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Friday, 27 July 2012

Random thoughts on a Friday

Usual ramblings

Its funny how just after a week, having a British TdeF winner appears normal, run of the mill, ordinary. I am always amazed how humans can move on and take on board the incredible and make it almost mundane. I suppose its a survival tool, as the good stuff is often outweighed by the bad and by evening it out, it keeps your head in a good place.

Enough of the cod psychology. So what is on my mind this Friday? Well, its the men's road race tomorrow. As a kid I lived within cycling distance of Box Hill, which is a popular picnic site in the Surrey Hills, a "honey pot" in the trade and home to the only decent climb within reach of the Mall for a "Cav Sprint". I occasionally took my bike up Box Hill, which was a good effort for me at the time. Not because I was unfit, but because, I was and still am, more rugby player shaped than cycle racer.

I did the research for my MSc. Rec Man on Box Hill. Spending many a happy hour wandering around with a questionnaire and cue cards, hassling dog walkers and families who's greatest wish was not answering a number of questions based around where they have come from, how old they were and what they thought of the facilities. One question missing was of course, "do you think this makes a good climb for an Olympic Road Race?"

Now, that's not too surprising as I was 25 years too early, and I doubt anyone would have cared! If you do ride your bike to Box Hill in the next few months, then I hope you enjoy the climb. I recommend coming down the "switch backs" in the sun as this is the nearest you'll get to a mini Alpine descent. Do make sure your brakes are up to it as the corners are not forgiving and nor are the trees.

I am hoping that the facilities at Box Hill are now excellent. If so, my work back then was not wasted, if not, then they should have paid more attention to my findings!

So, enjoy the Olympics, good luck to Cav and boys (Cav or David Miller or any of the team could win,....) and with 24 HD BBC Channels on SKY, I guess my sofa might be getting more use than my bike, least over the next two weeks

Recipes
I made a frangipane tart. Its terrific. The recipe is in the Co-op mag I picked up a week or so back, its stuffed full of good recipe ideas.

I can't find an online version by this is not too far off  -frangipane-raspberry-tart

A couple of extras

a) I made my pastry with two egg yolks, it's delicious, but a pain to work with. In the end I just pushed the pastry into the tin with my fingers
b) I blind baked it for 20 mins
c) I spread the base with raspberry jam before filling with fangipane
d) Just cream the butter (soft) and sugar, beat in eggs with a little ground almond to avoid it splitting too much and mix the rest in

I pushed the fruit in and sprinkled with flaked almonds

I used a long loose base tin (oblong) not round - easier to cut slices - cook until nearly all the "wobble" has gone!

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