Sunday, 28 June 2009

Where be photos?

Sorry, no beautiful ride snapshots today. Partly because the weather has sucked big time for the better part of a week, and partly because I have been slack as dog's balls. I have this target in mind of doing 100 miles a week - a good, old-fashioned ton - because when I hit that mileage, I start dropping a pants size every few weeks. I am not going to make it this week, but I will get about 80% of the way there, although there will be few photos to record my travels.

Right now, the realm outside the house is cold, murly and grey. I'm going to leave that word spelled as "murly", instead of correcting it to "murky". Murly has a ring to it, denoting surly, murky skies that threaten rain at just the wrong moment. It was that way yesterday as well, which is why I remained curled up on the couch by the heater. I cursed myself last night for my slackness, and pulled out all my riding gear and left it where it would be easy to change into it. I told myself I would get up half an hour before dawn and ride.

The sun has now been up for nearly 3 hours, and I am just out of bed and sitting here trying to type through bleary eyes. I might get out the door at 0930.

I did go for some good rides on Thursday and Friday. The Thursday ride was a cracker - I always feel at my peak after I've done a few rides, then had a day or two off. Thursday was like that - my legs were running at 10,000 watts of power, and it felt like a supercharger kicked it every time I needed to attack a hill or blast along the flat.

This was a delightful change, because there are many days when I go to do a hill, and my legs look up at me and say, "Oh, fuck off, we are not going up that thing", and it is a battle of wills to see whether we will indeed make it to the top before I do a Michael Jackson impersonation (as in, drop dead of a heart attack, rather than attempting to rear mount a 10 year old).

A day like that makes for a great night's sleep. Or, in my case, getting home, having a shower, feeding and promptly passing out on the couch not long after at around 7pm. J shook me awake at midnight, and I stumbled off to bed. A good, hard ride will do that to you (and again, I am not referring to Michael Jackson here).

A good ride deserves a tasty dessert. I have been going all-out this week on making tasty desserts for the family. We did the mini chocolate puddings, and then I moved on to bread and butter pudding. I tried two recipes - one which used individual ramekins, and the other a single baking dish - and both were scoffed with delight. J even ended up eating the leftovers for breakfast!

I think I prefer the ramekin approach, except most of our ramekins are too small - too petite - for a proper pudding. We will be ramekin shopping after lunch. The recipe said it would do 4 ramekins, but it ended up doing 5, and it could have done 6 more easily (ie, with less spillage of custard on the bench top as I filled the ramekins).

I have rediscovered an old truism that my mother told me, and which you will not find in any modern cook book. A good bread and butter pudding requires bread that is NOT fresh. In the old days, it was a great way of using up stale bread that would otherwise be thrown out (and as my parents grew up during the Depression, I can assure you that the only thing they throw out is empty egg shells, and even then they go into the garden as fertilizer).

I might have to buy a loaf of bread and leave it aside for a few days specifically for this pudding, which sounds extravagant and stupid, but none of the shops around here sell 'day old bread'.

I used to be able to buy it when I lived in other suburbs - those that fed the ducks and pigeons snapped it up cheaply - but here, it is just not the done thing.

As a modern twist, I replaced the currants with half a 500gm packet of frozen mixed berries. They were excellent - the tartness of the berries offsetting the sweetness of the custard. One was done with castor sugar, and the other with soft brown sugar. Soft brown sugar is best. One custard was 50/50 cream and milk, and the other 100% milk - I detected no appreciable difference in outcomes.

I also relearned the lesson that you pour in the custard and let them sit for 5 minutes before going in the oven - they need a short period to soak before cooking. And remember to sprinkle a bit of sugar on top - I forgot both times.

Best served with double cream, and I mean proper double cream, not that crap which contains vegetable gum as a thickener.

Now, I must go for a 60km ride - that way, I can eat whatever I damned well like for dinner.


kae said...

Nanna used to store the crusts and stale bread loose under the stove to dry out.
She made the best pastry and stuff!

I miss her cooking, as a small child I grew up with her 'cos mum worked.

Margo's Maid said...

I noticed that Blair posted a recipe on his site recently - trying to steal your thunder, I think, BOAB.

Boy on a bike said...


He is a journalist, after all.

Pogria said...

Hi Boy,
when it comes to pud, I like the "trough feeding", approach.
I make a jolly big one, and then everyone dives in!