reminded of the poem “You’ll always get a guy with a pie”. It seems I have room for seconds, and employ fingers to get every last bit of gravy from the plate.
Saturday: bit of a lie in today (well 8am is a lie in for me). We finish off a wee bit of DIY before well-deserved leftovers for lunch. Friends stop by for a coffee & we chat and let the kids play while I put the finishing touches to tonight’s dinner.
I have some good pork mince and lamb mince and am going to combine the two to make Cannelloni. It’s roughly a kilo of meat cooked and cooled and then combined with just over a kilo of cheese (7225g Ricotta, 125g Marscapone, 100g Parmesan), some nutmeg and some thyme. As we talk, I spoon it into sheets of pasta and layer the plump cigars of Cannelloni into dishes before dressing them with chopped toms, basil, double cream and another 50g of Parmesan.
While it’s cooking, I write this post and as I near its end, the first dish is also done…
It smells fine! So while it’s cooling, I’m off to play table football with the boy.
Enjoy your weekend, everybody!