Friday Five…Something about magnolias, strog, and epic journeys…

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As I write this weekly round-up, in the slow cooker is a pork goulash. Actually, it’s more like a pork stroganoff… just don’t tell Miss T- she hates strog. I think it’s a paprika thing. Anyways, I’m trying out a recipe to see if it will work in the camp oven next week.

Yes, we’re going camping next weekend…well, sort of … That means that this weekend we’ll be experimenting with other things we can do in camp ovens…or jaffle irons. I remain convinced that we (ie my brother and sister-in-law and Mr T and I) can write the definitive camp oven cookbook.

In the meantime, and without further ado, the five…

What I’m loving…

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It’s magnolia time here in Sydney. I spied these ones in someone else’s garden on my walk today.

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What I’ll miss…

This season of Masterchef has been one of the most enjoyable ever- for me, anyway. I’ve been blown away by just how good these guys are- the standard has been so incredibly high. The best part though, is how this show doesn’t trade on bitchiness or clichés. The contestants are there because they can cook. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse than living in a share house with all those other people, but the producers choose not to exploit this and the tensions that absolutely must be there. Instead it’s all about the cooking.

Whichever of the four win- #nospoilers- they will have deserved it.

What, or rather, who inspired me…

I’m a huge fan of Joanne Penn- from The Creative Penn. She produces (in my opinion) the best podcast for indie authors- it doesn’t just focus on the writing and how to get it done, but deals also with the business of indie publishing. Anyways, last October, after moving to Bath, she decided to walk more, so entered Race To The Stones- 100km in one weekend along one of Britain’s oldest pathways: The Ridgeway. (As an aside, the stones in question are the standing stones at Avebury, Wiltshire) Most people do the walk in five days, but on this one weekend a year, over 1000 people- both skinny ultra marathoners and walkers with poles- line up to complete it in one weekend. Man!

Anyways, Joanna was one of those who finished it- in just under 26 hours. If you’re interested, the fastest time is around 8 hours, and the average about 24.

I was inspired- and more than a little interested…

In any case, I love this blog post about lessons learned from walking 100kms in a weekend…

Speaking of which…

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I’m stepping up my training for Milford Track-which is, come Monday, just 16 weeks away. It’s been a tough week to fit exercise in, but I’ve managed two good long (two hours) walks this week, with another 10kms planned for Sunday. I’m mixing distance with hills at the moment- trying to build up my non-existent stamina. As you can see from the pick above, our region in Sydney isn’t referred to as The Hills for no reason!

I’m probably the slowest walker in the world, but that doesn’t particularly bother me- it’s all about staying upright. Besides, I have time to photograph wattle…

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Or magnolias. Had I mentioned the magnolias are out?

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What I’ve been cooking…

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In Armidale the other week I picked up a copy of Nigella Lawson’s Kitchen. This is seriously a huge, heavy beast of a book and, like all Nigella titles, a dream to read- let alone cook from.

For dinner on Sunday night I made her version of tarragon chicken plus a fabulously comforting marmalade pudding cake. As you know, I don’t have a sweet tooth, but my family do love a good pudding. Anyways, the pics are crappy and don’t do the dish justice, but you can find the recipe here.

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How was your week? Have you ever entered an ultra marathon? Thought about it?